There are some sites that the fcc recommends for consumer information about Cellular Service
Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) provides free consumer information on its Web site, including details on the various mobile service plans available in major U.S. markets and their accompanying handsets.
With an online or print subscription, consumers can obtain a full ratings report and comparison of mobile service plans and handsets.
J.D. Power (www.jdpower.com) provides ratings on its Web site of all of the wireless carriers in major U.S. cities. The carriers are rated on various criteria, including call quality, cost and customer service.
CTIA (www.wow-com.com) is a trade association representing the wireless industry. Its Web site contains tips for consumers on purchasing mobile service as well as an overview of all mobile handsets that have hands-free accessories.
AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons (www.aarp.org), provides on its Web site a publishedsurvey entitled Understanding Consumer Use of Wireless Telephone Service that discusses various issuesrelated to wireless service and older consumers.
Are you as fed up as I am with getting screwed out of your minutes? Or over billed for cable or whatever? These companies get away with it in part because we have such a limited voice in setting the prices or the quality of service. If we all do our part, thing might change a little.
Airline Baggage and Service: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room 4107, C-75, Washington, DC 20590; 202-366-2220; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Office of Liaison and Public Information, 650 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Room 8290, Washington, DC 20226; Email: email@example.com.
Auto Dealers: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Automobile—Vehicles and Equipment: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Defects Investigation, NSA-10.01, 400 7th St. SW, Washington, DC 20590; 888-DASH-2-DOT (327-4236); 202-366-7882 (fax).
Banking—Federal Savings & Loan and Federal Savings Banks: Office of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20552; 800-613-6743; 800-613-6743 (fax); Email: Customer.Assistance@occ.treas.gov.
Banking—Institutions with National or “NA” in the name: Customer Assistance Group, 1301 McKinney St., Suite 3710, Houston, TX 77010; 713-336-4301; 800-613-6743 (fax); Email: Customer.Assistance@occ.treas.gov.
Banking—State Chartered Banks: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Compliance and Consumer Affairs, 550 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20429; 800-934-3342.
Banking—All others in the Federal Reserve System: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee: Consumer Complaints Supervision and Regulation Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 104 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303-2713; 404-589-7239. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania: Online complaint form: www.phil.frb.org/forms/consumercomplaint.htm.All others: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, 20 & C Streets NW, Stop 801, Washington, DC 20551; 202-452-3693.
Cable Television Complaints: Federal Communications Commission, Cable Services Bureau, Consumer Protection and Competition Division, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20554; 888-CALL-FCC (225-5322).
Cell Phones, Pagers, Wireless: Federal Communications Commission, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Enforcement and Consumer Information Division, Informal Complaints and Public Inquiry Branch, 1270 Fairfield Rd., Gettysburg, PA 17325; 888-CALL-FCC or 888-TELL-FCC (TTY); 717-338-2694 (fax).
Consumer Products (except cars, food, drugs, cosmetics, and medicine): 800-638-2772.
Charities: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Cosmetics: Complaints Coordinator, Office of Cosmetics and Colors, 200 C St. SW (HFS-106), Washington, DC 20204; 800-270-8869 (automated phone system); 202-205-5098 (fax).
Companies (including finance, mortgage, credit card, and credit bureau): Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Credit Unions: National Credit Union Administration, Office of Public & Congressional Affairs, 1775 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3428; 703-518-6330.
Food (except meat and poultry): Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 200 C St. SW, HFS-555, Washington, DC 20204; 301-443-1240 (emergency only).
Health Clubs and Exercise Equipment: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Home Improvement: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Investments: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Assistance, 450 5th St. NW, Washington, DC 20549-0213; 202-942-7040; 202-942-9634 (fax).
Meat and Poultry: Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250-3700; 800-535-4555 (voice), 202-720-3333 (Washington, DC area), 800-256-7072 (TDD/TTY).
