Anyone who has been through the ordeal of tying up the loose ends of a deceased loved one’s estate knows that phone companies can be huge pains in the butt, with endless, repeated requests for death certificates and CSRs constantly telling you they can’t speak to you because you’re not the account holder. And for some reason, T-Mobile thinks you should only have a few weeks to cancel this person’s account without having to incur an early termination fee.
Arnie and his wife have a fever, and the only cure is more iPhones. A shiny new iPhone 3G S to replace the clunky old 3G iPhones they’ve been forced to use, to be precise. Frustrated that the cell phone business insists on subsidizing the gadgets by only offering a sane price to new customers, or customers willing to upgrade, Arnie called AT&T. That’s when he stumbled on a solution that’s almost hilarious in its simplicity.
Comcast agreed to lower reader O.’s monthly cable bill to $40, but they didn’t warn him that the new, lower price would come with a hefty $150 early termination fee. O. could barely afford Comcast’s service before, and wouldn’t have agreed to the lower fee if he knew about the surprise fee. Comcast is telling him that he has no choice but to pay, and won’t even let him return to his previous plan.
DirecTV agreed to let Anthony cancel his service without an early termination fee because his signal would randomly fade away without explanation. What DirecTV really meant though was that they would let Anthony cancel if he paid a final bill of $446.69. After speaking with two agents who agreed that the fee should have been waived, DirecTV reduced Anthony’s bill to $445.42. A third agent told Anthony that he would need to negotiate any further deductions in writing with the dispute department…
Reader Kenneth says he escaped Sprint without paying an ETF because of our post “Escape Sprint ETF-Free Over Administrative Fee Increase.” He sent us the transcript of his chat with Sprint so you can see how he did it.
Mason used the increase in monthly administrative…
Talyor was able to leave his Verizon contract without paying an early termination fee by launching an executive email carpet bomb loaded with a polite email. In it, he says that customer service reps have refused to transfer him to a supervisor and now he needs some help. In the ensuing email exchange with the executive customer service rep who helps him, he tells her how he wants to leave because of the raise in text message rates. Frequent readers of The Consumerist will remember that when a cellphone company raises its text message rates, it’s a material change to the contract, meaning that the original contract is void and the other party can walk away from the contract without penalty. Taylor wins because he’s polite, professional, persistent, and acts like he’s conducting a business transactions, which is exactly what he’s doing. Read his blow by blow exchange, inside…
Starting November, AT&T will begin pro-rating early termination fees, and stop extending your contract when you change your calling plan. The new policy comes on the heels of a similar move by Verizon. Could we be entering a new era where cellphone companies will compete on customer satisfaction, rather than Beyoncé ringtones? Don’t think they’re doing it out of kindness, Sprint was recently sued by the Minnesota Attorney General for extending customer contracts when they changed rate plans, and AT&T wants to stay ahead of similar litigation. See, cc’ing your complaints to the Attorney General really works!
Just like we told you, T-Mobile customers can cancel their cellphone contract without paying an early termination fee, but this time, T-Mobile itself actually made a public statement saying so!
We’ve been getting quite a few letters from people who are saying that the reason Verizon won’t let them cancel is because they haven’t Txt’ed enough in the past. One rep even went so far as to tell Reader Andrew that he had to have sent 34 text messages to qualify.