8 Confessions of An Alltel Sales Rep

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.

(Photo:chefranden)

PREVIOUSLY: 8 Confessions Of A Former Verizon Sales Rep
7 Confessions of a Cingular Sales Rep
6 Confessions Of A Former Sprint Sales Rep
11 Confessions of a T-Mobile Sales Rep

Comments

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  1. AcilletaM says:

    That’s a pretty farm

    • Linda says:

      I would just like to say that I have been an Alltel cutomer for about 15 years. I have always dealt with the same representative @ Alltel. His name is Ronnie and he works @ the Alltel store in Anderson, SC. He has always helped me with all my phone service needs. Whenever I go into the store for anything if he is busy I am willling to wait until he can assist me. Now my daughter has him listed in her phone at Ronnie @ Alltell and whenever she has any concerns she only deals with him. I have never had any problems with any of my Alltel products or service..

  2. levenhopper says:

    I love my Alltel service, and would recomend them to anyone. And, Consumer Reports ranks them #1 in customer service.

  3. sapsparky says:

    Interesting about the lemon rule. I thought that some states mandated 3 (I believe Illinois). Any confirmation out there?

  4. FLConsumer says:

    Been with Alltel for 9 years now (will be 10 years in another couple of days) and love them. As far as the free accessories, my rep is always throwing toys at me whenever I stop by. Likewise, I’ve never had to go through 4 phones before they swapped phones. It could be the 10 years which is influencing things.

    Also, AVOID THE AUTHORIZED AGENTS. I’m not entirely sure why Alltel bothers with them, but I’ve noticed the “authorized agents” tend to hang out in lower income areas.

  5. 726090 says:

    I am an Alltel employee and have been for 2 yrs. Some of the above info is true, but not all authorized Agents are bad people at all. One bad experience tells ten people, One good experience tells one or two…Authorized Agents are people just like you and me, they saw an opportunity to prosper by entering into the world of business ownership.

    As far as Customer Service is concerned, First of all check your consumer reports, an unbiased, non profit organization that gives validated information vs. someone getting mad and spewing all over the internet because they did not gey what they wanted or was not entitled to. There is not another carrier spending money so you can be promptly greeted at the door and assess your issue and get you to the right person. In other carriers, you just wander around like cows in a pasture, HOPING nobody jumps in front of you since your wait has been an hour or so. DO NOT KNOCK IT UNTIL YOU TRY IT.

  6. cellguy says:

    Dont use Authorized Agents. Authorized Agents are the back bone of Alltel and all other carriers. Especially the smaller ones. Authorized Agents often comp more accessories and have the ability to give a bigger discount on the phone. Sure you run into your dealers who make life hell, but most Authorized Agents run good sound businesses and take care of there customers very well. As far as phone repair goes Alltel will replace the phone in warranty no matter where you bought it, whether that is internet, authorized agent, or corporate store. Please get your facts before publishing garbage.

  7. cellguy says:

    @726090: Amen, Thank you for the kind and TRUE words about us agents.

  8. tooclever says:

    Bonafide referrals help Alltel sales Reps earn additional commissions. Asking them to “slide you a referral” is basically requesting they commit fraud and risk their job. If you like your Alltel service tell your friends/family and send your Rep legitimate referrals. You can cut your bill by $75 every month and sleep at night.

  9. rminky says:

    The tip above about getting a prepaid phone and then switcing it to my contract didnt work for me. When I asked, at Alltel they said that a new phone had to be purchased as they were different phones. I also called the 1-800 number just to further check out the info and they told me the same thing. My $250 phone went for a “swirly” in the toilet and lost all screens, so I really wanted to replace it…well, off to Ebay

  10. sholliday says:

    As an authorized agent for Alltel with 10 locations this information really shocked me. Not only were the “tips” given unethical and unprofessional they were completely lacking in fact. A legitimate agent would never urge you to commit fraud to get a credit on your bill, etc. As far as standing behind our products we do every day. We train our people to go above and beyond what is expected and that is what has made us successful. We don’t lie or make up things to our customers as was suggested instead we explain everything fully and make sure the customer understands completely. This person would be a former employee if they worked for me.

  11. alltelkyle says:

    I’ve worked in a retail store for 1 yr now an agree with almost everything said except for the authorized agent thing because when my family and I first got service with alltel it was through a athourized agent an that sales rep in the agent store inspired me to work for alltel. (an they will help you if your brand knew razar is giving you trouble.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I want a new phone for my Alltel service, so I’m going to give the prepaid-swap trick a try. I did the one year so that I could upgrade in 9 months, but can’t wait – I get jones’n for a new phone about every 6 months not 9 – and don’t really want to get locked back into a contract anyways. Anybody looking for a good Nokia 2865i? Mine’s on eBay…

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am an authorized altell agent, and am very sad to know that their are people out there saying such negative things about us. I strive to provide my customers with the best service I would like to encounter. We do not sell service in low income areas. We help customers no matter where they had gotten their service from. We can also give better deals than corporate because we get our supplies else where. We also obide by the same 15 day guarantee as corporate. Dont bash us if you dont know the facts.

  14. happyfan29 says:

    I was also an Authorized Alltel Agent, and actually what I’ve read above is completely opposite of my experiences working there. The only reason that anyone in my area preferred retail is because retail could get away with bending the rules (i.e. WAY early upgrades) – but retail can’t offer the service and personal support that our agency can. It may take an hour to get in to talk at retail, whereas we can help a person out directly. We’ve also had to clean up retail’s messes too many times to count.
    Due to my experience working with them and also my personal experiences of walking in as a customer and being treated rudely, I’ve personally made the decision to not patronize a retail center if I can help it.

