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Consumer Cellular - Buyer BEWARE

I have been with Consumer Cellular for over 6 years. When I upgraded from an iPhone 12 to an iPhone 14 (which I purchased and immediately paid off through Consumer Cellular) they refused to unlock my phone until I had the phone on their network for a period of six months. I use my phone for business and I have to have international calling. Consumer Cellular assured me my plan (including international calling through T-Mobile - they have an agreement) would transfer to my iPhone 14. It did not because the iPhone 14 uses an eSIM only. I am left with an iPhone 14 with NO cell service because Consumer Cellular refuses to unlock it even though I owe them NO money for the phone. I have spoken with multiple supervisors and they will not budge saying it is their company policy. I have filed a complaint with the BBB, FCC, and JD Power and Associates. BEWARE before you use Consumer Cellular. For a "no contract" carrier, their business practices are questionable. They keep getting awards for HORRIBLE customer service while using AARP's name. If you have a complaint you should complain to JD Power as well. 

Regular Contributor

When will AARP sever all promotional and financial ties with predatory, Consume Ur Jugular? No one should join or rejoin AARP until this occurs.

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Periodic Contributor

I agree. Based on my recent experience. Consumer Cellular. 

From my perspective, they are a fraudulent operation that preys on seniors through lies and deceit. They use their association with AARP to "legitimize" their shameful activities.
No matter what you are told by their "customer service" reps, do not believe them, especially if you are purchasing a phone through them. I was told I could exchange a flip phone, which was technically incoherent on so many levels, for a less expensive, easier to use phone for my elderly friend.
I was forced to pick up all shipping charges and then found out they refused the phone because it wasn't "like new". The issue? A microscopic scratch in the charging port. Other than that its appearance and functionality were perfect.
Also, don't be fooled by their AARP endorsement. When I complained to AARP, they dragged their feet contacting Consumer Cellular and then weeks later told me there was nothing they could do.
Buyer (especially seniors) be very, very careful with both these organizations. They are not what they say they are.

I am just starting with Consumer Cellular (CC) and am off to a terrible start. It starts with an order to keep my existing phone and ordering CC's service. I received a SIM card in 3 days. I received an email five days later to use the card within 2 days. I used it the following day (when my Verizon billing cycle was scheduled to end). After spending all day going back and forth between Verizon and CC, CC told me the reason I couldn't make or receive phone calls was because my phone was incompatible with their network. When they took my service order and charged me shipping for the card they told me my existing phone was compatible with their system. I decided to buy a new phone from them. 2 days after my phone purchase I received no notification that the new phone shipped. I chatted online with their customer service who told me I had to discuss with their Billing department, although we agreed they don't ship the phones. I asked their customer service if they could contact them and tell me why they didn't have the new cell phone shipped. My existing cell phone cannot make or receive phone calls. Their customer service told me they couldn't do that and asked if I could borrow a friend's or neighbor's phone to call them. I ended the chat with the comment "completely useless." I used my landline as my cell phone cannot make calls on their network. The credit department told me their team was still verifying my information on my contract. I asked them what they do to verify, which they couldn't answer. I then asked how do they ship to arrive within 2-3 days? I opted for 3-5 day shipping at the lower shipping cost. I was told that for the more expensive shipping they "expedite" the info verification process. I asked if I could pay the price difference to expedite the process. I was told no, that would involve creating a new order. I complained about that and was put on hold. When they get back on the phone they told me that the phone was being shipped. I complained about the $5+ shipping charge on the SIM Card they sent. They refused to refund this although I was told via phone when I ordered that it would be credited once they generated an invoice for service. They already generated an invoice for the shipping charges and had my credit card on file. I was referred back to customer service which was fair as credit cannot authorize this. So back online with their customer service. I asked them to compensate me the $5+ charged on my credit card to ship the SIM which btw is not necessary with my new phone ordered. She responded that they cannot generate a refund for shipping and that it was a valid charge. I explained to her my request was valid as the SIM was useless as my existing phone was not compatible which I was told by CC it was. She responded that they couldn't guarantee that existing phones were compatible which is essentially what they did when they took my service order and charged me to ship the SIM card. We got into a cycle of repeating statements of what was valid. I escalated and complained that on top of all this I cannot use my existing phone or this new SIM card to make calls. She told me they would adjust billing for the days I am charged for service that I cannot make phone calls and refused to refund the shipping charges. Prior to my orders I watched how to videos about Consumer Cellular on YouTube and they advertise that they would pay for shipping the SIM card.


At this point I've read that Consumer Cellular service can be very sketchy in some parts of the country and at peak times their service slows down or drops calls. If CC lives down to this poor reputation I will likely cancel their service and switch to a different cell provider that actually cares about their customers especially when things go wrong.


Thanks for reading this. I don't recommend switching your service to Consumer Cellular. The discounts heavily promoted by AARP do not compensate for the poor customer care.

Regular Social Butterfly

Hi, Robert! I've been interested in this topic for a few months because I want to relate something I discovered.


I was Fi subscriber since first invite, maybe 2002; left tmo for better coverage/rates at that time.


Discovered Lifeline program recently and found I qualified; now not paying $24 (+/-) monthly bill and with specific carrier, lower Amazon Prime membership ($6.99 currently).


I chose QLink (part of TMo); I preferred Fi, but not supportive of programs I qualified for.



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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I I have a Consumers Cellular Home Base which is they know is DEFECTIVE. I have been paying replacement insurance on this base since day one. It is 6 months old and they want me to PAY SHIPPING for a so called FREE REPLACEMENT... I guess PAYING FOR FREE REPLACEMENT insurance MEANS NOTHING TO THEM... There so called customer support is a joke. It takes 20 minutes of a rambling computer to finally get you to a support rep who then hangs up on you. Another 20 minutes of rambling computer and ten minutes of so called testing only to be told that my base is defective and I need to PAY SHIPPING to get a FREE REPLACEMENT. BUYER BEWARE for CONSUMERS CELLULAR is NO LONGER a SENIORS FRIEND

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