My first month as a Cingular customer

I’ve spoken with Cingular customer service five times in the past two days. Six if you count the time they called (independently) to do a survey on how happy I was with my new Cingular service.

On Monday, I received my first bill since switching my account and getting the new phones. Even though my Treo is signed up for the PDA Connect unlimited data plan, they had charged me per-kilobyte for the data I had used. This, of course, made for a far larger bill than I expected.

My first call to customer service, Tuesday morning, was rather unhelpful. The woman I spoke to assured me that, in fact, I was not allowed to have the PDA Connect data plan on a FamilyTalk shared-minutes plan, regardless of whether or not the Cingular store sold it to me or that it was how my account was set up. She put me on hold and claimed to confirm this with her supervisor. She said the only way to fix it was to sign up each phone for an individual plan (at extra monthly expense), and did not offer to refund the extra charges on my bill.

I called back about two hours later, and spoke to another rep, who examined the notes from the first conversation and had no explanation for what the earlier person might have been thinking. She assured me that I was allowed to have a Treo with unlimited data on the family plan, and added a credit to my account. She also identified the problem that caused the billing error: Apparently, my account was set up with both the unlimited and pay-per-use data plans, and the latter was adding the per-kilobyte charges to my bill, even though I had the unlimited PDA plan. She removed the pay-per-use data plan from my account.

Unfortunately, after that, my phone stopped being able to connect to the data service at all. I called again Tuesday evening, but the customer service rep I talked to was unable to find anything wrong, and since it was too late for tech support to be open, suggested I call back the next data.

Wednesday morning I called again, and was transferred to the data support line. I spoke with a fellow who had me change some of the settings on my phone; I changed the GPRS APN and user name to different values that allowed me to connect, although he assured me that the original settings should have also worked. He said he had identified a problem with the account, and had made some changes that could take a few hours to take effect. He said to call back if I still couldn’t use the original settings after that.

By Thursday morning, although I could connect with the new settings, the old ones still didn’t work. Admittedly, no one had been able to explain to me what the difference was between the two, but since the original settings were supposedly the correct ones for my device and plan, I called data support again. I spoke with another fellow who was able to identify the problem—my account’s WAP provisioning had been disabled—and fixed it by adding back the pay-per-use data plan to my account. He assured me that this shouldn’t cause me to be charged for use, since I had the unlimited data plan, but said I should keep an eye on my bill just in case.

I sense another call or two to Cingular coming when I receive next month’s statement.

16 thoughts on “My first month as a Cingular customer

  1. Someday, phone companies will have all this stuff sorted out to the point where all this either Just Works, or the customer service people are competent and knowledgable to make it appear to Just Work without having any of the complications show up at the user end.

    Clearly, that someday is still quite a distance off.

  2. Pingback: Life as a University System Administrator

  3. FYI — i sympathize with your troubles. wife & i were cingular customers for several yrs and finally switched providers last week when Customer No-Service couldn’t help me with my Treo purchase. I figured I would take my $400+ dollars to someone who knew what a PDA should do and what my monthly bill would look like!

  4. My Cingular voice mail has been out of service for 8 days (they just launched a new voicemail system thats a disaster) and now 15 phone calls can’t get it re-activated – and indicate it may not be able to work for months… They try to update it but because I don’t have my cell phone in my home area, the update won’t work, even though the problem is with the central voicemail. I won’t be back in the country for about two months and they say there’s nothing they can do… I get many important business calls (I’m president of a software company with customers in many countries.) Now not only will the Cingular system not properly forward calls but it also won’t take messages. Because of predatory roaming policy my bill was $249 last month – for 300 minutes of service, as I was in Canada for two days and they charge .99/min. When i asked about adjustments to my bill since the phone’s not working, the customer service agent read me a script which says I agreed to pay for the service whether it is working or not. Of course they’ll not allow you to exit the contract without paying it off… Another class action lawsuit against these incompetants is probably, sadly, overdue. p.s. if you follow the voice mail prompts for customer service, it repeatedly connected me to a message saying “this is a test line at Convergyns Corporation” and cuts you off. Who knows how many tens of thousands of people have had this… A pathetic mess of a company…

  5. I’m finding out Cingular Customer No-Service is awful. Is there any way to file a suit since they are not coming through on their part of the contract, ie. the service.
    I just switched over and have already had two incompetant people get loud with me and countless other pointless conversations, one leading to me being forwarded to another phone company. Unbelievable. Can I got back to where the grass was greener? By the way, after countless phone conversations, my account is still way off.

  6. I’m also having problems with cingular. I’m not suppose to be charged roaming, but I am. Each month I have to call and have the roaming charges credited. This month (Sept.) I was charged over $157 for roaming. I called and they refused to credit my account because they want to me to switch to a different plan and get a different phone. I told them to forget it and just cancel my service and I would pay my bill, but I am not paying for the roaming charges. They were very rude with me. Can anyone help me?

