Consumer Cellular - Page 2

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1.9 out of 5, based on 19 ratings and
31 reviews & complaints.

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Defective phone
Posted by on
I went on line and ordered phones (2) and service from Consumer Cellular on 8/15/10. I received the phones on 8/19/10. One of the phones was a defect. The back did not fit and left a gap. When I called customer service I was told to send the phone back and they would send me a replacement. Here's the catch. They also wanted me to pay another $35.00 to activate the replacement. I had already paid them $70.00 up front to activate the 2 phones they had just shipped. The phones had not been activated due to one being a defect. They refused to send out a replacement unless I sent the other one back first and paid the extra $35.00 up front. I refused and canceled the service. I was told by the customer service representative that Consumer Cellular would send a box postage paid for me to return both phones in. They went on to tell me that my $70.00 would be refunded. OK all was well. Then I received an email later that day telling me that I would receive an invoice for the partial month of service. What service? The phones were not even activated! There was no usage. I had just received the phones on 8/20/10 and canceled on 8/21/10. They want me to pay from the time I placed the order on 8/15 until they receive the phones back. What the heck! What service?
I don't have a problem at all sending the junk back! After all its no good to me if it hasn't been activated. I'm sure they would like me to send that "free" phone back, so they can send it to the next poor sap. Why don't they just tell the truth, the "free" phones are not "free" they cost $35.00 each. They just call the $35.00 something else. All I'm asking is that Consumer Cellular send the call tag out or what ever method they used to pick up the phones. And refund my $70.00 for the "free" phones! And by the way if I get something from the store that's "free" and it's junk, I throw it away I don't return it!
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Anonymous on 2010-08-20:
I'm not surprised they wanted the first one back before they sent another one out, they're just protecting themselves from people that would claim to get a defective phone and then try to get another for free.
consumer_cell on 2010-08-24:
just_cause is correct. I work with Consumer Cellular and we cannot send out a new phone until we get the old one back, because no one ever returns the phone when we do so. Just as when you exchange a return item at any retail store, they will not supply a replacement unless you bring in the item you want replaced. If libby1 had decided to sent the phones back, we would have given her full credit for them. Regarding the email to libby1, that was the standard email we send to all customers who close an account. It is not an actual bill and it does not take into account that she was within the money-back guarantee period. Although it is impossible for us to know the specific account of libby1, according to her story, she would not have anything to pay. There should be no charge for the short time libby1 had the account. All libby1 needs to do is send the phones back and the money will be refunded.
PepperElf on 2010-08-24:
you know I was thinking the exact same thing - but for a different complaint. one over at PFB where some guy wants the replacement computer sent out BEFORE he sends in the broken one.

and the same reasons on why the company won't do that.
Watson48 on 2011-02-09:
If I were in your shoes, I will also be outraged. You really had a horrible experience with Consumer Cellular. Now I’m more grateful that I chose the Just5 phone when I purchased my mom a simple phone. She’s very satisfied with it and she did not encounter any issue in her more than eight months of using it. My judgment is right; Just5 is a better pick than Consume Cellular—not only when it comes to affordability but also in quality and customer satisfaction.
eehudin on 2011-07-04:
my cell phone does not work while I am in my apartment. it worked all this time, now it started not working whether calling are receiving. what can I do now????????
boheler672 on 2011-12-02:
kewrock on 2013-12-09:
Consumer Cellular not sending a replacement phone without receiving the old one first is just silly, poor customer service. When you set up an account, they get your credit card number. If you don't send the defective phone back, they can just bill you.
If they didn't get your cc # for whatever reason when you set up, they can require it for an immediate shipment.
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Beware of Consumer Cellular
Posted by on
TIGARD, OREGON -- I initiated cellular service with Consumer Cellular. On 7-9-2010 I received two Motorola EM330 cell phones. On 7-12 one phone locked up. Upon advice, I removed the battery to reboot the phone. When doing so, the battery door latch became disengaged from the phone body. I then advised Consumer Cellular of this event. I was IMMEDIATELY told :’now you’ll have to buy a new phone’. That’s a direct quote. Phone less than four days old? “The Buy a new phone” statement made at least 8 times as I worked my way up the staff levels of customer support. I was ultimately able to reinstall the battery cover latch button, and decided I had made a grave mistake of choosing Consumer Cellular, and elected to return everything per the terms of their ‘45 day return policy’.
Unbelievably, I was then told in no uncertain, terse terms: ‘We won’t accept the one phone back. We don’t accept broken phones for return. You can keep that phone, it’s yours now’.
The phone WAS NOT ‘BROKEN’ ! I had never described the phone as ‘broken’, only that the battery cover latch had become disengaged. I had already managed to successfully reinstall the latch release button.
Their oratory during the sales pitch was filled with accolades of self-praise as to what a great service they provided, how they were the “no argument” cellular provider. ‘We’re different’.
Different they ARE! I have never witnessed such a Jekyll / Hyde transformation of any entity in my life. The mood went from ‘kissy-kissy’ (for lack of better term) to outright acerbic, rude, and irresponsible dialogue in the transition from sale to service issue.
Actually the Motorola EM330 was a poor choice, being cheaply made and overly fragile. Doubly so when dealing with a cell provider with the post sale policies of Consumer Cellular.
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Watson48 on 2011-03-19:
For those who are unsatisfied with the offered services of Consumer Cellular, I recommend you all to check out the offers of Just5. My parents are enjoying the offered services of this provider including their affordability. Each minute with this provider only cost $.10 and all the minutes in the minute plans it offers expire in 90 days and also rollover when refilled. Just5 also offers an unlimited service for only $40 and it is already good for 30 days. So far, my parents don’t have any complain with this provider and I haven’t encountered any of their consumers to give a negative feedback about them, too.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Ineffective Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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. Kyle and Chris, 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.
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Soaring Consumer on 2014-06-29:
I recommend filing a complaint with the FCC which oversees telecom regulations.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Poor Service, Handicapped telephones, High rates
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
BENSENVILLE, ILLINOIS -- Be careful with this company, all of you seniors out there! They are there to mislead us for their cheap service and no contract. Wait until you get their succeeding billing and you will find out. All of your calls incoming and outgoing, are all charged to your units, you end up paying like the expensive phones out there.

