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Cingular/AT&T Wireless Just Lost A Customer

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When I first got my cell phone about three years ago, I had a pretty rough experience with AT&T Wireless in which I had to call up and complain about three or four different times as they basically wrangled $50 out of my for phones that should’ve been free. Since then, since the service was decent and I was pretty lazy, we’ve never left AT&T Wireless as it went to Cingular and then back to AT&T Wireless (our phones still have the AT&T Wireless logo’s, the part that hasn’t rubbed off). In that time we’ve been using the same $60/mo family plan program for 550 minutes (plus 200 bonus minutes just for asking) but it’s time for a change.

It’s time for a change because my phone is starting to die its slow painful death and the speaker is getting a little difficult to hear. So I went online to see what the upgrade would entail and the system told me that I would have to call in. I called in and discovered that not only were the free phones pieces of crap, but that I’d have to pay more for the same service, plus I’d really not get any preferential treatment because I’d been a long customer of them. It’s experiences like this that make regular consumers like me not care about being loyal to a company. It’s not a bad experience, it’s just that loyalty isn’t rewarded at AT&T Wireless so I’m not going to be loyal to them. (I can’t say I’m surprised)

Anyone have any recommendations?

{ 25 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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25 Responses to “Cingular/AT&T Wireless Just Lost A Customer”

  1. Chris says:

    Yes, at&t uses a gsm network. You can get just about any phone, unlocked or locked to at&t/cingular, and use it just by swapping your sim card. The phone I use with them now is not the one I had when I first started their service.

    Their phones are not free. Getting a phone through them will lock you back into another 2 year contract. Loyalty isn’t rewarded. If you like your contract just keep it. Making any changes will just result in headaches. Anytime I depend on the CSR of just about any utility, especially cellphone companies, to do anything phone or bill related there is a darn good chance they are just going to mess it up – because they are underpaid and don’t care. The more the my service is maintenance free and automated the better.

    My current phone, which I got after my Treo 600 died, is an $18 Cingular GoPhone (specifically a Motorola C139). It works fine, has great battery life and is simple to use and small in size. I didn’t call them to change my new phone, I just popped my new sim card in.

    Btw, the Treo 600 I was using was a non-Cingular phone someone unlocked and put on ebay, which I bought and – you guessed it – just popped in my sim card and went on my merry way.

    If you need/want a warranty on your phone, buy it new and unlocked direct from the manufacturer. Keep it in good condition and you can probably sell it when you want to upgrade for more than any “subsidy” the service provider would offer you.

    Most big companies don’t reward loyalty – they don’t have to. There are a dozen people behind you ready to sign up. They don’t have a choice. When you have a limited selection of companies for any given service and they are ALL lousy and they ALL have bad customer support, we don’t have any choice. All we can really do is try to get it all set up with minimal frustration and never deal with them again until it’s time to cancel.

  2. Traci says:

    Have you tried talking with a supervisor or with an employee at an ATT Wireless store? Oftentimes when you threaten to leave, all of the sudden they are willing to bargain with you.

    Here’s an article from the Consumerist with some tips on negotiating a new contract:
    link

  3. Quizme says:

    Get a phone from Ebay, skip the store!

    I went through a similar change. I have been with sprint since 1998. I have had purchased a new phone with a 1 or 2 year contract. My last phone was a treo 650 that was purchased with a 2 yr contract. Well I lost that phone 1 year in. So I just used a old phone to make it through my contract. Then I lost it as well. So two months from my contract renewal I could get sprint to give me any break at all on a new phone.

    So I went to ebay, and got a sighlty used sprint flip phone with a new charger for $30. Called Sprint and got the activation fee wavied. No new contract, a working phone, and no annoying sales pitch.

    I’ll never buy a phone with a contract again.

  4. MoneyNing says:

    Wow you are a pretty loyal customer to stay with them for 3 years. You can usually make some cash from changing mobile phone companies so start shopping around!

  5. buttercrud says:

    Believe me, they all suck. There’s not really any such thing as a reasonable cell phone company (nor airline or credit card company for that matter). They kinda got us by the umm… ball-like objects (a.k.a. balls!!) I will say Verizon has the best call quality.

  6. Patrick says:

    Check with your employer first to see if they offer a discount with any companies. If so, it is probably best to go that route.

    As far as staying with AT&T, you can get cheap phones through eBay or the other methods mentioned – just don’t renew your contract and your rates should stay the same as they are now – you will just be in a month to month status which means no contract. They tick you off again and your outta there! No contract = no fees for leaving.

    I ended up leaving Cingular a year ago b/c I had bad reception at my house (I don’t have a land line; bad reception is a big problem) and my employer offered a Verizon discount. I went there have been very happy since. Good luck!