  7. the initial settings of your treo were to access the ‘WAP’ Gateway, which is the voice gateway. There is a back end system that recognizes data and converts it as such so that it may travel over the voice network. This is meant for SMS email, Txt messaging, MMS, etc.
    Now, the settings you changed it to were ISP@CINGULARGPRS.COM, etc. These settings are for data connectivity exclusively and NO PAY PER USE SHOULD BE ON THE ACCOUNT WITH THE UNLIMITED PLAN!!! Geez! You were unable to use the WAP setting because your profile on the MAG6 simply needed to be recreated (takes about 10 seconds to do), but access to the ‘ISP’ side of things is more desirable for you because you will be able to reach EDGE speeds of up to 220kbps. I appologize for the inconvienence this has caused you and hope you have better experiences with Cingular from now on.
    P.S. They really are trying to shake up the CS side of things

  8. In august of 06 I requested dsl because I wanted to combine my home service with sbc, att and cingular. I try to keep good notes. the good that did me. So far I have been on the phone several times since then, today is nov. 15, 06, because my bills still aren’t combined. I have reference numbers, confirm numbers, times, dates of all of my calls. Big deal, doesn’t help you.
    After all the calls, mind you transfered several times before I got to the right person. Oh and don’t forget all the waiting!! I was finally told today that the names on both bills, home setvice and wireless service, have to match!!! If I was told that back in Aug, I would have taken care of that BACK THEN, Hellloo!!!!Now another call has to be made by my partner, co-habitor, boyfriend, whatever, has to be made to seal the deal. I’ll let you know how that goes. Up to that point I had been happy with cingular. Good service, good phones. I do like the DSL and the other perks I have gotten for combining my services. Cheaper home phone service, faster computor, on ONE BILL, someday.

  9. I can’t believe Cingular. I’m having the same problem with unknown data transfer charges. I have the media net basic package and was told that when you send a picture mail that it is included in the message usage and you don’t get charged for the kb used. This month I received my bill with $104 of overages from data transfer charges. I spoke to the Cingular rep and he says looking at my account that I was surfing the internet. I told him I have never used the internet on the phone and only use the text and picture mail option. He insisted that I was browsing the internet. I managed to get him to credit back all the charges and I told him I wanted this problem escalated because there is obviously a technical problem on there end. I don’t want to have to call everymonth to get them to take charges off due to a problem in there system. I also don’t use the Bluetooth on my phone so that is turned off. I added a post yesterday to a forum that was started on Cingular’s Customer Forums page. The Cingular forum was started on 11/2/06 and had a couple dozen posts about this exact same problem. I received emails telling me I had replies to the post that I added. I went to read them and as of this morning Cingular has deleted the forum about this problem. Thanks to Google Caching web pages I was able to get a copy of it forum. I’ve only had Cingular for 2 months now and have had nothing but problems. I plan to file a complaint with the BBB and see if I can get out of this contract.

  10. Jim entry Dec. 2006
    Hang in there, it gets worse. I dont think its the system as much as the operators of the system. I just got a bill for $555. 86 pages long. Granted there are two girls on this billing. We have cingular to cingular with roal over minutes. This bill showed two phones used 142 hours total usage” notice I went from minutes to hours”. Both of these users my kids are College students with a 4.0 and 3.85 GPA. I find it difficult to believe they could have the time to study and use this much time on phones. Looking at the bill, we are being charged for the cingular to cingular @ .45 per minute. Wasted my time calling cingular; talked to a very polite lady that told me the plan did not allow for cingular to cingular. Neither one of us could understand why it worked last month but not this one. If I got payed minimum wage for the time I spend with telephone and cell phone companys each month, keeping a diary of all calls etc. my time would pay the bill. Good luck with your cingular bill. I have gotten credits from customer service, but some how its nearly impossible to get them on the bill. Its almost necessary to go to a cingular store, have them bring up your account on the screen then get them to call to call cingular HQ on their toll free number, you talk to they type, ask exactly what you want done and have them enter it as you speak. It some times works. They seem to get worse month by month. I just told yu of our lastest experence

  11. I get charged 1 cent per minute every day for data transfer. I don’t evenb know what that is. Then I went on a cruise and I got my bill this month and it is over $3000. I am shocked! It is on a business plan and I called our rep but she still has not called me back. How can you turn that off???

  12. There seems to be lots of problems with data bundles and contract phones, perhaps it is wiser to pay as you go for data. Look for bundles that offer a flat rate per day for unlimited use. As for roaming no-one should use their network provider for international calls. It is smarter to get a local sim at your destination which is usually free and only requires topping up. That way you erradicate the expensive charges for someone calling you and for you calling them. Prior to your journey look for cheap international calls from your destination. From the UK using such a provider you can call the states for about 2p/min. It is more labour intensive but easier on the wallet!

Comments are closed.