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Consumer Cellular - Data Overage Charge

I went over my data limit last month by .01 GB or 10 MB. When my plan was automatically "updated", as is their new policy, I went online to check my account and see how much I went over - my plan is for .5 GB each month and the total was .51 GB. This happened on the last day of my billing cycle, October 9th. I contacted CC customer service, received a reply, rechecked my usage online and verified it as .51 GB. Sent another email to CC (below) and asked why, if they have a buffer (they do, which is good) why am I being charged? Their answer is below my email.

 

Gregory Ritz

Oct 11, 16:57 PDT

This is what it shows on my account for data usage from 9/10/16 to 10/9/16 (direct from my account information on the site):

Data Usage – 0.51 used of 1.50 GB  (this was cut/pasted from their website)

From what I see this would 510 MB based on the conversion from .51 GB to MB.

Can you explain where you come up with the 522 MB figure?

Gregory Ritz

 

Joshua B. (Consumer Cellular)

Oct 12, 08:00 PDT

Hello Gregory Ritz,
Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the continued confusion caused by this situation. I have attempted to contact you by phone, but I was unable to reach you. I have reviewed your usages and can confirm a total of 522MB, or 0.52GB, was used in this billing cycle. Unfortunately, it appears the total usage amount on your online account may not have updated properly, meaning it is showing a lower usage than it should. However, when adding together all of your usages for the previous billing cycle, the total usage does come to 522MB. If you would like to review this, your usages can be viewed individually through your online account at my.consumercellular.com.

Bottom line, the data listed on their website directly tied to your usage is evidently inaccurate and cannot be taken as gospel, and only the CC customer service has the correct information. Folks, it's "only" $10, but the comparison is startling - say you fill up your car with gas which normally is $30 but today, for whatever reason, it takes $30.50 - so now you must pay $40, even though you only got $30.50 worth of gas! Would you go back to that station?? The telephone companies are playing us with their "data usage" tactics. When you pay for internet access at home, you oay for speed, not quantity. The telephone companies now give us thousands of free minutes, but compensate by quantifying the data you use! Please voice your displeasure at this tactic. They can make it fair by charging you for what you actually use (WOW...WHAT A CONCEPT!) or giving you options for overages that do NOT push your bill higher because their system cannot add.

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Newbie

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 repeatedly tested data speed plummeted 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 lackadaisical, complacent customer service staff was an offer to provide me with more data at an inflated price. I call that underhanded tactic, "airway robbery". If that's not deceitful enough, someone from Consumer Cellular added extra data to my account without my knowledge or approval. Fortunately. I have the chat transcripts to show I declined the extra data that multiple representatives attempted to sell me at a premium price.

 

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.

Contributor

I have been using Consumer Cellular for the past several months, and until last month never had any problems with it. My monthly bill of $29,66 for unlimited talk and text and 500 MB of data each month were working fine. I always use my Comcast/Xfinity WiFi and only use a very small amount - usually 100 MB or less of CC data. I also never use my phone to download movies, music, or anything else. Suddenly though, all on December 18, a massive 3 GB+ data draw on my CC account appeared. I immediately called CC customer service and was told it was likely an error, and to simply call back when I received my bill in January to dispute the extra $15 charge. The bill was received yesterday and I called today, but the rep said that the charge could not be reversed. Since I am the only person using the account, it would have been impossible for me to use so much data - even over a year - let alone in less than one single day!!!

 

I advised the rep that I would have no choice but to seek another carrier - perhaps Mynt Mobile which charges similar rates, and cancel my Consumer Cellular account. She seemed to not care less. It is no wonder that Consumer Cellular keeps getting very bad customer service ratings. The data charge to my account on December 18 was obviously a scam by CC to extract more money from its customers. I hope that AARP re-evaluates it relationship with Consumer Cellular. 

Contributor

Thank you for the kudus - much appreciated. 

Since I was not able to get Consumer Cellular customer service to hejp with my 3 GB data overcharge, I sent an email message to the company's CEO yesterday to give them one more chance to correct the problem. They responded today and agreed to take off the data use charge, and are setting my account so that it will no longer automatically authorize higher data tiers. 

I will therefore stay with Consumer Cellular, since my $29 per month charge for unlimited texts, talk, and 500 MB of data per month meets my needs, and is less than half of what I was paying last year to AT&T.

 

My iPhone says I have only used a total of 1.5 GB of data over the past 3.5 years - which is less than half what CC claimed I used in just a three hour period on December 18. 

The key with Consumer Cellular it appears, is to not just take "no" for an answer from Customer Service, but to approach corporate leaders via email. 

