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Consumer Cellular NOT Necessarily the Best Choice

I don't know if there's some financial arrangement between Consumer Cellular and AARP, but we (folks over 50) are clearly targeted by Consumer Cellular.  I WAS one of those people whose monthly bill, as advertised on television, was just under $25...with very a limited data allowance.  Out of town at a hotel I attempted to connect to the hotel's free wi-fi.  Having difficulty (NOT a Consumer Cellular issue), I gave up after about 45 minutes.  I came to discover that I had used ALL of my allowed data trying to connect and I was bumped up to the next higher plan to cover this data usage.  That also was not really a problem for me.  So.....My Point:  I was paying just shy of $25 per month and it was pretty easy to use up my allowed data.  After my hotel experience I dumped Consumer Cellular and I am now with Cricket Wireless.  I pay a total of $30 a month, which includes all taxes and fees, and I have unlimited data...1GB at high speed.  Bottom Line=For only $60 more a year I will never have the hotel experience again. 

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This is the worst company ever. I have filed complaints with 4 agencies because of their extremely poor customer service and we simply cannot have up to one bar of service. We got them in Dec 2019, because we thought a a  r p wouldn't do us wrong. We were wrong, they helped get us in this mess. The service went down in about March, with dropped calls, calls not received, or unable to be placed. Never more then one bar of service. Constant calls not notated of issues, and chats with long ques of 178 or more (even before the crisis) They never would call us back when we told them to call us if calls dropped. They never notated our calls about poor service. They are known for sending u more sim cards, none of which work. Our phones were checked out by geek squad and are not the problem. The phone service is. We moved 2 phones to another company, and they are withholding releasing my phone as they are charging us for service when my phone could no longer get any bars, and so was no longer in service, and the other phone bills show evidence as well. I have not been able to use my phone at all since Aug 9, and are still billing me. They will not work with us on anything, and I get this when consumer protection said to contact them. " Why does AARP allow this to go on endorsing this company? They have thousands of complaints on the BBB, trust pilot, consumer protection etc. We do not have a home phone, and now I have no phone working. I am a senior citizen and this is how aarp has worked for us.

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So what can we all do, when they refuse to accept cancellation and keep charging. I did my cancellation also thru consumer protection as a go between and they still refuse and keep charging. Do they figure they can damage someone's credit rating, as past customers who will not pay for services not received any longer? What has anyone else done? I mean 4 agencies we filed with and they STILL persist doing what they do
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Consumer Cellular is a FRAUD and/or SCAM. When you become a Consumer Cellular unlimited customers (including talk, all texts, & data), Consumer Cellular forces their new customers to enroll auto pay so Consumer Cellular may STEAL your money. Plus, For their unlimited customers, once the customer reaches the maximum data allowed, which is usually between 5-10 days, Consumer Cellular puts the unlimited customers on throttle speed for the remaining 20-25 days regardless if the customer pays his/her bill. Most companies only puts on throttle speed during peak times, but Consumer Cellular leaves throttle speed on 24/7 UNLESS although you are an unlimited customer, they still charge you $10 for 10GB which constitutes FRAUD because the customer signed up as an unlimited customer. On top of all this, Consumer Cellular likes to harass their customers & when playing be video games, Consumer Cellular likes to make sure the video games to load extremely slow so the unlimited customer uses more of their data so they may start the throttle speed that Consumer Cellular seems to fancy & adore so much. Consumer Cellular NEEDS to be out of business permanently because of their behavior to the unlimited customers Consumer Cellular believes the customer cherish, which is bunch of BS & I have other former Consumer Cellular unlimited customers saying the same thing as I am putting this review together. Please reconsider getting Consumer Cellular as a Cellular Provider. I don't recommend Consumer Cellular to anyone & in fact, I highly recommend that everyone to STAY AWAY from Consumer Cellular so they may go permanently out of business. 

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Yes we found out that too. Filed with 4 agencies and still nothing is happening. How come aarp still keeps them is beyond us. They are using my phone as hostage right now.
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I am not sure why AARP would offer a discount for using Consumer Cellular when they have so many issues on record. We just got Consumer Cellular and have no service in the house. If we want to make a phone call we have to walk outside, that lasted for a week. Then we called and they claimed we needed to get a sim card, which is now on its way but in the meantime we no cannot get calls at all, in or outside the house! This is a shame when we need our phone and our daughter needs to be able to call us. We should be reimbursed and I will not recommend this to anyone. This is taking advantage of the older community and I will remember, all discounts are not necessarily discounts! Thanks for confirming that once again. Offering this community all kinds of discounts when you cannot stand behind the service is just wrong.

