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tales of the lost phone (LONG)
I've been with cingular since january 2002 on the nationwide plan i travel
constantly(tour managing for bands) and have been really pleased with the
coverage for the most part. As i have said before in this NG i have had many
billing issues most of which have been taken care of, mostly in my favor.
thanks to some very nice CSR folks.
While in NYC during one particularly fun evening on the town i left my phone
in a taxicab. This was the ONE time i never got a reciept for the taxi,
since i coudlnt write off a drunken barhop as a band expense. To make
matters worse the battery was dead. Without being able to call it in hopes a
good samritan would answer and no car number to contact i contended that my
phone was lost forever. I needed a new phone and i wasn't scheduled to be
back home for another 35 days or so.
Now as bad as losing your cell phone is, my nightmare had only just begun. I
called a cingular CS number. This directed me to a new york only number, she
tried to connect me to california and ended up with a rhode island CSR who
directed me back to NY who directed me to California. the whole process,
including the lost phone story, confirmation of my identity over 8 times
lasted 40 minutes! When i finally reached the one who could give me the
answer it wasn't the one i was looking for.
Apparently If you lose your phone, you have to go BACK to the office you
originally purhcased your phone from (in my case escondido CA) and get a new
one. It doesnt' matter that there are cingular offices all over the US. You
cannot go into a cingular store, not even a corporate store, and give them
your information and get a new phone... not even if you pay for it.
So this was my situation. I had to arrange to have my sister get to the
Cingular store in escondido, pick up a phone and sim, get to the post office
and mail it next day air to NYC in hopes it would actually arrive that next
day (it didnt' of course!). PREFERRED NATIONWIDE NETWORK INDEED
my timeline/ schedule went like this:
Tues Lose Phone NYC
WED NYC (on phone with cingular reps)
Thursday Providence RI, (call sister, get new phone for next day air)
Saturday Baltimore MD,
Sunday Hoboken NJ
Tuesday Richmond VA,
Wed Atlanta GA,
Thursday New Orleans etc...
So like i said the phone didnt arrive in NYC on the friday it was supposed
to but it did arrive saturday while i was in Baltimore. My earliest
oppurtunity to pick up the phone was around 3 am monday morning after
driving to the city from Hoboken.
So i get the phone. It's a Siemens A56. It was the last of the 4 choices i
made and emailed to my sister. The cingular store didn't have the other
phones.. The phone was very small and seemed cheaply made. The phone
operation itself was very difficult to navigate. Yes i drive and talk on the
phone, and i need as few keypresses as possible to make calls and i need to
be able to hear the thing ring. The phoen would ring once and go to the
message center. by tuesday morning i had 29 missed calls and 3 calls i
actually had the chance to pick up. The volume on the reciever would drop
about 30 seconds into each conversation. The time would reset itself
constantly. I didint like the phone and it wasn't working.
So i called CINGULAR! to let them know that I got a dickie phone and asked
if there was any chance that i could return the defective phone to a
cingular office for a new one.... by this time i had been dealign with this
phone situtation over a week. I wasn't angry or anything, i was enjoying the
This conversation took place on the 95 between New Jersey and Baltimore MD
CSR "well sir it says you recently had an upgrade and we don't allow phones
to be returned on upgrades."
ME "its not an upgrade i was drunk and lost my phone in a cab. The phone
that was sent to me isn't working right and it stinks. Its cute and all but
i hate it. I want to kill it"
CSR (she searched a little bit more) "ok sir you don't have an upgraded
phone it's a (some strange term i dont remember) so we do have a 15 day
return policy on the phone"
ME "yay! so can i bring this one to a cingular store?"
CSR "yes if you return it to the place you bought it"
ME "BOO! but i won't be there for another 30 days, can i get an extension?"
CSR "we dont allow extensions"
ME "the other day i bought a pocket sewing machine at a wal-mart in Texas.
It was broken and returned it to a store in Pennsylvania without question,
you are saying i can't do that with cingular? they are a nationwide company
and i have a national plan with my phone... "
CSR "i'm sorry sir we don't allow that"
ME "but the phone is not working properly and i wont have the oppurtunity to
get it replaced before the return period is up, i know this isnt the first
time this has happened to someone"
CSR "well do you have insurance on the phone?"
CSR "well if you had insurance on the phone we could get a replacement out
ME "ok so if i sign up for insurance right now and toss the phone out the
window i can go into a cingular store and get a new one"
CSR "are you going to toss the phone out the window?"
ME "I hate this phone i want to kill it! I may just play hockey with it for
a while first then fire it under a truck tire"
CSR "well you can't get a replacement phone if you kill your phone"
ME "I can't get one anyways, don't you think their policies are a bit
CSR "I'm sorry for your inconvenience sir, let me check something out maybe
i can get a corporate store to make a deal with your local store"
So i hold on for a while but find out that they won't do it. That even if i
had insurance and drowned the phone in the atlantic i wouldn't be able to
change the model of the phone. My only choice was to mail the phone back to
my sister, have her go to the store and try to change it and try for a
different model then somehow mail the phone back to me in whatever town i
was going to be in.... it was too much. i had enough. i thanked the lady for
trying and decided that once i arrived home i was going to go to the swap
meet and buy a different phone and hope it would work.
So i tried one more thing. as the 15 day period was getting closer i asked
my sister to go back to the store and see if we coudln't briibe someone at
the escondido office 20 bucks to "extend" my 15 day waiting period. by this
time the phone was shutting itself off constantly, changed language to
french once and the ringer stopped working for a few days. The phone would
ask me to "Insert SIM" a few times a day as well... and battery life was
only 10-12 hours. She managed to get a very nice person who would allow me
to come in with the phone the day after i returned and exchange the phone.
Of course when i got my bill for the month. there was a charge for the CSR
call from jersey to baltimore.
the moral of the story is... there isn't one but you may want to leave your
phones battery charged up if you plan on getting hammered in nyc and
travelling by taxi. you'd have a great chance of getting your phone back
than I did.
Home Of The Tiltwheel
singing about dumb stuff for a while now...
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