More frustration with companies

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Vince Maskeeper, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Ok, I'm turning into the angry old man- but I have another one...

    I have a cell phone, yes some of you might remember. I have cingular- and have had no serious problems (aside from the fiasco of getting a phone in the first place).

    My contract is up this month (as those who read my post last Feb might know, lol)-- and I called to see about what happens now. I wanted to keep going on my plan (or maybe a slight change) and keep the same rates and numbers and whatnot...

    Well, when i called the agent insisted I had signed a 2 year contract. I had the contract sitting in front of me, clearly marked as one year (and circled by the agent who sold it to me in fact)... but the lady insisted that I had signed for 2 years.

    She double checked to find they didn't have my actual contract on file, but that the computer said 2 years. In order to contest this, I have to fax them a copy of my contract!

    I'm just curious, when did it become my job to keep records for a corporation like Cingular?

    Now, I'm sure I could argue my contract, and since they have no copy they would probably, eventually, let me cancel my service. Although i'm sure they would do some "accidental" changes to my plan first, and hit me with charges I would have to contest and have removed-- it would probably end up on my credit report as unpaid, etc, etc.

    But I don't really want to terminate the service, rather just like to go month to month with my current plan... I'm just frustrated to have to be guilty until proven innocent--- frustrated that I have to spend my time and money to fax them their own documentation.

    It just gets maddening to be held hostage by faceless corporations. Hostage to the threat that any false move and the corporation will turn it's favor away from you, over charge and over bill you, take months to reverse their mistakes and hit you with penalties and credit report flags...

    And it's not that I preferred Cingular to another faceless corporation- theirs was simply the only faceless website that explained their plans and options in any form of english I could decode...

    Anyway- I wonder if there is any recourse for people when faceless corporations lose paperwork. i find it funny that they never seem to "lose" the paperwork and a "accidentally" think your contract was shorter than it was. It always seems they "accidentally" assume you signed for twice as long as you did...

    -Vince
     
  2. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    Vince,

    Since you want to keep all the services the same, what is the problem with the fact that they say you have a two year contract? You are now assured that you have the same services, prices, etc. for another year.

    Regardless, I would simply require them to provide you a copy of the signed contract, showing the two year. Without that signed contract, they can't enforce any part of it.

    Of course, you can simply fax them the copy, and be done with it, but I understand that frustration. I'm fighting my health insurance company over a claim, and the whole thing has been their mistake, and they admit it. They still won't work with me on it.
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I can completely relate, Vince. I had the same trouble with T-mobile when I tried cancelling last year. They insisted I signed a new contract when I moved my account over to my husband's account, yet I knew I did no such thing. I learned that a new contract is policy, but I never signed the darn thing so they can't hold me to it. Amazing, though, they said that each T-mobile store is responsible for keeping their own records and since the store I went to is no longer in business, I'm SOL. [​IMG] Of course I had nothing to show them since I never signed anything! I don't think it's legal if they couldn't produce the signed contract. In the end I only had 2 months until the contract supposedly ended, so I just stuck with it. [​IMG]
     
  4. David-S

    David-S Second Unit

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    Vince: To prove a 2 year contract they need a signature, a one year contract can be done by verbal agreement (at least for cell phones)... If they can't produce your signature, you can get out...

    It might be easier to just fax it to them since you have it, but yeah, that can be a big PITA for a lot of people
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    That's how the contracts are supposed to work.. once your term is up, the service just becomes month-to-month indefinitely. My parent's phone is on some old nationwide plan that hasn't been offered for a couple of years now.

    I realize your beef is about the length of the contract... and the dealer's service. I don't know if our dealers are required to keep contract copies on file. I think a copy gets sent to Cingular's headquarters and a lot of the dealers don't bother keeping their copy is my guess.

    I work for Cingular... but don't ask me to look up your account or anything... I'm just the computer guy. [​IMG]
     
  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    Get used to it. With the inevitable rise of the Global Corporatocracy, it is only going to get worse. When I have to deal with large companies I already notice how most of them have the attitude that you, as a customer, are there to serve them.....not the other way around.

    Telus, the major phone service provider in BC, is a perfect example.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Yes- and from a social POV this creates an interesting dynamic... where people basically find themselves screaming at a wall that has no reply and no accountability- so that frustration is turned at the only things they can affect: other people (road rage being a great example).

    It's funny because you, as a customer, account for like .000000000001% of their money-- so they really do have the attitude that you should really get .000000000001% or less of their caring.

    Interesting, Interesting, Interesting. Guess it's time to rad another Vonnegut book.
     