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That is quite a story! I can't believe that CC thinks it's acceptable for you to stand outside to make a phone call. It's like that old TV show, Green Acres, where they had to climb the telephone pole to make a phone call! I've had CC for 2 years now and we have not had any trouble until I ordered two new phones. For one reason or another the SIM card in the phones would not activate. I called CC for help. The agent I spoke to told me the SIM card I had was bad and that I would need to go to Target and get another or they could send me one. I elected to have one sent to me. In the meantime my phone started working. I called CC again to tell them that I did not need the SIM card and I spoke to a different agent. This guy told me that it was not right that I needed a new SIM, it just required more time to authorize the one I had. Okay, it is now a month later and I ordered another phone from them. I went on line to activate it and it did not work. So, I called CC again.The agent I got was the "SIM Card Guy" again and same story, he told me my SIM was "burnt" and I would have to go to Target, blah, blah, blah, you know the rest. I told him I did not want a new SIM card, I want the NEW SIM in the NEW phone to be activated. He said, "Well, okay, it could take 1 to 3 days" and I told him that I didn't care, please, please, just do it. So now, here I sit, waiting for the stupid thing to turn on. For me, it is totally unacceptable to have to go out and buy more parts to make a new phone operate, period.

P.S. If you're thinking about Tracfone, you are contemplating jumping from the pan into the fire!

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Periodic Contributor

Personally, many of Consumer Cellular' s customers are older.  Many are AARP members.  So, a company such as CC can try a little bullying.  Put pressure on the senior.  How many seniors have the time to fight back. Maybe a little intimidation by inferring that the senior's behavior borders on criminal so the senior is told to offer more ID such as a driver's license and a letter which must be sent to Portland, Oregon. 

 

The senior has to beg for a service. Take advantage of the cohort and make them wait in those endless phone queues.  Those queues which you have to listen to the same three or four news stories over and over again.  How many times do I have to hear the news story about dental floss.  But after an hour in the phone queues your teeth are on edge. If you examine the company's phone system, when the system sees customer phone numbers the system slows down the response for some numbers.  However, if you use a phone and the system doesn't know the phone you can often get through faster.  When the phone system  doesn't identify the phone number with a customer you often get better service.  In other words, you are a potential customer so there is money to be made.  But, if you are a customer who might have issues then your call is funneled into the endless queue.  And if you are an older woman, well you don't count for much.  

