JAY BARTELS

I have to tell you I was dumb founded by what I was hearing from the Cingular “Customer Service?” Rep. Wasn't this the same company that spent millions of dollars with their ad campaigns, telephone solicitations, and those cozy family plan commercials offering free phones and wonderful plans with their smiley employees, so friendly, with their "we'll take care of you" promises? How comforting it was to know that there is still a company out there with the lost philosophy of "the customers always right". What a relief.

Let me fill you in on my latest conversations with the good people at Cingular's customer dis-service department. I have 5 phones from cingular and in all we have about 12 in my family. We liked the idea that we can have unlimited calls to others with the same service, and indeed we do. That's about the last positive thing I can say about our mobile phone service.

My final fiasco began when I lost my main phone some weeks back. This number was on all my business cards, car magnet, internet sites, and in countless advertisements in print and online. So needless to say, I needed to keep this number.

My first call to Cingular was to report the phone lost. which I did that same night. My first question to customer service was “How can I keep this number, yet block any out-going calls at the same time should the phone end up in the wrong hands?

Here are the options that my phone company gave me:

1) We can turn that phone off and you can purchase a new one. (Okay, that sounds fair, after all they practically give these phones away, so how much could another phone possibly cost.)

"Well sir, to replace the phone you lost will cost you $249.00". "I don't understand", I replied quite puzzled. "I only paid $50 for that phone when I bought it, plus I received a $50 rebate, so I paid nothing for it"

"Well sir, that price is only available when you sign a 2 year contract, unfortunately you don't qualify for an upgrade for another 5 weeks when your existing contracts expires on that particular phone" Okay, do you see where this is going?

So I’m forced to bring out the heavy ammo. I have no alternative at this point but to threaten to cancel all my accounts and I let them know I’m taking my entire Network of friends and family members with me. I hate to do it , but these people have to realize how serious I am in order for them to fully understand the ramifications they are facing by jeopardizing their chances of losing this large account that they spent so much time and money on to make sure we didn’t fall into the hands of any of their many competitors. Basically they said, “See yuh!”

Now I’m stuck like chuck and end up buying the cheapest phone they have and now the old number is forwarded from the lost phone I can no longer use, (yet I’m still paying for) to the new phone I was forced to purchase because I still have 6 weeks left on my contract. Are you following me so far? Now pay close attention, because this is the proverbial “icing on the cake”.

My phone bill arrives and I’m being billed over $500. Surely there must be a mistake and I know with just one quick phone call to my friends at customer service this will all be corrected and the charges will naturally be removed due to some understandable mistake on their part. It was then explained to me why my bill was so unusually high. You see, it seems I had made several calls out of the country from the phone I reported lost and no longer had in my possession. Yes, after having this account for 3 years it seems I was now making calls to Haiti and points beyond. Good thing for me I had reported the phone lost and Cingular put a calling restriction on the phone in case it turned up one day. Could you imagine if I was the one they were going to hold responsible for all those calls? I knew their fraud department would pursue this and maybe even recover my phone. “Excuse me, what did you just say?” I asked the fine folks at the phone company. “You want “ME” to pay for the calls to Haiti, are you serious?” Oh yes, they were very serious. They are demanding, yes demanding, as in threatening to cut off my service if I don’t pay the bill from the phone that I reported had been lost over a month ago.

Are you kidding me? Try talking to a supervisor; see how far that gets you. First they try to keep you on hold long enough to get you to hang up. Tactic 2 (unofficially there are rumored to be 113 stall and distraction techniques, but this is only a myth and the exact figures are top secret and perhaps we’ll never know. This is Cingulars version of the “Grassy Knoll” and to speak of it may be endangering my next phone bill at this very moment.)

Do you get the big picture? This is big business’s version of “You can’t fight city hall”. The sad truth is the customer is not always right any more; in fact we’re almost never right, because they have an excuse for everything. They have it right there in front of them in the form of cheat sheets. You say this, they say that. They don’t care about giving the individual “Customer Service”. They target millions of people all in the same fish bowl. If you or I have a problem they really aren’t concerned about losing our $50 or $150 dollars a month, they have trained people to deal with dis-satisfied customers and they call those specialists “Customer Service Reps”, which translated means “see you, wouldn’t wanna be you”. Face it folks, you can’t win, the best you can do is think you won, and go away happy. And that is where Customer Service Reps excel.


If you enjoyed this article, please visit Jay's Family sites at Jays Plan - Secrets of a Single Dad and Family Health With Mister Mom

Jay Bartels is the author of many human interest stories and considered to be an expert in Internet marketing and training. Jay's own story of hope and inspiration can be found on his highly resourcefull family sites. Jay is a single father raising two young girls and shares his experiences in several journals that can be found on his web sites.

  1. Today's Best
  2. Top Shows
  3. Best of BTR
    1. Loading

      Antoine Fuqua

      On Denzel Washington “He’s reluctant hero. He’s a guy who has issues—OCD, post-traumatic stress, he can’t sleep at night. He’s not slick in any way,” Antoine tells Keeping It Reel with Film Gordon correspondent Wilson Morales.

