The Cell Phone Carriers Drive Me Up the Wall

I just came from one of the major mobile phone carriers. Every time I go there, I find myself liking the industry less after each experience.

At least once a week I get a text message from the company asking me to upgrade my phone for free since my contract with them expired. But of course, that means committing to them for yet another two years with a stiff penalty for going to one of their competitors if I agree to get their free or discounted phone.

Let me pay for the phone and then move from carrier to carrier on the fly going with the best and least expensive service. I have no desire to squelch competition with these ridiculous two-year contracts.

In this country, the carriers tell the phone manufacturers what they want for their customers. And the most obnoxious requirement is that these phones WORK ONLY WITH THEIR SERVICE.

This carrier control was complete until Apple entered the scene with the iPhone and made the carrier bend some to their demands. Apple understands what can happen when you give the customer his way.

The iPhone still only works with one cell phone carrier. But the phone can be easily modified by Apple to fit any carrier that uses the same technology as AT&T. All that is required is a modified SIM card that inserts into the innards of the phone.

Many are not buying the iPhone because they do not want to buy services from AT&T. This is depriving Apple of millions of dollars in sales and millions of potential customers from enjoying the best phone available on the market today.

Here is another example of what customers find offensive.

Let’s say that you are already paying $100/month for a certain number of minutes each month. In fact, let’s assume you never even come close to using all of your minutes most months. If you want to use those excess minutes to transfer voice calls, then that’s fine. BUT, if you want to send or receive data instead of voice in the form of an email message, for example, then you have to make another two-year commitment for an ADDITIONAL $40/month for that privilege.

Talk about abusing the customer!

Why are they doing this? Because they can.

When I can, I will drop this service and others like them as quickly as I can say “no thanks.” As time progresses, this irritation is turning from “That’s the way it is” to “How can I help defeat this practice and the organizations behind it?”

Let’s be honest here. Companies should make money, but not unfairly. Once the customer feels he is being taken to the cleaners, you have transformed him from a friend to an active enemy.

Posted on November 20, 2007 and filed under Branding, Customer Service.