Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Communications Education

Cell Phone Customer Service Ranked Next to Last 356

Paulrothrock writes "A recent report shows that cell phone companies are the second lowest ranked industry in terms of customer service, just above cable companies. Also, they are second only to car dealers in number complaints to Better Business Bureaus. Complaints include being charged a fee to cancel a cell phone contract for a deceased husband and being double-billed for using an online bill-pay system. I guess I've been lucky, the only problem I've had is getting reception."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cell Phone Customer Service Ranked Next to Last

Comments Filter:
  • Funny..... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by este ( 600616 )
    The only two industries I've ever had to deal with Customer Service extensively are the worst! Very much in line with my own experience...
  • by TPS Report ( 632684 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:07PM (#9393174) Homepage
    You already know the answer to "can you hear me now?!"
  • I wonder why... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by malus ( 6786 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:08PM (#9393183) Journal
    can it be because of the fact that domestic customer support just doesn't exist anymore? Nahhh. couldn't possibly be a reason.
    • Re:I wonder why... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oasis3582 ( 698323 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:13PM (#9393233)
      I do not think it is the case least for Sprint PCS. Sprint surely has domestic support, but it is run by a lazy bunch of people that would rather mumble than speak articulately, rather make up answers than find out the truth, and generally don't give a shit since they are in a dead-end job. Sorry to be harsh, but its just my 2 cents.
      • Re:I wonder why... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jonnystiph ( 192687 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:47PM (#9393812) Homepage
        I do not think it is the case least for Sprint PCS. Sprint surely has domestic support, but it is run by a lazy bunch of people that would rather mumble than speak articulately, rather make up answers than find out the truth, and generally don't give a shit since they are in a dead-end job. Sorry to be harsh, but its just my 2 cents.

        Have you ever worked a customer service job? In particular one that supports people over the phone??? I have done tech support, telemarketing, and support for a cell phone company. Telemarketing was terrible, tech support was frustrating, but cell phone support was a living, breathing hell. Consider first off the way the company is treating the employees, like utter and complete crap. The employees are worked mercilessly, the pay is shit and the benefits are null. Almost any call center is a haven for drugs and sex, you end up with an enviroment close to high school. Strangely enough, in thier own twisted way the employers actually support this kind of behavior. Until you have sat down, answered a call of a screaming customer, getting paid next to nothing and having to drown out shouting, ill comments and what have you from other employees.

        I am not saying that you are altogether wrong, I am just saying consider the enviroment these people are made to work with. I once lived by the motto, "if you don't like your job quit". After the past two years of rampant unemployment, my attitude has changed. If you need a job, a place to live and food, a call center is the meal ticket. With that, comes the enviroment described above.

        Before you yell at the person on the other line, consider these facts. Training is a joke, supervisors will do little or nothing unless they ABSOULTELY have too!

        Please, yes your bill maybe wrong, you may not be getting the service you expect, what have you. However, the people on the other line are people, they are not the cause of the issue, they are fodder. Simply fodder to keep you from dealing with the people that are responsible for the real issue. Be nice to them, your chances of a solid resolution are much higher. That and finding a company that treats thier employees well, could very well end up with much better support.
        • Re:I wonder why... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JVert ( 578547 )
          I was really nice when I called in the first two times. The first time they said they had to transfer me to another department to cancel my account. I asked why and he just said it was setup weird (buying the phone from radioshack and calling in to activate your service must be pretty damn weird). He then asked if he could do anything to keep me as a subscriber, we went through the options, I let him finish and said no. When he said he was going to transfer me he made a click and a dial tone. Fishy... I cal
  • by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:10PM (#9393196)
    After you sign that contract, you become their bitch. I learned the hard way with Verizon. I only found out that they had stopped me from writing programs for my phone despite that the salesman told me I could, and they wouldn't fix my broken phone that was under warranty because they thought it was because of physical abuse.
    After you sign that contract, they get your money no matter what, so there is very little incentive for them to improve customer service(also note how customer service is never touted in television commercials for various carriers). But damn do they make those phones tempting. I wish that the manufacturers didn't charge you out the arse for them if you buy them directly...
    • I only found out that they had stopped me from writing programs for my phone despite that the salesman told me I could,

      As with all else, get it in writing. They put it into writing in the form of that neat little contract you sign, why shouldn't you?
    • by pauljlucas ( 529435 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:42PM (#9393447) Homepage Journal
      After you sign that contract, you become their bitch. I learned the hard way with Verizon.
      This is an instance of YMMV. In my case, I've been very happy with Verizon (and, no, I don't work for them). My $399 Kyocera 7135 (out of warranty) recently was acting very flaky. They replaced it with another 7135 after me explaining what it was doing in a reasonable manner (as opposed to me having to really bitch) at no charge.

      FWIW: whenever possible, I try to go to a (in this case) Verizon store and deal with a person face-to-face. I get much better results than calling the main CS number because you're talking to an entry-level CS person and you have to convince them you're not an idiot to get them to transfer you to a level-2 CS person.

      • In the store (Score:3, Interesting)

        It also might be because if you are there in person, you are more able to go postal. If you asked some of these call centers where they are located they respond, "we cannot tell you due to security concerns."

        If they were not such assholes, they would not have to worry.

    • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:49PM (#9393484) Homepage
      After you sign that contract, they get your money no matter what, so there is very little incentive for them to improve customer service

      When I wanted to try out Sprint last year, they gave me the option to opt out of the contract for $10 per month. I could eliminate the $10 charge by signing a contract any time.

      It was interesting, though, the sort of leverage this gave me with customer service. Twice I got to the point in a service call where I mentioned that if a problem wasn't corrected, I would be dropping service, and they reminded me of the contract fee, and I mentioned that I was free of that, and after an aural double take, I got something to the effect that "we might be able to arrange something"

      But damn do they make those phones tempting. I wish that the manufacturers didn't charge you out the arse for them if you buy them directly...

      Two things:

      (1) Ebay and phone unlocking put phones in an affordable price range

      (2) If your new provider of choice has an option like I did with sprint, you'd quite possibly be able to sign up, carry service for a month, and drop -- and keep the phone.

      Overall, though, I wish that the law required companies to provide sans-hardware contract-free service at comparable rates, and let the market fight it out. Because at that point, the competition would be almost all about service, and the companies that would survive would be the ones with the best service.
      • Overall, though, I wish that the law required companies to provide sans-hardware contract-free service at comparable rates, and let the market fight it out. Because at that point, the competition would be almost all about service, and the companies that would survive would be the ones with the best service.