    2. The Talented Teedra Moses

      Teedra Moses is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. Moses was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a gospel singing mother, Shirley Moses.

    3. War on Women

      The US War on Women continues as Republicans throughout the country have indeed pushed a plethora of legislation during the past few years that would result in limiting women's reproductive rights, access to health care access, and access to equal pay.

    4. The Start Of Hockey Season

      NHL On the Ice is back for the start of hockey season. Joining us to prepare you for the upcoming season is NHL.com fantasy writer Matt Sitkoff to talk about the season and fantasy hockey.

    5. Nationally Syndicated John Derbyshire

      Nationally syndicated political writer Joseph Cotto's guest is John Derbyshire, one of America's most well known political commentators to discuss race and conservatism in America and politics

    6. Mets Rookie Jacob DeGrom

      National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom has earned a spot with the Mets for 2015. Who else needs to stay, and who needs to go? Our season review takes a look at player by player on Out of the Blue and Orange.

    7. Tackling Heart Disease

      Ann Crile Esselstyn & Jane Esselsty discusses plant-based diets and nutrition, and their book ‘The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook’.

    8. Wear It For Autism

      Tune in this Sunday to hear all about this year's "Wear It For Autism" event in London, as we hear from Anna Kennedy, owner of Anna Kennedy Online; an Autism Organisation supporting those with Autism and their families.

    9. The Star Wars Radio Show

      Filmmaker Michael Flores welcomes his team of Star Wars enthusiasts to discuss the recent news and rumors surrounding the production of Star Wars Episode VII.

    10. Rabies Awareness Day!

      IWS Radio covers three major events including Ask a Stupid Question Day, Good Neighbor Day, and Rabies Awareness Day...Time to laugh, ask stupid questions, pat your neighbor on the butt, and avoid rabies.

    11. Chasing Life's Italia Ricci

      Italia Ricci, star of ABC Family's critically acclaimed hit series "Chasing Life", joins us in-studio for an exclusive interview about her life, the show and how her character April, which has made such a difference for the young adult cancer movement.

    12. Celeste Yacoboni

      Celeste Yacoboni is the author of How Do You Pray and she is passionate about helping people discover a deeper experience of the sacred in their daily lives. Celeste is a Minister of Walking Prayer, ordained by the Center for Sacred Studies.

    13. Author Doug Brunt

      Author Doug Brunt may be best known as the husband of Fox News host Megyn Kelly, but he joins me this week to talk about his latest novel. Join me for an inside look at political campaigns.

    14. Jenuine Healing

      How to Love Your Life with Medical Intuitive Jen Ward, founder of Jenuine Healing.

    15. Jason Finley

      This week Next on the Tee with Chris Mascaro are Golf Digest Top 100 Instructor Eric Johnson and Callaway Golf's Director of Marketing Jason Finley.

    16. Power Rangers evil queen "Divatox"

      Actress, musician, game inventor, model, biker, author, Power Rangers evil queen "Divatox" and Star Trek Deep Space 9's Hilary Shepard

    1. Loading

      Saturday Mornings With Joy Keys

      Joy Keys provides her listeners with insight to improve their lives mentally, physically, monetarily and emotionally. Past guests on the show have included Meshell Nedegeocello, Blair Underwood, in addition to an impressive list of CEOs, humanitarians and authors.

    2. Small Business Unstuck

      Host Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. This is a business radio show where he shares all the craziness of small business. It’s that craziness that actually makes it exciting, interesting and totally unpredictable.

    3. The Bottom Line Sports Show

      The Bottom Line Sports Show is hosted by former NBA stars Penny Hardaway, Charles Oakley, Mateen Cleaves. Tune in to get the inside scoop on what's happening in sports today.

    4. Hits Radio

      Hits Radio covers basketball, sports culture and entertainment with past guests including Jason Kidd, Robin Lundberg and Chris Herren.

    5. The Halli Casser-Jayne Show

      Listeners get an earful on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds. Whether it’s the current political cocktail or the latest must-read award-winning book, Halli tackles all topics and likes to stir — and sometimes shakes — things up.

    6. America's Most Haunted

      Official Internet radio show of forthcoming epic paranormal investigation book by Eric Olsen and "Haunted Housewife" Theresa Argie.

    7. World Footprints

      Award-winning World Footprints is a leading voice in socially responsible travel and lifestyle. Hosts Ian & Tonya celebrate culture and heritage and bring a unique voice to the world of travel.

    8. Football Reporters Online

      Football Reporters Online is a group of veteran football experts in the fields of coaching, scouting, talent evaluation, and writing/broadcasting/media placement. Combined, the group brings well over 100 years of expertise in sports.

    9. Small Business Roundtable

      Host John Martin interviews the nation's leading entrepreneurs and small biz experts to educate small business owners on how to be successful. Past guests have included Emeril Lagasse and Guy Kawasaki.

    10. Sylvia Global

      Sylvia Global presents global conversations pertaining to women, wealth, business, faith and philanthropy. Sylvia has interviewed an eclectic mix from CEOs and musicians to fashion designers and philanthropists including Randolph Duke and Ne-Yo.