  8. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Yes, you can. They asked for a fax to prove it. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Your contract specifies 1 year so I don't see how they can argue any further once you fax them a copy...in July. (However, I do share your frustration with the laziness of companies. I also hate their attitude that their date entry errors are your fault.)[​IMG]

    Frustrated customers is one of the reasons that phone companies fought so hard against the government ruling that individuals own their phone numbers and not the phone company. Before this ruling, frustrated customers had to take it and like it. Now we can feel free to move to another company and take our number with us. Hopefully this competition will force them to focus on customer service more. (OK, not, but I can dream.[​IMG])
     
  9. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    The future isn't what it used to be.

    I feel folded, spindled and muitialted all the time.

    Business, Government, all the same.

    What really gets me is the smarmy advertisements that these institutions bombard us with, to try and disguise the reality.
     
  10. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    The bad part is that most contracts have a statement to the jist of "agree to mandatory arbitration" and therefore what that simply means that you agreed that the mobile phone company gets to play judge and jury to settle any discrepancy of service (and note that all mobile companies state they don't guarantee service) or billing issues. The main thing is that how good of a phone did you get and for what price almost will give you a clue what contract you're in (iow, if you have a pretty premium phone and didn't pay much most likely you agreed to a two-year contract).

    As funny as it may seem, no business is required to provide you with any information that you turned over to them unless you legally subpoena it and just like any other utility you must usually prove your innocence by fax usually.

    My advice to anyone buying a mobile service is to make certain calls to their customer care is free (and after any serious discussions call back to make certain the last rep noted anything that can affect your billing), do as much of your inq online thru self-help options (thus minimizing human errors), what conditions require a contract renewal (new phone upgrades, promotional plan changes, and monetary adjustments, etc and have them note when such things are changed whether a contract has been extended or not, call back and confirm), what contract types (do they have just 1 year contracts or 1-2 year contracts), buyer's remorse period/charges (do you pay an activation fee during this, how many days of use, and do you pay for a full months service, or pro-rated billing; ps make certain you travel as much as you can during this period and find your dead spots), will they unlock your phone (this allows you to use other sims from other companies but also ones who usually don't are usually bad companies to deal with imo like ATT), and if they charge for portability (usually companies that do this fear you leaving them, an additional scare tactic). The most important thing is to read ALL of the contract before signing it, if the dealer states an activation fee waiver make certain it's in writing on the contract (all contracts also states the carrier will charge an activation fee, this is our protection).




    Leila, this falls under the stipulation that all mobile carriers have a form of change of responsibility and it pretty much states when adding additional line of services that each of those lines are approved under two circumstances, passing a credit approval and agreement to a service contract (luckily Tmobile has one year contracts, other carriers would force two), which is the industry standard. Because the contract is under your husband's name it's his signature that counts as per most mobile contracts.
     
  11. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Actually I think I mistyped above. . .what really happened is that he moved his phone number under my account. We *both* got contracts out of this. His I could understand but I was not happy with it happening to mine.

    T-mobile (and previously Voicestream) never had this policy until the month I decided to do it. Their webpage wasn't updated and the salesperson I spoke to didn't know about it either. It seems that not everyone was trained in the new policy but someone higher up caught it and tacked on the contract in their computer system.

    In fact, I'd done several account changes (adding and removing phone numbers, changing plans, etc) in the years preceding my marriage, and thus the addition of my husband's account, and never once was tacked on a contract. I served my initial 1 year contract and had been month to month for the next 4 years, even with all these changes. So, since the website hadn't been updated I didn't know about the new policy and was never informed of it when I actually went to do it. I guess that's what I'm most upset about. Had they disclosed their new policy I wouldn't have been upset but now I suffer because of their lack of training to sales associates.
     
  12. Kevin Thompson

    Kevin Thompson Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, since you've got the contract and they don't, why not make a minor alteration to your copy before you fax it to them?

    Something to the effect that the customer can cancel the service and obtain a full refund of all fees paid any time after one year if unsatisfied with the company's service or recordkeeping practices.

    Disclaimer: This post is intended as a joke, not as conspiracy to commit fraud. [​IMG]
     
  13. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Good one Kevin!

    If the contract is over soon, (that paper that they don't have) it would put you on a month-to-month service, and you could lose what you have. If they contine your 'contract' to 2 years and find out later that it doesn't exist, they will (not can) rebill you for the balance.

    So, call and ask about switching plans. There really isn't any need to bring up when your contract is up, and if they push you for it, don't mention the start date, but only the end date.

    If you want a slight alteration, find out the difference (and get it, if it is ok) They can fax you a new contract for you to sign (that would superceed their old one [that doesn't exist]). Don't forget to get their name and the time.

    Glenn
     

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