Tag Archives: straighttalk

Nothing But Kudos And Lots Of It To ‘Consumer Cellular’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Forray with Straight Talk a disaster — Aug. 19, 2013.
>>
U.S. Cellular billing issues … — Sep. 20, 2013.

>> U.S. Cellular Web site & long holds

>>  … Sep. 19, 2013.


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As I have explained before we are not ‘big’ phone people. Yes, I use a phone but it is not my favorite means of communications. I prefer e-mail. We don’t use the phone much. We also only use the phone, the old fashioned way, to make calls. So we need a basic cell plan — just voice and a basic phone.

I have been with U. S. Cellular for a long, long time. Maybe since about 2000, maybe even before. To be fair they treat me well. I have been out of contract for years. But, their rates keep on going up and their customer service is hard to reach of late.

Deanna’s aunt who works for Walmart told me about ‘Straight Talk‘. That would have worked but I had a horrible experience with a dead phone.

I have been an AARP member for a decade. It is a good deal. The membership pays for itself just in hotel discounts each year. When I remember I insist on my FREE donut at Dunkin. I think it is funny that Dunkin gives U.S. seniors free donuts. That is probably the last thing they need. I never eat mine. I give it to the kids.

I had seen ‘Consumer Cellular‘ advertised with the umpteen publications we get with AARP for years. But, I kind of thought that it might be even too basic for us. I was WRONG.

I saw yet another ad. on TV the other day. Decided to check them out. Prices and terms & conditions seemed right. No contract. Family plan for just $10 extra.

But, it didn’t say, inexcusably, whether you could transfer your existing cell number — a must for us. I have had this number for over a decade. All my accounts have it.

I called the 1-888 number to check. Yes, they support number transfer — the so called number portability.

They were beyond helpful. Very pleasant. Spoke good English. No real pressure. AARP members have an iron-clad 45-day zero-risk guarantee. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on that very first call. Ordered two Motorola phones and signed up for a family plan with 500 minutes to begin with. Yes, some catches. No free calls whatsoever, even at midnight. No free incoming calls. But, I can increase minutes on the fly.

The phones arrived within 3 days. They charged within 4 hours. Called to activate the service and have the numbers transferred.

WOW. WOW! WOW!

Talk about simple. They transferred both numbers within minutes. The final two-way confirmation within the hour.

Service is provided by AT&T. Yes, initially when placing order we had to use the ZIP for Concord because their system said that Alton was not within the service area. Didn’t bother me or them. We knew that AT&T worked in Alton.

So, that is the story.

So far, so good. Very impressed. No problems. Deanna set up voice mail etc. on both phones. I am happy.

U.S. Cellular, Sheepishly, Admits In E-Mail To Billing System Errors & Issues! Amazing.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


UScellRelated posts:
>> U.S. Cellular Web site & long holds
>>  … Sep. 19, 2013.
>> U.S. Cellular 4G LTE Data …
>>Feb. 27, 2013.

>> U.S. Cellular Battery Swap …
>>Dec. 6, 2009.


Click to enlarge. This is just the top fragment. It was sent to me as an e-mail.

Click to enlarge. This is just the top fragment. It was sent to me as an e-mail.


This is why it has been SO DIFFICULT, nearly impossible to contact U.S. Cellular for the last few weeks.

They are inundated with irate customers calling in about their bills. It has also crippled their Web site.

This is why I had so much trouble Wednesday evening and night trying to contact U.S. Cellular to cancel my service. On Thursday morning after an initial wait of 40 minutes and then a second wait of 10 minutes I finally succeeded in getting my account closed. Hurrah! I am so relieved and happy. Great weight off my shoulders. I was with them for over a decade and they did look after me quite well — my gripe was just with the expense.

I don’t know where I stand with my bill with them and don’t care. I had autopay with them until I cancelled that. Because THEY SCREWED UP they don’t seem to be billing me this month. That might work out. I will have to wait and see.

I will, of course, keep you posted. In the meantime IF you get a crazy bill from U.S. Cellular or have trouble contacting them you now know why.

That they could screw up a computerized billing system in 2013 tells you a lot about how inept they can be. We have had more than 50 years of SOLID experience with computerized billing systems. Today, a halfway competent team can develop a new billing system that will blend in with no hiccups. U.S. Cellular probably outsourced this to the cheapest bidder — most likely in Mongolia. U.S. Cellular management should be ashamed.

U.S. Cellular Having Website Logon Issues And Horrendous, 2 Hour(+) Hold Times On Customer Support Calls!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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 .by
Anura Guruge


UScellRelated posts:
>> U.S. Cellular 4G LTE Data …
>>Feb. 27, 2013.

>> U.S. Cellular Battery Swap …
>>Dec. 6, 2009.


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Click to ENLARGE and read error message from U.S. Cellular.



