I was a Suncom customer many years ago and held on to the account through the transition with AT&T and through the merger with Cingular. I have had the continuing account about 7 years. I'm a relatively low use customer, using my phone mostly for traveling security and occasional local and at-home use. I consider my experience with Suncom great, my experience with AT&T marginal and my experience with Cingular one of the worst of any company I have ever dealt with.
The only reason I wanted to keep the Cingular provider was the coverage area, which suited my traveling pattern much better than other companies, and the lack of inexpensive plans with Verizon and others. I approached a Cingular rep at a local Cingular store a few months ago as my sister in Tennessee had a "Go" phone from the company which is pay-as-you-go with inexpensive phones.
I had determined that that plan would save me money over my Cingular plan then in place. The first thing the rep asked me was where I'd heard about the "GO" phone plan and I told him from someone who has the plan in Tennessee. He promptly told me the plan was not available in Alabama (a lie) and stuck to that story, then got belligerent.
I left the store and went back 2 days later and talked with another rep and got the same story. I called the manager a few days later relating my experience and was told "he trained his people better than that" and refused to discuss what he still contended was my mistake in assuming the plan was available. He hung up on me. I went to another Cingular store and was told, yes, the plan was available, but the prices of phones they showed me were too high, and I was told the cheaper phones were not available on that plan (a lie).
I went online and found the "GO" phone plan available as a pay-as-you-go with a $39.99 nice phone with a $20 rebate and free shipping and activation. NONE of this was offered at the store. I ordered it. The phone arrived in good order, but no rebate form. I called, they said pick one up at the store. The store gave me the wrong form two times. If you want to see something interesting, go pick up a rebate form from them and read it. You have never seen anything like it, full of disclaimers and traps designed, I think, to disallow your rebate.
I have found Cingular to be the most deceptive, argumentative and crafty to their own advantage company I have ever dealt with. Consumer Reports, in a very recent article, rated Cingular at the bottom for customer relations and satisfaction and I can tell you they deserve that rating. Approach any dealings with this company with suspicion and great caution.
Their bottom line is their major concern and their representatives appear to have been thoroughly coached, without regard to fairness or ethics, to get the most money out of you while at the same time, promising services and considerations they will attempt to disallow or not provide. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND CINGULAR TO ANYONE!
LUBBOCK, TEXAS -- In the spring of 2006 my daughter obtained cell phone service with then Cingular Wireless; using my husband as a co-signer (for lack of a better word). At the end of Oct 2006 my daughter was deployed to Germany with the Air Force. We called Cingular and explained to them the situation. They directed us to a department specifically for this issue. We were told at that time we would have to send in a copy of her orders to deploy. Once that was received they would suspend her cell phone service. We were also told that if she was to be shipped home all she would have to do is contact them and they could reactive her account.
We at that time told them it would be 36 months at minimum before she returned per her deployment orders. That was not a problem once the received a copy of the orders the account would be closed. Now it is July 2009, our next to the old would like to get her first cell phone. My husband takes her to the now AT&T store to get her phone. After looking at our account they tell us he cannot get a new line of service because we have a $175 collection against our account. When my husband inquires as to why we have a collection he is told it is because of the line that was discontinued due to my daughter being deployed.
He explains that we had it shut off due to the deployment and the steps we went did in order to accomplish this. He was told that was to bad call the customer service center for AT&T. I did that went through the same explanation. We were told that the account had been suspended for 24 months but the reactivated that account at that time because my daughter did not call AT&T/Cingular back to prove and continue the suspension. We explained that the deployment orders showed she would be in Germany for a minimum of 36 months and most of that time has been spent down range in Afghanistan and would not have been able to make any calls.
At that point we were told it was no longer there issue the matter had been sent to a collection agency. We asked for the Military Suspend department and were told they no longer had that department. We then asked who we could talk to, to resolve this issue and we were told that we would have to talk to the collection agency themselves. When we then explained that they would not talk to us because the account was against us, it seems like they would only consider talking to the company that placed the account with them. At that point we were told sorry but to bad.
