The latest Cingular bill includes a nice fat contract change clause declaring that by remaining a Cingular customer, you’ve waived your right to a trial by jury or participate in a class action lawsuit.
Coincidentally, this January bill also contains notice that Cingular is raising its text message rates from $.10 to $.15 per message, which we have posited constitutes a material change to your contract, and can be used to escape your contract without paying an early termination fee.
Cingular PR contacted us to tell us this was wrong. Outside commenters said that Cingular was basically daring customers to sue them for taking this position.
Now it looks like they want to prevent that possibility as well.
Copy of the “notice of improved arbitration agreement” inside…
- “I’ve been a content Cingular customer (off and on) for a while (and only off when I wanted to try out a different network and device–biting the ETF because I knew I was jumping ship out of my own choice for gadget lust). I noticed the TXT price hike, and the unfortunate legal backlash from Cingular. But today, I got my bill in the mail from Cingular, and I noticed right when I opened the envelope, there in all CAPS on the first page of my bill:
“NOTICE OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION AGREEMENT IN CONTACT”
And just beneath this bold announcement in small text reads:
“We are pleased to advise you that Cingular has revised the ARBITRATION CLAUSE in our standard Wireless Service Agreement to make it even better for consumers. The revised arbitration clause can be found at http://www.cingular.com/disputeresolution. This is effective immediately.”
Normally I don’t get angry with bills unless there’s some absurd amount on there because a credit didn’t process, but this really boiled my blood. I haven’t called Cingular about it yet, but I wanted to submit this information to Consumerist and see if anyone else has gotten out of contract, but remained a Cingular customer. That’s what I’d like to do.
See, I have little choice in the world of simultaneous data and voice: Cingular’s 3G network is my only choice so far (UMTS blah blah nerd), so I don’t mind being a customer, but I do mind being in a contract that forces me to give up certain rights as a consumer.
I have seen some success posts on fatwallet and howardforums. I’ll probably be giving Cingular a ring tomorrow to ask about it gently at first…
I also need to admit, I originally wanted my contract axed because I want my next phone on a discount, but I can’t accept an organization telling me what legal rights to give up.
— BEN POPKEN