Consumer Outrage: Cell Phone Complaints

Cell phone horrors

Dropped calls, early termination fees, inconvenient massive brain tumors… Well, OK, the tumor thing hasn’t been proven. But it seems everyone these days has a beef, big or small, with their mobile phone carrier. Last year alone, the Better Business Bureau processed more than 36,000 complaints in North America. Here are some of the most cringe-worthy encounters we’ve seen lately. Photo Credit: katie@!


TracFone customer service hell

One customer’s perception of prepaid cell phone carrier TracFone evolved from positive to overwhelmingly negative. “First of all, about a year ago, when we first got Tracphones [sic], the service, the phones etc. all worked as promised. But now? What a nightmare! Today, for example, I tried 175 times to add purchased minutes to my daughter’s phone. Then I made four calls, trying to add the minutes through a bot (FAIL) and three non-English speaking human bots,” the user alleged. 175 attempts to add minutes? Sounds like 170 attempts too many. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Dipping into the customer’s piggy bank?

One user, IglooKing, alleged that Verizon Wireless was withdrawing money from his bank account without permission: “On three separate occasions in the past six months Verizon Wireless has used my check/debit card without my permission. This is a violation of the Terms of Service, and they admit this. These debits cost me $500 on overdraft charges (Yes, banks let you overdraw on debit cards so they can hit you big with fees).” Yikes! This customer claims to be taking action, though: “I have filed formal complaints with: FCC; FTC; California Public Utilities Commission; USPS Postmaster General, and others. Wish me luck.” Good luck. Photo Credit: Logan Antill


Hidden charges

One user alleges sneaky billing practices: “We bought new Cell phones and Re upped our plan. When the bill came there was a charge of $36.00 dollars to move the information from 1 phone to another. This was not mentioned when you by the phone either verbally on on the receipt. Every time I do anything with AT&T. There is always a hidden charge. The last time AT&T double charged me for the internet, putting it on the U-verse bill and the cell phone bill.” A bill of $36 for attaching a cord and hitting “transfer” does indeed sound excessive. But let’s face it, it’s better than having to re-enter all of your contacts. That’s the worst. Photo Credit: Getty Images


The $1,000 error

One user alleges costly contract issues: “T-Mobile changed my plan without my knowledge. That resulted in charges in excess of $1,000. I called, they apologized and assured me the error would be corrected and my plan would be fixed. My phone was then disconnected. I called again! T-Mobile apologized again. My account was credited back over $1,000. I thought GREAT. I receive another bill weeks later with the same problem. I am now being told that even though T-Mobile broke their contract with me and caused my phone to be disconnected because of their error, I MUST PAY 60% more for the same services that I have had for years.” T-Mobile… Get more. And by more, they mean more charges, right? Photo Credit: jugglerpm


Harsh words for Sprint

Sounds like Sprint could simplify some of their plans, as one user, jollymon, alleges: “Run don't walk away from Sprint. I entered into a family pack plan, which Sprint heavily promotes. They do this because 1) it is more confusing to keep track of their billing, the bills are 80-100 pages long, 2) they know you will likely stay rather than pay $200 termination fee per phone. I paid Sprint over $7000 in one year for a plan that was supposed to be $169.99 per month. The customer no service is not even describable. The list of excuses they give is endless. DO NOT ENTER INTO ANY CONTRACT WITH SPRINT, YOU WILL LIVE TO REGRET IT.” I like the part about “customer no service.” Photo Credit: hyku


Data erasure

One customer alleges his (or her) phone got the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind treatment from Verizon: “My phone just flat out erased everything I had on it. Contacts, pictures everything! I called customer service, took it to a store, took it to another store to do system scan and nothing. Long story short had to pay for another phone or if I wanted to send it in it for replacement it cost $50. At the time bought the cell phone was over $200, why should I have to pay if it just breaks on its own?” But hey, look on the bright side: great excuse not to return certain people’s calls. Photo Credit: Angela Rosati


10 gigabytes in one day?

Something sounds fishy about this AT&T Wireless experience. The user, MichelleH78, alleges some pretty quirky billing practices involving a wireless card for use with her computer: “I bought a data connect card from AT&T Wireless last month. I chose the the largest plan available (5GB) and was told by the salesman that each GB would cover over 1,000 e-mails. The goal was to use the card one day a week, while I work at home, so this seemed fine (I average about 100 e-mails a day at most, sent and received). At the end of the 1st day, I checked my usage. 10GB already! Yes boys and girls that is TWICE the covered usage in only 1 day. I was ONLY using the internet for connection to Outlook (via VPN) and my company's website for ONE day. Furious, I took the card back to AT&T and expressed my disbelief at the supposed usage. A different sales person said that I could not possibly have used so much data--that it would have been almost impossible to use this amount in one day. Another sales person gave him a half grin, sideways glance and then looked down. I cancelled the account then and there, returned the merchandise, closed the account, and got out of the store before punching this guy (I am usually not a violent person, but his smug response and inability to do anything about the pending usage charges were making me see red!). Fast forward 2 days--I called AT&T--to make sure the account was closed and check the damages--"No ma'am, there are no usage charges on your account. I show you only used about 4 MB of data." Phew. Relief. Issue dropped. Fast forward to today, about a month after the cancellation. I received a bill in the mail for--get this-- $560.51!!! The usage is listed as about 1.5 GB over the allowable 5GB. Which brings me to the reason for my post: WHAT CAN I DO TO GET THIS WRITTEN OFF? 8 hours of very limited use SHOULD NOT have racked up this many MB/GB of usage. About 60 e-mails were sent and received, with no attachments larger than 1MB.” Sixty e-mails should not cost $560.51. That’s more than $9 per email sent or received — a reasonable bandwidth rate if she was writing to someone on Mars. Photo Credit: revdave


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