Cingular cell phones out of home range

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Can you imagine having a cell phone that doesn't work in your own home? That's the situation Frank S., a former Cingular Wireless customer, had to contend with.

After moving from one Atlanta suburb to another, Frank discovered a 'dead spot' in his home. This supposed dead spot occurred even though a map showed that the home was within Cingular coverage area.

Frank phoned Cingular Wireless repeatedly, but was continually sent to technical support for help. Unfortunately the cell phone still did not work in that dead spot so he couldn't even call from the comfort and convenience of his own home. At one point when he was again referred to tech support, he told the customer service worker that he had been sent to tech support ten times and nothing helped, so he didn't want to talk to them again.

This came back to haunt him when he called later with the same problem and was told "you refused to talk to tech support." He was now labeled uncooperative.

By now, Frank had called Cingular approximately 20 times, and the most response he got was that Cingular "can't guarantee coverage everywhere." His phone still did not work in his home, where he needed it most. (Frank is a pilot and has to be on-call quite often.) At one point, he was told that Cingular had a 30 day return policy, but as Frank pointed out, "I lived in a different house during those 30 days. How was I to know that there would be a dead spot in my new home?"

Finally, Frank sent Cingular Wireless a letter to cancel his cell phone plan. He switched to Verizon, with which he has had no coverage problems, even at home. Unfortunately, Cingular was not happy with Frank canceling his cell phone plan, even though he had been with them for three years. He was sent a bill for $550 for early cancellation.

Frank refused to pay the bill, arguing that the cell phone should work in his home, especially since it is within the coverage area. Since he is a pilot, it is vital that he has a phone that works properly. Also, Cingular was never able to resolve the problem with the dead spot in his home, despite repeated phone calls from Frank trying to resolve the situation.

Since Frank refused to pay the $550, Cingular sent the bill to a collections agency, which has had a negative effect on his credit rating. So far, the situation has not been resolved. "This situation is not right. This isn't a rural area and the cell phone should work in my home; I tried to work it out and I don't think I was being unreasonable," said Frank.

Luckily, Frank's Verizon phone works just fine. Unfortunately, he's not the only one with Cingular coverage problems. Frank recently saw his neighbor standing outside her home, talking on her cell phone. When he asked why she was outside she said, "For some reason, the cell phone doesn't work in my home. "

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