SunCom Complaint - Customer Service
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- I have an 82 year old neighbor who enlisted my help with an issue she had with SunCom. Approximately 4 yrs ago she had purchased a SunCom plan and phone. She has always paid her bills on time. In April her phone stopped working. She took it to the store where she had purchased it and asked to have it repaired. The man in the store was busy at the time and apparently did not want to take a lot of time with an old lady. He told her the phone was too old to be repaired and handed her a new cell phone. She wanted her phone repaired because she was use to it and it was large enough for her to be able to see the keys. He did not take the time to explain to her that by accepting this phone she was:(1) enterining into a new 2 yr. contract (2)explain the phone to her (3)watch to see if she could even use the phone (4) Tell her she had a certain amount of time to return the phone.
She brought the phone to me and asked me to program the speed dial to her family members who all live out of town. I told her then she would never be able to use this phone. It is too small. She suffers from an eyesight problem that is slowly causing her to lose the sight in one eye. But she wanted to try. So I took the phone from the box and programed the speed dials for her.In the two months she has had this phone I have reprogramed it at least twice. Because of her eyesight, she can't see the small buttons and messes up the settings. Finally, last week she became so frustrated, she called SunCom and told them to cancel her number.
A few days later someone from SunCom called her and told her she owed the $200 cancelation fee. Since she does not understand about cell phones and such, she did not understand by accepting that phone she was in a new 2 yr. contract. She just knew she had not signed anything and she had always paid her bills on time. She was told she would pay that $200 or they would turn her over to credit collection! It scared her.
This is when she brought the situation to my attention. I called the 800 customer service number and asked the young lady there to explain the situation to me. After inquiring of my neighbor if she had her permission to speak to me, she explained about the 2 yrs contract. I explained to her that my neighbor could not see the phone and asked if the phone was returned, could she get out of the contract. The CS rep explained she could not make that decision. We would have to take it to the store were it came from and the store manager could make that decision. I asked the CS rep to tell me how much my neighbor had use her phone in the 2 months she had it...61 minutes the first month and 80 minutes the second month. The next day,(Friday June 30,'06) I took my neighbor to the store and asked to speak with the manager. After waiting approximately 10 to 15 minutes for him to come out of the back. I explained to him the situation. He made a show of pulling up the account on the screen, claimed he did not know why CS would think he could do anything about the charges, called "retention" on the phone and asked them if there was anything that could be done. They apparently told him no and he repeated to me there was nothing that could be done. I thanked him for his time, told him she would not pay this $200, took my elderly neighbor and left the store.
I again called the 800 CS number and asked for a supervisor. The young lady who answered the phone put me on hold a few minutes, then came back saying that while we we waiting for a supervisor to become available would I explain the sitution to her so she could be documenting it on the computer. I gave her the number asked her to look on the computer and she could see the history and know I was authorized to be handling this situation. She did so and I brought her up to date about the store visit. She put me on hold again for a few minutes. Another lady came on the phone and said she had read the history and she was sorry but there was nothing they could do. The store manager could have issued a credit to the account if he had been so inclined, but they could do nothing there. I do not seem to be able to find a means to get any farther up the food chain at SunCom. If someone knows, please let me know.
Now I am really mad! In my opinion this store took advantage of an old lady who had no idea what was happening. I am planning my course of action! Here it is.
First of all, since my neighbor's credit score is high enough that a $200 charge will not effect it, I have advised her not to pay it. I will write letters to all credit reporting places and explain the reason she is not paying it. Besides, at 82 she will never apply for credit ever again.
Second, I am going to the FCC, to the SC Office of Consumer affairs, to the Horry County, SC Senior Citizens Council, the SunNews, and the local radio stations and tell them this story. If anyone can suggest anyone else please do so!