Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen...

...good bye!

Tonight I had the extreme pleasure of saying "Hasta La Vista, Baby" to Cingular Wireless, the world's worst cell phone provider.

I have had problems with Cingular almost from the start. When I first got Cingular, two and a half years ago, I was living in Centreville. Almost from the start, there were problems. I would drive down Interstate 66, and as soon as I hit the Fair Lakes shopping center, the line would go dead. Whenever I drove certain portions of I95, the phone would go dead. The phone would go dead in major portions of Prince William County, Washington DC, Fairfax County, and surrounding counties. I live in the national capitol region. What's wrong with this picture?!

Calls to Cingular were rewarded with, "We don't show any outages in your area."

Then I made the discovery that they were charging me to call and check my voice mail. Um, I don't think so. So I put a recording on my voice mail that stated, "Don't leave me a message, I am not checking my cell phone voice mail any more."

I've heard from countless friends and acquaintances in the DC area that they've hated every moment of their Cingular service. And apparently Cingular has the lowest service rating in Washington DC.

Anyway, our contract finally expired in October, but due to the fact that Judy needed the cell phone for work, I didn't shut it off. When finally she left those cheap ass bastards, the time came when I could call Cingular and tell them to kiss off.

Still, I felt bad about it. Not for me, since I never use my stupid cell phone. But for my sister, who had it practically glued into her ear. We're talking the need for surgical removal was imminent.

So I called to cancel, and I was told we were "due for an upgrade" which would help us, since our old phones were no longer really compatible with the service or something that they had upgraded to. We'd have 30 days to try out the new phones, they'd reimburse us $200 for the overages my sister had managed to accumulate, and we could still cancel if we wanted to.

Ok, fine and dandy. So I decided to a) see if I even needed a cell phone; and b) test out the phone to see if it would work everywhere.

Well b) never happened. In the entire past 25 days we've had the phone, I made exactly 2 phone calls. For the past 3 weeks, the phone has sat with its dead battery in my car. The ONLY time I even charged it was tonight, when I plugged it into the wall, called Cingular, and told them to cancel my account.

The woman on the other end told me that I could go back to the "month-to-month" plan (instead of a new 2 year contract the new phones--which you will recall I was DUE according to the first woman I spoke to weeks ago--required). All I would have to do would be to return the equipment and go back to using the old phones.

"The old phones didn't work. That's why you sent me new phones."

"Well, that's the only way we can get you back on the month-to-month plan."

"Why would I go back on a plan where the phones don't work?"

*cue those chirping crickets*

"Um, ok, then, go ahead and turn them off."

As soon as I hung up with her, I put both phones and their chargers in the box, sealed it, and Michael and I drove to the Fredericksburg post office, used the 24 hour automated postage center, and mailed those babies off. And you know what? I'm not exactly going to miss that bill coming in the mail. I can think of many things to do with an extra $80 per month.

So, Judy, I am truly sorry, I know how much you loved having the phones. But for me? I won't miss a single ringtone, crappy game, or one pixel of that lousy wallpaper.

4 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Talmadge G. said...

Recently, Consumer Reports did a feature on cellphone providers, and guess which one came in last?

Your experience with Cingular only backs up what I've read elsewhere.

We both use cellphones as our primary service, only adding a landline a month ago when we dropped cable for DSL. Our provider is ALLTEL. I've used them since my first "bag phone" in 1995. They're not perfect, but overall they haven't disappointed.

Of course, Cingular is now known as ... [drum roll] ... AT&T! As if they couldn't get any bigger.

Kate/Susan said...

My mom uses Alltel and I think she likes them a lot. She's had her Alltel phone for about 5 years, anyway, so she must!

I googled "Cingular Sucks" and it came up with more than 800K hits, so I'm definitely not alone. Their merger with AT&T seems to have wreaked havoc with the system even more... I definitely won't miss them.

nettiemac said...

I've had Alltel myself for a few years, and I promise I've had NO trouble with them at all. Other than an occasional time or two when I had no service because DOOFUS ME forgot to drop the bill off at the local store!

Lesley said...

Uh oh, I just gave your cell number as reference on a job application!

I don't blame you for cancelling, though. Sometimes I think about doing the same myself. And Cingular (our provider) isn't the best. I hate, hate, hate those commercials where they pat themselves on the back for having the least dropped calls, which I think is a bunch of hooey since I've never had dropped calls with any other provider EXCEPT Cingular, and I get them all the time, especially when we were in Charlotte. Sometimes I don't get voicemails, either, or I get them days later.

So yeah, I guess I have issues, too. ;)

So, you didn't have to pay an early cancellation fee or anything?