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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.
I had Consumer Cellular for I think 5 years until just recently. It was fine until AT&T starting converting to 5G. After trying Apple, CC, and AT&T for answers, that is my conclusion. It was explained to me by several people that any service other than the main services through the big providers get pushed down in priority. They get fewer towers and get knocked off completely for service when those towers are busy. Even AT&T's pre-paid isn't treated much differently than CC or Cricket, or any reseller. There may also be an issue with older phones now. Since we couldn't get text or email service if we weren't on wifi for months on CC and got no answers, we finally switched to AT&T (where I was before CC). My phone is working fine, but my husband's occasionally gives him issues, and we think it's because it's an iPhone 7, which doesn't have the capability of accepting 5G.
We got completely frustrated with CC after trying and trying to get them to at least explain what was happening. I was told that a supervisor would call me, which never happened, and we needed to have dependable service leading up to our wedding. So, bye bye CC. The kicker, though, was that we had a hard time switching. We fortunately had a great sales guy at the AT&T store who apparently understands how to transfer in difficult situations better than their IT people do. It took almost two days to make the switch because for some reason, CC had my address correct, but had my husband's number, which was on MY account, at my old address! It was a cluster, and I kept hearing that that was impossible, but that's why his number wouldn't transfer at first. CC is a mess. I don't know what happened to them, but some of what happened WAS their fault, and some was simply that AT&T (and Verizon is the same way) is upgrading and giving lower priority to resellers and pre-paid customers. So, we bit the bullet and switched.
I really hope that AARP gets a grip and gives them the boot as an endorsement because, frankly, it makes AARP look bad.
I agree that AARP should drop Consumer Cellular. I've had nothing but problems with them. When I first switched, I had a Samsung S8 and couldn't do multimedia messages, so I called and they told me that it was because my phone was so old (5 years). So I ordered a new Samsung S20 FE from them and was never told anything about how long I needed to be on their network with a phone I bought from them. Everything worked fine with the phone for about 3 weeks, then I got a software update from Samsung and the phone no longer would send multimedia or do data while I was not on WiFi. This is not acceptable service. I spent 5 weeks and probably more than 50 hours troubleshooting the new phone. I also spent at least 8 hours at a Target store where they have techs for support and they could never get it working. I did a full factory reset twice, because they said it was an App that I had installed that was causing the issue, and it still didn't work. I even contacted Samsung, and sent them my phone, and they returned it saying there was no issue. Now when I want to ditch Consumer Cellular, they tell me that I can't because I need to wait another 90 days, that phone isn't even activated, I'm using my Samsung S8. Here is the real issue. Because of all the troubleshooting that I've done over the last 5 weeks, I've now been able to fix my S8 to do multimedia messages, this is the issue I originally had and they told me that my phone was too old and wouldn't work properly on their system. They couldn't solve he problem but I did myself, no tech support and no waiting on the phone for an hours to get someone to talk to. I've also noticed that they no longer sell any of the high end Samsung phones. This tells me that they have an issue with Samsung phones but they don't have the expertise in house to fix the issue, so they just won't sell them anymore. This company is such a rip-off and AARP should be ashamed to be associated with them. They certainly don't have good customer service, that's a myth that they keep playing in their TV ads. So for anyone looking to switch to save money, don't because you will regret it. I certainly do. I'll be switching back to AT&T as soon as my 90 days are up and I can leave Consumer Cellular.
How many negative reviews does Consumer Cellular have to receive on this forum before AARP completely disassociates itself from a phone company that preys on senior citizens? I suggest that AARP immediately begin negotiations with another cellular service provider. If it's money and/or other considerations that AARP desires, I am fairly certain that the powerfully influential lobby, AARP, can get another, better phone provider to play ball. T-Mobile, for example, is going after the 55+ market with some very competitive rates and perks. T-Mobile's customer service leaves Consumer Cellular in the static. With so many horrendous ratings across the entire social media spectrum, I suspect that Consume Ur Jugular's days are numbered. I will do everything a diligent senior citizen can do to hasten the process.
Just a comment on CC. Could not wait to get my phone (bought from CC) paid off. The wifi was a pain to stay connected and sucked big time. I went to T-mobile and they are a world of difference for the good. Got my last bill from CC, it was higher than my other bills. I called CC (waited 30 mins on hold), the rep kept saying your bill was prorated. My billing cycle ended on the 30th, I canceled them on the 29th. What do I need to be prorated for? Overall rating: telephone - 8, wifi - 1, consumer service - 1, happy to be rid of them - 10!!!!
I too, was with Consume UR Jugular for 29 days. This is well below the 45-day trial period provided to AARP members and still within the 30-day trial period for all other customers. I had multiple service issues beginning within the first two weeks of service. I documented the phone conversations I had with CC customer service agents, saved all chat transcripts and expressly informed several complacent and rude CC customer disservice clucks of my dissatisfaction.
Those of you who have ever been placed on hold by CC may be familiar with the prerecorded advertisements CC uses to promote their business in an effort to pacify current customers and hook potential customers.
During one section in the on-hold advertisement, the prerecorded message features a spokesperson's voice touting CC's "100% Risk-Free Guarantee."
A transcript of the recording is a follows:
"Here at Consumer Cellular, we have always offered a 100%, risk-free guarantee. That means, if you are not satisfied with our cellphone service, regardless of the reason, you can cancel within the free trial period and pay absolutely nothing. You don't even have to pay postage to return your phone."