        Funny you mention that...

        That is exactly how Sprint PCS started out in the business. When Sprint PCS first started in the Milwaukee area, there was one plan: $50/month, 500 minutes (no peak/off-peak
  • by DarkHazard ( 713597 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:10PM (#9393197)
    I remember reading a true story in a book. It was about a man who was having problems with his cellphone [it had been disconnected]. When talking with the lady working tech support, the lady worked up the idea he was an 'arrogant bastard'. The call ended by normally but the next month the client recieved a bill with a $148 charge. The charge was for 'penalty for being an arrogant bastard.'

    Shows how good cell phone customer service is.
  • by illuminata ( 668963 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:10PM (#9393201) Journal
    Here's the deal. The BBB only thinks that they have a bunch of cell phone complaints. Most of the time they only can make out something like "fucking cell pho..." before the call is dropped, so they mark it as a complaint about the service.
  • There's also: (Score:5, Informative)

    by prostoalex ( 308614 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:10PM (#9393206) Homepage Journal
    Top US wireless companies by customer []:
    - Verizon
    - Singular
    - AT&T
    - Sprint

    The most hated cell phone companies [] (their customer service has something to do with it, I think):
    - T-Mobile
    - Sprint
    - AT&T Wireless
    - Cingular

    • Re:There's also: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:29PM (#9393359) Homepage
      I work for AT&T Wireless as a customer care rep (indirectly, through a contractor)... it doesn't surprise me that we're the #2 most hated cellphone company. I would say that 90% of the calls I get are because somebody, somewhere (usually another rep, but often it's dealers too) did something really stupid.
      • Re:There's also: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by prostoalex ( 308614 )
        I am an AT&T Wireless customer myself (better coverage than other guys in my area), and often I would get one rep or dealer tell me about one promotion, I'd call up the number, and the customer service doesn't have a clue.

        Do you guys all use different CRM systems for dealing with the customers or how does it work?

      • I work for AT&T Wireless as a customer care rep (indirectly, through a contractor)... it doesn't surprise me that we're the #2 most hated cellphone company. I would say that 90% of the calls I get are because somebody...did something really stupid .

        Of course, the grandparent post and linked article actually place AT&T in the number three spot.

        I think I've found the problem....

    • Re:There's also: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#9393394)
      Personally I found AT&T Wireless Customer Service to suck. Hard.

      I had a phone that died. It just stopped working one day. I didn't drop it, flush it, stick it up my ass, or do any of the other things they asked when I claimed it didn't work... They told me I would have to send it in and pay a $35 fee. I could get a new damn phone w/a different providor for that.

      After 4 hours on the phone, 6 different CSRs, and 2 different supervisors I got what I wanted. The cheapass phone replaced for free. I still was stuck w/the original battery that gets 3 hours to a charge.

      So I drive around in the Minneapolis metro and have frequent call and service drops. I have to redial numbers 10+ times after 9pm because I just can't get through. Sometimes a call will go through and will drop after a minute forcing me into an AOL-like re-dial session from 1997.

      I got a T-mobile Sidekick. I have had to call them twice. Once for money back and once for changing my plan (upgrade).

      No sweat, no complaints, no bitchiness, no nothing. My calls don't drop, I can get a call through on the first try, and my roaming is free.

      Sorry but T-mobile doesn't suck as bad as AT&T for me.
    • Interesting that Alltel (aka cricket) isn't on the most hated list. Every single person that I know (here in New Mexico) that has used thier service has complained about thier customer service and about half of them have had billing problems. Most of them have since switched to Verison or Sprint, depending on if coverage or gsm digital was more important to them.

      Maybe they aren't as bad in other states.
    • around here they were called cellularone first

      they still owe me $300 and their blemish remains on my credit history even all these years later

      i've tried talking to them like 15 separate times for hours and every time i'm told by some bitchy black woman that everything is taken care of

      basically i moved 2x inside 6mos and they lost my deposit after telling me that theyw ould be taking money out of the deposit until it ran out on a month by month basis because i had already had service for an entire year wi
  • Call centers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TechnologyX ( 743745 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:11PM (#9393208) Journal
    I work at a call center here in my hometown ( I'm in college, it's not my fault ) and we have a line group dedicated to things like AT&T ( now.. Cingular I believe ) customer support and the like.
    The biggest problem with the line group is that ANYONE can be on it. If you can read at a 5th grade level, type at 10 wpm, and spell decently, you're on. I've heard all sorts of horror stories from the team leaders of people sitting there for 10 minutes going "umm... umm.. I don't really know.. let me give you a different number, maybe they will know.."

    If call centers like ours would raise the bar on entry requirements and actually train the agents better, I'm sure we'd see less complaints.
    • Re:Call centers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) *
      The call center I worked for while in college hired people that were dumb. Real fucking dumb. Not only did they do that they basically pushed you through training even if you SUCKED at being a CSR. They figured you'd learn as you went.

      Well that's all fine and good. Some of us knew what the hell we were talking about. Problem was that AT&T changed *DAILY* yes it says daily what it let us say about stuff. One day we could say this and another day completely contradict ourselves.

      It's not entirely t
  • by Chagatai ( 524580 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:12PM (#9393219) Homepage
    Three guys are standing around, bragging about how good their cellphones are. "I can play poker and blackjack on my cellphone," said the first. "Oh, yeah? Well, mine has a color display and can play games like Splinter Cell on it," said the second. The third guy places his phone on the ground and begins violently stomping on it repeatedly. "What are you doing?!" shout the other two.

    "Mine has got Dance Dance Revolution on it."

    • Hey, for once the mods give something that is actually funny some mod points. I've gotten used to these rehashes of the same lame jokes, that's a breath of fresh air!
    • Re:A joke (by me) (Score:3, Informative)

      You laugh like it's not real [].
    • And I thought the punch line would be . . .

      Three guys are standing around, bragging about how good their cellphones are. "I can play poker and blackjack on my cellphone," said the first. "Oh, yeah? Well, mine has a color display and can play games like Splinter Cell on it," said the second. The third guy places his phone next to his head and starts speaking into the air. "What are you doing?!" shout the other two. "Calling home," the third guy says. Whereupon, the other two flee in terror, screaming, "I
  • by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (cificap_4k)> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:12PM (#9393227) Homepage Journal
    Commenting upon their second place finish, Verizon and Cingular Wireless both vowed to try harder next year.

