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Cell phone ripoff?


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My brother fell for a bellsouth deal. Cingular cellphones. He got me one too and that's nice of him. I have actually survived without one for many years now. They do come in handy, though.

 

He got his because he does weekend hikes out in the boonies for his thesis. I told him that Cingular might not even pick up out there. Back home, Cingular service is spotty. AT&T has the broadest coverage.

 

He had to do a 24 month deal, said they said it's standards. I dunno, if it would have been me, I would not sign a 24 month deal. That might be what they come at you with but man, that's a long time.

 

Is Cingular any good?

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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I wouldn't worry about signal if you have Cingular, Cingular phones are mostly GSM now, and there going thru a rebuild across country to adapt to that technology.

 

I also heard Cingular is also absorbing AT&T, so it could be the way to go. Also, you can reduce the singular deals from 24 months to 12 months if you ask. It's usually like a $50 equipment charge. The national coverage is pretty good, but I think what makes them so popular is that folks get local & cell in one phone bill with Bellsouth and Cingular.

 

All in all the top dog in the industry is Verizon wireless as far as popularity goes, but with the Cingular merger with the bell companies SBC & BST, as well as the pending merger with AT&T, it kinda makes people lean toward Cingular at some point.

It's very coompetitive out there so you can get good deals. Cingular can give you deals with National GSM coverage and about 500 daytime minutes, Unlimited cingular to cingular calling, and 5k night & weekend mins for about $40 a month. Many companies have simalar deals now so it's just a matter of choice. The one thing I can tell you about cingular service is make sure you get the phone you want and the plan up front! By your own phone if you have to, cause upgrading, downgrading and switching out is a bitch. No, Im not an employee, but one of my vocalists is so...

 

Good luck!

TROLL . . . ish.
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I'm not a Cingular customer, but it sounds pretty standard to me.

 

Most providers offer shorter-term contracts, or even pay-as-you-go as well, but there are incentives for signing up for longer-term contracts, like better rates, free phones, etc. And every provider has different combinations of incentives, no doubt intentionally contrived to make comparisons between providers difficult, if not impossible. It's about as greasy as auto retailing.

 

The thing to watch out for is what happens when the contract expires. Most go month-to-month, or option to cancel with 60 days notice, but Suncomm (AT&T), for example, had this interesting practice of automatically renewing one for an entire year on each contract anniversary. And they cleverly did not note the anniversary date on the monthly statement, or inform one when the current contract was about to expire. Consequently, it was easy to get stuck for up to an additional year of "service," or pay an early-termination fee. While this was spelled out in the original contract, it was not one of their prominent selling points, and their clear intent was roping people into staying with them longer than they might want to.

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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

What's GSM? geo satellite ?

 

What's it mean in real world terms?

Well it's been years since I worked in Telephony(former MCI), but lets see if I can make it clearer..

 

It stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. It's a newer network which transitions from the old TDMA network(no I don't remember what TDMA stands for), very similar to the transition from analog to digital etc.

GSM is a network mainlly built to support new data features such as GPRS, Java, Picture Messaging etc.

 

What it's really doing is paving the way for the eventual transition to the Next Generation or 3G network.... I have no clue about 3G, so don't ask! :P I can tell you that years ago one of the goal of cellular telephony was to be able to use 1 phone anywhere in the world, but I believe were already there so I have as much to learn as you do on that one.

TROLL . . . ish.
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Originally posted by Botch.:

Sorta OT: what type of thesis requires hiking into the backcountry every weekend? I could go back to school for that! :idea:

Biology. He already has a Masters in geology and a PhD in paleontology, so, don't ask me why he wants to do this. I think he just likes to go to school.

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Originally posted by Dennyf:

...The thing to watch out for is what happens when the contract expires. Most go month-to-month, or option to cancel with 60 days notice, but Suncomm (AT&T), for example, had this interesting practice of automatically renewing one for an entire year on each contract anniversary. And they cleverly did not note the anniversary date on the monthly statement, or inform one when the current contract was about to expire. Consequently, it was easy to get stuck for up to an additional year of "service," or pay an early-termination fee. While this was spelled out in the original contract, it was not one of their prominent selling points, and their clear intent was roping people into staying with them longer than they might want to.

Funny you should mention this. I had a Suncomm telephone until it was lost at the supermarket. (I didn't have replacement coverage and really couldn't justify the expense. The contract was up in a little over a month so I didn't replace it.)

 

I had no idea where I lost it. Actually, I thought it was lost in the tall grass out back. I had to use a weed-wacker to cut the entire backyard for fear of destroying the phone in a mower blade.

 

I phoned them immediately to try calling the phone, but it showed as being off. I then suspended the service. No one could use the phone without verifying their identity. So I lost a month of service, but protected myself from any unauthorized use. A few days prior to the end of contract I again contacted them to cancel the service. They tried to get me into another free phone. I informed them I could not afford $50/month plus taxes for a phone and declined their new offer.