Their phones are handicapped like some of us seniors, calls are dropped, don't hear the phones ringing and it comes missed calls. Calls for service you wait forever, you can go overseas while waiting and come back you are still waiting. Very bad, bad, bad!!!!

Also, please, record your membership dues. They think because we are seniors, all of us don't remember. They will send you "renewals" even if you already paid continuously. Don't pay for more years, just pay yearly, or best of all, get out of ARRP.
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Web Site Glitch or Trap?
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Rating: 1/51
DENVER, COLORADO -- I did not get past the ordering page of their web site. After repeated attempts to check out, the error message says to enter whether billing address is the same as mailing, but there is no field in which to enter it. When I contacted customer service via e-mail, the responder was oblivious to the problem and said if I continue to have problems checking out, to call the 800 phone number. Since I have attempted to order several times over time and it hasn't been corrected, I suspect that this is an attempt to get the AARP seniors, who visit because of the discount, to be exposed to a sales pitch for a more expensive plan.
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ticia232 on 2012-10-04:
I was just on the website and at the bottom (underneath where you put in your card information) is a yes or no question that asks if the billing address is the same as the mailing address. If you check no, then it opens up to where you can add your billing address.
Leonard on 2012-10-04:
I use Consumer Cellular for one reason: There have never ever been any sales pitches for more expensive or otherwise expanded service - whether I want it or not. They've never done it in 6 years. Just thought that was worth edification. this outfit is up front about that, if nothing else.
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StarStarStarStarEmpty Star
Phone is good, support is...well, not as good as expected
Posted by on
Rating: 4/51
RENO, NEVADA -- I had it with AT&T's dismal, overseas customer service. I was happy to pay an ETF to get them out of my hair.

I am deaf. AT&T offers a text-only plan for $30 per month, the plan is decent for the average adult; but, on non-smartphones. AT&T is killing the AIM feature on non-smartphones beginning June 28, 2012. AIM is my method used for calling taxis when needed; because I travel a lot, the AIM was quite valuable to me. After 3 extremely difficult relay calls with AT&T, I decided to pull away. What were my options? I looked at some other national carriers and the pre-paid carriers that I don't trust.

Consumer Cellular does offer an Android phone. I chose a non-voice plan and data that will cost me the same amount I paid AT&T for a non-smartphone. The only issue I have with them is a text alert I receive on the phone after I power it up. The alert tells me that I have exceeded my voice usage. When I look at my usage, I see there is none. I write detailed information to them, but they can't tell me why I get the alert. They tell me that my alerts have been disabled since last week. The last response was in English as a second language - it did not make sense; overseas or not, the phone and customer service still beats AT&T hands down. By the way, I added AIM from Google Play the day the phone was activated.
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Alain on 2012-06-25:
Thank you for a very good and informative review! Sharing this information with your fellow consumers will doubtless be very helpful in their selection of a cell phone service!
Anonysara on 2012-10-18:
I used consumer cellular for 1 and 1/2 years. This passed month, I noticed that calls I did not answer are charged 1 minute. Even if you don't answer the call the company puts 1 minute of usage on your bill subtracting it from the minutes allowed per your plan. Out of 68 minutes used, 25, were minutes of unanswered calls. I quickly changed to AT and T Mobile with 450 minutes at $40.00/month, 5000 roll-over minutes and unlimited calls in the US on weekends. The phone works 100 times more clearly than my Doro410, and I can hear all the numbers of a phone number from a caller. You get what you pay for-no doubt about it!
sharon on 2013-07-24:
That is sad that a big company would go so low as to charge for a unaswered call.
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Pre-Paid Phone
Posted by on
I saw the commercial like everyone else, said to myself why not. Didn't know they prey on the elderly and people with not so perfect credit that why they don't require a credit check. I received the phone on June 21, 2011 and didn't get in touch with them until June 22, 2011 because of the sorry customer service. They paged me on the same day said that the minutes was at the limit and I needed a more advanced plan, (keep on mind they have already been charging me since June 13, 2011). When I talked to customer service that expressed to me that it was not PRE-PAID (What a Lie).

