How Cell Phone companies are fleecing us?


Many of you are aware that come November 24, 2003 and we will be free from the shackles of phone companies, who in my opinion have run rough shod over consumers for the longest time. Given that most of these guys are on very thin ice, and are over-leveraged, they are trying to get consumers pay for the number portability. A recent study by Center for Public Integrity shows that the 10 largest wireless carriers have taken in $629 million from the consumers.

bq. The study surveyed the 10 largest wireless carriers and found that nine of them have been charging their customers recovery fees ranging from 5 cents to $1.75 per month. AT&T was charging the highest amount, though only to about one-third of its customers, while T-Mobile charged no recovery fee. In all, CPI estimates the cost to wireless customers for number portability as $629 million thus far. CPI found a wide variance in carriers’ estimated costs to implement number portability, ranging from $100 million for Nextel to $60 million for Verizon. The study found that several carriers are including customer retention and acquisition costs and other marketing costs in those amounts, including Cingular.

Well this is truly shocking and once again proof of the phone companies’ greed. I think we are all justified our wireless infidelity. What really is disgusting is that the Federal Communications Commission is well aware of this little scam.

bq. “In other words, Cingular and some other wireless companies have folded some of their marketing costs into their budget for implementing number portability, and are then passing those costs on to their customers,” the study said.



I have a prepaid phone through virgin mobile. I had a credid card on file with them to charge every month to top up my account. Last week I called to cancel my card on file with them so that NO charges could be billed on my card. Well, they ended up charging my card any way and that has causeed my bank account ot be over drawn. Virgin mobile agreed to put back the money that they took out, but not pay for the over draft charges. Is there anyhting I can do about this? Is it legal to charge unauthorize use of my card when I clearly called a week prior to have this card removed? I did not owe them anything either.

Jean Frankowski

I signed a 2 year contract with an AT&T dealership. They provided me with a phone that was very annoying. It beeped regularly telling me it was in extended area, or roaming one block from my home. I thought this was normal until lately my voice messages were not coming through until 2 to 7 days later. When I mentioned this to friends and described what I had been going through for the past year they assured me this was not normal. I thought it may be a frequency problem. AT&T will not replace the phone for free because I am one year into my 2 year contract and because I didn’t purchase a warranty past one year it’s gonna cost me. They wanted to charge me service fees on top of the new phone and have me resign another 2 year contract in order to receive the lowest price. On top of that sign for additional fee for service extended warranty. I have decided to keep my money in my pocket, rough it out for the next year until the contract expires and then drop them all together and never do business with them again. Any suggestions on the best company to use?

Erin Riley

JUST PCS – a CINGULAR wireless store in Spokane Washington, sold us phones that never worked right, could not fix them when we complained, billed us on the wrong plan, billed us for calls we never made, and refused to accept the phones when we tried to return them. Then, when we wanted to take them to small claims court, they refused to give us the name of their corporate agent so that we could serve them with notice of the court case. We found out the name of the corporate agent through the secretary of state, but when we tried to serve him, the manager of the store in Seattle told us that the named agent was not there and had never been there in person. JUST PCS was TERRIBLE to deal with, provided bad phones, bad customer service, and tried to hide and avoid service so we couldn’t sue them.

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