  • by Fake Trout ( 720903 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:13PM (#9393239) Homepage
    I've sold Sprint, Verizon, and Cingular at various jobs and its rare that anyone is ever coming in to the store satisfied with the service and looking to continue their contract or upgrade. WLNP should be putting the spurs to the wireless companies by now, but I haven't seen any evidence of any company stepping anythig up. I'm currently a Sprint customer and don't have anything bad to say about them right now, but I know damn well that if I did I might be on hold for 10 minutes before talking to an unreceptive operator.
    • I work at a telco soon to be the 3rd on your list.

      But anyways. I work in operations in the dataside (GPRS/EDGE/UMTS), we work 60-80 hour weeks to make sure the network is up, that everything is working correctly. The hardware is always being patched, upgraded, its a constant juggle. And this is common for all carriers.

      Then we have the field who does the RF piece. Base stations for each market, Cell site deployment and tuning. Most of the markets outsource to either ericsson, nokia, nortel or lucent. Thi
  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:14PM (#9393240) Homepage Journal
    "Cell Phone Customer Service Ranked Next to Last IN USA" is what it should read.. and the companies are saving at the wrong spot.

    If they provided better coverage and better service usa wouldn't be a 3rd world country when it comes to cellphone service and usage(so - they'd probably make even more money if they'd just bothered to do it properly)...

    • Unfortunately, this is one of those "I have to have it and the nature of the contract makes it that we don't really have to take care of you cause you signed it and you have to pay us no matter what" kind of deals. Like your land line phone service was before competition.
  • by LS ( 57954 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:15PM (#9393246) Homepage
    But have you ever had a billing error in YOUR favor?

  • the pics (Score:5, Funny)

    by maxbang ( 598632 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:15PM (#9393247) Journal

    I love the pictures in the article. They just show people merrily using their cellphones. It would make more sense if they showed the angry users, you know, the ones who smash their phones to teeny tiny bits, feed the bits to a squirrel, and then smash the squirrel into teeny tiny bits.

    • ... and then smash the squirrel into teeny tiny bits.

      I've found that this is extraordinarily difficult to do under normal conditions, and quite messy.

      I have found that both problems can be readily solved by freezing the squirrel in liquid nitrogen. (After feeding it the phone bits and before smashing.)


  • by ejaw5 ( 570071 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:15PM (#9393250)
    I once had to make a long distance call to a company to order a development board, and being a bit paranoid at the time I wanted to ask my provider (T-Mobile) about cell phone security. (I don't have long distance service on my landline) Here's how it went down from what I remembered:

    Me: Yes, I'd like to know if your cell phone service is secure for making an order over the phone?

    Support: Ah, you want to buy a new phone?

    Me: (?!!) No. I'm asking about the security of cell phone usage. See, I'm planning on placing an order over the phone from a company.

    Support: You have a phone from another company?

    Me: No. I want to know if someone can intercept my cell phone call.

    Support: T-Mobile does not record and monitor your calls.

    Me: Thanks.....have a nice day.

    I was hoping for a "Yes, the service is encrypted" or something. Guess that's what I get for being lazy to research myself.
    • The way I understand it is, GSM is encrypted and TDMA/CDMA is not.
    • by raehl ( 609729 ) * <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:39PM (#9393430) Homepage
      Who cares if it's encrypted?

      Do you think someone is sitting around listenting to people's cell conversations until they hit on one where someone is placing an order, and then write down your information?

      If that actually worries you, do you ever actually use your credit card?

      Credit cards are not secure. Any clerk at pretty much any place you use it has access to your number, as does any IS employee at any internet company you've ever placed an order with.

      The time and money you spent calling T-Mobile to ask about their network was greater than the time/money lost if your call had been intercepted times the chance your call was intercepted. Now, stop driving up my cell phone bill by making T-Mobile pay people to field your stupid questions.
  • Poor Business Model (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kevman42 ( 681617 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:15PM (#9393251)
    Disclaimer: Didn't RTFA

    This seems to be a very common complaint about wireless phone, and one of the main reasons I haven't migrated to it. Seems like every person I ask says their plans' customer service stinks, but they've heard such-and-such has a good system. I'll then find someone who is on said system, and they'll tell me that theirs stinks, but they've heard another system is good. Repeat the process ad nauseum.

    What I'm wondering is, is the service in the industry really this awful, or is it a "grass is greener" syndrome? Seems to me that it's the perfect opportunity for a smaller wireless company to *gasp* invest in non-outsourced, quality customer care representatives. Word of mouth will spread, and theoretically, people will say "Yes, I like the customer service on this plan" instead of referring you to another company. This will in turn lead to increased customer base, increased satisfaction, and most importantly increased profits.

    Of course, then there's still that pesky reception issue to deal with...

  • If the entire industry has abysmal customer service, "churn" is reduced ... ?

  • "Sweet. Contracts are up by %15, we cut half our customer service department, and this new report shows that people don't like it. But they keep buying it, so we'll keep shovelling it!"

    "Life is good."

    • by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:36PM (#9393407) Journal
      "Sweet. Contracts are up by %15, we cut half our customer service department, and this new report shows that people don't like it. But they keep buying it, so we'll keep shovelling it!

      You forgot the step that makes it ever-so-much more offensive...

      "...people don't like it. So they switch before their contract runs out, then have to pay the rest of their contract off and our early termination fee. Of course, the loss of a customer doesn't matter, because for every one going out, we have someone coming in equally annoyed at our competition".

      Once they have your signature on the dotted line, they have an actual incentive to piss you off enough to drop them early. Why would they provide customer service?
  • US Cellular... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:16PM (#9393264) Homepage
    Back in Nov, when portability just started i was switching my prepaid US Cellular number to a contract with Cingular. Not only did it take 2 weeks, and Cingular blamed US Cell, and for some reason US Cell blamed AT&T... But one of the numerous times i spent hours on hold with US Cellular i was transfered to some fruit market. A FRUIT MARKET!!?! Thats when i knew they were just fucking with me for the hell of it and i went and lodged various complaints with the US Cellular customer "service" persons supervisor, the BBB and the FCC. Also prior to all this, one of the times i was getting more minutes (you had to do that in-store for whatever reason) i had to wait in the store for 45 before they got to my name on the sign in list, this was after being skipped over several times (to my vocal objections) by people "just paying their bills", as i was about to walk out the door i loudly proclaimed that they'd just wasted half an hour of my life when all i wanted to do was give them my money, and that was why i was switching to cingular next month.
    • Re:US Cellular... (Score:3, Informative)

      by rainwalker ( 174354 )
      I had an even more annoying experience in their store. They made me wait for more than an hour and a half with a fussy one-year-old, as I was trying to renew my contract. Then, the rep wouldn't let me get any of the "promo" plans, which was what I was interested in switching to, despite the fact that they were listed as for both new and renewal customers. I politely declined and left, intending to switch to the only other major carrier in my area (Sprint, ugh), but the wife convinced me to call their phone
  • by eltoyoboyo ( 750015 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:19PM (#9393288) Journal
    Here is the list. [] Throw out Sprint, Charter, and Comcast. These dogs are skewing the numbers.
  • by ChangeOnInstall ( 589099 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:20PM (#9393299)
    I made the mistake of buying a 2 year GSM subscription with AT&T and a Motorola T720 telephone. I did this in response to having major issues with my previous non-GSM phone getting reception. This turned out to be a remarkably poor decision, as AT&T's GSM service was inferior even to their older-technology service, and this particular Motorola phone wasn't even "Alpha" quality (it effectively powered down without notice if it couldn't find service for more than a few minutes, which happened CONSTANTLY).