Last May, I received a statement from Cingular Wireless, which I did not open. The reason for this, is that my monthly payment was almost always the same amount, give or take a few cents.***
Instead of mailing in a payment to cingular, I normally picked up the phone and present a credit card for payment, using the pay-by-phone option. When doing so to pay my may statement, I found out that the payment had almost doubled. I quickly hung up the phone and inspected my unopened statement.*** The reason why my payment for May was about double the amount, was because there were no calls listed on my April statement. Cingular had placed all of April's calls on the May's statement, which meant that I went over my allotted time for May.***
Even though I contacted Cingular and informed them what had happened and they immediately corrected the problem, it makes one wonder, exactly how many customers had the same problem? I am sure that some caught on to what happened, but whose to say, thousands or even millions, may not have caught this, since they probably go over the allotted time, each and every month. Saving one's calls and placing it on a subsequent statement, will undoubtedly generate more revenue for cingular, but only if they are caught by each and every customer, they did this to.***
More than likely, out of perhaps ten million customers where this was done, one or two million customers may have caught this. The other eight or nine million, went ahead and paid the overage. Those that did catch what had happened, simply got a "I'm sorry" from cingular and that's the end of the story. A mere accident, as they would like to call it. I call it "hum bug". Cingular knew exactly what they were doing.*** Pay attention to each and every bill. No matter if it's Cingular, Verizon or any of the other carriers. This could happen to you.***
LIVE OAK, FLORIDA -- After moving to Florida from Tennessee, where we had Cingular so-so service, we went to the Lake City FL office and had them change the phone numbers to local Florida numbers. In order to do so, we were told we had to sign up for another 2 year contract. We did so after the salesperson assured us Cingular had good service in our area.
Within a week it became apparent Cingular did not have good service. I could not even call my husband sitting in the same room with him. Calls were constantly dropped. I called Cingular and terminated service with them.
Shortly thereafter I received a check in the mail (remember this!) from them for $96.00. I cashed it and assumed we were even. Suddenly I get a call from a collection agency that I owe Cingular $178.16 for early termination fees, etc. I immediately called Cingular as I had never received a bill. It turned out they were sending the statements to the wrong address. I requested a copy of the bill as I do not just blindly send out almost $200 without some paper in hand.
The collection agency is still calling. Each time he called I called Cingular and requested yet another copy of the bill. To date none has been forthcoming. Even though I have corrected the address time and time again, I am not receiving the statement. Remember, though, they did send me the check!!
Today he called 6 times becoming more abusive each time. I again called Cingular. This is, BTW, now the 4th time I have requested a copy of the statement. They refused to fax it to me stating "security" measures, yet they can send my bill all over the country to collection agencies and impugn my credit rating freely.
This is absolutely the most incompetent outfit I have ever had dealings within my life!! I have filed complaints against Cingular with the FCC and against the collection agency with the Better Business Bureau. My next step is the state attorney's office and/or a lawyer of my own. Whatever you do, don't do business with Cingular. There are other better cell phone companies out there!!
FAIR GROVE, MISSOURI -- On October 27th is the day I sent my rebate off to Cingular, keep in mind that was the day after I got the phone. I keep a good eye on it through the internet. The rebate had at least 6 steps it had to go through before even getting approved. On Dec 13, 2006 the online rebate department said my rebate had been mailed on Dec 8, 2006. On Dec 29,2006 I started emailing Cingular to find out when I was going to receive the rebate. Cingular has changed at least 5 times their story on when the rebate was sent and that after mailing rebate it could take up to 4 or 6 weeks to get to me.
As of January 16 Cingular sent me an email telling me that the rebate had been mailed on January 8,2007 and that it would be here in 7 to 10 business days. As of January 29, 2007 I still had not received the rebate and the time or day limit on that 14 days not counting the holiday we had and weekends. I have now started emailing them everyday. As of January 31 I emailed them again and their response after taking 3 days to reply to my emails they have now just referred me to the 800 number which you can't speak to a live person but the response on the phone was "the rebate was mailed Dec 8, 2006." So, I ask "what date?"
I believe Cingular does not know and I am starting to believe it does not exist. I have also called numerous times to Cingular all I get is the runaround. As of Feb 1, 2007 I still don't have my rebate in which I am entitled to. I came to Cingular from another Cell Phone company thinking I would get better service and I was forewarned about Cingular as a company when it comes to your billing. Cingular is the only Company in which I can get coverage so it is important to me to stay with Cingular but I am having second thoughts about it. I really think that I might take legal action on this.
