Cingular Wireless Complaint - Breaking contract agreement
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- I contacted Cingular customer service representatives by phone nearly a dozen times over the past six months trying to resolve the matter of the unpaid balance on my account, but to no avail.
I was never happy with their phone service as I experienced dropped calls and no bars on an almost daily basis. Most often my phone did not work at all on weekends when minutes were supposedly “free”. I’m appalled that an American corporation can use their weaknesses as an advertising ploy for being their strongest asset!
It got worse with the merger between Cingular and AT&T. I use an automated billpayer through my bank to submit payments. When the January statement was sent to me, I didn’t notice the account number had changed. I simply input the amount I owed into my billpayer tool and remitted payment like I always do.
In February I was surprised to see my next statement claimed I never paid January‘s bill and the amount owed was for two billing statements. I paid the new amount including the past due amount to avoid any penalty fees and planned to research and rectify the discrepancy later. I was moving into a new house in March and had already packed most of my belongings into boxes. In March, I received the next bill and it stated I was three months behind. Remembering the February statement and knowing I remitted a double payment then, I paid only the current month’s fee. At this time I was in the process of moving and too busy to deal with that.
At the end of March we received a notice in the mail that our service with Cingular has been terminated. Verizon had not hooked up our new home phone yet. We were in our new house with a newborn baby trying to coordinate and switch over all of our utilities and Cingular turned off our only phone service, our only line to the outside world. Inconveniently, it was terminated at a time when we needed it most! My only option was to open a new account with a different cell phone service.
It was only later that I discovered my payments were going to the old AT&T account and not the new Cingular account. When I called customer service, the young lady I spoke to knew right away what had happened because she so had many other customers call with the same error. Many other people who use a bill paying service were still remitting payment to the old AT&T account not knowing that their account number had changed. I was never advised of that change, and apparently neither were many others. She was able to transfer the paid funds over to the proper account. But there was a positive balance on the account now because I made a double payment in February. She apologized for the inconvenience and told me to expect a refund check within 30 days.
Four months later I still have not received my refund and I am being billed for breaking contract, when in fact it was Cingular who terminated my account for not paying my bills when I had been paying them all along!
I have literally spent hours on the phone with Cingular desperately pleading my case and seeking resolution but have gotten nowhere. They maintain that I owe them a contract termination fee of $150 whether I broke the contract or they end the service, no matter what the reason.
I strongly urge anyone who has reached the end of their contract to switch to another cell phone service provider. I would also recommend anyone who has a legitimate complaint to report Cingular to the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Complaints at this web address http://www.ftc.gov/ by clicking on the “File a Complaint” tab. Also, letters of complaint can be sent to the Better Business Bureau at http://odr.bbb.org/.