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Getting the truth from cellular providers?

DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss.Registered User regular
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Here is my problem. My wife and I bought our phones 4 years ago with AT&T. Our plan was 40 a month plus 20 for an extra line. With fees our monthly bill is 67. When Cingular bought AT&T, our service turned to shit. Our phones would spontaneously declare that we had a new voice mail, from calls that our phones never registered. Delays of up to a week. When we tried to call customer service, the response was basically "you can get new phones for free, but you'll need to re-sign for two years and upgrade to a plan that's $10 more per month." We said fuck you, and after a few mind-breaking months, the problem went away on its own.

Strange.

At any rate, we're looking for new phones, but I'm tired of being lied to by service reps. The guy at the store here gave me the same basic deal. "Re-sign, 2 years, more expensive plan, and in exchange, we'll won't multiply the price of the phone by 5." I said no thanks, we'll just continue making calls on our ancient relics. They still work. I'm not paying $250 for a phone.

So he suggested changing to Sprint. The least expensive plan is $60 a month. I asked him point blank - "Right now, we're on a 60 plan with Cingular/AT&T. Our bill is for 67 dollars with the "universal fees", line recovery fees, etc. What will my monthly bill be with this plan."

He points at the brochure where it says 59.99. "That's what your bill will be."

I think it's a pretty good deal. New phones, a few bucks cheaper per month. But I wasn't going to agree to anything there. I left, I took the brochures, and I looked at them in the car. Right at the bottom of the very same page: "Prices exclude Sprint fees of up to 2.91% and line cost recovery fees."

So basically, I'm tired of being dicked around by people who care more about commission than honesty. I want the cheapest possible plan. My wife and I combined have never used more than 300 minutes a month. We do not need cameras. We don't need text messaging or MP3 players. We need reliable phones, coverage in the Des Moines/Ames, IA area, and we want to keep our numbers. That's it. So I turn to the PA forums, because it's about the only place I can get a straight answer.

Delzhand on

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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    check out their websites?

    up here telus lists out the extra fees pretty plainly

    you have your rate plan price

    and then the system access fee (6.95) and 911 fee (0.75) PER PHONE

    and thats the way it always is

    Deusfaux on
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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Taxes, Surcharges and Fees

    * Tolls, taxes, surcharges and other fees, such as E911 and gross receipt charges, vary by market and as of July 1, 2007, add between 4% and 34% to your monthly bill and are in addition to your monthly access fees and airtime charges.
    * Monthly Federal Universal Service Charge (varies quarterly based on FCC rate) is 11.3%
    * Monthly Regulatory Charge (subject to change) is 4¢ per line.
    * Monthly Administrative Charge (subject to change) is 70¢ per line.
    * The Federal Universal Service, Regulatory and Administrative Charges are Verizon Wireless charges, not taxes. For more details on these charges, call 1–888–684–1888.

    Deusfaux on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Is it possible to get a phone on eBay and use it?

    Delzhand on
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    EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    Yep, as long as the phone is unlocked.

    EliteLamer on
    SEGA
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    All I could think of vis the thread title was extreme rendition. My 40 buck Verizon phone which I don't really use that much because I use my work phone alot always ends up costing twice that. My view now is that you just double what they advertise. Kinda like doubling the tax for a tip here in California.

    themightypuck on
    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius

    Path of Exile: themightypuck
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    How much do you use your cell phone? I don't use mine much, so I use one of those pre-paid minute plans where you add more minutes by buying phone cards (usually they have them in places like ShopKo or even in grocery stores.) I pay $15 a month to add 150 minutes. There aren't any contracts, you can quit whenever you like by not buying any more minutes.

    Not for everybody, but I like it, especially since most of the big phone companies seem to have clauses like "if you try to cancel your product before your contract is up we will charge you $250 and slay your firstborn child."

    LadyM on
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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    bad advice ^

    only if you're sticking with a GSM service provider like AT&T or T-mobile. the phone would have to be unlocked and also support the frequencies we use in north america

    Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology and you HAVE to have a phone from them

    Deusfaux on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Well, I performed a little test. I swapped the sim cards in my phone and my wife's phone. Then I had her call my number from my phone. Her phone rang. So I think as long as I get an AT&T phone, I can just swap the sim cards. That would allow us to stay uncontracted at the old rate while getting new phone for super cheap. The phone I have now is literally a few pennies on eBay.

    Delzhand on
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    RaereRaere Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I just signed up for Sprint.

    BAD:
    I called them up to see if they would match the price online. I told them the phone I wanted was $120 (didn't mention it was $80 after MIR). She says it's $80 in store. I figure it's better than waiting for them to lose my MIR in the mail. I ask if I'll have an activation fee. She says no because it's a new plan or something. I go in, pick out the phone and sign up. She says 'oh, I should have mentioned, it's only $80 after the rebate. Sorry about that, I forgot'. Well, okay, I didn't save money, but at least I got the online price. She says that I can't get the new plan price because my brother had a plan with them 6 years ago. I have to convince the manager that no, I am not my brother and I am signing up for the first time with them. He agrees and overrides it. I ask if I can get to pick out a number, something memorable so my parents can remember it easily. She says she can only get the last 6 digits (???) but most of the time what it spits out and what you actually get is different. She says the 'system is just weird like that'. Okay, I tell her to just give me whatever (I actually got a 404 area code, I guess they couldn't find a real one :lol:). So I leave with my new phone, and find out the service sucks. Luckily, I get free roaming, and I can force it to roam to get better reception. My first bill came the other day. $35 activation fee.