TACOMA, WASHINGTON -- Before my husband and I were married, he had less than perfect credit. As soon as we were officially hitched, I took over paying his bills so I would know that they were on time and also to re-establish his credit. Two years later, we moved and he wanted to put me on his cell phone contract since my carrier did not offer service in the area. We went to the store and after pulling up his file, the service rep said it would require an $800 deposit to get me a phone.
That seemed a crazy price to get a simple phone, so I had them open a new account in my name. I got the same phone free--no deposit. I understand that the company has to protect themselves from persons with bad credit, but for the last two years, all of his payments have been on time--no delinquencies. When I questioned the sales rep, she informed me that because he had to put a deposit down once, he will never qualify for a free phone. I think there should be a point where his credit should be reviewed and if found satisfactory, he should start with a clean slate. Am I wrong??
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- My son was charged an outrageous cell phone bill from Cingular while he is serving in Iraq and trying to stay in contact with his family. The bill ended up being $6000 dollars and when him and his wife realized how much it was they contacted Cingular asking them to work with them, being they don't have that kind of money. Cingular demanded immediate payment, they cut off their cell phones and charged them an extra $750 dollar fee for shut off charges and sent this to a collection agency.
Now my son will be in trouble with his commander, being backed in to a corner his family will have to live on $30 a month because Cingular does NOT support our troops and does not care what they do to the individual soldiers lives. I think they should have explained the plan for international was more, because my son said he had international coverage on his cell phone plan and Cingular charges more apparently because there are no satellites in that area.
This is an outrageous example of a company that is only out for the money. I suggested my son's wife go on national tv with this. I hope she does, because I know this will affect a lot of soldiers and their families. They are not getting rich over there and they still have families at home to support, and a lot of the wives don't work.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA -- On October 4, 2005 I went to a district regional office as instructed by a customer service rep to have my phone repaired, they thought after almost a year of not receiving the Nationwide service I was paying for, that the problem must be the sim card. Well true to form, they did not know what they were talking about and the people in the regional office did not know what they were doing, they broke my phone, it is not operable even in the local area now. They changed the sim card as instructed by a service rep and then found they could not do it because they are in a different area than my contract area, which nulled my sim card and there was ineffective.
The little part that holds the sim card down was broken and now the phone can't read it because it wouldn't lay down in the phone. After going to a local office to see if they could repair it as instructed again by the out of state office, I was told they could do nothing to help me, and that the only options open to me is to buy another phone, start a new contract or go back to the state that broke it. The only thing they are prepared to offer me is the opportunity to start a new contract for 2 years and they cancel the old one which has 5 months left on it. This is an upgrade, not a company looking to keep a customer with them because they were willing to correct their error.
I have been paying for service for over a year without getting it, and my understanding of a contract is that it must benefit both parties. This is not a company interested in keeping their customers with or without a contract they are only interested in what they can drain from the customer. If I had not started traveling I would not have known I was paying for something I was not getting. When does a company take responsibility for their actions when did the customer have to start paying for their mistakes.
I liked Cingular and believed that it was a problem that would be worked out, what a big mistake, they couldn't care less about all the money they have stolen from me during these last 14 months, all they can think of is how can we get more. Check your phone people, you too may not be getting what you are paying for. This is unfair and just blatant robbery. Oh, yes, they gave me a credit for this month and that is all they are willing to offer me, outside of another two year contract. All of the heading pertain to this poor customer service, billing, repair service, product quality, performance and company policy.
I am totally dissatisfied with how I am being handled and disappointed that a company that I have been giving money too for almost two years think no more of me as a customer than they do. They have been getting paid for a number of months for services not rendered and to give me another phone to replace the one they broke and for my grandson, because he is experiencing the same type of problems is a small gratification for loyalty.
I don't believe in the company and they will continue to rob people without consideration of what they are obligated to do to keep their customer base stable. It may take a minute for the word to get around, but it will that Cingular is a robber, a liar and an extortionist of poor unsuspecting people like myself.
Today I called 1-866-290-0901 to add $20 to my cell phone account. After holding for about 8 minutes, a rep answered. Last month I attempted to add funds through their automated system, however, after adding the $20, a rep came on the line and appeared to be confirming the charge. However, when I checked my bank account, she had added another $20 which wound up being a total of a $40 charge rather than $20. I had to call back and, of course, it took forever to get through to a Manager, who did resolve the matter and apologized for the mishap and said she would speak with the rep.
