Carrying around a checkbook all of the time seems outdated even by the standards of America’s grandmas. Why is it, then, that 70% of people who rent their homes write a check every month to pay the bill? That trend is changing, but very slowly. [More]
When Consumerist reader Jill’s husband left his job at Verizon earlier this year, he’d been told that he could port all five of the wireless lines on their family’s account to another carrier without paying any early termination fees, and so they did. But when that final bill came from VZW, they suddenly owed nearly $1,000 in ETFs. [More]
You know how just about every customer service phone line tells you the call could be recorded? And surely you’ve been told by some CSR, “Here is my ID number so you can refer to it when you call back”? Well, Consumerist reader Bill found out that none of this matters when trying to make his case with DirecTV.
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.
While Sprint hasn’t yet joined AT&T and Verizon Wireless in switching from unlimited data plans to tiered pricing, the company has announced it will soon jack up the cost of cancelling your smartphone contract to match the early termination fees charged by these competitors.
iPhone users sick of AT&T’s network and hoping that Verizon’s will be better will have to pay a hefty price if they want to try and switch.
Even though Verizon might have throttled back on expanding its FiOS network to new areas, the company still needs to make sure the networks it’s spent millions installing start making money. That’s why the telecom biggie has made two moves to attract reluctant consumers.
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.
Dan likes the interface and ease of texting on his Blackberry, but doesn’t need mobile Internet or e-mail. He asked his service provider, Alltel, to switch his service to a Blackberry he already owned, but without a data plan. An employee said that was possible and set it up for him, and Dan texted away happily…until he received his bill, which now contains a hefty data plan charge. Alltel now insists that Dan can’t have a Blackberry on their network without a data plan.
AT&T has announced that starting next week, it will sell the iPhone 3G to current AT&T customers sans 2-year contract, possibly in an attempt to move inventory. Unfortunately, the conditions of the sale are such that it’s not worth it unless you’re determined to own a brand new, out-of-warranty (i.e. jailbroken) iPhone 3G that you intend to use on another network. (Note: our readers point out that even that route is far cheaper if you buy with contract and pay the ETF.) Otherwise, you’ll still be locked to AT&T and you’ll still have to buy the more expensive smartphone data plan, which doesn’t include text messaging. For no-contract bragging rights, you’ll have to pay $600 or $700 depending on the model.
A little over a month ago, Mark gave up on his GoPhone SIM, went into an AT&T store with his iPhone 2G in hand, and signed up for a new two year, post-paid plan. The sales rep promised Mark that his corporate discount would apply, and instead of a contract presented just a receipt. Now AT&T is saying there’s no corporate discount on an iPhone purchase—even though he didn’t buy an iPhone, just the service plan—and that he can’t cancel now without paying an ETF because it’s past the 30 day mark.
Reader B. probably shouldn’t have used her credit to help her less-than-creditworthy brother get a cellphone, but this story has a happy ending thanks to some helpful customer service from Sprint.
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.
The attorney who won a verdict against Sprint in California has filed a $1.2 billion class action lawsuit, claiming that early termination fees are not legal. [Information Week]
Facing increased pressure from consumers and lawmakers alike, Verizon has announced that they will begin offering monthly cellphone plans with no early termination fees. Consumers wishing to take advantage of the plans will be required to pay full price for a phone, or provide their own phone, as Verizon will not be subsidizing the cost of handsets.
As the second coming of the Jesusphone 3G draws near, we wanted to remind customers of other wireless carriers that there are ways to escape your existing cellphone contract free of early termination fees, and trade your piddling Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile bills for hundreds of pages of gloriously itemized AT&T charges. Or just switch carriers.