Consumer Reports Survey Discovers People Hate Cell Phone Companies

The next issue of Consumer Reports will contain the results of a nationwide customer satisfaction survey for the mobile phone industry. In a surprise to no one who actually has a mobile phone, the cellular industry is “among the lowest-rated services” for consumers, particularly because of termination fees, high prices, and confusing contracts.

Survey respondents were mainly dissatisfied with mandatory contract extensions imposed on them by wireless carriers, as well as the high cost of service. More than 60% of respondents that made changes to their service plan last year were required to extend their contract. In some cases, carriers aren’t upfront with customers about extensions so the 60% survey result might downplay the problem, according to Consumer Reports.

The Daily News writes that “The satisfaction rating is markedly less than similar figures for other services like cable and satellite TV or Internet service providers,” and that “cell phone companies also get poor marks for customer service.”

“More Than Half Of Cell Phone Users Dissatisfied: Consumer Reports Survey” [Information Week]
“Consumer Reports study garners rave reviews for iPhone, Verizon
[Daily News]

Consumer Reports
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. jkaufman101 says:

    um, this is news?

  2. ironchef says:


    /end sarcasm

  3. Buran says:

    If you voluntarily sign up for something this bad, don’t be surprised when you get bent over. You knew going into it that it would possibly be bad, right? You could have gone prepaid, after all.

  4. bohemian says:

    There was a time when electricity was considered a luxury and it wasn’t regulated as utilities are today.
    Time to declare the cell phone carriers public utilities.

  5. lostalaska says:

    I live up in Alaska our Cell phone rates are ridiculous and we pay a premium for the hand me down technology our local cell phone providers use for our just upgraded to CDMA network.

  6. peggynature says:

    …wait, what was the consensus on that pay-phone story again?

  7. scampy says:

    A lot of us hate cell phones as well. They are nothing but a nuisance to everyone around the person using them. We didnt need them 30 years ago and we dont need them now!!

  8. BigNutty says:

    Unfortunately we do need them now because the pay phones in public places are becoming extinct.

  9. kingoftheroad40 says:

    I would not have a cell phone if my local phone co. did not charge me long distance or .30 cents a minute to call my friends 30 miles away. My land line is for junk like the 10% off for applying for the store credit card .

  10. warf0x0r says:

    I signed up for Sprint PCS in 2001 (when my college roomate took off with a 16yo and didn’t pay the $300 phone bill so they cut us off, which is a funny story) changed my plan once in 2003 and since then pay 34 bucks a month for 300 minutes.

    Sprint has never messed with me… to my knowledge.

  11. chuloallen says:

    @scampy: Speak for yourself. My phone is my planner, internet connection, check book, GPS map and navigator and camera. Plus i dont have to be at home when some one calls me. Cell phones are a convenience and becoming more and more necessary, but more etiquette and common sense is necessary

  12. eimajuno says:

    I work in the cellular industry and I have seen all sorts of odd things happen to customers with or without their knowledge. I think that it is not entirely the company(s) fault all the time. I have been doing this job for about 4 years and not once have a seen a single customer read the entire fine print at the bottom before signing. Also, since the providers in the US give huge incentives ie free phones, people think that if they break their phone and they are midcontract, they can just get another one for the same or similar prices. They are shocked to fine out that the cheapo freebie phone that they got costs close to $200 when they are in a contract. This is the carriers fault. The cellular companies in Europe don’t offer the same huge incentives and you see people over there spending money on phones that are quality. Free phones are free for a reason. I’m not saying that everyone should go out and spend $500 whenever they need a new phone but if you are getting an upgrade, you can get a very good mid range phone for under $100 as opposed to the “free” low end phone that will probably not perform as well.

    From a consumer standpoint, since I do have a phone myself, I have not really had an issue with my provider (Cingular/AT&T). I have had them for over 7 years. Whenever I feel like getting a new phone, I just buy one at full retail without a contract. To me a $50 rebate is not worth it to sign up for another 2 years. My bill is over $50 a month so that money, if you are lucky enough to get the rebate approved by the company, is worthless to me. Also, I think that carriers should eliminate the 2 year contract. I have found it vary rare that a phone lasts that long, and I have owned close to a 100 different models. Also, after the first year, the phone no longer has a warranty so if their is any sort of failure that was not induced by the user, the customer is S.O.L. and has to foot the bill of a new phone. I stay contract free. When I signed up, back 7 years ago, I specifically requested a 1 year contract, just in case the service wasn’t so great and I wanted to leave.

  13. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    People are letting pay phones fade away so tough shit if you hate your cell phone company. People forget that 10 years ago cell phones were rare. Now you have 11 year olds with cells. Don’t curse your dealer for your addiction after handing over your money.

  14. jamar0303 says:

    We really need *more* foreign competition here. T-Mobile was the first, Helio was the second, and they’ve done quite a bit of good. Now for Softbank to enter the US market… Great phones and great service plans (they know what a loyalty program is- 50% off your service fees for signing a 2-year contract, and an additional 5% off for each year you’re with them).

  15. jamar0303 says:

    @jamar0303: Well, up to 5 years, that is.

  16. I got surveyed for that survey. And I most certainly did NOT give Verizon rave reviews. I gave Verizon “stinking pile of crap but unfortunately only available carrier” reviews.

  17. emjsea says:

    EIMAJIMO wrote: “Also, I think that carriers should eliminate the 2 year contract. I have found it vary rare that a phone lasts that long, and I have owned close to a 100 different models.”

    Oh, really… so you’ve been using a cell phone for close to 150 years or so? Or do you just use 10 or 20 at a time? Great industry talking points, otherwise.

  18. eimajuno says:

    I was simply stating that I have owned a lot of phones. I was only keeping the model that I was using for a few months and then I would sell it for a new model. When the phones were sold, they were in perfect working order.

  19. Egakino says:

    @eimajuno: Wow, talk about consumer waste.

  20. jeff303 says:

    @scampy: We also don’t “need” anything beyond a cave and a sharp stick. What’s your point?

  21. MeOhMy says:

    The sad thing is…how hard would it be for just one mobile provider to decide to actually PROVIDE good service and cause a customer service war? I don’t hate T-Mobile, but I don’t love them either. I think they’re the best of the providers in my area. That’s not saying much.

  22. axiomatic says:

    Honestly, I never talk on my cellphone. It is my work email/calendar/task/music/photo device.

    So if I’m irritating you, it’s not because I’m talking on the phone, it’s just me…. and I’m irritating you INTENTIONALLY.


  23. hustler says:

    Just like cable companies. If they all suck ass, then why change?

  24. Trackback says:

    The next issue of Consumer Reports will publish a survey that marks cellular carriers as among the most hated companies in America. We hate them more than traditional telcos, cable companies and banks: more than half the nation’s cellphone users are upset by their carrier.

  25. Cowboys_fan says:

    I have to disagree that cost of service is too high. If you can’t get by on 1000 mins + free N&W for $40-50/mo, then GET OFF YOUR PHONE! You don’t need data, ringtones, etc, and if you do, then you can afford it. The contracts are total BS though.

  26. vastrightwing says:

    I have Sprint, with 4 phones and they have not been a problem to me. I get 2500 mins/$160. As long as I don’t mess with my plan, everything is good. However, change anything? I’m calling customer service the next 4 months until it gets fixed.

  27. BugMeNot2 says:

    The cost of the “free” phone is built into the monthly rate. So if you don’t take the “free” phone, you are still paying for it every month, contract or not. It is a huge ripoff and scam.