    GOOD:
    I call them up and the guy says 'well, if she told you that you wouldn't have one, then you shouldn't have one. I'll take it off'. Okay, cool. Then, due to my stupidity, my phone went through the wash. After drying it out and everything, it doesn't work. After deciding that I didn't want to pay another $120 for a new phone, I call them up and tell the guy what happened. He says 'well, you can sign up for insurance and report it stolen. I can sign you up today. Give it a couple of days and then report it stolen and you can get a new phone for only $50'. Getting insurance for an already broken phone? Works for me! Also, service even without roaming is much better than AT&T in my area. CDMA naturally works better in buildings due to its different frequencies. You can get free phones if you sign up for a new Sprint plan. Also, no rollover minutes.

    That's my experience with Sprint, anyway.

    Raere on
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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    hey Delzhand,

    I'm actually a sales rep in an at&t store in FL. actually at work right now, so i'll be brief. Contrary to what you're told or what you hear, the old at&t service you have is different from the current company. The current company is actually Bellsouth and SBC converging into one company, and adopting the name at&t. That being said, it actually costs the company more money to keep you on that old rate plan (the old at&t used to literally give out the store to sign people on), so i'm sure you have an amazing deal, since they had the ability to just make up any plan it would take to gain a customer.

    anyway, as a sales rep, if i would sell you two phones on my cheapest rate plan, 69.99 for 700 mins with two of my most basic phones, i would probably make 10 dollars of commission. The only time i really make money is when i'm signing on a new customer, selling a very high rate plan, selling lots of add on features, and accessories for the phone. Now, while i personally don't mind spending time to help out a customer, i can't say the same for every rep company wide. And honestly, when there is another two people right behind you ready to activate new service with an iphone, or some other high end device; you can't blam a comissioned sales person for moving on to the next guy who can easily make them 50+ dollars on.

    Now to answer some questions. Yes, you can just take your SIM card out of you're phone and put it into another phone AS LONG AS IT IS AN OLD AT&T PHONE, OR AN UNLOCKED PHONE. that's actually common knowledge overseas, but most companies do what they can to keep it under wraps around here. Of course, the only place you will find an old at&t phone is online, and i doubt it won't be used. Therefore, not under warranty and obviously not something reliable since its over 3 years old at this point. Now, the alternative is an unlocked phone, but since you're not doing a contract, it won't be subsidized pricing (which is they charge you 5x the price of the phone if you don't do a contract btw.)

    Honestly it comes down to this. You do some searching and gamble on a phone from ebay that hopefully works fine. You migrate from AT&T to at&t, do a 2 year contract, change your plan to what we currently offer, do a 2 year contract and get a phone at a subsidized price. You port you existing line to another provider and do a 2 year contract to get a phone at a subsidized price.

    Whatever you do, i DO NOT, DO NOT recommend just getting an unlocked phone. that old at&t network is shit. You're just going to get more and more upset as it continually degrades and we finally just shut off that old network which i think happens in feb. of 08. anyway, if you have any other questions lemme know.

    Murago on
    Check out www.myspace.com/scarborough -- tell me what you think!
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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Raere wrote: »
    I just signed up for Sprint.

    GOOD:
    He says 'well, you can sign up for insurance and report it stolen. I can sign you up today. Give it a couple of days and then report it stolen and you can get a new phone for only $50'. Getting insurance for an already broken phone? Works for me! .

    That's my experience with Sprint, anyway.


    ha ha, if half of this is true, no wonder sprextel has high turnover and churn. Insurance fraud FTL.

    Murago on
    Check out www.myspace.com/scarborough -- tell me what you think!
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Murago wrote: »
    Whatever you do, i DO NOT, DO NOT recommend just getting an unlocked phone. that old at&t network is shit. You're just going to get more and more upset as it continually degrades and we finally just shut off that old network which i think happens in feb. of 08. anyway, if you have any other questions lemme know.

    Well, we wouldn't be getting TDMA phones. Even our current ones are GSM. Is the new at&t shutting off the GSM network?

    Delzhand on
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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Anything having to do with the old at&t: tdma, GAIT, or gsm. They actually turned of TDMA a while ago, like this time last year i think. i still have some people trickling in with old gsm at&t, but it is FEW and far between. Keep in mind, when you migrate from at&t to at&t, there is no activation fee. If you go with another carrier, $36 for the first line, and usally a discounted activation for the second.

    Murago on
    Check out www.myspace.com/scarborough -- tell me what you think!
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    WuckFarcraftWuckFarcraft Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Side topic, but is there any site online that can show you which service provider has the strongest signal / reliability / user satisfaction in a certain city or state?

    WuckFarcraft on
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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Not that i know of, but that would be pretty helpful.

    Murago on
    Check out www.myspace.com/scarborough -- tell me what you think!
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    WuckFarcraftWuckFarcraft Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Murago wrote: »
    Not that i know of, but that would be pretty helpful.

    Yes, yes it would.

    WuckFarcraft on
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