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Yes, let's talk about Consumer Cellular.  I had a CC phone and service about eight years ago.  I decided this year to try the service again.  I called and ordered a flip phone and the company's wireless service.  I paid with a credit card for both.  A month latter I get an email that says my payment was rejected and to call CC.  When I got the email I had already gotten the new phone.  I called the phone number and said I got the CC kit.  I was told that my visa card was used to pay for the phone but since I had the monthly phone service eight years ago the company used whatever payment I used back then.  Any cards or checking accounts i had back then I no longer have so,,of course, the payment bounced since the card numbers the CC used have expired or been reissued. But what gets me is no company has a right to use a credit card or other payment method without asking the consumer for permission ahead of time.  So, i told them to use the card that I Initially to pay for the monthly service.  I only talked to company about the payment situation.  So, I did not activate the phone/service.  I only got the phone and service to use in an emergency or if someone texts me.  I have a landline and I use that phone for my calls.  But July of this year I decided to activate the phone.  Since I wasn't changing my phone number I got the phone and supposedly it was ready to use once I charged it and turned it on.  But it didn't turn on so I called customer service for help  activating the phone.  The first person I talked to was a woman and she started to ask me questions and then stopped and said she couldn't continue to talk to me until I gave her the security code.  I asked what that was and she said i had called the company and put on some sort of code on the phone.  i told her I had no idea what she was talking about.  She said to take the code off I had to write a letter to Portland, Oregon and include a copy of my driver's license.  I thought she was a new hire and hadn't been trained well.  So, I called over and over again and was told no questions would be answered unless I gave them this code.  If I didn't have it i could write Portland, Oregon and explain myself.  Sorry never put a code on the phone and I looked through the Consumer Cellular web site and put in "security code" and nothing came up.  I know you can put a pin on a phone  or sometimes depending upon the phone you can use your finger print to lock and unlock your phone but a security code.  So, I had it.  I decided I no longer wanted to have anything to do with Consumer Cellular.  So, I called and said I wanted to cancel the service and I was told by the representatives they couldn't cancel my service.  I would have to write a letter to Portland with a copy of my driver's license and ask that my service be cancelled.  I kept calling and I finally found a guy in Phoenix. AZ and he said he thought he cancel my service for me. and stepped away from the phone and came back and said he could cancel my service so I asked him to do that for me.  We didn't talk about writing letters to Portland, thank goodness. One sane person in the whole Consumer Cellular outfit.  The guy deserves a reward. We didn't about my payment schedule or finances.  Well now I get automated calls on my landline.  Sometimes two a day.  The voice informs me that I owe something like fourteen dollars.  I tried to call the number left in the message put I am immediately put in a que of waiting calls.  The wait is usually over forty-five minutes but at forty-five minutes I hang up.  I check with my credit card company.  I didn't stop payment but I guess when you cancel your service Consumer Cellular must send some sort of notification to the credit card company to cancel the monthly payments.  I didn't send a message.  If you read the information on the web site there is no information on this security code.  There are suggestions on actions a customer can take with his/her phone to protect you data.  But no mention of a security code.  I don't know how or who put on this code but I am not writing letters to ask people to take off things I didn't put on my account and as you will see on the CC web site it says very clearly you can cancel at any time.  So, the company blocked me from cancelling.  i can't use the phone because it is not activated and I can't ask questions because I have a code on my phone.  And, the company wants to continue to bill me and will not cancel my service.  Mind you I didn't owe the money other than the monthly fee which i am charged whether I use the phone or not.  If the company will not turn on my phone so I can use it then why the heck would anyone put up with the company.

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       I have had problems with Consumer Cellular service from day one.   I had to call their customer service using my land line to try to get my phone working.   It did not work and only briefly worked after buying a $400 booster.   When the leaves are off of the trees I can see a cell tower from my home.   

       I kept the service since my land line was deterierating too.  I also wanted a cell phone in case of an emergency.  I go fishing in a lot of places in my state and could not get service in most of the places although my friends seemed to always have service with their phones.  If AARP did a survey of all of their subscribers I wonder how many really get the service they are paying for.  If you could see my phone service records, you could easily tell that I was not able to use my phone.   Shame on me for continuing to pay for poor service.

      Long story short version.  I finally asked one of the guys I fish with what plan he had.  So I switched to Tracfone.  Not saying it is better, but I now get 500 talk, 1000 Text and 500 internet and as long as I stay in the plan the minutes roll over.    $25 for two months versus 250 minutes of talk for $17.60 and no roll over.   Use it or lose it and I definitely lost.

      So if anyone is checking this from AARP, please check with your members and make sure that you are sponsoring the best services.   

       

 

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I received abysmal service from Consumer Cellular.  I decided to add my phone to my son’s plan. It turned out I could not get a data connection with my phone and CC refused to give me a refund, even though based on the incomplete and misleading information on their website I had every reason to believe my phone would work.

I have an unlocked Android GSM phone (Blackberry Priv) that I was using with Straighttalk with AT&T as the underlying carrier. According to the website that was all that was required.  I have used SIM cards with this phone on three continents. The website says:

“With our FREE SIM card, you can connect a device you already own to Consumer Cellular service. To be activated on our service, your phone must be unlocked by your previous carrier, and be compatible with GSM network technology. Our SIM card most commonly works with phones used on AT&T or T-Mobile service.”

When I discovered my data connection would not work (phone and text did, although not text with images) I called and the rep told me that her internal documentation said there was often a problem with data with Blackberries and another brand. Why is this information not on the site? I asked for a refund for the SIM card and the $15 monthly fee for an additional line. The rep told me that wasn’t possible so I asked to speak with her supervisor who kept insisting I didn’t warrant a refund because I had “used the service”. I repeatedly told him I had “used the service” based on the incomplete and misleading information on the website.