    Anyway, they sold me this stuff, it didn't work, and I was on a 2 year contract. In going back and forth with them for a while, they explained to me that this was an 'unusual' problem, that their GSM service was good, and that the telephone was not buggy (and perhaps I should warranty mine). This greatly conflicted with reports from fellow users of their GSM service and this Motorola telephone that I'd been reading on the it turned out there seemed to be a great number of people in my situation.

    So I called AT&T and told them our contract was at an end, and to cancel the service immediately. They of course demanded a $175 cancellation fee. I informed that they would not need this fee, as the reason for the cancellation was their failure to provide the services which were set forth in the contract, i.e. cellular telephone service. It takes a LONG TIME to explain how this works to any customer service rep. Eventually, they actually figured it out and agreed to part ways without additional costs. I consider myself lucky for not having to take them to small claims over the $175.
    • Was it within the 30 day Buyer's Remorse period? We only charge the $175 ETF if you've been under contract for 30 days or longer.
      • Was it within the 30 day Buyer's Remorse period? We only charge the $175 ETF if you've been under contract for 30 days or longer.

        It took me 45 days to realize I'd been fleeced, when the rep told me I was 15 days out of luck. It takes a little while before you're friends start to ask "how come you never pick up your phone," and you find out that that "service not available" message actually won't go away until you reboot the phone (and the phone didn't initially SEEM to go into this mode as often).

  • Tiscali (Score:2, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 )
    I know its not cell phone but Tiscali cut us off one day without any warning and gave a recorded message every time we dialled out, there was no number given to call, there was no number on the bill even! none of the support numbers we found would connect to Tiscali's own bloody service, and the message didnt even mention the name Tiscali! it just said contact your service provider. after spending time calling on (a separate) mobile going through several departments we were led around a total farse, differe
  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:24PM (#9393325)
    They charge for roaming at random. They add fees that were never discussed. They sign you into a 2-year contract and charge you $200 to get out of it when your service wasn't ever reliable.

    Tmobile has screwed me over so many times it isn't funny. I have had 3 different days where I could place or receive no calls. All three days happened to be times where I was trying to coordinate events that involved people travelling. Needless to say, I had a lot of people pissed at me. During the blackout in New York, my brother's and my Tmobile phones would not work while everyone around us were talking on their cell phones. When we tried to access the other networks and force our phones to roam, they would allow emergency calls only.

    For about a month of my contract, only half the calls could be completed. Oh ya, Tmobile also guarantees nothing about calls being made inside. So, I can't use my cell phone in my own home.

    This isn't just Tmobile, though. I had a contract with Sprint. During the first week of the contract, I had trouble getting good service and my calls were getting dropped. They assured me I had 14 days without fee. Then, they sent me a bill for $235. Then, I called them and had $200 removed. They sent me another bill for $35. I also called and had that removed. Then, they sent me to collections for $235. I was able to settle for $0. I wonder how many people ended up paying that $235 or even the $35.

    They have confusing minute plans. Tmobile assured my brother that he had free nights and weekends with his $35/month plan. Then, after recklessly using his phone as a camp counselor after 9pm on weekdays, he got a bill for $450. It turns out that he needed a $39/month plan to get the free nights part of the free nights and weekends. Tmobile also kindly let him know that nothing they ever say is contractual - only what is in fine print.

    I could seriously bitch about cell phone companies all day. I heard Sprint is making something like $230million this year in fees for saving peoples' old cell phone numbers. That is bullshit. The entire goddamn industry has put fees for every damn thing.

    At least when you buy a car, it generally works. There is no cell phone service that works everywhere - and there is no such thing as a cell phone customer who never gets dropped calls (unless they never really use their phones.)

  • I have never, ever, had a single complaint about my cell phone service. Seriously. Nothing's late, no billing problems, no mis-answered questions, no problems with coverage. Nada.

    Then again, I loathe cell phones, and don't have one. Since 98% of what I hear about cell phones boils down to these two things:

    1) Cool faceplates, games, ringtones, etc
    2) The service sucks not just raw eggs, but last year's roadkill raw eggs with salmonella and poisonous spiders crawling all over them

    why on earth would I wa
    • Interestingly, I do have a cell phone but have no problems with it. I have an ancient Nokia [], but it is a tank. No cool faceplates, games, or ringtones, but it works in the middle of Yellowstone []. (Service is from Verizon.)

      The problem is that people say "ooooohhh! Look at the shiny flip phone with the COLOR screen. COLOR!!!!" Too bad that battery won't last you more than half an hour and the antenna can't get a good signal.

