Cingular cancels caller's service
Consumerist, a crusading pro-consumer blog, has a fascinating story of how Cingular Wireless treats customers who dare to roam off its network. Beckie Edwards received a letter from Cingular telling her that it wasn't "economically feasible" to keep providing her with service, because she roamed off of Cingular's network too much.
Now, let's get into the economics of cell-phone roaming. Wireless companies like to advertise with maps showing how complete their networks are. Roaming agreements with other carriers help them fill in gaps in their networks. When a customer uses another carrier's network, the customer's provider pays that other carrier. This adds up to big bucks, and while carriers don't disclose exactly how much they pay in roaming fees, it's likely that Cingular, with an extensive nationwide network, gets a substantial amount of money from other carriers with customers roaming on its network, even as it pays those carriers a big chunk of roaming fees.
Shouldn't Edwards' contract go both ways, obligating the company to provide service, not just requiring the customer to pay her bills? But the Browser thinks this raises a bigger consumer issue: If companies aren't willing to stand behind their "expanded coverage" network maps and no-roaming-fees service plans, should they be allowed to market them at all? And would Cingular really be willing to give up the bucks it gets from roaming, even as it complains about the cost of paying roaming fees? This seems like a dangerous road for Cingular to travel.
I used to live in an area, 60924 zip and had a phone that was always on roam. I had it about 2 years when I started having problems, finally a tech in one of their office's told me they were "harrassing me" wanting me to go to another carrier. He finally gave me a phone that worked and I still have it, him telling me that really made me more determined to fight back, Corporate ASSHOLES!
Cingular is willing to travel a dangerous road because they are mostly owned by AT&T. AT&T thinks they can pretty much push anybody around if they want to, especially consumers. Edwards might want to consider doing business with someone else after her contract with Cingular is up.
I agree with the comments provided in relation to cingular. I gave up my old AT&T free2go national plan to change to the new cingular's all over network(Cingular bought ATTWS). They are right, the new plan does not drop calls, however, if they dont provide service, my phone is not recognised as a cell phone. I can not make a calll( or emergency call) because I am not recognised. I can not switch back to the older more expensive plan, thus I am stuck with a phone that does not work under many circumstances.
Knowing that this situation exhists, We really can't get upgrade my wife's free2go phone or plan because we need the phone, if we are in upstate NY or in the Montreal area. That area does not recognise the new plan. Customer service said that they provide service in montreal, but, my specific brand of phone(motorola) would not work in Montreal. The flip side is that my father in law has the exact same model and has a full signal while I have no recognised towers.
The other side is that when I am on business in Puerto Rico, the old phone now does not work, because I have not paid my bill which is strange because, I have a prepaid time. In Puerto Rico, I have to take the new phone because that is recognised. With service like this, it might be time to change companies.
I'm sure Cingular will try to justify its actions by saying that Beckie used their roaming services "excessivel" (further backed up by some fuzzy fine print in her contract). Never the less, Cingular should be legally obligated to let her drop her service contract without paying an early termination fee.....Although as we all know, the chances of that happening without a lot of negative PR oand hours on the phone w/ a customer service agent are extremely unlikely.
I work for Cingular, and I encounter what you are discussing on a normal basis. However, its not simply cut and dry like that. First of all, the customer, over a monitored time period of six months to a year needs to be roaming at least a full 40% of the time to even be noticed. We then offer to switch the area code to the area that most of the roaming occurs. Only after then do we potentially release service. Also, all of this information is included in the terms and conditions of contract, which a customer must read and agree to to activate service. Thank you.
Shame on Mike and Cingular. Aah that old escape route "...included in the terms and conditions of contract, which a customer must read and agree to to activate service."
Nothing like the good old fine print.
Does this mean that I have to change my phone number, every time my office moves me to a new location?
I'd love for Cingular to cancel my contract so I could finally switch to a different company.
cingular....NOT raising the bar
I switched to Cingular once my Sprint contract expired. In a little more than a year, Cingular has provided me with excellent customer service and a good rate plan. I live on the beach in Venice, CA. My only complaint is that cell phone service in my area, in general, is pretty bad. There are pockets all up and down the beach, as well as for several blocks inland, where calls are dropped and getting a signal is almost impossible. This needs to be better.
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