PORTLAND, NORTH CAROLINA -- DO NOT USE CONSUMER CELLULAR (That's the short version). When I first called, I specifically asked, in several ways, whether the phone I wanted to buy would work on their network (They only offer 6 phones, only two of which are Android, both of which are utter crap). I was going to buy a GSM Unlocked Moto X, a phone that IS available on the AT&T network, which they use. The woman I spoke to assured me that the phone would work with their service.
It didn't. I couldn't send or receive MMS (picture texts). After they made a couple of half-hearted attempts to fix it, they told me, "Well, since that isn't one of the phones we sell, we can't guarantee all features will be available on our service." Um... even though you told me that it would work? After another runaround with Motorola, I found the answer myself (Just add "mms" after the word "default" in the VPN settings). So, that was fixed.
Then, the service one day just suddenly dropped out. It gave me a little red triangle symbol with a white cross, and said "Emergency Calls Only". I called Consumer Cellular. They again reiterated that, since it was not one of their phones, it may not work on their service. Despite the lie that got me to start with them in the first place, they tried sending out firmware upgrades and had me turn the phone off and on a billion times, to no avail. They escalated the problem to the next tier of support, which meant I waited a full day for another call, only to be told the same thing.
Eventually, the phone just found service again on its own. This happened four times. After the fourth (I only called about three of them, and went through the same runaround) I called Motorola to be sure it couldn't be a hardware issue (nope) and then called CC to cancel my service with them.
One of the many times I'd called, I'd mentioned that I had bars, but no '4G' designation. I was told CC doesn't HAVE 4G. Later, when I called again and got someone else, I was told they DO have 4G. So I kept getting different information from different people.
The 'supervisor' who left a message after one of my many calls/escalations told me that I "may have to use the phone outside" my house (Ludicrous, 'cause they supposedly use AT&T's infrastructure, and I can use my AT&T phone fine indoors. Not to mention, they tout themselves as the service for the elderly; are you really going to tell an elderly person that their for-emergencies-only cell phone won't work inside their home??!)
Just now, I called to give them one last chance to redeem themselves, and the 'supervisor' was excessively rude, telling me the same thing about the phone not necessarily working on their service. I told her that I was told explicitly that it would. She didn't care. I told her they were losing at least 5 customers (I've got a family plan) because I'd been lied to and jerked around. She said she was sorry I *FELT* that way, but that was the way it is.
Now they're charging me over $10 for what was supposed to be a free trial of their service, 'cause I 'exceeded the limit of text messages for the free trial', which only happened because I had to keep TESTING the texts, 'cause my texts weren't working! I cannot tell enough people not to use this chaotic, poorly-run company that doesn't give a hoot about their customers.
PORTLAND, OREGON -- My experience is unbelievable. I purchased a Consumer Cellular phone for my husband and plan 6/20/2014 approximately 6:30 p.m. I gave all of the pertinent information and on the way home, approximately 7:15 p.m., my cell phone was deactivated, not my husband's. Our numbers differ by a single digit. When I realized what happened, I call Consumer Cellular's customer service. **, probably in a West Coast office, persuaded me; my cell phone company just sent my phone number to Consumer Cellular without my authorization or standard industry protocols, like an account and/or pin number.
The following day, Saturday, I spent about six hours trying to get my service restored. Instead of Consumer Cellular acknowledging their mistake, they blamed my former cellular company. Similar attempts made on Sunday to port my number back to my cellular provider were unsuccessful. My cellular company wanted to charge me an activation fee even though I paid my monthly bill 10 days earlier and did not authorize Consumer Cellular to port my number to their company. I need a cell phone for my husband who has Alzheimer, but remembers my cell phone number.
Having explained this situation repeatedly to representatives and first line management of Consumer Cellular, they offered no equitable resolution. The company would not pay the activation fee because it lacked the policy to address this expenditure. In the meantime, my husband has no cell phone. I have purchased two sim cards that are invalid because they are associated with my cell phone number hijacked by Consumer Cellular without my authorization.
I failed to mention I am unemployed and use my cellular number as my contact number on job applications. By now, you must wonder what it would cost to restore my cellular service…. $50.00. When you are elderly and unemployed, $50 equates to the cost of filling a prescription or food. Shame on you Consumer Cellular.
PORTLAND, OREGON -- Filed against: Consumer Cellular 7204 SW Durham Rd Ste 300 Portland OR 97224. Complaint Description: Consumer Cellular misrepresented their phone service. Had nothing but problems with their phone from the first day we had it. It dropped calls constantly and got spam text messages from people we didn't know. There was also at least one time when his phone didn't disconnect for an excessive period of time. Nobody explained that we would be charged every time we checked our own voice mail and the first salesperson led my husband to believe there would be free mobile-to-mobile calling.
We cancelled the phone after 2 weeks of complaining about the service and were told we would owe no money. Yesterday we received a past due notice that we owe $33.66. I called to try to get the charge waived and instead was met with two extremely militant supervisors who refused to listen to anything I said and just insist I pay the full bill. They were not in the least bit interested in the fact that I was thinking of giving them a 2nd chance in September, nor did they care when I said I can get word out to at least 3000 people as to what a rotten company they turned out to be.