  7. sean says:

    i was with verizon for 10 years but recently left them to get the iphone. they threw so much at me and i’ve had nothing but excellent service from them i am a fool for leaving. i can recommend verizon’s service and call reliability….only thing about them? their phone selection is extrememly limited and stale. they claim it’s because of their stringent qc to ensure network reliability but the fact remains if you’re looking for an advanced phone that is hot, you’ll never get it on verizon.

  8. Zack says:

    I recently left Verizon and switched to the T-Mobile wifi plan. If you’ve got a wifi network at home, and especially if you’ve got wifi at work, it’s a great deal. $10/month on top of a regular T-Mobile plan and all the calls over wifi are free, even international calls. T-Mobile’s network is not that great, but since I spend 90% of my time in a wifi network, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m paying $50/month (less than half of what Verizon was costing me) and I can talk until the battery dies and not pay a minute extra.

    The downside is the phone selection — so far, there are only two wifi phones for the plan. The Nokia one is the way to go. It’s slightly better than the Samsung, but it’s nothing special.

    http://t-mobile.com/promotions/hotspotathomelearnmore.aspx?WT.mc_n=HotSpotatHm_index&WT.mc_t=OnSite

  9. Hawkmoon Nine says:

    Go into a company store. We have the same family plan with Cingular/AT&T and wanted to get new phones in March (contract was up and wife wanted a Razor). I didn’t like any of the new plans they offered, so they said I could stay with our 550 minute plan and just had to sign up for 2 more years of that. Phones were $50 ($100 plus $50 rebate). And ask them to waive the activation fee (in-store they don’t get commission on activation, so they don’t care about it). We’re staying with them since we get a 15% discount on service through my wife’s work.

    Moral of the story – go in person to the AT&T/Cingular store.

  10. ignar says:

    Another vote for SERO. For what you get for what you pay, SERO can’t be beat.

  11. Paula says:

    I have had Verizon for over 4 years. They reward loyalty. Upgraded phones every 18 to 24 months and helpful customer service both in-store and over the phone. I am very happy with them.

  12. Blaine Moore says:

    I’ve been happy with US Cellular. I’ve had bad experiences with Sprint. I haven’t used anybody else.

  13. Scott says:

    My contract with Verizon recently ran out. About one month before it did they sent an offer for 1000 “anytime” minutes (can be used to cover overages throughout the year). I didn’t take it but waited until the contract ran out. Then they sent an offer for one month’s access free (save about $35) so I took it and got a new 2yr contract and also upgraded my phone for free with their New Every Two deal. I figured they would stop sending offers now that they had hooked me – nope. Last week I got another offer for 2000 anytime minutes (certainly better than their previous offer) so I called them up and renewed my plan again (effectively only extending it one month) and got 2000 “anytime” minutes for free. I’ve never had problems with them, just my own stupidity for calling my parents on their land line too much and/or going swimming with my phone.

  14. Chris says:

    I just recently left T-Mobile for essentially the same reason. After being a customer for almost a decade, I lost my phone and couldn’t get a replacement without being shoved into some 2yr contract that was way more expensive than the plan I was currently on and they basically didn’t give a crap that I had contributed probably almost $10,000 for their phone service over my time with them. So I left, since my contract was up anyway and switched to Verizon. Which so far has been a really nice change of pace. I seriously cannot find a single spot anywhere that I don’t get reception! The plans are essentially the same (only a few bucks more expensive) and the customer service has been top notch. Plus myself and my fiance got about $400 in phones for next to nothing and we can upgrade every 2 years for free which is nice. Plus the best part of all is that all these network guys are always hanging around so I put em to work making my breakfast and doing the laundry, etc. my house has never been cleaner! Thanks Verizon! ^_^

  15. Junior says:

    I had much the same experience with AT&T and have recently switched to T-mobile as my provider. I documented my reasons and my experience here: http://logicbound.blogspot.com/search/label/phone . I’ve been very happy since the change and would recommend it to any AT&T customer.

  16. steve says:

    Stay with AT&T, they want you, they’ll work with you, and they are becoming more and more customer focused. You’ll regret your move, and long for the days of AT&T…

  17. KK says:

    Well,
    Since there are alot of choices out there, I would start off by how many minutes you actually use. Yes we all want a fancy with a camera. I was a customer with Cingular for 4 years. I left because I was sick of paying $55 a month and not really talking. So, after doing some research T-mobile prepaid plan worked best for me. Why? Well for my area there was great coverage. Importantly I liked their plan. For $100.00 bucks you get 1000 minutes. I also paid $30 bucks for a decent Nokia and with the purchase of the phone, I also receive about 200 extra minutes. So in all I had about 1200 minutes. It is now September (got the phone and plan in February) and I still have over 400 minutes. This is good for those that maybe keep conversations down to 5 minutes.