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I decided to leave CC because I was also given erroneous information. This happened in 2018

I was planning a trip to Europe and I  understood that they did not service outside the USA. My plan was to have them open my phone so I could use a SIM card that would allow calls in Europe. They refused because I had not been with CC long enough to allow that( I already owned my phone when I signed on with them). “But” said the customer service provider, “if I switched from an AT&T SIM card to a T Mobile card SIM card I could get a plan that would work in Europe. Which I did. You know what’s coming. It didn’t work. It was a HUGE inconvenience. If you like to travel outside the USA, CC is not the plan for you. 

Other carriers have wised up to the “older generation” market and I HIGHLY recommend checking out what’s on offer out there. 

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This is the worst service We have ever had. Talk about taking advantage of seniors. Trying to cancel was a real nightmare. Started back in June and hope that todays go round will be the last.

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Periodic Contributor

You are so right.  The company won't let you cancel.  It said on the CC web site you can cancel at any time.  Since when?  I was told by the CC representatives that I had to write a letter and send in a copy of my driver's license in order to cancel.  And, even those who told me didn't seem like it was a forgone conclusion i could cancel.  Well, we are going to see about these misleading promotions. 

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Thank you for your post.  I am working on getting all these problems out in the open.  I am almost finished with my letter which will be sent out to the appropriate organizations and people.  I felt like i have been bullied.  The company records all phone conversations.  I had my doubts but everyone, including the little people and their supervisors, confirmed all phone conversations are recorded.  The recordings, I am told, are filed under the CC employee's name who took the call, person's shift, date, and time.  This, I will call it a gimmick, of telling me I had put a code on my account with one of their employees when I talked to a employee on the phone will be investigated a bit further.  The company's ads, web site, and on Wikipedia all say  the same thing.  You can cancel at anytime.  The company makes money be delaying a customer's cancellation.  In other words, the longer the company can hold onto you, the customer, the more money it brings in from your account.  

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That is what they are doing to us. At most we were getting one bar, sometimes none. That is why my phone has been out of service, and geek squad said nothing is wrong with my phone, just the service. We do not understand why aarp knows all this and does not help us senior citizens.
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if anyone has a similar problem with a blackberry, it turns out I just needed to fix my APN settings but none of the 3 customer service people i spoke with told me that. Apparently it is somewhere in their FAQs. Consumer Cellular doesn't seem to train its staff too well despite bragging about customer service. they lost me as a customer.

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Read with interest the posts since we are having trouble with consumer also (through AT&T). A friend has cricket and likes it but I have no first hand knowledge. I'm commenting on an earlier post favoring tracphone. We bought one for an exchange student some years ago and it worked fine here in Portland. When it was time for her to go home we thought it would be nice to be able to use her phone during her travels and possibly at home. We loaded the phone at Radio Shack (they were still in business then) and ask the salesman if the service was good in Macedonia (the exchange student's home). He called tracphone to be sure and they assured him that she could use it ANY WHERE in Europe including Macedonia (I listened to the conversation on speaker). The student returned home and the service wasn't available. We went back to Radio Shack and the clerk again called tracphone to ask why. Tracphone refused to admit that they had given us misinformation and of course NO REFUND ever (again on speaker phone so I know what was said by both parties). Tracphones may work here in the states but don't leave country and don't expect customer service.

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AARP should reconsider their sponsorship of Consumer Cellular. I had the same problem others describe: Voice service just stopped working. No voice calls in or out. Three contacts with CC Customer Service did not solve the problem. It was only by reading this forum that I realized the real problem was their network. Meanwhile, CC Customer Service sent me to a service appointment for my phone at Target where they told me the CC service tech position had not been filled for weeks. I ended up having to go with a different provider, including getting a new phone. Moral: Although CC is a communication company, both phone service and customer service from them fell apart spectacularly. I was without voice phone service for seven days while attempting to go through CC to resolve the issue. Finally switched to a different provider. Meanwhile, CC continues aggressive advertising in this market. AARP, are you listening? 

Newbie

Sounds like you're not the only one with this problem. There are a number of alternatives depending on your needs (such as just calls vs. calls & Internet). You definitely want to shop around. 