Medicines, Drugs, Medical Devices, Medical Drugs, and Products Sold Online: MedWatch, The FDA Medical Products Reporting Program, Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers La., Rockville, MD 20852-9787; 301-443-1240 (emergency only); 800-FDA-1088 (332-1088) to request a complaint form; 800-FDA-0178 (332-0178) to fax a complaint form.
Online Service, Auctions, Websites, E-commerce: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Retail Stores: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Securities and Stocks: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Assistance, 450 5th St. NW, Washington, DC 20549-0213; 202-942-7040; 202-942-9634 (fax).
Telephone Service (Billing, Access, Service, Long Distance): Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, Consumer Complaints—Telephone, Washington, DC 20554; 888-CALL-FCC or 888-TELL-FCC (TTY).
All this week SprintPCS service has been completely screwed up. Outbound calls would drop after varying intervals of connection often within the couple of minutes. Also, I found that there were voice messages for calls that went directly to voicemail. This wasnt just a problem with my phone as I have two roomates who were having the exact same problem yet have 2 different and more recent phones than my own.
So I call Sprint and after about 20 minutes of arguing with the representative, I am offered 60 free minites.
Quick aside, if you are a person likemyself who has basically replaced his land line with a cell phone and has a plan with 2000 daytime minutes and unlimited off peak and evening minutes then free minutes as compensation is no compensation at all. This is no penalty for Sprint either. There needs to be real compensation in the form of reducing your bill as in the Quality of Service Agreement other copmanies like bandwidth providers offer. There is no leverage for forcing better service currently other than leaving the company. We need more consumer advocacy and lobbying of the government and public shaming of companies who like Sprint think they can provide sub standard services with imputinty.
So back to the story at hand. I get 60 free minutes and tell my roomates to also call and make a compalint to empasis to Sprint that there is an issue. One of my roommates calls Sprint only to find that according to the operator she spoke with, that there was NO REPORT of an issue in our area on file. Moreover, her more polite approach only got her 5 minutes of additional airtime. 5MINUTES!!! This doesnt even equal the amount of time she had to waste speaking to these lazy jerks. Or the missed calls she had to then followup on. Or the wasted time in her life spent calling people over and over when calls repeatedly dropped. Or even the poor reflection on her professional image for having such defective service.
After her call, I decided to call Sprint back to further berrate them for not recording the error in any appreciable way, for making client do the work of monitoring thier network, and for the lack of appreciable compensation. This lead to me being transferred to a supervisor named Ginger, operator number GROANE01. This woman, upon hearing my complaints at one point responded with "If you are so unhappy with our service why dont you just leave?" This is a great indicator of their actual respect for thier customers. My response to her was that the ONLY reason i have service with Sprint is because when working properly thier network is 230kbs.
But as you will see in other posts to this blog, that is not so frequently the case and if it werent for the idiosyncrasies of my professional life i would probably just drop them and switch to using just my Bluetoth Modem enabled, international capable,T-Mobile phone. The only unfortunate thing is that T-Mobile has a network with only 115kbs. And for some reason there is a major dropped ball in the form of a bug with Bluetooth Authentication , the Nokia 3650 phone and important Windows services like Terminal Service and Fax Service. I will go into this further in a future post to see if any one else out there has the same problem.
So in the end, I am told that they will review my case and make an "appropriate adjustment" but that that would not be in the form of reimbursement on my bill.
They say they have the best nationwide network and if you consider the northeast coast the nation then OK. But while in Atlanta and even in Phoenix, AZ, Sprint PCS service falls far below my expectations. I would experience missed calls be cause they couldn't get through, poor voice quality, and data services like gprs modem were all but completely unavailable. If Sprint doesnt get its act together they will lose the cellular game. Because i also have a T-mobile phone which although i despise the design of Nokia 3650 (the deisgner who came up with round dial buttons should be shot by the ergonomics police) It worked like a charm both for voice and access to its lower bandwidth network (115k vs the 230k sprint connection is ussually see) moreover you can get off a plane in france and ROAM at very affordable rates.