No disclaimers, terms or conditions are ever mentioned in the advertisment. Coincidentally, soon after I informed a senior CC account representative about the misleading promise CC edited out of this portion of their on-hold message. Fortunately, I made a recording of the false advertisement beforehand. A Federal Trade Commission customer liaison I spoke with said CC was engaging in deceptive advertising.
No matter how much money Consumer Ur Jugular spends on advertising and promotion the company will not be able to offset the patently negative experiences so many customers encounter with this horrendously awful phone service provider.
When entities such as AARP and Target finally wake up to how crummy CC is to their members and patrons and finally give CC the boot, I predict it will spell the end of one of the most sleazy and customer-unfriendly cellular phone service companies in the United States. Superior cellphone service providers such as T-Mobile are doing their part to hasten the collapse of Consume Ur Jugular. The end result could not happen fast enough for me.
When working at home during the pandemic, CC was great and a big money saver when set to wifi calling and minimal data was used (for an occasional google map lookup and directions). Now I am back to work, cannot connect to company wifi, and cannot get a CC cellular signal from my building. Had to go outside in hurricane weather in order to make a call! I will be leaving this provider shortly as it no longer suits the purpose needed. Just now tried to contact customer service and it is a 30min wait to speak to a rep. The service may work well for someone who is home most of the time and can use their personal wifi most of the time.
Update to my last post…Now with T Mobile. Got a decent deal with 55+ plan. Opted for a new phone and service works great. Turned in old phone for monthly discount. Free mobile hotspot.. In store customer service was excellent. Customer service by phone will call you back. Happy customer.
Consumer Reports magazine got it wrong.
I activated my consumer cellular just over three weeks ago and I am already giving them the boot. I was well aware that "unlimited data" was a deliberate misnomer and that throttling would take place after a paltry 35 gigabytes of (shared) standard data was used up.
To try and placate my concern, a representative of Consumer Cellular told me that although I would not be able to successfully stream video after having my data speed throttled down I would easily be able to perform other, less data dependent, tasks on the Internet without any difficulty. This was completely untrue. Once throttled, my data speed plummeted down to 0.07 Mbps. For those who remember dial-up speeds, the Consumer Cellular throttle-down network speed is slower than obsolete dial-up. It essentially provides the customer who paid for "unlimited" data with virtually useless data. Imagine paying for unlimited soft drink refills and being provided with a clogged soda straw in an effort to consume the allegedly endless beverage.
I became even more infuriated when none of the Consumer Cellular support representatives I reached out to would disclose the actual speed of the throttled data. They all behaved liked slimy politicians, unable to provide me with a direct, truthful answer to my relevant question. Consumer Cellular's punitive speed damper makes it practically impossible to accomplish anything on the Internet. The speed was so inadequate, I could not log in to my Consumer Cellular online account and engage in a chat session on the Consumer Cellular website to communicate with one of their chat representatives.
The only remedy I received from Consumer Cellular's customer service staff was an offer to provide me with more data at an inflated price. I call that underhanded tactic, "airway robbery".
If a good throttling is in order, it should be swiftly administered to Consumer Cellular and their duplicitous trade practices. Consumer Cellular's so-called "award winning" customer service is also hit or miss. I have received a disconcerting amount of contradictory and misinformation from several of Consumer Cellular's purportedly stellar customer service agents.
I would never recommend Consumer Cellular to anyone needing more than a few gigabytes worth of data per month, and even at that, there are better values in cellular service than Consumer Cellular. Data users beware of this disreputable company.
After only 29 days of service before switching to another carrier's 55+ phone plan, I am still wrestling with Consumer Cellular over a billing dispute. "Consume Your Jugular" (my pet name for the nefarious telecom company) began charging me for service prior to any of my SIM cards being shipped or any of my phones being activated. After complaining ad infinitum to both, Consumer Cellular's less than congenial chat and phone support ferrets, Consumer Cellular's billing department made a feeble attempt to correct their own careless error. However, the amount Consumer Cellular credited me was less than what the scoundrels overcharged me. I have been hounding Consumer Cellular to make good ever since.
To do battle with the evil doers at Consumer Cellular, I stocked my arsenal with a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, three separate complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, a complaint with my state's Office of the Attorney General and of course, assistance from AARP. I am sorry to report that the lackadaisical AARP representative I spoke with couldn't have cared less. More of a mouthpiece for her financial sponsor, Consumer Cellular, the AARP rep instructed me to pay my erroneous bill in full, lest I receive a late fee and collection agency harassment. Is this any way to treat a senior?
Anyone experiencing problems with Consumer Cellular should not hesitate to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau and of course, all social media outlets. AARP should end their promotional and financial relationship with Consumer Cellular immediately. I refuse to join AARP until the organization gives Consumer Cellular the heave-ho. My elderly Sister has decided not to renew her AARP membership. I will do everything I am able to promote more ethical phone service providers in an effort to assist Consumer Cellular to go out of business as rapidly as possible. A mass boycott of Consumer Cellular is certainly warranted.
We did not have any issues with Consumer Cellular for the 6 years we had service. We (paid cash) purchased a total of 3 phones over the course of our relationship, timely payments, and were happy to make recommendations to others. HOWEVER, we found ourselves wishing to change carriers, to be told we could not. One of the iPhones was not in service for 180 days. The policy is on page 9, para 3.1. Very sad the policy could not have been waived. BEWARE of the fine print with this company, as well as others. There is zero tolerance. Will wait the 50 some days and then switch...sad way to treat previously satisfied customers.
What other cellphone companies have you had service with and what does Consumer Cellular have that the others don't? T-Mobile has far better customer service than Consume Your Jugular and is now offering phone plans that are being geared specifically to the 55+ demographic.
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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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.