      I've logged more than 125 hours of talk time (I'm probably getting brain cance

  • by howman ( 170527 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#9393391)
    Being an English (only) speaker living in Japan, I have had no problems with contacting my cell provider (NTT DoCoMo) and getting the answers I need.
    I won't go into all the bells and whistles of how great the phones are &c. save to say the only limiting factor I could find was that I had to get a certain brand of phone that had dual language capabilities. Once I chose my phone, everything I got with it was in English, and not the broken English manuals and instructions I expected.
    Any time I have had to talk with an operator or contact NTT directly, all I have to do is say Eigo and the person immediately switches to English.
    Apparently NTT won't even hire you for customer service unless you speak English as well as Japanese.
    I had a setup problem with my e-mail service on my phone, I was getting spam and wanted to know waht to do about it. I called them expecting to be shuffled around or misunderstood, but instead, the woman helping me gave me the answers I needed right off the top of her head without a stutter even though I was not doing the best job of explaining what I was trying to accomplish. In the end, she sat with me on the line and helped me to create an accept list for e-mail messages. Anything not coming from the 20 odd addresses I punched in would not be accepted by my phone. I think this is much better than any block list you can hand me, and much easier on the system side of things too. At the same time I had a question about my home internet connection, also with NTT, and instead of transfering me to another division, she again answered my questions as if she had them written on the back of her hand.
    After having had to deal with Rogers and Bell in Canada , and having a nightmare of a time even getting someone who spoke English, dealing with my issues become secondary to being able to communicate, I have found the service and quality of personel here amazing.
    As to TV operators, we here have to pay a tax even if we don't have a television or cable, somthing along the lines of the U.K. the only experience I have with the TV guy is when someone comes to the door looking to sign me up so they can collect the monthly tax automatically. Here, not speaking Japanese pays off. I feign ignorance and confusion repeating over and over again TV nai and they go away for a year. So far this has been my only contact with them. Now whether they have tried to contact me by phone or not, I will never know because as soon as some one on the line realises I don't speak Japanese, they usually give up, and so far no one has contacted me in English about the TV tax. I can't wait till they do, in English, so I can practice my French...
  • I've recently moved to California, and I'm thinking about changing from ATT&WS to Cingular. (Comments on this particular switch are well appreciated...) I've been kind of going back and forth because Cingular has a better rate plane, but AT&T has the cooler phone. Well what has clenched it for me is that I went by the ATT store and they had a hand written sign saying "Computer's down, we can't play with your records." About a month earlier, I called them and their computer was down. Uh... no
    • ATT was having really bad computer problems. I think that it may have been down for a month.
    • Re:ATTWS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Feztaa ( 633745 )
      ATTWS will hate me... ;)

      If you port your number away from ATTWS, the LNP system is really weird. It'll prorate your monthly service charge and your monthly minutes, but then it'll debit your MRC back so that you're paying a full MRC but getting prorated minutes. This happens to every single person who ports their number out of ATTWS. Just call us, we'll credit it back to you if you complain loudly enough.

      True story: I had a guy who was on some $79.99 plan for 900 minutes IIRC, on his bill he ported out in
    • >I'm thinking about changing from ATT&WS to Cingular

      Cingular is buying AT&T Wireless, so there's little point in moving. You'll end up with the same provider whether you stay or switch.
  • by redphive ( 175243 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:35PM (#9393401) Homepage
    I would be interested to know if the fact that cable companies have the lower customer satisfaction, based on the fact that it is much easier for customers, and 'anomolies' in gerneal to interfere with the service. Having worked for a cable company for a good portion of my working years, I know all to well the type of problems that can arise from customer intervention.

    When customers are approached (admitedly, not always with the best method) regarding their handiwork, they do become defensive on the matter, perhaps citing poor customer service in the process. Additionally, the broadband RF spectrum that cable providers make use of (53MHz to 850+Mhz) is filled with oodles of sources of interference. (Pagers, Ham Radios, etc)

    Also, my work in the cable industry has been entirely in Canada. I think that the canadian cable industry is a lot more mature, and two of the 3 major companies have strong family roots. I believe there is a stronger sense of customer responsibility north of the border when it comes to cable.
  • by Erik_the_Awful ( 675368 ) * on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:37PM (#9393417) Journal
    WHen it takes 3 days to activate service you were told would activate in 3 hours, THAT's MLIFE.

    When the nifty new features that modivated you to purchase the phone in the first place don't work, or when "customer support" uses paying customers to beta test nifty new features, THATs MLIFE.

    When you have to hold for AT&T's billing department FOR OVER AN HOUR to explain to them that you canceled their so called service a month ago, and that you just ain't gonna pay 'em any more, THAT'S MLIFE.

    When AT&T bills you after you've canceled the contract because AT&T didn't deliver the promised service, THATS MLIFE.

    When AT&T sends you to collections because you are so f$cking fed up with AT&T's complete and utter lack of service that you just can't stand another Minute on hold, THAT'S MLIFE.

    When you carefully read the terms of service and contract before you sign up, then try to cancel the contract within 30 days without penelty as specified in the contract, you your life goes to hell, THATS MLIFE.

    When you've been on hold for so long that you start writing sarcastic replacements for AT&T's marketing, THATS MLIFE.

    When you start looking at cell phone sales droids as generally having less integrety than your typical car salesman, THAT'S MLIFE.

    When you've had such a searingly horrible experience with a big nasty f'ed up corperation such as AT&T that you VOW that you will never use ANY service from them EVER EVER AGAIN, THATS MLIFE.

  • by Bradee-oh! ( 459922 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:39PM (#9393431)
    Last year my grandmother was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and swiftly took a turn for the worse. She had a cell phone through Verizon and was on the family plan with myself and my mother. Once her condition degenerated to the point where should would never use a phone again, my mom tried to cancel her line with 6 months left on the contract. They said flat out "no", even after my mom's explanation, sending her home in tears from their complete lack of compassion.

    2 months later after the funeral was behind us, I decided to call and see just how high up I could get by asking for supervisors. At this point, with 4 months left on the contract, and my grandmother actually deceased instead of just of ailing health, despite my explanations and disgust with their customer service, I didn't get very high up and got shut down within minutes.

    That was 5 months ago. The INSTANT we paid our last bill on contract, I waltzed into the nearest verizon store with a typed letter of open digust to attach to the form for my reason for no longer choosing their service. We have since moved on to a different provider with inferior coverage but much superior customer service.

    It amazes me that with all of the competition in the cellular market ANY company can get away with treating people like that and not suffer a mass exodus of customers. I suppose its because of the fine tradition they have of locking us in to contracts - fortunately, laws (such as California's new cellular fairness law) and competition are slowly starting to change the landscape. When a 30 trial period, a ban on small print, and much shorter contracts are the norm I would not be surprised to see the customer service shape up industry-wide.
    • by B.D.Mills ( 18626 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:31PM (#9393737)
      If this sort of thing ever happened to me I would fight them with the business world's equivalent of nuclear weapons. I would go straight to the media. There's bound to be a few media organisations looking for just such a story.

      People with poor service fear media exposure. It's like a bright light shining into a cockroach-infested hovel - watch the creeps run for cover. And watch as your previously intractible problem is suddenly solved.
  • sprint sucks (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:51PM (#9393499) Homepage
    Ironically, I just got off the phone with sprint, my cell and local land line provider. They're charging me for calls from 7PM to 9PM, but I thought they'd changed that.

    Well, for another $5/month they will. What utter bullshit.