  18. skadoo323 says:

    And another vote for Sprint SERO.

  19. Evan says:

    I was about to leave AT&T when I destroyed my mins for the 4th month in a row. I called got one person and told them I was leaving and the deal with TMobile – he wished me good luck!

    So then I literally asked him if I could speak to someone who cares to keep me as a customer….I got a supervisor.

    Explained the situation, she gave me a new phone (blackjack) 4800 rollover mins and $120 retroactive credit. Its all about who you get on the phone

  20. Lazy Man says:

    I can’t recommend this idea enough. Go to a Sprint store and get a employee’s business card… it’s a piece cake, they are just there. Come back and go to http://www.sprint.com/sero and sign up for one of the best deals I’ve ever found in cell phone plans…

  21. Aleigh says:

    We recently left ATT/Cingular after they would not upgrade my phone and after they screwed us over last sumer with a store worker who told us everything wrong-we had to call for months after the fact and get our bill fixed b/c of what we were told by him.
    Anyhow we called to talk to an ATT/Cingular supervisor who told us if we didn’t like it we could leave which after finding Verizon we did. Then when we called back to cancel the person we then talked to was like oh I wish you had called us first-we said we talked to 3 different ATT/Cingular people you being number 4 now and no one would budge. SORRY.
    Kicker-She said she hoped we would come back. Nope-No way-No How!

  22. Eric says:

    Late comment so doubt many will read. However, in my experience of selling plans and phones to customers directly, for various service providers, I have found that no provider is any more loyal than another. They all rape their customers and manipulate the offerings in an attempt to make you “up grade” or whatever you want to call it. In my opinion, and what I have done ever since my first and only contract 10 yrs ago , the best approach to not not getting screwed is to buy used, preferably unlocked, phones on ebay, from friends, family, doesn’t matter (make sure service and phone is compatible, GSM phone for GSM network). It’s not worth upgrading, it’s not worth signing another contract, screw them as much as they screw their other customers who do not realize what is happening to them.

  23. Katrin says:

    I would say that none of the have any appreciation for the customers that have been around w/ them for a while. Because they have you tied to a contract, they think that they don’t need to “sell” you anymore. :( I’m w/ Verizon because of the quality of the calls, not the service they provide… and they don’t have the best phones… I feel like it’s a lose lose situation.

  24. LARRY SHIVELY says:

    NY WIFE AND I WERE PAYING ABOUT $269.00 A MONTH FOR TV HONE PHONE CELL PHONE AND INTERNET I SAW AN AD ON THE NET FOR A BUNDLE OF FOUR DISH TV, HOME PHONE,CELL PHONE AND HIGH SPEED INTERNET ALL FOUR FOR A TOTAL OF $98.00 PLUS TAX AFTER 12 MONTHS THEN THE BILL WOULD BE $134.00 PLUS TAX I BOUGHT THIS PLAN IN AUGUST AND EVERY MONTH TILL DECEMBER I HAVE RECEIVED ADIFFERENT BILL I SPENT OVER 6 HOURS TALKING TO ATT TOP PEOPLE AND WAS ASSURED THAT ALL WOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF THREE TIMES I WAS TOLD I HAD TO PAY MORE MONEY FOR THE CELL PHONE A SUPERVISOR TOLD ME IN OCTOBER THAT JUST PAY THE BILL AND SHE WOULD HAVE IT TAKEN CARE OF BUY DECEMBER AGAIN I RECEIVED A CALL SAYING MY CELL PHONE WAS TO BE TURN OFF I CALLED AND ASK WHAT THE BLANK WAS GOING ON THE FIRST SUPERVISOR HAD SAID SHE WOULD GIVE ME $250..0 OR MORE IN CREDITS FOR MY TROUBLE WELL GUESS WHAT NO CREDIT AND I WAS TOLD THAT IT WOULD COST ME $175.00 EACH TO DISCONNECT MY TV PHONE CELL PHONE AND INTERNET FOR A TOTAL$600.00 SO ATT & T CAN KISS MY YOU KNOW WHAT I PAID THE $175.00 TO STOP THE CELL PHONE AND AS SOON AS MY CONTRACT RUNS OUT ON THE REST I WILL CANCEL AND NEVER USE THIS CROOKED BUNCH OF A HOLES AGAIN BEWARE THEY ARE THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF CROOKS OUT THERE LARRY SHIVELY


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