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Newbie

I have a similar case.  I am with Consumer Cellular for years and never have any issue with my data plan.  But on 09/22/21 my data usage shoot up by more than 10 GB after using for less than an hour.  Historically, I never even consumed 500 MB in a day.  Using up 10+GB data for less than an hour is ridiculous.  I tried reaching support but only prompted me to wait,  30 minutes waiting and no live person to talk to.  I was able to get on chat later (after 35 minutes on hold).  But replies are too slow (agent might be working on multiple chats that's why the responses are very very slow).  It came to a point that I have to cut it short because of a scheduled committment.  I just requested for the agent to forward my concern to their technical team to look at it.  No response.  I wrote an email later to service @consumercellular.com but response was, "the address is not monitored but we are here to help...". 

 

The cost is not too much (maybe $20.  I haven't got my bill yet).  It pushed me up 2 notches to go over my plan.  But there is definetly something wrong.  My phone data stream (apps) do not show anywhere that I used more than 10 GB in.  I know that I used YouTube to check a real property site from about 12:05 to 12:30pm (during my lunch break on 09/22/2021).  

 

I am posting this to let others know.  There might be similar case that happened before and might happen in the future.

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Social Butterfly

First thing I did when I got my phone was start tracking data usage.  The biggest hog was updates to the phone's operating system.  I turned data off and I use my wireless network to download updates.

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Newbie

I just saw a post about GoogleFi (by WebWiseWoman).  Looks like a good alternative to Consumer Cellular.  It got me thinking.  I will definitely consider switching.  

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Social Butterfly

Great post! Thanks for the detail...

 

I am GoogleFi user and for the almost 5 years I've been with them never a montly bill over $25 as Fi is very wi-fi compatible and has their own network in most major cities as opposed to providers who piggy-back on other networks (which jacks up the price to users).

 

My mom, however, has had CC, provided by my Sis, as mom provides daycare and transportation to my niece.

 

They always complain about the billing; I would not complain, I'd just go somewhere else. I also agree with you that I think CC is skating on their AARP approval and I think AARP needs to reconsider.

 


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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Contributor

I was told there would never be overage fees. That is not true. If you have the 20GB data plan and you go over, you will be charged at $5 per GB for your overage. And there is no way to prevent those GB’s from piling up accept to turn data off on phone  Not only that but you can’t change your plan anytime as advertised. I asked if I could just change my plan to avoid overage charges and was told no. It was explained to me that I could not change my plan until the end of the billing cycle when there was no data usage.  This is a trap. I can’t just change to another company such as straight talk because I bought the new phone from Consumer Cellular and I am locked in for 6 months. I asked to buy out the 6 mos and was told no.  That is a contract whether Cc acknowledges as such or not. If I can get out of this, I will never fall for their lies again. I think less of AARP for promoting their service. 

Newbie

I signed up for Consumer Cellular. After 30 days I knew it was not what we needed. I went on line and thought I had canceled. Then I got a past due bill. I called and explained that I tried to cancel. (I never used the service.) They said they would cancel. Now I am getting a bill for a final invoice. As far as I am concerned Consumer Cellular is a rip-off.

 

Connie Chisum

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Esteemed Social Butterfly

I don't know if you have a contract, or if you particularly like your plan, or what you even pay.

 

I pay $50 per month for 2Gb per month, unlimited calls, and have had no problems - use AT&T.

 

I do use an iPhone 7 and with my phone I tend to track how and when I use the data charges. For instance to save surprises I turn off cellular data, when in borderline areas, and check on my amount used in settings, cellular - that's also where I turn off/on data as needed.

 

1/2 Gb would be to small a quantity for me, and would probably be used with the first hour.

 

Just an idea you might like to increase your amount of use or change plans, then track your data usage. Or kill your cellular use. And just use wifi, when available.

 

When I say borderline areas, some areas I work and play might be both Wifi use and 15 feet away signal drops and cellular roaming appear, good for derogatory expression. But, can be forced to Accept wifi if cellular is turned off in phone.

 

Even my older 4S allowed turning off data when required..

 

Frozen

And yes, after long days/nights, I'd still like to swing these hunks of glass , plastic and silicon against the nearest wall Come on retirement!
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Conversationalist

You are the one paying the bill so you have the final say. If you dislike the accounting practice, just go to one of the many other providers of your liking. There are many plans available now with no overage on mobile data. If you purchase a plan for x amount of data. When you go over the amount, you will still get service with no overage charges. Your data rate will just go down to like 2G speed.

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Gold Conversationalist

I can only speak for Straight Talk, which I have. I pay the same amount every 30 days for unlimited talk, text and data.

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