All the supervisors can do is repeat how excessive our minutes usage was, and would not listen to my side of the story that not all of that was our fault. We only had service from about March 1st to about March 15th. Might I add: I spent the better part of an hour on the phone arguing with the two supervisors ** tonight. I ended the call by telling ** he can take his phone service and "Stick it where the sun don't shine". That's not how it started out either.
My husband and I started out being very nice about the bill and calmly explaining our situation. There is no excuse for this kind of lousy customer service and they should be ashamed of themselves. I told ** that AT&T and Comcast have never treated me with such disregard.
Plus: They assigned a ad phone # that may have belonged to a drug dealer. We even had a call from some drunk who wanted to kill someone. I told ** I had serious health problems and this just adds to my stress, but he could have cared less. Additionally: We did not even get a full refund when we returned all of the equipment. I did not complain because it was only $11.00, but combined with the bill, it adds up. I am disabled and have gone without pay for almost 2 years (Old complaint filed against Cigna). Desired Resolution: I just want them to waive the bill of $33.66 they sent, especially since we were told that we would owe nothing when we closed the account.
PORTLAND, OREGON -- BEWARE OF CONSUMER CELLULAR! I converted to Consumer Cellular and was thrilled at the price and service. After my mother passed away, I needed to cut costs to cover her expenses. So, I did away with my landline since I had my cell phone. Before she passed, my mother asked me to look after her little sister who is 72. During the time following my mother's death, my aunt suffered a serious medical emergency and I was trying to help her. In the midst of that situation, I found my Consumer Cellular phone disconnected because I was two weeks late on my payment.
I was able to reach Consumer Cellular customer service (if you can call it that) after waiting on hold for nearly 20 minutes, but no one else. I explained my situation and asked them for a two week extension. I explained that I would be able to get everything caught up in two weeks. They refused. I asked them if they would take a check and hold it for two weeks (which I NEVER do) and they refused. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that I should pay my bill on time and I wouldn't have this problem.
She, too, said I needed to pay the bill before service would be restored. I understand that the company is in business to make money and I don't begrudge them the money I owe. It doesn't seem that waiting two weeks would be that great a risk to me, especially given the circumstances. So, for $114.68, I have had no telephone service for nearly a week. My aunt is entirely on her own to deal with this medical emergency. I can't even call in my prescriptions to the pharmacy or make contact with my children. If I can make it one more week, I will be able to pay the bill. I can only hope my aunt will be okay.
BEWARE: I strongly suggest that if you choose to convert to Consumer Cellular, DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR LANDLINE. In my experience, Consumer Cellular has no compassion when it comes to extenuating circumstances and you don't want to be left with no way to communicate if something unexpected happens. To John and Tami, the owners of Consumer Cellular in Portland, Oregon, a little compassion and understanding goes a long way toward building a strong customer base!
PORTLAND, OREGON -- UPDATE: Some of the BAD has been corrected. See comments. I have recently subscribed to Consumer Cellular wireless phone service. This replaces my previous 6 year relationship with Nextel (Sprint). With Nextel I was paying about $77 a month for 2 phones sharing 400 minutes. I saw a Consumer Cellular ad on TV and thought I would check them out. I found few complaints against them on a quick Google search. Some of those complaints were baseless as those individuals obviously did not understand wireless billing practices.
The GOOD: I called Consumer Cellular and ordered two phones, accessories, and activation fees for $171. I received the phones two days later. I called them for activation and they ported my numbers from Nextel and I was up and running within an hour. So I now have 500 minutes shared between 2 phones for about $47 per month. And, the best part, NO CONTRACT! Their telephone customer service is located in the USA. Wait times are usually less than 5 minutes. Customer service representatives are friendly and patient. Coverage and call reliability have been good (See AT&T coverage map).
The BAD: Their online call log information is about 1-3 days behind your actual usage. It is helpful but don't rely on it to avoid going over your minutes. Their call log detail only shows phone numbers for outgoing calls. They do not show phone numbers for incoming calls. They indicate "Not Available" for ALL incoming calls. This is NOT a "Private" or "Blocked" call issue. You cannot verify any incoming calls that you may be billed for. Not a good thing.
The phones receive the caller ID as they should. When questioned about this they claim the carriers are not providing this information. Nextel (Sprint) provided both incoming and outgoing numbers without a problem. Other carriers I checked, including AT&T (which is what they use), provide both.
Another annoying characteristic is they only allow your cell phone to ring for 15 seconds before displaying a missed call message and informing the caller that you have not set up your voice mailbox. I did not want or request voice mail and told them during activation I did not want it. They did fix this but only after being called three times about it. This problem re-occurred approximately a month later.
Occasionally I get a "Call forwarding is active" message when placing a call. I have never activated call forwarding. Canceling call forwarding has no effect on this. It happens with both of the phones I have. Customer service either cannot or will not explain this but will only repeatedly parrot a script about call forwarding.