 

A week or two pass and I receive a bill for my next month's service. :mad: Friday night, too, so "end-of-contract" department was gone for the weekend. I stewed for 3 days before I could reach someone. I explained the situation and told them to cancel the service and mark my account paid. They told me since it wasn't closed I'd have to pay a $200+ fee for early cancellation of service. It took me a few supervisors before they realized I was serious. I informed them I wouldn't even need to hire a lawyer. My home phone bill (showing the calls to cancel the service) plus no calls into or out of the cell phone for 2 months plus their customer service records would add up to an FCC investigation for fraud. (BTW - The phone was still missing at this point. It showed up at the customer service desk of Kroger a few weeks later.)

 

Even so, it still took several more calls in the next month or two to completely eradicate this fraudulent billing from my account and close it.

 

Let's just say I'm ecstatic to be issued a cell phone paid for by my employer. If I never deal with the slime known as cell phone providers again it will be too soon. :rolleyes:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Neil, I am convinced that CenturyTel (a very large telcom) fraudulently bills stuff. I have watched what they do for years and it has happened so many times, I am convinced they actually screw people on purpose. Things show up on your bill that you didn't buy, ridiculous overcharges for long distance billing, like $2.00 a minute, all kinds of stuff. It's insane.

 

I have paid my mom's phone bill for years. Recently, I called just to pay the bill. The girl would not even confirm the balance, saying I am not authorized. I said I know you are just doing your job but I AM SERIOUSLY PISSED OFF. Do you understand me. I am furious. Please get your supervisor on the phone. The reason I was so mad is they continue to do this shit. I am authorized and have spoken with them for YEARS. I told her the *^(%^& database is effed up. That this has happened every couple of years off and on. Your company is incompetent! Man, I was mad. This is a billion dollar company. I was just trying to confirm the balance. I've gone ring around the rosie with them so much, it's pathetic. What a time waster.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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When I was working for Circuit City we sold cell phones for Cingular, among others. 24 months was never the standard deal, 12 months was. The cell phone's service center (where we opened the account for the store customer) always asked if the customer wanted 2 years instead of just one, but no one was ever forced into a 2 year contract.

 

Did you go to a kiosk in the mall? A franchise dealer? They will force you into a 2 year deal because the commission is bigger. I always try to go to a corporate-owned store.

There are two theories about arguing with a woman. Neither one works.
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I truly don't understand all the hoopla over these gadgets. I dig the technology, but as soon as you get one your time is no longer your own.

 

I won't be falling for any deals anytime soon.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

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Originally posted by coyote:

I truly don't understand all the hoopla over these gadgets. I dig the technology, but as soon as you get one your time is no longer your own.

It adds convenience to your life. You don't have to answer it if you don't want to.
There are two theories about arguing with a woman. Neither one works.
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For me, a one or two year contract on a cell phone just adds a $40 bill every month that I have to pay. If you really use a cell phone all the time, then it can be worth it. I use my cell phone for an emergency phone when I'm out in the sticks (camping, hiking) or if my Jeep breaks down somewhere. I don't have a lot of family, so the phone sits quite a bit. It is nice to have it when you need it. I also use it to forward calls from my land line if I'm expecting an important call, and I'm not going to home, Otherwise I just let the voice mail take over.

 

The best deal for a cell phone that's primarily used as above is a "Free up" cell phone (pre paid cards). I got mine from Verizon so I get excellent coverage in my area, and it only costs me $15.00 a month. You buy a pre paid card every other month for $30.00 and its good for two months activation. Advantages: No monthly bill that I have to pay if I lose my job. I can "cancel" by just not buying any more pre paid cards. Drawbacks: You have to buy your own phone and it costs 35 cpm during prime hours to use it; 10 cpm evening hours. :freak:

 

Ever wonder what we did before cell phones, personal computers, PDA's, and microwave ovens? :confused:

 

I can remember those days, and I think the techhology is a GAS. The best thing is they all have on/off switches. :D

 

Mike T.

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Originally posted by Botch.:

Sorta OT: what type of thesis requires hiking into the backcountry every weekend? I could go back to school for that! :idea:

Off the top of my head:

 

Geology

Forestry management

Biology

GSTN (Graduate School of Ted Nugent) :P;)

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Long term contracts can be a problem. Month to month contracts are hard to come by.

 

A few companies allow you to back out within a fairly short period.

 

Service from any given carrier varies from region to region and, of course, in any give situation.

 

Some services give okay phone service but completely, totally suck if you have the disastrous bad luck to have to talk to someone. (Hint: one egregious offender's name rhymes with print.)

 

And the audio quality varies widely from network to network and phone to phone.

 

One good thing is to read online reviews of phones and services.

 

I've been warned away from a few disastrous purchaes by online reviews.

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Had my Bell cell for about a year... Was doing 200min for $20.00 a month. Well that $20 turned into $45.00 without any effort at all... After a year goofing around I called to cancel!!! First I had to give them 2 months notice.. Probaby $60+ there, and a $75.00 cancelation fee!!... Well I was stunned... Slammed the phone down... Called back a few weeks later when I was calmed down, the girl said I could switch to a pay per use for nothing and just let it run out... So that's what I did and just don't miss the phone at all... But that's me!!