    But it gets better. I'm paying $65/month for 800 minutes. I get charged 40 cents/minute after it. They can't charge less per minute, or so they say, but I could get 1100 minutes each month if I want. The price? Well, the same $65, they just don't automatically move customers.

    Fine. I say switch me. She says there's a two year service agreement. Again, bullshit. I've been with them for 5 years. Then she tells me that I have some 2 year agreement that's up next year. I didn't even know about that faux agreement. It was verbal, according to her, but she was a bit short on details.

    I asked to speak to a supervisor and, after a few minutes, lost the connection.

    This is stupid. If anybody knows of a better provider, let me know.
    • They're charging me for calls from 7PM to 9PM, but I thought they'd changed that.

      File a false advertising complaint with the FTC.

      Sprint Ad: (sorority or fraternity house): SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:18PM (#9393664) Journal
      A SprintPCS store in cincinnati once, the man was picketing back and forth every day taht week with a giant sign that i can't remember exactly what it read but it was something about his bill and the message was clear. He was pissed enough to sit outside all day in the summer sun wiht a sign and his kids and yell about how shitty sprint was

      that was enough to keep me away from them forever

  • by mdrejhon ( 203654 ) * on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:52PM (#9393504) Homepage
    The question isn't always customer service or cellphone reception, but which of the two is easier to find.

    The unluckiest people are the ones where cellphone reception is EVEN HARDER to find than customer service!

    ln -sf /dev/random /dev/cellphone
  • That's about right. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MysticalMatt517 ( 772389 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:58PM (#9393536) Homepage
    That's right in line with my own personal experiences. I've had a TON of problems with Verizon lately. Those people are horrible to deal with.

    We were on a family plan with Verizon. After a while we realized that we were always going over out alloted minutes each month, so we decided it was time to switch to another plan. The friendly associate who sold us our phones informed us that we were allowed to switch plans any time we want. Seems fair enough right?


    The catch is that they won't let you switch plans unless you sign another two-year contract. Unfortunately this would lock us into using our already ancient Motorola-Startacs for another two years too. We were not pleased. I almost canceled right then and there, but I discovered that the cancellation fee would be greater than just paying the bill until the contract ran out. Consequently we threw our Verizon phones in the drawer, signed on with Alltel, and canceled our Verizon plan the day the contract ran out. End of story right?


    They sent me a bill for a $400 cancellation fee even though I canceled at the right time and the customer service rep said nothing more was to be paid. I called back and they said they would take care of the problem. Unfortunately they did it for only one of the phones as they sent me another bill two weeks later for $200. This time when I called them back they started making references to "turning the bill over to outside agencies". Trust me, I was freaking angry. Eventually I got to another "nice" customer service rep that said it would be taken care of.

    We'll see...

    I bet that most people pay the $400 just to quit being harassed. These people a freaking crooks! It's unreal! They're threatening to ruin MY credit even though I followed the rules, had perfect pay, and did NOTHING to violate the contract!

    No wonder they've got one of the worst customer satisfaction records in the business.
  • I liked Dudley's take on this []...

  • by tekiegreg ( 674773 ) * <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:07PM (#9393591) Homepage Journal
    I'm always amazed I hear such bad experiences from Sprint, my experiences are ok if not stellar. Granted:

    1) Their customer service is ok, generally whatever I call with gets resolved in a fair manner.
    2) Calls rarely drop, this is in Santa Ana, California for the most part
    3) Their rate plans are fair if not dirt cheap

    Some bad parts about them though:
    1) The contracts, why do they have to keep locking me in dammit. No I have no real incentive to want to switch but I'd like to be able to cancel temporarily if needed (for example if I lose my job, take a long vacation in a remote area, etc.)
    2) The ringers and downloads, the ones on Sprint's own site aren't all that hot, and they have limited time licenses. Though I've found sites that are cheaper with indefinite licesnses. And if I'm not so lazy, someday I'll make my own.

    Overall Sprint gets a 3.5 outta 5 stars from me. Sure there's room for improvement but I'm not looking to switch.
  • Contracts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mirio ( 225059 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:07PM (#9393593)
    Of course customer service is horrible.

    I've been a Sprint PCS customer for five years. I originally used them because at the time they did not require any type of 'contract'. At any rate, I went through about three phones (all were completely CRAP). Every time I purchased a new phone, I was forced to pay full retail price for the phone ( > $150.00 ) while new customers were getting a new phone for almost nothing (gratis or ~ $25-$50) for signing a 'contract' which I was not even allowed to sign in order to get the discount on the phone! This makes absolutely no sense. Anyway....when my last phone broke I went to the store and bought a new cell phone. The only decent phones they had were the ones with the new color screens.

    I took the phone home and activated it on-line. First, Sprint made me change my service plan because my new phone was a 'vision' phone and I had to get a service plan compatible with my new phone (bullcrap). I got a new service plan that costs $5 more a month and I get less minutes and no new services (no, I'm not using the 'vision' services). A couple of months later, I was reading my bill very closely I noticed that one of the 'features' on my account was a "Sprint PCS advantage agreement" that doesn't expire until this September. I had no idea how it got there until I called customer service. Basically, I got a year 'contract' for paying full retail price for a crappy phone and paying $5 more a month. When I complained, they said it was in the fine writing on the website. I asked them to send me some sort of proof that I signed a contract. Of course they couldn't. The lady just kept saying that I could pay the $175 fee and get out of the contract.

    I asked her again, explaining that I had been a loyal customer for 5 years and had no intention of changing my service. She refused and kept saying it was in the fine print and I should have read it when I got my new plan.

    I proceeded to cancel my wife's, my mothers, my in-law's phone and the Sprint PCS phones for my business (5 phones). In all I cancelled 9 cell phones. They are horrible. They don't treat customers fairly -- not even loyal ones.

    BTW: Does anyone know the laws regarding online 'contracts'. They seem a little scary to me since there is no proof that a user actually 'agreed' to something on-line, much less the context of that agreement.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:08PM (#9393595) Journal
    After seeing what many of my friends have gone through with other carriers (including corporate accounts with a couple of them), and considering a few hassles I had with Verizon - I can still say that I see why Verizon is usually on top for customer service.

    For starters, the majority of people don't really consider their phone a seperate issue from the service provided by a given carrier. EG. If you use a cheezy phone with relatively poor reception and/or battery life, you're likely to blame the resulting dropped call issues on your carrier. While this isn't really fair, I think Verizon does an "above average" job of only offering people phones that work pretty well at these basics. Therefore, they manage to keep these complaints down a little bit.