The Manager suggested in the future, when transferred to a rep, to make sure to have them verify the amount already recorded so they don't add it again. Anyway, so that is why I decided to bypass the automated system and speak directly to a rep. The rep answered the phone and I could barely understand what she was saying and had to ask her three times and finally figured out she wanted my phone number. I swear she sounded like she asked me for my last 4 appendages of my number.
In the end she said she asked for my 10 digit number, which is logical, however, I would not put it pass any of them to have fun by asking something that makes no sense considering the lousy service. They know that they have the market pretty well tied up, and that is why there has been a civil action lawsuit filed in 10/2004. After an exasperating phone conversation with her, and thinking I was done, she says "please hold on while I transfer you to someone who can help you with that." This is after I have provided her with my ATM number, and she jumped off before I could get her name. Heaven forbid that they should identify themselves to you first.
Well, I held on for another 10 minutes. Fortunately, I was at home and not in my car. I hung up and called back and asked to speak with a Manager. Another ten minutes. Then I decided to check my account only to find out that the rep had put the charge through already. Obviously, she just felt like having me wait to speak to someone else for no reason except to waste my time and be on some kind of power trip. I called back again and asked to speak with a Manager, only to be put on the phone for another 15 minutes.
Finally, out of frustration I went to the internet to file a complaint online only to find out that "prepaid" services cannot establish an account and can only call to resolve an issue. We all know where that leads to. So, consequently, I find myself at "my3cents" to vent. I thank God that I only have a prepaid account, and in the future, will only buy prepaid cards so I don't have to call them. As soon as possible, I will change to another wireless phone service, if there is one to change to. That is why I am providing the URL to you all in regards to the civil action.
IN ADDITION, AFTER MAKING THE PHONE CALLS TO CINGULAR, I CHECKED MY ACCOUNT CREDIT. After the $20.00 had been added this morning, the account balance was $20.50. An hour later, it had dropped to $19.50. The only calls I had made was to THEM AT THEIR TOLL FREE NUMBERS. I doubt that calls made the day before suddenly were being charged for since every time I make a call, my phone tells me that the money has been charged for the call and my balance is lower.
I THOUGHT CALLING THEM WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NO CHARGE? I would have appreciated being able to either call someone to ask, or send a e-mail, but there is no e-mail for me being a prepaid customer, and I refuse to contact their customer services department that has only proved to be frustrating, except for the one time I spoke with a responsible manager.
So, in the end, who knows what our rights are since calling them to find out information usually only ends up being transferred into an endless zone of waiting which only deters one from wanting to call them to resolve an issue. We just become victims of what seems to be turning into a monopoly situation and a force that can treat their customers anyway they want. Good luck to you all.
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA -- I signed up for a 2-year contract cell phone service in September 2005. There was a 30-day trial where I was able to try the service. For this period the phones worked perfectly! After this period, I could not place or receive phone calls at random hours. After 9 PM, when I have “free” minutes, the phones did not work at all at first.
I (still) get a “Network not Available” message displayed on my screen. This happens with the 2 phones in the contract. I called numerous times to the service department. They have done over 5 “upgrade” downloads to the phones, with no effect at all. I also changed the Sim card. This did not help either. They kept telling me I had 2 defective phones.
In December, the phones were exchanged. At first, they worked fine. Now in January the problems got worse. This time, I can barely place or receive calls and when I can, the signal goes in and out. I can barely hear the person I am speaking to and vice versa. People who call me also say they do not always get my voice mail. Instead, they get a message saying, “The subscriber is not available.”
In late November of 2005 I had spoken to a supervisor who clearly stated that if the problems persisted after the phones were exchanged, it was likely a network problem. If this was the case, I could be released from the contract without an early cancellation fee. When I called to report this, not only was the tech support staff ineffective, I was told this was not an option. They also refused to release the name of the supervisor that told me that, when it is listed in their records. (I was stupid enough to forget her name, so remember to make note of this any time you call for a complaint!)
I called again yesterday, January 27, 2006. They had the nerve to tell me I had to change the phones again, because they are a “cheap” model. My model is retailed at over $200. Should I get a $500-dollar phone to get the service I am paying for??? I have been lied to several times, and I am paying for a service I can barely use. The sad part is, I know I am not the only consumer in this area with this problem.
As a suggestion, if you have a similar problem, please file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and/or with the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/. Cingular may ignore one person's complaint, but if there is a significant amount of voices out there, we might get some fairness out of this. For those of you thinking on getting Cingular Service, please think this well.