Later

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Originally posted by coyote:

I truly don't understand all the hoopla over these gadgets. I dig the technology, but as soon as you get one your time is no longer your own.

 

I won't be falling for any deals anytime soon.

Put simply,

 

  • The first time you break down on a highway you'll appreciate the convenience and safety of being able to call for assistance without leaving your vehicle.
  • How many times have you planned to meet someone somewhere and either they/you are late, they/you are lost, etc.? A cell phone immediately solves these problems, again, without leaving your vehicle.
  • I can't count how many opportunities I would have missed were it not for my cell. If you work freelance a cell is a necessity. Otherwise someone else will get most of your calls.
  • Phonebook. Most phones will hold in excess of 100 phone numbers. Punch a few buttons and you have instant access to many more people than you probably remember their numbers. This has been a boon for me in personal and professional dealings.
  • And as has been mentioned, you don't have to pick up. Most have free voice mail. So enjoy dinner, the movie, or simply being with family or friends but have near instant access to your messages where you are.
  • My favorite aspect of having a cell, though, is the ability for friends/family/business contacts to reach me no matter where in the country I am. Friends back home use it to make plans on the fly when we're in Chicago. My parents travel a lot of the year, but I almost never have difficulty reaching them because of their cell phones.

That said, I'm more concerned with safety and common sense where cell phones are concerned. I don't want morons who can barely drive to begin with carrying on conversations in their cars. I don't want to have to remind others that while they can connect virtually anywhere, some places you shouldn't take calls. Movie theaters are a no-brainer, as are quiet offices and many public places. But if you're going to take a call, at least make it your own call. I don't want to hear about Aunt Martha or your bunion surgery or why blue eyeshadow works for you. I don't want to know how bitchin' your buddy's car is or how you scored with some girl last night. Have some common sense and go somewhere more private or at least keep your voice down. If they can't hear you, tell 'em you'll call them back when you can get to an area more conducive to conversation. If it isn't a real emergency then the call can wait.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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So, the deal brother got was two free phones, two numbers, 850 anytime minutes for $60 a month total. I think it's free long distance on the cell phones. And some free long distance minutes on the local phone service (land line).

 

Problem is two year contract. He inquired and they said a one year contract is $60 a month PER PHONE. I dunno if I buy that. I doubt they'd have any takers on that. I'd bet it's a smokescreen. The first comeback response.

 

I said to him, baloney. I dunno, he's pretty timid. If it were me I'd say "I am not happy with this two year deal. All of the competitors offer one year deals. I want a one year deal."

 

Either they'd do it or not. But for him to just say "Hey, do I have to get this two year deal?" That's not a very compelling way to "negotiate." It's easy for them to bluff and say, "Oh, yes, but that'll cost you double." My way, they think I'm going elsewhere. And they'd magically say "Well, okay, maybe I can get this done for you." That's my thinking anyway.

 

Just wondering if you think they have to stick to this two year deal. That is a long time.

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Live, I just emailed my friend about that charge. As far as she knows, that should be a $50 fee, and is a one time fee only. It's listed as an equipment charge, due to the cost of the "free" phone being rolled up in the monthly fee. No way should it be monthly!

She also mentioned that it's best to get it straight thru cust serv, not "sales".. The Bellsouth/Cingular cust service # is 1-800-203-2355.

 

Also if you go elsewhere, I here T-Mobile has a 1000 minutes deal for even cheaper than Cingular 850 plan. Don't know about there network though, I'd check that online first if at all possible.

TROLL . . . ish.
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Originally posted by meccajay:

Live, I just emailed my friend about that charge. As far as she knows, that should be a $50 fee, and is a one time fee only. It's listed as an equipment charge, due to the cost of the "free" phone being rolled up in the monthly fee. No way should it be monthly!

I don't understand what you are saying. WHAT should be $50 one time? The $60 a month? The $60 a month is for two phones, two numbers, 850 minutes anytime SHARED, including L.D. and also includes some L.D. for the land phone each month.

 

CORRECTION. He said the L.D. for the land line is not free, that it is $5 a month for 60 minutes. I said "Heck, that's nine cents a minute. That's not a good deal!" And if you talk one minute, it's $5 a minute!

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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

I don't understand what you are saying. WHAT should be $50 one time? [/QB]

The $60 charge you're getting for changing the contract to ONE YEAR should be a $50 charge per phone, it should be a $50 one time equipment charge for each phone, not billing monthly.
TROLL . . . ish.
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Um... So you're only just NOW going over to GSM in the states?! We're going to 3G this fall.

 

What are the latest models of cell phones (cell phones and mobile phones are the same thing, right?) from the major companies in the U.S.? Rumour has it that you're lagging a bit behind. I just sort of find that hard to beleive, so I thought I'd ask...

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