So June 23 I when to the Post Office and sent it back to them and put a tracker on the package. They want you to use the number you already have so that you are dependent on them and you don't have a choice but to continue using their services, but I made them give me a number instead of canceling my old phone. Touched basis with my bank so they may be aware of any advance charges, and they are going to replace my funds.

Don't deal with them unless you want to loss money on a not so PRE-PAID PHONE as they would put it. They are crooks and customer service knows it.
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Alain on 2011-06-25:
You can file a complaint about them at: &
Looks like their service and satisfaction vary depending on the area.
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Unfair non-disclosures and handling.
Posted by on
PORTLAND, OREGON -- 4/28/2009 I went online to order cell phone service and make comparisons.
I found Consumer Cellular and ordered. They neglect to inform you that they have zero, zip, nada, free minutes either nights or weekends or between phones. So I cancelled my service on 5/18/2009. There policy is 30 days. They did not send a Return shipping label so that I could mail the phones back to them. They ship the phones already activated so they are sure of getting there $35.00 per phone activation whether or not you ever use the phone. They credit this as soon as they receive the phones. They have on my account message board that I was to have called back but lo and behold they have no record of me calling back. To make a long story short they will not send me a Return Shipping Label and therefore I am out $70.00. Just an aside with doing business with this company I received my first bill closing on 5/11/2009 with a due date of 6/2/2009. Nice Huh!
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dan gordon on 2010-03-08:
when I went to their website they offer a variety of plans for you to compare. Why did you not pick a plan with minutes included. This doesn't seem like a big issue other than your negligence to choose the right plan.
Anonymous on 2010-03-08:
Dan, as usual, your advice cuts right to the chase. I'm also glad you know the difference in using their and there.
tnchuck100 on 2010-03-08:
I have Consumer Cellular. They are not perfect. However, not disclosing the terms of what your were getting is not one their short comings. Their website is pretty straight forward. Compared to other cell phone providers they are about 10 points above them.

See the review I wrote on them:
Anonymous on 2010-03-08:
You also are responsible for returning the phones.
Watson48 on 2011-02-11:
Thanks for writing this review. I was thinking to get Consumer Cellular for my mom but your review has enlightened me. I guess my officemate is right, Just5 is a better choice. This provider also offers affordable rates and so far I don’t encounter any negative feedback about this provider during my search.
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Excess Minutes/ Overpricing
Posted by on
We had 450 minutes to share for years with another company and never used them all creating huge carryover minutes. With consumer we had 500 supposed minutes and they said we went 450 over. Not possible since we used an Internet connection for all our outgoing calls which we didn't have with the previous company.

Also anytime you checked or listened to phonemail it comes off your usable minutes. What a crock! When your bill is supposed to be $48 and you are billed $130, time to go somewhere else.
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NanS123 on 2010-02-14:
Well listening to your voice mail always comes out of your minutes since you are using airtime to listen. That's nothing new. Are you sure that you are actually not using minutes when you are talking over internet? I'd check that out with your provider because that may well be where your minutes are going and what's causing your overage if that's not working.
madconsumer on 2010-02-14:
with AT&T, voicemail is not minutes chargeable.
Soaring Consumer on 2010-02-14:
With a Go Phone they charge you for using voicemail.
CrazyRedHead on 2010-02-15:
There is no charge to your go phone account if you check using a LL phone. It is time to read the particulars of your account and there charges.
Anonymous on 2010-02-15:
You are right Crazy! I saw this review yesterday and didn't know about the voicemail charges until I checked the particulars of my account. Check from landline = no minute usage. Check from cell phone = minutes will be charged against your allowance.
Watson48 on 2011-01-31:
We share the same complain to Consumer Cellular. I was also overcharged when I was still using this provider before, thing which I never experienced with Just5. Just5 is my present provider now. Unlike Consumer Cellular, Just5’s affordability is for real! Their calling plans are cheap, especially that the minutes of their offered minute plans expire in 90 days. So when I avail the cheapest minute plan, which costs $10, I’m only paying $3.33 each month for it.
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StarStarStarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Illegal Practice
Posted by on
Rating: 3/51
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.
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