Reader Corey wants to break out of his Cingular cellphone contract without fee, but is having trouble.
They just won’t let him.
Even after he tried everything in, “Break Your Cingular Contract Without Fee, Thanks 2 Txt Msg $ Raise.”
Read his story inside…
- “Given the information contained in their TOS and the CTIA Consumer Code, I called Cingular Customer Service to terminate my contract agreement without being subject to the ETF. The representative I spoke with insisted that text messaging WAS NOT something I subscribed to, that it was a feature of my service and that I could not avoid the ETF. She also used this as an opportunity to sell me an upgrade for a text messaging package that I do not want or need.
I asked the representative if someone could use Cingular text messaging without being a Cingular subscriber and she stated that they could not. So I asked if Text messaging wasn’t something I subscribed to, why is it that only Cingular Subscribers are able to use it? She had no legitimate answer for me.
Based on her logic, Cingular Text messaging is one of the numerous services I currently subscribe to as a Cingular customer.
I then inquired if she was familiar with the CTIA Consumer Code and I offered to read #7 to her, but she was not interested. After talking in circles with her for approximately 10 minutes, I got extremely frustrated and hung up the phone. She was clearly reading from a script regarding this matter; I can only assume Cingular is getting many calls regarding the price increase.
I question if this is price increase is a well timed opportunity to increase revenue as the upcoming season of “American Idol” begins in a few weeks. Certainly this is a price increase that not many people will probably notice being mentioned on their bills. For those customers that do notice, it is a chance to up sell them into a text messaging package that they probably don’t need.
This text messaging 50% price increase is exorbitant (how can a few bytes of text cost so much in comparison to what Cingular charges for voice minutes & for data?) to say the least and clearly changes the Terms of Service that I agreed to. Given the language of your TOS and the CTIA Consumer Code, I don’t see how your company representative can deny that there is a clear and distinct price change to my subscription.
Cingular calls text messaging a service in their own “Cingular Nation GSM” plan terms and conditions:
The terms for text messaging are listed under “Wireless Data Service Terms and Conditions” in Section II.
“ADDITIONAL TERMS FOR SPECIFIC DATA SERVICES Text, Instant Messaging and Multimedia Messaging”
This experience has completely changed my opinion of Cingular and makes me wonder what other price increases Cingular customers can expect in the future.
Will I soon be charged $5.00 every time I want to access my voice mail?
Will I be suddenly charged for long distance calls?
These are also considered features by Cingular.
Simply put, Cingular cannot increase rates anytime they want without allowing consumers the option to decline the increase. They have changed the terms of the contract that me and millions of customers have agreed to and they should not be able to get away with this.
Many have been able to get out of their contracts, but not me.”
Corey then tried again. He wrote,
- “This time they claimed that they can change the price of any feature at anytime and the wording is in the terms & conditions.”
Try calling back and trying your attack again. If they’re reluctant, try escalating to a supervisor. Keep driving your points home, even if you repeat them several times. Dealing with these people is like an extremely frustrating video game, sometimes you gotta just keep hacking away.
Now we ask, did you ask them to point to the part of the T&C that says this?
UPDATE: To this, Corey says:
- “They told me to go here: http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-service/legal/plan-terms.jsp
They claimed that the passage located under the main heading of “Wireless Data Service Terms and Conditions”
then subheading “I. General Terms & Conditions Applicable To Cingular Data Services…”
then about 75% of the way towards the bottom of that section there is in bold font “Changes to the terms and conditions:”
It reads “These terms and conditions may be changed from time-to-time.”
Then it refers you to http://www.cingular.com/medianet for the latest changes to the t & c. There is no such price increase notice there and when I pointed this out to the supervisor I was speaking to, she said that is because the change doesn’t take effect until 1/27. Total bullshit.
The section of the T&C they referred me to is the same one I mentioned to you earlier where it refers to text messaging as a “service”, not a “feature”.
The Cingular Terms of Service, as you quoted on your blog, state that if they changes the price of services you can exit your contract without a ETF.
They keep calling text messaging a “feature” and not something I subscribe to but I picked up Cingular’s rate plan brochure in their store today and the rate plan has “included features”: text messaging at $.10 along with all the usual stuff like nationwide long distance, caller ID, voicemail, etc.
So basically according to my experiences on the phone, there is nothing stopping them from suddenly charging whatever they want for voicemail access or for caller ID. They have basically told me that I my contract only covers the amount of minutes I agreed to at the price I agreed to.”
You’re right Corey, this is bullshit. Yes, they MAY change the terms of service, but then you MAY also exit the contract without fee. The former doesn’t preclude the latter.
We don’t know what else to say except to call back and if they try this tact on you, tell them they’re wrong and insist, insist, on being let out of contract without fee.
Eye of the tiger!
— BEN POPKEN
We Interview Cingular About Cancelling Over Text Message Plans
What Cingular Tells Customers Canceling Over Text Message Rates
Break Your Cingular Contract Without Fee, Thanks 2 Txt Msg $ Raise