Their email support is in the toilet. They are slow in responding (if they respond at all) and are of little help when they do. They don't appear to pay attention to the details of an inquiry. Responses are generic in nature and don't acknowledge the actual issue at hand. It appears as more of a pacifier type response in hopes you will just go away.
In summary: Price is very reasonable and no contract. Customer service, while courteous and friendly, is only slightly better than other cellular carriers. They appear to help but either do not or cannot actually correct anything. Consumer Cellular is extremely poor at resolving technical issues.
DISCLAIMER: These statements are based on the results of my own personal experiences with Consumer Cellular to date. The statements may or may not hold true for any other individual or specific instance.
*** U P D A T E *** September 18, 2009. In the initial review I stated their online call log could be 1-3 days behind. Well, they have now demonstrated this information can be over 10 days old. This is also true of the information they will give you through the automated phone inquiries. Your minutes used during a billing cycle is NOT reliable. What's worse their customer service representatives are not aware of this unless you lead them by the nose to see it.
ALL USA -- Stay away from them. They will lie to sign you up. I spoke with their representative and before I gave her my SSN, I asked her several times if she is going to hard pull or soft pull my credit (soft pull does not show on your credit report). She said it will be a soft pull. I told her that I am buying a house and that I can't afford any inquiries on my credit. She assured me that will be soft credit pull and there will be no inquiry on my credit. There is one. She lied. I tried to dispute it with the credit bureau, but no luck. Consumer Cellular doesn't want to take any responsibility for it!
They will tell you any lie to enroll you in their service. Now I'm stuck with extra inquiry on my credit that will cost me money on my Apr of my house purchase. If I was told the truth I would not sign up for service until I buy the house. I tried to dispute it with BBB, but their answer was ongoing "yes, we pull credit". They didn't want to acknowledge the fact that I was lied by the sales representative I called and asked to speak with a manager, because supervisors don't care. I was told that the manager will call me but he never did. No interest in solving the issue.
FLORIDA -- I was with Verizon for years since I had two children on my plan. The kids are grown and gone, so I researched new cell service for my husband and me. I chose Consumer Cellular predominantly due to the ease with which the plan can be changed as usage increases and decreases. I chose basic phones since we don't really need the bells and whistles. Having worked with the plan for a couple of months, I could not be happier.
I can tell no difference in service -- the phones work great anytime we need to use them. I've changed our plan (downward) twice, since I apparently over estimated our "minutes" need. The online change menus are simple, quick and very user friendly (as are the usage logs). Best, I'm saving about $220 per month since I no longer need all the services my children used. This is an excellent plan for those looking for reliable, basic phone service, and I am very impressed with the website features for account management.
MINNESOTA -- CC (Consumer Cellular) changed the billing period on my final bill and then charged me an additional $25.75, after I ported my number to another carrier. I was given no notification that they would prorate in this manner. When I called CC they claimed that they had sent me an email notifying me of the change but then acknowledged that they had not. CC changed their billing period, prorated the plan, closed my account, and then sent me a bill that was excessive. When I spoke to an account representative and her supervisor, both claimed that there was no way to fix this and that if I did not pay the bill in its entirety they would send it to a collection agency.
PORTLAND, OREGON -- We left Verizon, who is notoriously bad, for Consumer Cellular because they were recommended by AARP (shame on AARP). The lady set up with smart phones and reiterated 4 times we could cancel anytime within 45 days for ANY reason and pay nothing. There were NO restrictions. We asked 4 different times and there were two of us on the phone.
The phones, Huawei, was complete garbage. Did not work right or were hard to use. I spent 3 hours on the phone the day before Thanksgiving with different people who would reverse what the person had said before them, were insulting and definitely were unhelpful. The last rep - supervisor **, was the most insulting, most unhelpful and a complete waste of time. Unknown to me, they closed at 8pm and she was just trying to waste time so she could get off the phone. I could NOT get my voice mail set up because they were clueless.
Two days later, we were informed we were at 3 times our data usage even though we had our phones off and used NO data. They tried to explain with examples that were so ridiculous - our phones were off, how can you use anything with the phones off??? After 10 days of insulting customer service people we are now at a point of frustration and will be quitting the service and sending the phone back - the complete piece of crap phones that they are.
I would NEVER use these people and feel they are predatory to seniors. I have lodged a complaint with the attorney general in Oregon, the BBB and will complain to the FTC. Why isn't there a class action law suit against these jokers (I am NOT laughing)??? Just curious.
FLORIDA -- About 2 months ago I obtained phone services with Consumer Cellular. I thought I would be saving money by didn't as I was spending more than the basic unlimited plans to 2500 minutes. I decided that this does not make sense and have been trying to have my number released back to my prior carrier. Folks, it has been over a week and the excuses are beyond me. I finally had to obtain a new number and you can well imagine the inconvenience this has caused... I am very dissatisfied with this action and will be having individuals I referred to this service terminate.