5 On Your Side

Cell Phone Woes Lead Local Man to 5 On Your Side for Help

Posted November 5, 2007
Updated November 6, 2007

— Tom and Mary Wagner love that their Chatham County home is out in the country.

“When you sit up here and the birds are up here, and the deer are down there, it is such a good feeling. It's wonderful,” Mary Wagner said, looking out on her back yard from her deck.

But for all the positives of the Wagners’ secluded home, it does pose some problems.

“One, there's no cable," Tom Wagner said. "Two, our cell phone doesn't work well.”

Wagner said he tried phones from several cellular phone providers, including Alltel.

“It didn't work at all,” he said of a phone he got from Alltel.

So, he returned it, and a store representative promised to send Wagner a refund.

But after a month passed, and he hadn't received the refund, he called Alltel – and quickly got caught in a run-around of store visits and corporate office phone calls.

“'The check's in the mail (they would say).' Every time," Wagner said. "Even when I went to the office in Durham, they would call and come back and say, 'Well, they tell us the check's in the mail. You should have it next week.'”

Eventually, Alltel credited his account.

“The only problem: The account was closed," Wagner said. "There was no account."

Wagner said that after waiting months, his patience finally ran out. That's when he called 5 On Your Side.

“And I'm so glad I called you folks,” he told WRAL’s Monica Laliberte. “’Cause it's not the money – it wasn't that much. But it's the principle of how the company would treat someone.”

When 5 On Your Side called Alltel, a representative checked into it. A spokesman said "incorrect codes" were used and caused the problem.

Soon after, Wagner got his $115 refund check.

“It was authorized and cut within about three days, so, thank you” Wagner told Laliberte.

The Wagners finally did find a phone that works on a limited basis from AT&T Wireless, so now, they can watch the deer and talk on the cell phone.


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  • Kattails Nov 7, 2007

    I am beginning to wonder if its the service providers or the cell phones itself, that causes problems. Any comments onybody? Maybe a nicer cell phone helps huh?

  • Kattails Nov 6, 2007

    Becca70, its not just Alltel who makes you sign contracts, other companies do too. I have Alltel and never have any problems. Once in awhile I might be driving in a heavily wooded area and lose a signal. This goes for all cell users...depends on how far out of range you are and how many towers a certain company has, depends largely on its service and usage.

  • GeorgiaPeach70 Nov 6, 2007

    That's Alltel for ya! I have Alltel and everytime I try to make a phone call all I hear is...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...then it goes straight to voicemail. Or I call my husband and have it ringing on my end, but he says that his phone never rang. Alltel knows that they have you hook, line, and sinker because your contract hasn't run out yet! But, when my contract has run out, I will be going to another company!!!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 6, 2007

    Suncom is the worst.

    I had AT&T Wireless and got forced by the judge to Suncom when Cingular bought AT&T Wireless. Because the judge was more worried about competition in the market than ensuring that customers would receive quality service.

    The weekend that Suncom converted the AT&T Wireless customers to their network, I lost my cell phone service for two days and my voice mail for three days.

    When I called Suncom to complain, the lady told me that the problem was that Suncom's network didn't have the capacity to handle all of the additional AT&T Wireless customers. She it wasn't their fault even though they didn't plan the migration properly.

    I told the lady at Suncom, the only person at Suncom that understands customer service was Harry Conic, Jr. in the commericials.

    The day my Suncom contract ended, I was at Verizon Wireless moving my two phones away from Suncom.

    The Verizon Wirelss Salesrep told me that he would exceed his 2005 sales quota thanks to Suncom's errors.

  • nighthawkcp Nov 6, 2007

    I have had three. Here are my experiences

    US Cellular: Good rural analog coverage. FCC has ended analog coverage on cellphones on February 18, 2008. All but 1-2 base model phones now just do digital only. Customer service was horrible. Didn't travel good (roamed a lot and cost me $$).

    Alltel: Coverage was better in more populated areas. Customer service still stinks. Hate the misleading commercials (Verizon can change plans w/out extending contract & My Circle is same as fave 5 with T-Mobile)

    Verizon: Been great so far. Great coverage and my own experiences with customer service were pleasant. Had this phone in about 7 states and no issues. Will continue with them.

    Comparison: At Emerald Isle this summer with family and friends. Alltel phones picked up about half their calls. US Cellular phone was completely out of coverage. Verizon phone got full signal in camper and on the beach.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 6, 2007

    Verizon is the coolest. When I travel with my coworker who has Alltel to Greensboro, he gets dropped at least three or four times on the way along I-40. With my Verizon phone, I've had coversations start at the RBC Center in Raleigh and end at the mall in Greensbro.

  • Network dude Nov 6, 2007

    I use U.S. Cellular as well. I switched from nextel to alltel to them. They are the best for coverage and no dropped calls in my opinion. My razor phone works everywhere.

  • 24 Fan Nov 6, 2007

    I moved to N.Carolina in 2003 & have have U.S. Cellular since then. I since then have made several trips back home & have been able to use my cell phone wherever I go on the East Coast. I never have a problem with dropped calls or wierd calling areas. My husband had Nextel with a company he worked with. It had absolutely terrible reception & he was not happy with it at all. I would recommend U.S. Cellular anytime.

  • hoyle Nov 6, 2007

    YES,tell us the cell phone company that works for them.

  • Coach K is GREAT Nov 6, 2007

    Animal Lover my paernts live in Selma, and they use US Cellular.
    And they love the service!