Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Rest of the U.S. Cellular Story

Anybody remember when I posted all the problems we were having when we canceled U.S. Cellular service? - Nothing BUT Empty Promises

I said I was going to post the rest of the story, and then I never did.  First we were in the middle of trying to get things resolved, so I didn't want to cause any extra problems - though it probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway.  And then, I just didn't do it.  So, in case anyone is still interested...

We left off when Jeffrey finally got our account canceled and the charges reversed, and we finally got the cases we ordered.

Then - a couple weeks after we thought the account was canceled, our daughter, who was still a U.S. Cellular customer tried to get one of our old phones activated, only to find out that it was still active on our account.  So he again had to call and see where things stood.  Apparently the account was in line to be canceled, but no one had gotten to it yet.  That customer service agent took care of it right then, I think.  But then when we passed another one of our old phones on to one of our daughter's friends, who is still with US Cellular - this was several weeks later - they were told that the phone had been reported lost or stolen when they went to activate it.  Being the owner of the phone, I know I never reported it lost or stolen.

We eventually received a final bill, which was supposed to be automatically zeroed out (promised by the customer service rep who actually did cancel our account), but Jeffrey called just to be sure it was taken care of - can you really blame him, after all of this?  At that time, he was told that the phone could not be activated because there was still a balance on the account - NOT because it had been reported lost or stolen.  At that time, while he had the customer service rep on the phone, he specifically asked about each of the phones we had on our account - 3 of them - to be sure that each one was free to be passed on and activated by current US Cellular customers.  He was told that they were all good to go.

Then, a few days later, Beth called again.  They were in a US Cellular store trying to get the phone activated.  Again.  Guess what?  They couldn't do it because "the phone has been reported lost or stolen."  We were just told a week or so before that that it was available for activation.  Guess not.  Since we were on the road, Jeffrey told the customer service rep at the store to put her on the account so she could deal with it.  It was supposedly going to be taken care of, except that she called again the next day.  When they told her that they couldn't activate the phone because it was supposed to have been returned, which was another lie. That phone was part of my compensation for working with the U.S. Celular Better Moments Blogger Brigade, and  there is nothing in the contract saying the phone was to be returned at the end of the program.  In fact, if we hadn't moved out of the US Cellular coverage area, they would have given me a new phone to use, again as part of my compensation.  My phone was part of my payment, making it mine to do with as I chose.  I chose to let someone who is a current US Cellular customer use it.

Why is that so hard??

This is when I posted to U.S. Cellular's Facebook page because I was just so frustrated.  I got a pretty immediate response, telling me they would look into this and that this was not the experience they wanted me to have.  After giving all the pertinent information about the account to the USCC Social Team representative, I got this email:
Hello, Anna.
I want you to know that we have not intentionally caused these difficulties with transferring your phones to other US Cellular customers.  We would have nothing to gain by doing that. 
I have taken a long look at your account and there is not any apparent reason why this is happening. I have submitted a research ticket to our Internal Support department to resolve this issue. This process will take a few days.  I will contact you by email on Wednesday with an update.
Thank you for your patience.
Best Regards,
Danielle G.
USCC Social Team     

and then I waited... and asked for updates, and never got an answer - from the Internal Support department.  I got emails from Danielle telling me she hadn't heard anything, but the ones who were supposed to look into it and resolve the issue never responded.  2-1/2 weeks later we still hadn't gotten an answer.  But then I talked to Beth, and she told me they'd tried again and got the phone activated after all.  So, I guess someone at U.S. Cellular got things taken care of, but they never bothered to get back to us and let us know what was going on.

But at least it got taken care of, right?  And I never had to think about U.S. Cellular again - and never bothered to finish the story - until recently when I was talking to a friend who still lives in Wisconsin and recently changed cell phone providers and signed up with U.S. Cellular.  It all sounded good - national plan, better signal, etc.  Except they didn't bother to tell him that when he got out of a U.S. Cellular area, they'd really throttle his data speed.  Did you know that U.S. Cellular doesn't have much area anymore?  They've sold out in many markets.  And since my friend is a truck driver, he's out of the U.S. Cellular area often.  Oh yeah, the signal is great at home, but when he's on the road that data he needs to do his job is not available.  Does U.S. Cellular care?  Not at all.  They got him to sign a contract.  Sucker!

So, if you're looking for a new cell phone provider, do not look at U.S. Cellular.  It's just not worth the headache and the hassle.