I love my doughter and we talk often. We have a very trusting, open relationship. She is 15. To help me with the heckic paise of her world, I added her to my Cingular phone system for only $9.99 a month. Life was good, and the phone made picking her up school, gym, and work, easier with the simple words, "where are you" just like in the commericals.
All was well untill she, or a friend she lowned her phone to, sent a text message to a "Free ring tone" service seen on TV. You know the ones. The ads with the small print reading "monthly charges of $29.50". The next month my bill had gone from about $140 to $350.
Needless to say I took the phone away from her and turned it off. I keept it in my desk drawer at work. Then grounded her for a month. Still the charges keep comming. $450 and I started to get past due. Then $540. The payments where hard to keep up with and one month my cell phone bill was over $1200 in current and past due charges.
What I didn't know, but suspected, was how shady these companies really are and how the phone companies, Cingular in my case, work with them. Not only did my doughter get the monthly riging tone charge but lots of other charges from places I still can't find any information on. For months I tried, in vain, to have these charges stopped and removed from my billing. I have learned is called cramming.
I called Cingular to have the charges removed. Each month I ask for an accounting of the charges. I ask how many there where, who they where from and how much each charge was. I was told one month "I will remove this one. I don't know why your doughter would download the same ring tone five times." Even after they took off charges some months I was left to paid $80 to $150 in 3rd party charges to keep my phone.
Cingular syyley removed charges without removing them all. My shyley I mean they would remove them without telling me who made the charges are what they where for.
Just when I thought I had this cleaned up it started again. I needed it all to stop. I couldn't pay my medical expencies and the phone bill. My two year contract has expired, so I turned off the phones and waited for the account to be stoped. I was afreed to pay the bill because I didn't want the cramming to start again. This was a BIG mistake.
With my account "terminated", I coun't pay the bill on-line. They turned off my Cingular.com web account as well. I couldn't pay my bill over my phone because my phone was dead and I gave up my home "land line" phone years ago to go cellular only. So I took time off work and went into their store. I paid a large portion of what I owed the day my service ended.
I ask the sales person about the charges and tried to get them taken off agian. He told me they couldn't do it at the store. Odd because they had done it for me at this very store just two months before. The Cingular person said I would need to call the customer support center.
I called and was told after have some more charged removed (they did another $130+) they would reinstate my account. I did, they didn't. Now that my ballance is ZERO (0) they want $500 deposit to open a new account. I told them Goodby.
I liked Cingular. I was a customer for six years. I paied thousands to them in that time. I esimate it is something like $10,000 plus over the years. I'd like to have a Cingular account still. My friends and older son are on Cingular. But this is too much to take.