We’ve previously shared letters from readers who aren’t thrilled with OnTrac, a regional shipping company that Amazon uses for some shipments for Amazon Prime, their all-you-can-buy unlimited free delivery option. Now we’re hearing rumblings of problems with another smaller delivery company, Ensenda. [More]
J.D.Power and Associates released a new survey last week that measured customer complaints among national cellular networks, and although different companies excel in different regions, AT&T is still consistently the laggard when it comes to call connections and overall quality. Of the six regions covered in the survey, AT&T places last in four of them. The only part of the country where it does okay is the North Central Region, where it places third, and where the otherwise highly-ranked Verizon comes in last. [More]
One of our readers just switched over from T-Mobile to AT&T, but he discovered that pretty much everything the salesperson promised him at the retail store turned out to be a lie. At least, that’s what the angry AT&T customer service rep told his wife when she called in to dispute her first bill. [More]
The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview. [More]
Verizon has dropped 10 phones from its list of models that will trigger the high $350 early termination fee. Cnet wonders whether this is Verizon’s way of trying to make its “advanced devices are expensive to service” argument more palatable to the FCC, as the remaining models are all smartphones. [More]
Zagat, the popular consumer feedback-based restaurant review guide, now reviews wireless carriers as well, and they’ve released rankings on the four national carriers. The company surveyed 2,319 wireless consumers and then created Zagat-style scores in a variety of categories. Here are some of the highlights. [More]
Last week AT&T, in yet another of a string of PR failures about the health of its network, made things even worse by publicly blaming its customers for, you know, being customers. Over the weekend, though, a new thread was introduced into the narrative: it’s the iPhone’s fault. Not because it’s too popular, which has been the old complaint, but because the hardware doesn’t work right, and AT&T can’t say anything about it for fear that Steve Jobs will reach down through the clouds and smite them.
That sounds pretty tragic and sad for AT&T, but the problem is nobody knows if it’s true, or if this is yet another strategy to shift the responsibility from AT&T.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just completed a survey of wireless customers and a review of the “tens of thousands” of complaints made to the FCC every year, and they’ve reached a verdict: the FCC needs to step up and provide a better way for consumers to get help. [More]
There’s a new Consumer Reports survey out that ranks cellphone companies by customer satisfaction, and to pretty much no one’s surprise, AT&T comes in last in all 19 cities surveyed. (Verizon came in first.) As AllThingsD notes, the survey “suggests that AT&T’s shortcomings are more widespread than the carrier would have us believe and not simply the product of a high concentration of iPhones in the country’s larger cities.” [More]
Yesterday the FCC announced new, expanded rules enforcing net neutrality, and they’ve set aside the next 60 days for public debate. Get ready to hear all sorts of creative end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it arguments from opponents like AT&T. We’ve checked out the official document (pdf) and below we summarize the changes that are open to public discussion for the next two months.
Today Walmart announced that it’s launching its own wireless service, Straight Talk, on October 18th. The network will
piggyback on use TracFone’s wireless network. At launch, two pre-paid plans will be offered: a $30 package that includes 1000 minutes, 1000 text messages, and 30MB of data; or a $45 plan that includes unlimited voice, text, and data. 411 calls are free.
If you’ve been holding out on a phone upgrade or carrier switch until the Palm Pre comes to Verizon, you may need to give up the dream. The carrier has “reportedly ditched plans to offer the Palm Pre early next year,” says PC World. Apparently poor sales of the device at Sprint, combined with Verizon’s interest in upcoming Blackberry devices, killed any enthusiasm the carrier once had. Update: The no-Pre rumor may be false, according to these two analysts.
A new survey from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared annual costs around the world for consumers who have cellphones, and the U.S. is in the top three for most expensive. How expensive? DSLReports notes that “on average, the OECD found that Americans pay $635.85 on cell phone service, compared to $131.44 per year in the Netherlands or $137.94 per year in Sweden.”
Yesterday I was musing that Time Warner Cable was passing the cost of customer care off to other businesses, by requiring customers to take half-days or full days off of work just to wait for a cable repairman. Today I think I stumbled upon another hidden economic impact of bad customer service: it’s responsible for generating a lot of the “free” content online. The next time you’re reading an IMDB entry about “Damages” or “Big Love” for example, you can thank Verizon’s collection of angry, confused, and possibly insane employees, and all the idle time they create for a customer who has to deal with them.
Not content to let the RIAA get all the recent publicity for stupid lawsuits, ASCAP has sued AT&T over sales of ringtones, saying each time a ringtone plays it’s a public performance and royalties should be paid. Luckily (?) for consumers, ASCAP wants AT&T, not individuals, to pay—although we wonder what they’ll say when you take a track from your own library and make a ringtone out of it.
Yesterday, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to FCC acting chairman Michael Copps requesting an investigation into whether exclusivity deals between handset makers and national carriers are ultimately good for consumers, and they plan to hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, June 16th. They join a growing number of people and organizations, including the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), who say exclusivity deals benefit no one but the carriers and manufacturers.