Friday, September 18, 2009

Cell phone providers - the retarded monkeys of the technology world.

Is there anyone in the world who can tell me why it takes 8 phone calls, and over 4 and a half hours of time to switch cell phone providers? Anyone.

It's clear to me that none the of management at these providers ever use their customer service systems - because if they did they would be (should be) embarrassed beyond belief.

The story starts out over at Sprint. My potential new provider. They only sell the phone I want online. The HTC Touch Pro 2. The phone arrives, and I need to call to have it turned on. No big deal. However, I'm not a Sprint customer - I'm a Verizon customer. So it takes about an hour and a half to get the phones transferred over onto Sprints network. Indian call centers have quite a bit of international lag on the phone lines you know.

Since the Sprint network was overloaded they couldn't finish the process and required another call after midnight that evening. Which we did. Then Mr S. wound up calling the next day because his Sprint TV was not activated, and my phone wasn't fully activated either. He gets that sorted out.

Then my Sprint TV wasn't working which required a tech call, only to be told their servers were down and they couldn't do anything anyway.

On Saturday we figured we'd just stop into the local brick store. Spend 15 minutes there to get it fixed and get on with our lives. Over an hour later we finally managed to escape the store. And we went in at 10 in the morning. There was only one guy in the store in front of us.

Two days ago I got a letter from Verizon. Only the main number had been ported and they wanted to make the secondary line the primary. And of course, if I just ignored the letter they would make the line the primary at the cost of a primary line, and start charging my calls by the minute. I wasn't making any calls, but the letter pissed me off a little anyway. I kind of took it as - I know you are leaving me - I always thought you were ugly anyway. So eff you. Especially since I'd been with them probably for 4-5 years.

I call Verizon to try and tell them both phones were ported to another provider. But, oh yeah. They won't talked to me because cell carriers don't understand the concept of having anyone other than the account holder manage the account. No matter how many times it's put in the file that I have permission. Or the fact I have all the security information.

Once they get Mr S. on the phone they want to start setting up all these pins. When he finally gets it across he just wants to cancel the whole account he gets transferred.

They don't seem to understand the phones numbers were already ported, and he has to tell them this probably a half a dozen times. He also wants to shut of his data card for the laptop. Which requires another transfer. He tries to inquire about keeping the OnStar line with Verizon, but is left on hold for roughly 5 minutes or so. Then the girl wants to transfer him again to an Onstar rep. He winds up calling Onstar directly because even though we cut the service to Verizon, he wants to make sure that Onstar starts billing us directly, and doesn't cut the phone all together.

When they got that all sorted out, the OnStar rep says "thank you for choosing Verizon". So really, he was just getting passed from department to department.

And the thing that is so effing annoying is that through every transfer they want to know why you are leaving, and they want you to take their friking survey.

Now, it may just be me - but this doesn't seem like a good business practice anytime. Little alone in a recession.

And just because you guys are so smart, why not discourage customers from upgrading cell phones by locking them into a two year contract. New phones aren't coming out all the time. People won't wait to buy. Lets give the cell providers a round of applause for a job well done. If the job is to make your customers extremely resentful.

Update: Mr S. just reminded me that we also had to call to get our GPS working. It worked the first few days we had the phones, but then stopped working. That also required a call.


  1. Ugh, what a horror story... One of these days I'm going to dump AT&T Wireless, but not until I really need to. Right now I won't because no provider can beat my old contract (the two-year-contract technically expired three years ago). It has thousands of rollover minutes I never use and pay-as-you-go texting. I never upgrade my phone through AT&T because that locks you back into a two-year deal, and my monthly cost would go up then. Only unlocked phones through eBay for me, TYVM.

    When I do switch, I'm going to get a new number. I'm not particularly attached to this one anyway, and I really don't want the hassle you described!

  2. Yeah - I was a year out of contract. Would have upgraded in the spring, but I was waiting on a phone that got delayed and delayed. I probably would have waited for that phone, but Mr S. managed to get some monthly discounts on service.

    Of course it required joining the PTA. Which I find creepy. I don't have kids. And joining a credit union. But the monthly discount was pretty good.

    So I parked a hundred bucks over there. Hell, if any more banks fail, maybe I can have thought it was even a good idea.

    I'm just hoping the GPS keeps working. It was the main motivation. My old smartphone caused more than one nuclear breakdown trying to find my way around in places I wasn't familiar with.

    The sad thing is - I know the half life of my new phone will be about a year. New technology is moving so quick with them. A two year lock is ridiculous.

    I thought they'd figure this out when they started feeling pain. But, I'm starting to loose hope that they ever figure it out.

    I hope you take care with the heat coming up. It's going to be effed!