Cingular Wireless 3G Laptop Connect, No Thank You
Well I thought today that I’d look into Cingular’s new 3G Laptop Connect service that they are presently hyping in most major metropolitan cities where available. If you look on the back page of the front page of today’s San Francisco Chronicle you will find a full page ad for this new service. My consensus, instead of Cingular’s company tag phrase being “raising the bar,” it should instead be “boning the customer.”
First off I was told that in order to get the service you have to buy a card for your laptop from Cingular. The price for the card? $149.99 *with* a TWO YEAR service commitment. Now they do have an annoying to have to mail in $100 mail in rebate, but still, they are going to charge you for this card plus require a two year commitment?
But it gets worse. When I first spoke with the rep she quoted me a price of $44.99 for unlimited wireless internet usage. Ok, sounds a bit pricey when you can get an awful lot of wi-fi for free these days but I was still listening. She then asked me if I was a Cingular customer. I told her that I was an AT&T; Wireless customer but that my bill had a big bold Cingular Wireless “raising the bar” logo on the front of it and that I paid them $100 last month and have been paying them quite a bit recently.
At first this seemed fine but as the conversation went on she began to talk to me about the “benefits” of switching to Cingular for “me.” Now I’m not about to switch from AT&T; Wireless to Cingular for two reasons. First, the last time I switched from Cingular to AT&T; Wireless (both companies owned by the same parent mind you) I got boned royally. I blogged about it here. Hey at least the previous post comes up on the first page Google results for “Cingular Sucks” (as if they even care). The second reason is that I love my AudioVox SMT 5600 SmartPhone and they won’t let me transfer this phone over to Cingular.
But, she told me, if I had Cingular I could get “rollover minutes.” Would I have to replace my phone I asked? Yes . But I like my phone, I can get a bunch of mp3s and podcasts on it, I have all my Outlook contacts in it, it takes pictures, it has this really cool headset that doubles as headphones and a wireless headset mic, etc. Well that’s the only downside she said.
I told her that the last time I switched within Cingular from Cingular to AT&T; Wireless how boned I got she told me that no, this time if I switched back it would be free. When I told her that’s what the last person told me when I switched from Cingular to AT&T; Wireless she said that they must have been wrong and apologized.
So after a bit of the Cingular conversion pitch I told here that I wouldn’t switch and she then told me that if I wouldn’t switch that instead of paying the $44.99 I’d have to pay $79.99 per month. $79.99 per month! Ouch. When I told her that I was already paying them $100 per month through my account with AT&T; she said it didn’t matter. When I asked how come it was so much more, in fact almost double she informed me that she had given me the wrong price for the service with Cingular and that Cingular must have *just* updated the pricing and now it would be $59.99 per month with Cingular.
1. I’m constantly amazed at how wrong Cingular’s reps get things all the time. Ask three different people the same question and you get three different answers. This has cost me big time in the past when I’ve been told that it wouldn’t and the managers there refuse to make things right when their reps give out erroneous information and 2. $79.99 per month *plus* $149 to buy a card, *plus* a two year service commitment is a total rip off.
When I asked the rep why when I was already paying Cingular $100 a month for cell service through AT&T; I had to pay more she put me on hold to ask her manager. She came back with her answer, “because Cingular wants you to switch over,” when I asked her why she said, “because it will be a much better experience for you.” Yeah right, if your idea of a good time is getting totally boned.
On the plus said, maybe this Cingular rep had no idea what she was talking about and it’s really a better deal than this.
To make matters totally worse, Boing Boing pointed out back in November how on top of it all how bad Cingular Wireless’ TOS sucks.
By the way, interested in more evidence that people hate Cingular? Check out their ranking on the blogger opinion site Opinmind.com. Steve Rubel blogged about Opinmind last month and Hacking Netflix used it last month to point out how much more positive the blogsphere is about Netflix over Blockbuster. The blogosphere’s opinion about Cingular, a measley 27% positive rating. This is terrible and Cingular needs to do a much better job at treating the public better and better managing the information about them that is appearing online.