    Also though, Verizon seems to have a pretty good customer satisfaction policy. Despite them screwing up my billing at least 2 different times, and giving me hassles about a new phone I purchased that starting acting up while still under their warranty, they always have resolved the issues in the end. Basically, with Verizon, you'll get to talk with your share of clueless cust. service associates, just like with the other carriers, *but* unlike some of them, Verizon mandates that if you complain enough, you will eventually have your issue resolved.

    The biggest thing I think any of the carriers could do to please customers would be easing up on the contracts. That's likely the LAST thing they'll ever do, though, because it's too much of a cash cow for them.
  • My perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:13PM (#9393626)
    Most problems appear to be people with unreasonable ideas of what coverage is "OMG I"M STUCK ON THIS MOUNTAIN AND MY CELL PHONE DOESN'T WORK". The U.S.A. is a HUGE place with extremely varying geographical coverage. It's just not possible to be perfect here. Japan doesn't have this problem, most countries don't. I live in the middle of the desert and all I hear from some people here is that their cell coverage sucks. Well duh, when the company has 10 customers it just doesn't pay to fully cover the area.

    On the other hand, the contracts are bullshit. I will never EVER sign a contract. If 10 years from now all there is for phone service is cell and it's done by 3 companies and you're forced to sign a contract then I'm sorry, I won't own or use a phone ever again. Contracts are for buying houses, renting cars, financial agreements etc etc. Not for phone service. It makes as much sense to me as signing a contract at a restaurant to return 4 times a week when all you want is the ocassional hamburger. I had a cell as part of my job a few years ago and I used it at most, twice a day and that was just a quick 1 minute convo with the boss. Yet he was paying upwards of 160$ a month for that phone (top of the line service contract). It just doesn't make sense to me. A girl I work with has a cell and pays 50$ a month for it, not counting the over charges (she showed me an $800 bill once). That's just nuts to me. Maybe I'm cheap but I just don't have unlimited funds, nor do I feel secure enough under the current economic climate to contract out a 50$ payment each month for 2 years with no recourse should I need to cancel. Hell my bank gives me ways out of my loans if I need it, even refinancing should times get real hard. I can also negotiate settlements with them if I need to file bankruptcy. None of that is possible with the cell phone gustapos "FUCK YOU PAY ME" attitude. All in all, why sign up? Other than to fit in with the cool crowd and have equally obnoxious cell phone jangles. I don't see the value and "cool gadget, must have" feelings aside, I just can't make myself buy one again.
  • Big man in a pub (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:14PM (#9393633)
    I've worked in customer service for a large retail chain. I now run my own business and I'm in the process of setting up another one. My attitude to customer service is simple...

    Always follow the BIG MAN IN A PUB rule.

    Imagine you're sat in a pub and there's a big, tough-looking man who's maybe had a bit too much to drink. That man is your customer. Make sure that every policy, every rule, every clause in a contract, every apology or excuse, everything about your customer service, is something that you would comfortably say to that man in the pub while you're sat right there next to him.

    If you think there's a part of your customer service that might provoke the man into hitting you then you wouldn't say it to him, would you? So why would it be okay to say it to him over the phone, by letter or by e-mail? Why would it be okay to have an employee say it to him in person?

    Keep the big drunk man happy and everyone else will be happy too. Including you.

    As any consistently ethical business person will tell you, it isn't a myth or a fantasy -- the better you treat your customers, the better your bottom line will be. You may occasionally get ripped off. You'll even get the odd one or two customers who decide to take a disliking to you for no good reason. But at the end of every day you'll always have a business that is more popular and more profitable than it was at the end of the previous day.

    Short term gains generally lead to long term losses.
  • whether or not you even _need_ to contact customer service. Personally, I've never really had much trouble with any cellphone company or service simply because I hardly ever call them. They send the bill, I pay it, the phone works. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

  • oh me too! (Score:3, Funny)

    by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) * <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:55PM (#9393836) Journal
    yeah, my cell phone provider, sprint, was giving me grief. they kept calling me on my sprint phone to sell me sprint service. I kept yelling at them "i already HAVE sprint service, this is a SPRINT telephone." they kept calling me anyways. i told them that if they didnt stop calling me, i was going to shoot my dog. they kept calling me. eventually i shot my dog. i mailed them the dog in a box. i knew i was screwed with the dogs name on his leash got in their DB cause i started getting calls on my SPRINT phone for the dog, for additional service plans. I miss my dog.
  • by CSharpMinor ( 610476 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:07PM (#9393886)
    The only remarkable thing about this story is that they placed second worst.
  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:28PM (#9394001) Homepage
    I worked for Cingular Customer Service for a year or so and I can safely say at least 75% of the employees in the call center with me were underqualified, undereducated, partially-trained (and rushed thru that), and had bad attitudes towards their work and their customers. These reps were notorious for giving inaccurate imformation. If you called 3 difference reps with the same question, you were going to get at least 2 different answers (the joke was "This is Cingular. We have no consistency here.")

    They were mostly unfamiliar with Cingular service/plans/phones/etc because Cingular's training system is basically a webpage called 'The Learning Edge' that reps could just click thru without reading (the test at the end even gave you the answers if you knew how to cheat it.) The main tool for communicating was email which few reps read. There was also a problem with getting user accounts set up so a lot of reps didn't have access to all the tools and information they needed to do the job. And God help you if you needed a password reset.

    Twice a month, a Quality Assurance rep will monitor a rep's call to make sure the rep says the right verbage ("Thank you for calling Cingular Wireless where our goal is blah blah blah...") and handles the call correctly. However, on every call, reps are scored by call stats which basically tell how quickly the rep gets the customer off the phone and moves on to the next caller. Giving accurate information and being courtesy to the customer seemed to take second priority to call handle time.

    Managers weren't much better. Most of them don't want to be bothered with customer's calls and will keep sending the rep back to the customer until they hang up. Some managers were just lazy and rather than take the call, they would just tell the rep to give the customer want they wanted. Of course, this was fine for most customers, but after millions of dollars in unjustified credits were given, Cingular decided to implement 'protocol training' which basically says no more credits on customer's bills unless there's an unquestionable mistake on Cingular's part. Actually, this seemed somewhat fair because there are a lot of customers who call in and make up some bullshit story to get a late fee or some roaming charge taken off (one lazy guy I spoke with didn't even bother to make up a story. he just called and politely asked "I need a courtesy credit on my bill.")