I had noticed that they were having Website issues a few weeks ago but hadn’t given it much notice. Everything I did with U. S. Cellular, who had been my cell provider for over 12 years, was automated and rote. So I didn’t really have to do anything. They auto billed my credit card etc.

Today was a different matter.

I finally pulled the trigger. I switched to Consumer Cellular (with my AARP discount). That was as smooth as could have been. Wow. Talk about simple, straightforward and great support. Bang, bang, bang. They transferred two numbers over from U. S. Cellular, activated the service and then confirmed, an hour later, via a text message, that the two-way cell phone number transfers had been successfully achieved. Nothing but kudos for them. Very different to my abortive attempt with Walmart’s Straight Talk. More about my great experience with Consumer Cellular in a later post.

Though my account with U.S. Cellular should automatically cancel within 24 hours, now that the numbers have been successfully ported, I do NOT trust U. S. Cellular.

I tried to cancel using the Website. That didn’t go well.

Around 7:40 pm I call 611. They did say that they had long wait times because of Website and billing problems! After 45 minutes on hold, with the same bloody annoying message claiming that they can prolong your life I was disconnected.

I tried again, while watching cricket at 10 pm. 50 minutes later I got to talk to a rep.

As soon as I said I wanted to cancel she said she had to transfer me! Back on hold again.

I stayed on hold till midnight. That was a full two hours.

During that time, while I also did some research into the fascinating 18-year long Trent Council of the 16th century, I:

1/ Used U. S. Cellular’s e-mail system to request a cancellation.

2/ Filed an online complaint against U. S. Cellular with the FCC.

3/ Filed a complaint against U. S. Cellular with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) given the recent success I have had with them.

4/ I also cancelled my autopay.

What more can I do?

Just a heads up. If you need to contact U. S. Cellular you might be out of LUCK.

Sorry.

First Forray With Walmart Straight Talk, Phones & Service, Was A Total Disaster.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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 .by
Anura Guruge


UScellRelated posts:
>> U.S. Cellular 4G LTE Data …
>>Feb. 27, 2013.

>> U.S. Cellular Battery Swap …
>>Dec. 6, 2009.


We are not big phone users, I even more so than Deanna. Anybody who has tried to call me would have realized that I am in no way tied to my cell. Unless I am at this PC and my cell happens to be close by, my cell and I are usually not in the same place. I can go for days without ever picking it up. I have never texted and have no desire. Though I was involved with computer support for decades I refused to carry a pager. E-mail is my preferred means of communication. We have an 800 minute plan (or similar) with U.S. Cellular and typically use about 200 minutes a month. But, we pay $80+ a month to U.S. Cellular — and that is not because I am calling Sri Lanka (which I don’t do often). I have been with them for about 14 years! We also have a TDS landline (and pay for two) which we hardly ever use.

straighttalkSo every once in awhile I get on a kick to reduce our cell bill. Last week (or the week before) we had a visit from two of Deanna’s aunts from Maine and Maryland. The one in Maine has been a department manager at Walmart for 7 (or 9) years. She told me I should switch to Straight Talk with the $30 a phone plan. She had been using Straight Talk for a number of years — albeit with the $45, unlimited plan. So, I checked it out — with some trepidation. Once I determined that they support cell number transfer I decided to give it a try, especially because Deanna’s aunt was getting a good (AT&T) signal at the house. So, as ever, I did some poking around. The ONLY way I could beat my U.S. Cellular rate was to go with this $30 refurbished phone plan — which included the first month free. It was essentially a free refurbished Motorola phone with the first month of service. I had Motorola phones for years and was kind of partial to them. We currently have LG phones that look just like old Motorola phones. Plus, Motorola used to be a very good client.

STphoneSo I ordered two of the $30 refurbished phones last Wednesday. They came in the mail Saturday. I charged them for about 8 hours. Noticed that one phone didn’t start charging for about 10 minutes while the other started immediately. My antennae went up. Last night before I went to bed, i.e., around 1 am, I checked both phones. They were both fully charged.

This morning I went to activate them and transfer the numbers. Was NOT good. I was NOT impressed.

1. Said that my Alton zip, 03809, was NOT supported! That really got me mad. I had never seen a warning that this service was only available in certain areas. I decided to take a chance and gave it a Concord ZIP. It took that.

2. Then I got a Server Error and lost all of the data I typed. By now I was not amused.

3. Finally entered all the data required to transfer the cell number and hit enter. Nothing happened. Checked the phone. It was DEAD as a doornail. The other one was fine. There was NO way I could bring this one back to life. I plugged it back in. Nothing. Yes, I could have swapped batteries, but I would still have ended up with a dead phone.

Nothing happened with my activation, transfer etc. because the phone wouldn’t power-up. I am not impressed.

Yes, immediately got an RMA from Walmart online. No hassles there. I can return the phones at any store.

But, I lost an hour. I am not amused.

A pox on Straight Talk.