Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?


Yeah, but it may cost me $0.65/minute.

I posted earlier about my cell phone dilemma, of roaming when we knew it not, and being charged a lot for the information. I've been waiting for the 5-7 (or 7-10) days to 'double-check' the change in billing. Of course, during this 'wait and see' window, they finalized the shift from what was my carrier to a different carrier. Hmm... handy, that.

I logged on to my new carrier's website to find that my bill had not been adjusted at all, so made a call to the new carrier's customer service. The woman on the line read through the previous call notes before telling me that 10 days wasn't going to do it; that it would require 2 or 3 billing cycles before any credit was posted. That seemed odd to me, and the rest of her story contradicted anything I'd been told by previous contradictory customer service reps. Including the part where she offered me what I understood (after clarifying 3 times) to be free nationwide roaming service. What she apparently did was add a bundle of 100 'travel' minutes (I guess a bit of roaming) for free to every bill cycle starting October 7. Except she didn't mention that the new carrier would have no way of granting me that. Ha ha. Ha. So, I could've gone to Florida really quickly within the next few days to make that offer worthwhile, eh?

She told me that nothing would change for me, that my existing contract carried over as-is. I told her it had already changed during the last carrier-switch, and seemed to do so occasionally. So then she admonished me that since it was a 'local' plan and there was no coverage map to be had, to be cautious and not leave my town if I didn't want to risk incurring roaming charges.

Um, really? Because I'm not really even IN my town, and if I was, I could walk across it in about 10 minutes. And I'd like to go grocery shopping without roaming, too, were that possible. OH, but it is. Just upgrade to one of "their" nationwide plans (and get new equipment too, of course, because mine won't work if I did that). Well, I try to REDUCE expenses, not increase them - especially if I have to take a serious hit in what I'm getting (sure, I could go to Florida, and even grocery shopping, but with several-hundred less minutes to use when I got there).

So I hung up without any real answers, having been advised to call a local store for information on my local plan. Which I did, and was told that my WHOLE STATE is my area. Also TWO MORE whole states (where I never go) and part of THREE OTHERS, where I go rarely.

I called again later, hoping for a better rep, which I got. For one, she *immediately* reversed the roaming charges I'd been dealing with. Imagine that! And it wasn't even Christmas yet. I feel a little bad, because they didn't add on the $10 I'd agreed to. She decided to give the coverage-map another try, and after a long pause told me that my entire region was white, indicating "no service." We laughed, because I was talking on the phone with her right then. Eventually, after some holds and deliberation on her part, she came back with the news that I might well be roaming.. in my kitchen. That would not be handy at all, and I said as much. She agreed, and tried understanding the different bill-language on my minute usage from the previous carrier. She seemed fairly certain that I was even then incurring roaming charges, and said I might want to use my cell phone sparingly until the bill cycle ended and it could be verified. OR to check my minute usage online.

The minute usage isn't available for 3 more days, apparently. I called my local store again, who was fairly certain I WASN'T roaming in my kitchen, but he couldn't really be sure either, until the billing cycle was completed.


I really don't feel like I can live without this cell phone (I know, most of the world would shake their heads at me), and with the hours (or lack thereof) Hubby has had at work lately I don't feel like I can increase my bill, either. Our plan is just right for us, and to get another one (adding the nationwide coverage, obviously) would add about $25/mo, and we'd lose nearly 40% of our minutes. Oh, and I'd lose my one free-to-call number too (yes, we have ONE of those). My in-laws would (I think) love me to join their world of text-messaging, but that would add about $55 - nearly doubling our current bill - to each month, and we'd still be down-sizing our minutes just as much.

Maybe I should opt for the two-tin-cans-and-a-string plan...

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