  15. AlltelRep says:

    Ugh. I have been working in a retail store for nearly 5 years now, and while, yes, we do get a lot of agent created problems, and yes, they do get to unload a lot of our sales and not get a fraction of a percent of the service work, they are still helping to grow and expand our customer base. Yet while I know this is true, I still resent the whole “agent” popping up 5 blocks from a retail store and then corporate slaps us with a higher quota, with less payout. The only bad thing from a customer’s point of view that I have come across is the whole “2 contract” deal. When you sign up with an agent, you are signing a contract with Alltel, and also with the agent. (but, if you don’t terminate your contract, no big deal, right?) Ultimately, I am glad we have agents, you guys are under-appreciated, but thank you for all of your help :D

    as for insurance, on low end phones, it’s not worth it, unless you’re “THAT GUY” that walks out of the store, drops your brand new phone in the parking lot and run it over with your car, or “that guy” that gets angry with the person on the other end of the phone and throws your phone at a wall. (no, your manufacturer’s warranty WILL NOT cover that!) One awesome thing about Alltel’s (Asurion) policy, is, you go into the retail store with your damaged phone (or without your lost/stolen phone) you file the insurance claim, pay your deductible, and walk out with the phone. Higher end phones like the PDA devices/blackberry… GET THE FLIPPING INSURANCE. The model gets discontinued, you break your phone, $95.00 deductible, you get the latest model. (you don’t get your choice through insurance it goes on a matrix that we HAVE to follow)

    The free accessory deal mentioned above is true. We are watched very closely, and unless we want to risk the whole “up to and including termination” clause in our employment paperwork, we are NOT allowed to give away free accessories. However, if we have a returned accessory laying around (which isn’t very often) I have no problem giving it to a good customer (someone who is not yelling at me ;) )

    The “lemon policy” has to be on the FOURTH verifible bad phone, we can get you into a similar model. We can verify dropped calls on your bill, so don’t make up problems to get into a new phone. We DO have to recreate the problem. Most problems can be corrected by taking the battery out, which resets the phone.

    Any changes on an account DO get audited. If you do switch off of the smartchoice plan to remove the data plan from the pda device, it could get audited and changed back. 181 days is true, most flags are thrown up by the reps that get charged back on the data. Blackberry codes do have to stay on the account as long as the blackberry device is active. there is no getting around that.

    The mail in rebates. As long as you complete all of the items (there are 4 listed in detail on the rebate form) and make copies of EVERYTHING you mail in, you WILL get your money back. PLEASE do NOT go into the stores a YEAR after you purchased the phone, and complain that you never got your money. The rebate form has a 1800 number. Please use it as soon as you see there is a problem!

  16. auctionjoe says:

    I’ve been associated with ALLTEL for many years now. I’ve read all of the comments in this string. Some statements are right on the money. Some, I’d like to turn the Myth Busters loose on. First, the Agent bashing source must be considered. It comes directly from a biased source in the retail channel. So, let’s look at some huge advantages the ALLTEL Agent program offers. How about FREE phone book transfers? How about a credit to trade in your old phone? How about low cost out of warranty repairs vs. a new retail or even a “cheap” prepay? Oh yeah, while I mentioned prepay – take your new prepay phone replacement for your contract phone to an agent. They will gladly change your ESN. Then there is also 1/2 price accessories and custom accessories retail doesn’t carry. Retail accessories are overpriced, under warrantied and impossible to get replaced unless you keep everything for an entire year (who has that much room for trash?). Wait time in most agent locations is minimal. A retail store wait time may be as much as 2 hours in the metro areas. Try this. Ask a retail rep to mail you a phone, gift wrap it or deliver it to your office. Agents are also fully authorized to take payments, handle business accounts, make account changes, billing adjustments, renew your service agreement and get you that new phone 90 days early and virtually anything else you need. What agents can’t do – replace a handset on the 4 strike “no lemon” policy, load new software into your phone and they CAN NOT provide insurance replacement phones from their locations, regardless what the insurance company says. They can all process DOA and warranty claims just like a retail store. And, yes, they will. Are all agent locations top notch? Of course not. Are all retail reps top notch? Of course not. So what does retail have? Live access to your account information. All the other good stuff that was mentioned of course. Highly trained staff that are paid very well to sell you stuff. Cool matching shirts and name tags, so you know who’s working there. Retail folks, Agents folks: Play nice, quit nitpicking and get back to work. At the end of the day – ANY ALLTEL LOCATION IS BETTER THAN GOING TO ANY OF THE COMPETITORS.

  17. Joni1978 says:

    I love Alltel. I think they are terrific in every way EXCEPT this: When I bought my phones initially and when I upgrade my phones…if the salesperson uses the “rebates” to make the sale…I immediately stop them and explain that there is no such thing as Alltel rebate. I look at the price after the instant rebate only and buy the phone based on that price. Never ever ever depend on the “mail in rebate”. With every phone I have followed the “mail in rebate” directions to the tee and I have never recieved a dime from Alltel Rebates. I’m pretty sure that the Alltel Rebate Center is a myth. I’d love to attach a video camera to one of my mail in rebates and figure out which trash can the rebate center is throwing my rebate applications into….because I can promise you they aren’t coming back to me. I even make copies and send the original documentation in…..last time I did that..the rep told me they needed me to resend the originals back in because they never recieved them…..I sent the originals first…. I only had copies….The rep said he actually needed originals again…..ridiculous. All that being said, as far as phone service, knowledge of product and cost of service…..Alltell is unbeatable. Their rebate service is just below par….everything else is great.