Why I Hate Cell Phone and Internet Companies

by mike on August 4, 2011

I hate to use the word hate.  It is such a strong word.  I’ve thought about it this week, though, and I do hate dealing with cell phone companies.

I never have really liked them.   Since the first time I had to go shopping around for which provider to use, I always get this “I’m getting taken advantage of” feeling in my stomach.  I believe there are multiple reasons for this.  I am going to attempt to explain the reasons why and how my experience this past week has confirmed the reasons.

First, let me explain our situation.  We had a crazy time, including a car breakdown, coming back from vacation last weekend.  Upon getting home, we realized that our internet was not working.  Nothing like coming back from vacation to a car breakdown and something as important as the internet being down.  Needless to say, it didn’t make me a happy camper.

We called our internet provider (yeah, I hate those too by the way) to see if we could figure out the problem.   Mandy spent over an hour on the phone with them to finally figure out the modem was broke.  This is the same modem that we got from this particular internet provider.  The wonderful customer service representative informed us that it would cost us $100 to get a new modem.  Mandy said something like “so I have to pay $100 for a new modem we bought from you just so we can continue to send you $37 per month?”.  The nice, foreign-speaking man simply said “yes”.  He did say it cheerfully at least.

This really got us thinking.  I have really been wanting to get a mobile mifi.  I love the idea of taking my wireless internet connection wherever I go.  It would allow me to write blogs, upload podcasts, and check e-mail/Facebook/Twitter, etc. even if I am on vacation.  So, I called the local Sprint store to see what my options were.  The salesman there was actually very helpful.  I called him around three or four times (yes, I was THAT guy) within an hour asking questions.

The dilemma was that in order to make the mifi affordable for us and at least in the same ballpark as our other service, we were going to have to switch our cell phone over to them.  The mifi service itself was $59.99 per month and, as mentioned above, we were only paying $37 for our current service.  Having the mobility of taking the internet with us was worth a little more money, but not $22.99 per month!  But, if we had cell service with them, then it would be $49.99 per month.

We have been with our current cell phone provider for over four years and been very happy with the service.  We currently pay about $55 per month for talk and text.  Combined total for internet and cell phone from our two providers now is $92.  We needed Sprint to be in that same area (within $10 to $15) in order to switch.  They found us a plan that would give us the mifi, anytime mobile to mobile calls and unlimited texting and data all for about $107 per month.  Bingo, let’s do it!

The only problem was the thing that infuriates me the most about cell phone companies: contracts!  I contacted my current provider (who I renewed a two year contract with in February), and they informed me it would cost $25o to get out of my contract!  You have got to be kidding me, 250 dollars!  I understand having a fee, but I don’t understand $250.  That was it, I was reminded why I hate cell phone companies.  I often meet with clients who are spending way too much on cell phones per month, but they are stuck because of a way-too-long contract.  I can’t stand the control that allows the cell phone companies to have over people.

To spare you the rest of the story, we ultimately decided to switch everything over to Sprint (they give a $125 credit to help offset the cancellation fee) and we don’t have to buy the $100 modem from our original internet provider.  On top of it, we will get a free smart phone (which we have never had before).  All in all, I think we are going to love our new plan.  It just irritates me that Mandy and I both spent several hours getting this all figured out.  It seems to me that it shouldn’t be that difficult.

I also wish cell phone companies would change their contract policies.  In fact, some (like US Cellular) are starting to not require contracts which I think will be a huge competitive advantage.  Our cell phone company who we have been with for FOUR YEARS is going to get the $250 from me.  But do they really win?  I often recommend this company to people, including many of my clients who are looking for better, affordable plans.  The only reason I was leaving them was because they did not offer the mobile wireless internet service.  The result is that they get $250, but I will never do business with them again nor will I ever recommend them to a client (or family and friends for that matter).  I think they will come out on the losing end of this deal.


Photo Source: craig1black

  • Ashleigh Wisslead

    We have had so many problems with Cell phone companies- I’ve paid that $250.00 fee because when I upgraded to get more minutes (aka paid more) they said I didn’t know that if I switched plans (even with an upgrade) I lost nationwide minutes. That summer while I traveled with CHWC I continued making calls from all over the country. I ended up with a 900.00 bill when I got home. I fussed and fussed and spoke with everyone I could. I climbed every ladder I could…Finally I got…get ready…$20 off my bill. :) HOORAY! I had been with them since I was 16 (at that time 6 years) and never paid a bill late or had a problem…I hate cell phone companies. 

  • Mike Young

    I had a sneaking suspicion we weren’t the only ones who despise them!

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