Cingular Wireless / Cingular Warranty Department scam on making false accusation
On 3/5/07 I upgraded my phone at the end of my current contract. Upon ordering / receiving the "newly designed" KRZR (Blue) K1 cell phone I purchased through Cingular Wireless, I noticed after a few days of using it that it often dropped calls, muted the sound (conversation) both ways and even the sound when the keys were depressed was muted. For the first couple of weeks, I thought that maybe I just had weak signals from my workplace, but I had the same problems when I made calls standing outside, on the highway and even at home. I also thought at one time that maybe I was accidentally pressing on a smart button located on the side of the phone that may possibly be muting and/or disconnecting my calls. After reading the manual, I found out that I had not used the phone improperly. At that time, I called and talked to a BellSouth / Cingular (I have a combined billing account) representative and after telling his of my problems with this newly marketed Motorola KRZR K1 cell phone he processed an order for a replacement phone which I surprisingly received in 3 days.
I returned the defective phone with the original manual and accessories in a secure mail package envelope with the RMA barcode and preprinted return label they included in the box with my replacement phone. This transaction occurred in May 2007. Today, June 15, 2007 I get a package from Cingular Wireless with just the defective phone I had returned to them weeks prior with 2 pages of correspondence. One of the pages dated 6/11/07 stated that the original KRZR phone was found defective by the warranty department due to "water damage". Here's the kicker.
Cingular stated in writing that I will be billed for $265 for the replacement cost of the new phone they had sent me because the warranty does not cover "water damage". When I called and expressed my concern to a female representative of Cingular Wireless(now the new AT&T) she got very nasty and told me that I should have found a "red sticker" on the back of the damage phone that signifies a water damaged unit. I told her that there was no sticker placed on the phone by the warranty department and that how in the hell could the original phone I returned could have had water damage if I had "never" dropped it in water, spilled water on it, or even talked on it while standing outside in the rain (DUH!!!). I told her that evidently this is some sort of fraudulent scam that Cingular / AT&T is using on their consumers. I told her that I have been a valuable customer of BellSouth since 1982 and Cingular since 1998 and now since AT&T has taken over they are trying to scam me out of $265 . I told her also that I had still yet to receive the $100 rebate for purchasing the $299.99 KRZR phone with a 2-year contract on 3/5/07 evening when their "Young America Rebate Status website showed that my rebate was approved and mailed to me on 4/9/07.
She put me on hold after I refused to let her falsely accuse me of sending them a water damage phone. She said that the first person I talked to about the problem I was having with the cell phone should have told me that the warranty does not cover "water damaged phones. Again I told the scandalous customer service rep. not to try to insult my intelligence because I did not want me last name to fool her (Gomez). I told her that was my ex-husband Portuguese (Spain) surname and that I was born and breed in the sweet USA and I don have a degree in Economics and minor in Engineering. About five minutes later she said that her supervisor was "kindly" going to credit my account for $210. I told her that the letter stated $265 and she said that she could not understand why the letter stated that I was being charged $265 when her records showed the $210 and that I needed to call Cingular billing myself to find out why. Of course I told her that it was her department's responsiblity to clear up their own mess.
Again I was placed on hold and when she returned, she told me that it would probably take two billing cycles but the $265 charge and credit should cancel each other out and sarcastically asked me if there were anything else I needed her help with. I told her no thanks, because Cingular(the new AT&T) have helped themselves enough on unsuspecting buyers of their cell phone warranties. Why do I know this?
Once I returned to work I told my manager about this issue and he quoted before I could get it out of my mouth. "Did they (the warranty department) say that your returned phone had "water damage?" I said, "Yes they did!" He had problems with 2 phones he purchased from Alltel with the cell phone warranty program. He was jilted out of $600 and a negative item was posted on his credit report. And his two phones was never exposed to water. If I see any charge of either $210 or $265 on my cell phone bill, I am going to contact my local TV Station with the person who investigates business scams / fraud and reports the companies on the news report. My boss said that if need be we will use the news station contacts and ours (we are employees of the State of North Carolina) to post a message on a website for all other consumers who have been scam to respond to see if we need to get an attorney to file a class action lawsuit if conditions for fraud are met by the issuer of the cell phone / warranty. After this contract ends, I definitely will be considering leaving BellSouth / Cingular AT@T for all my combined services (Residential, Wireless and DSL-Highspeed). Future buyers, please beware if you ever have to return a defective phone and get the "water damage" excuse.
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