I have a new phone number (or “Why Alltel/Verizon needs new management”)

If you’re the kind of person who just scans over posts really fast, then here’s the short version:

I have a new phone number that I had to get pretty abruptly. I don’t feel comfortable posting it here, but I updated facebook, where you can only see it if you are my friend.

(if you have no idea what facebook is, ask me because it’s pretty cool, and a great way to stay in touch with people)

Now, here’s where I need to go off on a rant for just a minute….

(begin rant)

Am I the only one who has NEVER had a good experience with any cell phone company?

I had to switch off of Cingular because I got spam text messages all the time and they wouldn’t do anything about it.

Then I had Verizon, and after jumping through tons of hoops to get out of my contract early so that I could go overseas, they hit me with a 300 dollar bill after I had left the country. When my parents got on the phone and tried to take care of it, verizon told them that they would only talk to me. My dad actually called them up and told them he was a troubleshooter for a newspaper, and eventually spoke with the vice president of customer service and took care of it (yes my dad is THAT cool).

So now I’m on Alltel, and I’ve had a good experience — up until recently at least.

When I first signed up with Alltel, almost two years ago, they gave me a very crappy LG phone. I should have known better, but I was broke so I went for the free phone. Within a few months, it wouldn’t hold a charge for anything, which made it pretty worthless to me. If I had a 15-minute conversation on my way to work, that was it for the day.

So after getting the run around at one Alltel store, I went to another one, and they replaced my phone for free (through the mail). So I thought, “OK. LG stinks, but Alltel is pretty good.” Thing was, when I got the phone in the mail and charged it up, it didn’t work at all… there was a software bug. So back to the store, back through the paper work, and a new phone comes in the mail.

The new phone worked well for a couple of months, and then the same problem with the battery cropped up. By this time I was getting frustrated, but I went back to Alltel, they replaced it again, and I went on my way.

Well, for the past couple months, my phone has been back on the fritz, so a couple weeks ago I went BACK to the Alltel store, and this time they said that they couldn’t do anything for me because my phone isn’t under warranty. My only options were to pay full price for a new phone, or pay to get out of my contract and then sign up for a new one and get the new customer discount. I tried to reason with them, but they were completely unwilling to budge.

The consolation that they offered is that they allow customers to renew their contract (and their phone) three months before the 2-year contract is over, so I don’t have too much longer to wait.

So what do you think? I guess technically, they don’t owe me anything, since my contract is over. But wouldn’t it be foolish of me to sign up with them again, and reward the terrible way that I have been treated as a customer? I mean, I’m paying for a service that I can’t use, and the ONLY other options involve me spending several hundred dollars. Isn’t that evidence that they don’t care about me as a customer?

In a weird way, I guess I should thank them, because this whole experience has really identified some of the junk in my own heart, as I have noticed how frustrated I can get about these things.

Well, if you are one of the many people who I have pretty much failed to call very often, I hope this stirs up just a little grace in your heart…

Oh, and about the new number… It’s pretty much unrelated. Apparently, the only way for Stephanie and I to be on the same account is to have phones with area codes from the same state. Nobody warned us about that when we signed up Steph with Alltel a while back. So when we went to merge our accounts into one, they said it would be impossible unless one of us changed our number.

So, now I have a Virginia area code, even though I’ve never lived there in my life :0)

(end rant)