    I finally got fed up with being one of the few reps who actually cared about the job and made a decent effort towards correcting customer's issues. I quit and moved on. I still use Cingular service because it's the best in my area, but I only call customer service when there's no other way around it. If I can, I go into company-owned store to make changes and such (though there are some things that stores don't have access to.) Here's some advice on calling in if you have to.

    1. Always get the name, CUID (cingular user id), and call center location of the person you are speaking with. They are required to give this to you. Document this with the date and time and reason you are calling. Keep this information for the next two billing cycles (or whatever length of time applies to your situation.)

    2. If you make any changes to your account, find out when the changes will go into effect and if any charges or service will be prorated.

    3. Even if the call goes perfectly well, call back and verify everything the previous rep told you and make sure any requested changes have been done. This may sound unecessary, but I once changed a rate plan with a feature addition that took 3 calls to get it right. Yes, THREE calls!

    4. Be polite to the rep. Attitude begats attitude. If you're nice, most of the reps will be nice to you. If you're an asshole, the rep will do nothing for you (and probably note your account so no one else will either.)

    Hope this helps.
  • by $criptah ( 467422 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:02PM (#9394175) Homepage

    I do not understand why people use shitty cell phone services. If you do not like what they offer you, why do not you cancel?

    I had only one cell phone contract. It was the biggest mistake in my life (well, not counting that sorority girl). As soon as they started to show me shady charges, I told the CSR that she was a cunt, then I told the manager to fuck off and then I put my phone through the wall. Of course, this happened only because my contract was about to expire within a month, but it left a good impression.

    Be your boss. Always tell people to fuck off whenever you feel that they need to fuck off; otherwise, everybody is going to ride your ass. I explicitly told the manager of my cell phone service that I wanted to pay $35USD per month for national-wide service. He laughed. I told him that he was a fat asshole and let the store. Did this improve my situation? Absolutely. I feel that whenever I tell people what I really think, I do not have to have excuses in the long run. I bet if some nut heads who bring AKs to their work places did what I do, we would not have freaking office shootouts. Anger relief stops people like me from doing things that I will regret in the future. If you are angry, do not keep your emotions inside, let them know what is going on. If you sit and bitch and post your shitty messages on slashdot, nobody is going to get the fucking point. What you really should do is take all your complains, roll them up in a tight roll and shove it down managers' throats. If you a person gets 10,000 phone calls a day that say "Your service suck, we cancel!" what do you think is going to happen? What if all Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-mobile and other customers decided to send their companies down the drain?

    Do not like Verizon? Call them. Tell CSRs and their managers that you fucking hate their service more than your in-laws. Complain. Bitch. Get other people to do the same and you'll make Sprint, Verizon and T-mobile better companies. Remember, all of those cocksucking bastards are after YOUR wallet. Vote with your money.


  • I find this puzzling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @11:09PM (#9394550)
    I frankly find this puzzling. T-Mobile has simply provided the best customer service I have *ever* experienced with a service provider.

    Hold times are short (under 5 minutes), the CSRs are pretty competent (and they transfer you to level 2 when they know they are out of their league), and the staff is always polite.

    Frankly, Comcast isn't bad either. Neither is DirecTV. I don't see what everyone is complaining about (except with Qwest - they put you on hold for an hour and then explain that their DSL network is down and will be down for the next two days).

    The problem is that people expect too much. You can't expect level 1 CSRs to be able to fix every problem.

    Here are my "rules":

    - Act dumb, but not too dumb. If your GPRS WAP service is out, say that you can't connect to [[branded GPRS service name]] and read off the error messege. Let them run through their script and transfer you to someone who can help.

    - Be polite. You get excellent results if you say "Thank You" and use a polite tone of voice. Remember, it's not the CSRs fault that your service sucks.

    - Don't expect too much. You shouldn't expect a CSR to give you six months of free service because your coverage sucks. Nor should you expect to have your contract revoked.

    - Play CSR Russian Roulette. If you don't get what you want, call back. You'll get a new CSR and can try your routine again. This works particularly well for scoring discounted (or free) service when you have network outage issues.

    And finally, some tips about wireless:

    - Don't expect too much. Your phone, particularly if it's in the PCS spectrum (most GSM, Sprint) will have trouble inside buildings, paritcularly if they are metal. Your best bets for coverage inside are Verizon or Nextel (800mhz, penetrates walls better).

    - Don't buy GSM (in the US) unless you know what you are doing. I love my T-Mobile service, but it is not something that I would rely on. GSM networks in the US simply do not provide the quality of service and coverage of CDMA-based networks. You can get good deals with GSM (particularly with T-Mobile - $20 unlimited GPRS; $50 2-phone plan with plenty of minutes), but you must understand that you will not always have service, particularly indoors or in rural areas.

    - Stay away from AT&T. Their GSM network is, quite frankly, crap. Not that T-Mobile's is much better, but at least T-Mobile has cheap data. AT&T's customer service is also awful.

    - Stay away from Sprint. Verizon CDMA isn't any more expensive and it is far more reliable and comprehensive.

    - Go Verizon if you need dependable service. Verizon's CDMA is simply unmatched in terms of reliability and coverage. I had Verizon (CDMA2000, not AMPS) service in Yellowstone National Park.

    - Get a good phone. Do research. A good phone makes all the difference. T-Mobile is actually pretty decent with a 1.2W Nokia phone (Nokia 3590). With the 600mW T300 (or the Sidekick with the crappy radio chipset) it is practically useless.

    - Test out your service during the free trial. T-Mobile, for example, gives you 14 days to opt-out of the contract. They are throwing you a bone here - you have the perfect chance to see whether their service is acceptable. Go to the tough locations; everywhere you would use your phone on a regular basis, call 611, and keep going through the phone tree (for T-Mobile, you can hit # every 30 or so seconds and it will read you your minute usage indefinately). Listen, walk around, and check to see if the audio quality is acceptable (or if the call drops). You don't have to pay for the minutes.
  • Seriously wrong... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Necromancyr ( 602950 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @11:16PM (#9394582)
    Ok, something is seriously wrong when I've read about a good number of recent articles in mass media/associated press articles before I see them on Slashdot. Losing a bit of an edge?

    Seriously though, I come here for cutting edge news...not stuff rehashed from the USA Today blurbs from 2 days ago (literally on this story. It was in Washington Posts 'Express' mini-paper on tuesday).

  • Contracts are evil (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @12:37AM (#9395038) Homepage Journal
    That 2 year contract they want you to sign in the reason why their customer service sucks. You're locked in for 2 years or you have to pay a huge cancellation fee. If you don't have a choice to leave, they don't have to provide you with good service.

    This one is a no-brainer.


Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!