Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cingular's Play On Words

There is a segment on a local television news station here in Boston called "Buyer Beware". The consumer reporter, Susan Wornick, has been doing these segments about companies that maybe aren't playing exactly on the up and up or are wording things confusingly to consumers. Well, this post is my version of that long-running segment.

Cingular Wireless isn't exactly representing itself well on its bills. In the summary of charges on the bill there are 4 lines (on my bill anyway): XX Rollover Minutes XX N&W Unlimited Expd M2M Daytime

So, the way I read this is that the first line is the amount of minutes that rolled over from the month before. You know about their roll-over plans because they tout them on television all the time - whatever you don't use in one month rolls over to the next month so you can use those minutes.

The second line is the minutes for nights and weekends. The third is the text messaging and multi-media plan. The fourth is the amount of daytime minutes in your plan this month.

Right? Wrong. When I got my bill this month it was slightly higher than it should be so I called Cingular. Apparently, the first line is the line of minutes in your plan for daytime use. Period. Not actual rolled over minutes from the month before. The 'Daytime' on the bottom is the amount you went over. I found this to be a little bit of false wording and told the customer service person that. He told me it was all explained on their website. Hmmm....that just doesn't fly with me. Granted, we (if you are reading this, I mean you) are all connected on the internet. But, there are millions of people who aren't - that's just a fact. So, all of those people don't get this explained to them? Ok, maybe in the fine print when they get their first plan - maybe.

Buyer Beware - read your bill every month and understand what each line means before going too far into a service contract or renewing one. It might not always be as it seems. Shame on me - I should have understood this false wording much sooner to keep my bill lower. Shame on Cingular for the misleading wording!

Also, another tidbit I found out - the higher the rate plan you have per month the less the overage minute billed rate is - another way that the 'haves' get more in life than the 'have nots'. Ridiculous!

Just a little grumbly tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

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