Here in New York, we don’t really know much about Alltel. They seem like happy, fun people who live on that “farm” where all the city dogs go when they die. “Sorry, Becky. Spot went to live with a nice family at Alltel Wireless. He’ll be happy there.”
Anyhow, an Alltel sales rep has written in to share his insider tips to getting the most out of your Alltel experience, whatever that may be. Enjoy!
Get a 1 year contract and upgrade every 9 months. “You can upgrade 90 days before your contract expires. So if you do a 1 year contract each time, you can upgrade every 9 months. Alltel reps are not supposed to “stack” contracts, so your original one will be removed (or lowered to 1 month remaining) every time. With Alltel, you pay $60 more for the phone than a 2 year contract.”
Upgrade early with a 2 year contract if you buy lots of extra crap. “Upgrade even earlier when you buy data and accessories. This highly depends on the store manager and the time of the month you’re attempting this, but you can sometimes upgrade for a 2 year contract price as much as 8 or 9 months early at the right time – Add the All Axcess Pass, buy a bluetooth headset or two, or update to a smartphone, and the store manager will most likely do anything you want. This won’t work with a 1 year contract, usually.”
Avoid “Authorized Agents” with Alltel. “I know this is -not- the case with other carriers, but if you purchase something from them, you’re on your own (and this includes Alltel’s own online shopping site. You can’t return anything purchased there into a retail store at all). Your new Razr won’t power on and you bought it from an agent? Corporate can’t help you, you have to return to the agent. Take anything they say with a grain of salt, and remember – Corporate Alltel has no real control over what the agents say, do, or sell. The number of complaints it takes to get any action taken against an agent location is ridiculous.”
No free accessories from Alltel. “Please don’t expect free accessories from us, though. Every piece of merchandise is inventory controlled and counted monthly. Missing accessories = theft, and changing the price on something ends us up on an audit report. Every store is also highly monitored with security cameras, so me sliding a car charger into your bag will likely be seen by my manager, or worse, someone in Little Rock.”
The “referral program” holds the key to credits. “Have a problem with a bill? Equipment? Just want some money off your bill? Get in good with your rep at the store, and quietly ask him or her to slide you a referral credit with his next activation. Promise him a good survey, a data feature, or an extra line. It’s way easier for us to give you a referral credit (even if you’ve never referred a customer before, ever) than it is to waive an activation fee or lower the price on a phone.”
Pre-paid phones can be used with regular accounts. “Activate a prepaid phone and save money. If you have too much time left on your contract, or if the manager flat-out says no to your early upgrade request, purchasing a phone on Alltel’s prepaid program is an easy way to save some cash. The rep gets credit for a prepaid activation, so they won’t say anything, and you save as much as $100 off of the retail price with no contract renewal. After you activate, that phone is yours. Take it back to the store the next day and ask to have your number switched to that phone. No problem. We’re not allowed to suggest this to a customer, but it’s your phone and you can do what you want with it.”
The secret number is “4″. “Know the “lemon rule” as it applies to your phone warranty. If you have 4 replacement phones in a 1-year period, Alltel’s policy is to switch you to a similar phone. You just have to ask, and the magic number is 4. We can’t, and won’t, do it before then.”
Get rid of your data plan after 181 days, should you so desire. “Oh, and the magic number for removing a smartphone data plan is 181 days from purchase. The rep won’t get charged back then, and nobody will know if you remove it. Alltel’s policy is that it has to stay on your plan the entire time, but nobody will police that after 6 months. Doesn’t apply to a Blackberry, those have to have the service all the time (or so they tell me.)”
Do you have a job? Would you like to confess your sins? We’re always looking for helpful tips to share with readers. Who knows…having knowledgeable customers might make your job easier? Tell us about it at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.