Cingular Denies Contract Termination Without Penalty Request Based On Supposed Difference Between The Words "Revised" And "Modified"

William tried without success to cancel his Cingular contract without early termination fee based on the info in “Script For Escaping Cingular Contracts Without Fee, Based On New Arbitration Clause.”

He turboed up to executive customer service rep Nathanial Camper, who currently denies William’s request based on a supposed difference between the words “Revised” and “Modified.”

Cingular’s January bill says, “We are pleased to advise you that Cingular has revised the ARBITRATION CLAUSE”

The CTIA Cingular subscribes to says, “Carriers will not modify the material terms of their subscribers’ contracts in a manner that is materially adverse to subscribers.”

Based on this, Nathaniel Camper feels that the CTIA doesn’t apply, as the change is a “revision” and not a “modification.”

It doesn’t matter what word you use, it’s a material change to contract and the terms are materially adverse. Therefore, by the legal terms of the agreement that Cingular itself drafted, customers can end the contract without penalty. End. Of. Story.

Our advice to William is to call back again and try hammering at other reps. Maybe you’ll get a weaker one, or one that doesn’t think he’s a professional semanticist.

Or, go for the gusto and sue Cingular. That’s what they’re basically asking for with this coyness anyway. Take inspiration from this man, who sued Dell by serving the papers to a Dell mall kiosk . When they didn’t show up to court, he won by default. — BEN POPKEN

William’s letter:

After spending sometime researching an issue authored by the Consumerist, it seems as Cingular is unilaterally changing material contract terms and pricing in violation of their policies in material changes to the wording of the contract. In addition is is changing the pricing structure for text messaging from $.10 to $.15 changing the pricing of the service.

Executive Customer Service, Nathaniel Camper, from Cingular refuses to acknowledge a break in contract by Cingular in modifying material changes in the text of Dispute Resolution and Arbitration without the required fourteen days of notification.

Nathaniel Camper’s argument yesterday evening hinged arguing that it is a “revision” and not a “modification” (see below).

In regards to the change in price of text messaging, Nathaniel Camper’s argument yesterday is using the terminology that it is changing the price of a “feature” not a “service”. Last I checked Text Messaging as setup as part of the account and incoming messages are charged to the account regardless if it is from a person I know or do not know.

As I have exhausted all logical means of this addressing this issue with Cingular short of Arbitration itself as in Dispute Resolution proceedings the cost of arbitration is most likely on the consumer and selection of the arbitrator is most likely by Cingular. This would seem to indicate a process that is not exactly an impartial. Cingular seems to be attempting changing contract terms in violation of its own policies and refuses to acknowledge such when clear and logical evidence is presented of them doing so.

What would you recommend?

Notice in January Bill from Cingular:

    “NOTICE OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION AGREEMENT IN CONTRACT. 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 ww.cingular.com/disputeresolution. This revision is effective immediately.”

CTIA Section 7

    “Provide customers the right to terminate service for changes to contract terms. Carriers will not modify the material terms of their subscribers’ contracts in a manner that is materially adverse to subscribers without providing a reasonable advance notice of a proposed modification and allowing subscribers a time period of not less than 14 days to cancel their contracts with no early termination fee.”

Previously:
Cingular Arbitration Escape Script Addendum
Script For Escaping Cingular Contracts Without Fee, Based On New Arbitration Clause