Newbie

Same problem here with Consumer Cellular at 0630AM Arizona time, 06-DEC-2018. I've tried rebooting, turning the phone off for five minutes and restarting. Same message when I try to make a call. It's my understanding that my phone, too, uses the T-Mobile SIM. I sent CC an email, no reply yet. Stangely, the texting function on the phone is working. Just can't make a phone call because, as the recording states, "Your account balance is too low to complete this call...." I've been on Autopay with CC for several years and have never experienced this message. My account shows plenty of minutes for phone calls and, besides, it auto-upgrades if one nears the upper limit. I may try to turn on the WiFi calling and try to reach CC that way, or try online Chat once they get someone into their office on the west coast this morning. I believe it's past time to quit this outfit; this is not the first, second or third problem encountered with them this year.

Contributor

I am experiencing the same problem. Cannot make outgoing calls and can no longer log onto the website. Text still works. You would think they would post something about having difficulty. 
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Yes!  The lack of transparency by Consumer Cellular almost feels like the MCI meltdown!

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And this morning, I get a recording "Your account balance is too low to complete this call...".  I call Consumer Cellular and after waiting in the call queue for 37 minutes, they tell me that is happening to all of their phones on the T-Mobile network!  Is it because they failed to pay the other carrier?  I just hope my 85 year old parents don't need to use the phone I gave them today, they might think that I'm broke and not paying my bills 😛

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Silver Conversationalist

For those that may want to go the Wal-Mart, Straight Talk way. This is thru Tracfone.

 

I have this, have had it for several years now and I am happy with it. My plan is unlimited talk, text and data, first 5GB of data at high speed and then at 2G. I pay $50 every 30 days. I have my own phone Samsung Galaxy S6. So far this month I have only used 94 MB of data. Calls etc. are thru Verizon. I can watch the NFL games on my phone without any problem.

 

See a couple of example images below.

 

Click on, tap or activate images to enlarge them.

StraightTalkA17.png

 

 

StraighTalkB17.png

 

 

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I think the Straight Talk plans are for 1 phone, so for 2 phones, you have to double the monthly rate. I am currently with Verizon and they have a plan called the Verizon small plan, unlimited talk, and text with 2 GB of data for $ 80.00 a month for 2 phones. I am considering Consumer Celluar, $52.25 a month for 2 phones with unlimited talk and text and 3 GB of data. Their coverage in my area is about the same as Verizon.
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Right on daviscave.  I chose to go with Great Call and their 5 star program.  I get emergeny service 24/7 and 200 minutes for less than I was getting from Consumer Cellular for the same minutes.  The last two phones I got had problems and I got nothing from Consumer Cellular customer service.  I could never get anyone to answer the phone.  After trying for two months to get my phone replaced or repaired while it was still under warranty I was told that I was out of luck.  This was backed up by AARP and they told me that I would get my last bill returned but  no phone replacement.  I have cancelled all the services that I got through AARP's recommondation. Consumer Cellular, Hartford Insurance, and United Healthcare.  Hartford raised their auto insurance by 46% this year and my driving status has been the same for fifty years.  United Healthcare the same and I found that I saved over $2000 a year with HealthNet and of course Consumer sucks.  I am waiting now to hear from the FCC because knowing that AARP wouldn't be any help.  Thank for letting me vent.

CrankyOne
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Honored Social Butterfly

I don't doubt that consumer cellular is not for everyone. I have found out that no cell company is good for everyone either.

So, I guess that it depends on your own expectations.

For us, is great. we don't use Smartphones, at all. we only use our cell phones to call each other when we need to or have our out of state family contact us. and they usually do it on our land line.
I am very computer savvy, and I have in my home several computers in a network so is not a matter of lack of technology.
Have also tablets for when I need to use them. 
Don't want to be constantly connected thru my phone and that is my choice.

so, I guess that people need to think about what are their needs and then choose the company that can supply those needs.

no name
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WHY are you even replying...which then clutters my email inbox with notices?  In the original posting, reference was clearly made to data usage and that CLEARLY entails smartphone usage.  The original comment obviously does not apply to everyone, and does not apply to those using phone only.  Please reply to postings...as relevant.

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Honored Social Butterfly


@southcoastCR wrote:

WHY are you even replying...which then clutters my email inbox with notices?  In the original posting, reference was clearly made to data usage and that CLEARLY entails smartphone usage.  The original comment obviously does not apply to everyone, and does not apply to those using phone only.  Please reply to postings...as relevant.

 

 

I am extremely sorry to have offended you. but I felt that my opinion was relevant. and I do believe that I have the right to express my opinion. You can also use the ignore button or simply schrol to messages that you don't wish to read.



no name