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Cingular Wireless / they charged for free service

1 United States

Was an original ATT Wireless customer, before they were bought out by Cingular, for over 5 years. When they were bought out we were contacted to change over to Cingular plans and phones on all 3 of our lines of service. We did without hesitation because of our high degree of satisfaction with ATT Wireless. While picking out phones and plans I made sure to get confirmation of unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes on all 3 phones. I was assured by the two agents that I had to speak to during that phone call. Upon getting my first bill from Cingular I find $1, 300 in overage charges on my bill. Because I had detailed billing I was able to see that the charges were because I was over my minutes only because they were deducting from my anytime minutes, the calls placed to my other two lines of service. These lines were on the same plan, same company, and same city of usage. They should have been covered under my unlimited mobile-to-mobile. They weren't. I called and spoke with the same agent that setup the service and she assured me it would be taken care of. She told me not to pay the bill because they would send out a new one. I went ahead and paid the bill minus the usage charges that were supposed to be taken care of. A week later we got a call from Cingular Wireless saying we had to upgrade our plans and phones to Cingular since ATT Wireless had been bought out. We thought we already had done this but I guess not. We again switched to new plans and new phones free of charge because up to this point minus the overage charge issue we were satisfied with ATT Wireless. With the issue of overage charges so recent I made sure to again get confirmation of unlimited mobile-to-mobile options on all 3 of our lines of service. We were assured by the agent and his supervisor of this feature. Upon receiving our first bill from Cingular we again have over $2, 000 worth of overage charges on our bill. I once again call customer service and this time I am told that we do not have that option because our plan is not $59.99 or higher. We only had a $39.99 plan because most of our minutes used fall under the mobile-to-mobile option so the need for more anytime minutes isn't necessary. The agent I spoke to agreed to forgive the overage charges and said that he can add the option of unlimited mobile-to-mobile for only $10 per month per line. I agree and he adds it. The next month we get our bill with another $2, 000 worth of overage charges for the same reason. I call and speak with a supervisor who tells me that I don't have mobile-to-mobile and that there is no $10 per month option for the service. At this point I am pretty upset but I maintain my composure. I ask if they will just take the charges away if we upgrade to a higher priced plan with mobile-to-mobile. He says that he cannot do that since I am showing a pattern of getting my overage charges refunded. I explain, again, that it is because of his agents telling me that I have mobile-to-mobile minutes and I don't. He explains that I owe the money and asks if there is anything ELSE he can help me with. I told him to cancel the 3 lines and send me a bill for the cancellation fees. He tells me that I cannot cancel without a 45 day written notice. I tell him to cancel it anyway because his company failed to uphold it's end of the contract, so was I. 3 days later I get a call from a collection agency in Kansas City, MO and speak with an agent by the name of Ryan. Ryan tells me that I owe $4, 500 for a debt with Cingular. After arguing with him that I haven't even received a bill from Cingular yet, he says that he can settle the debt for only $1, 200 if I pay right then and there. I tell him that I am at work and do not have my credit card on me to settle the debt, and that he could call me back later on that evening to settle the debt. ($1, 200 was a bargain compared to what I would have had to pay with Cingular) Later that evening I get a call and make a payment to Ryan to settle the debt. The next day another agent from the collection agency calls me and says that I now owe $3, 100. After a conversation with him and his supervisor, they end up ending on a final figure of $1, 500 to settle the debt because I didn't pay Ryan when he called me the first time, so that deal was null and void. I called Cingular at this point and was told they couldn't access the account because it had been turned over to collections for payment. I went 3 supervisor levels above the agents head with ZERO success. I finally had to pay the $1, 500 to collections because I was in the process of buying a house and didn't need a collections debt on my credit. 3 months later I get a bill from Cingular for $350 in charges. When I call them they explain that it is because one of the lines of service was subscribed to a service and the charges were for that service. (When the TV tells you to text 54 54 54 to a number and you do, it subscribes you to it apparently) I asked how they could keep me subscribed to this service if I didn't even have an account with them. The charges were quickly erased. I NOW have a ZERO balance with Cingular. The kicker? A week after this I get a call from a Cingular sales person asking if I would like to hear about plans that I am pre-qualified for. I think they can still hear me laughing at their call centre in India. We have now been with Verizon Wireless for 4 years with ZERO problems, and TOTAL satisfaction.


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