So, last month, after my Cingular bill was three days late (3 days!) they sent out a notice to me to pay up or get cut off. Since I've been a customer for years, and the bill was only for my flat rate service (no additional phone charges), I thought this was kind of draconian when I received the notice, 8 days after the bill was due. But I immediately hopped onto my online billpay service, paid the full bill plus $20 and left it at that. This was on a Wednesday. The following Monday, with no messages from Cingular on my phone, my service was cut off. I called them to ask why (of course, the phone was not able to call them.. they forced me to use a landline. Thanks guys, it's not like you're the phone company or anything.)
Anyway, while I was onhold, I looked at the previous month's bank statement, which showed I'd done online billpay on the 3rd, and then the Cingular bill which showed they'd receved the payment on the 5th of the month. When the person came online, I asked her about my phone being disconnnected, and the fact that the bill was only a few days overdue. She said they hadn't received my payment and they could do that. I said, "How is that? I just sent online bill pay money the day I received your notice. There is no time under this schedule to even get it into you? But last month you got it in two days. And my bank just told me online at their side, that you received the current payment." She turned the phone back on, but not before saying that online billpay typically takes a week or more. But I pointed out that between me and Cingular, it's taking two days and what sort of games are they playing anyway?
They don't even give you enough time to act after receiving the notice. My notice was dated the 5th, I got it in the mail on the 8th and my bank says they had the money on the 10th. I think this is all about generating $36 restoration fees for those who are forgetful as I am, working and traveling so much right now. And it's not like I have some giant balance. I did pay late.. but it's the same amount every month and I always pay and before I've been a very regular on-time payer.
So.. I still don't have my latest bill, to see how long the last online bill pay took compared to when I sent it, the 8th of last month. But.. get this. I received another notice this month, dated the day after the bill was due. I've already paid it. But geez. What a bunch of jerks. I mean, charge a late fee or something. Wait two months before you act like you hate your customers.
The other thing was that on my most recent bill, there were $30 in charges for some ridiculous spam text messages. I didn't ask for these messages, and so I called Cingular to have them removed. And I asked that before anyone can "charge me without asking" that Cingular force them to have to ask me first, before texting me twice, for $30. Cingular said they couldn't do that. I said they do it for collect calls, so why not "collect text messages?" They said they could only remove text messaging as a feature, which I need and use all the time. So my choices are, either be open to getting slammed by evil text messaging companies for very high fees, or don't have text messaging. Yikes. Way to protect your customers, Cingular.
Oh.. but wait. Maybe Cingular gets a part of the $30 fee, and therefore doesn't want to shut down this bad behavior?
Then, on Dave Farber's IP list, I found out that Cingular, Qwest, AT&T and Sprint are blocking calls to FreeConference.com. GigaOm also did some investigation that's interesting. That's because they don't want us to use our cellphones to call a long distance number, to get free conference calling.
OMG. I mean really. I pay Cingular approximately $.10 a minute during the "anytime" calling hours, and that's when I use Free Conference. Who are they to block me from dialing, not an 800 number, but a regular charge call? That they make money from?
Cingular == evil. I would do anything to get off the stupid telco rollercoster that seems to be routed perpetually downward and just use VOIP with an internet connection on my cell phone.Posted by Mary Hodder at March 16, 2007 05:16 PM | TrackBack