Alltel Cell Phone Service:
Dysfunctional Service & Other Problems .
This is a continuation of the our report on the problems we experienced with Alltel cell phone service.
For background on the problems, read this first: Alltel Problems
We filed the following complaint: Better Business Bureau Complaint
This is a very revealing response by Alltel: Alltel's Response
And then this is our rebuttal to Alltel: Our Rebuttal
Their response (almost a duplicate of the first): Last Response
Our concluding remarks to the better business bureau: Conclusion
Note: Although, we were not able to resolve the
issue through the Better Business Bureau, it did put Alltel on their
radar screen. If you've had problems with Alltel, you'll want to
do the same in your area.
Our Attorney General just wrote us a note informing us that they have
filed our complaint with Alltel through their office. We'll keep
you informed on how that proceeds.
|Complaint Filed With Our Regional Better Business Bureau
We wanted to alert you to problems with Alltel cell phone service.
Alltel is a company which operates in the state of Idaho. We purchase
two service plans from Alltel. In both cases, Alltel promised to
provide cell phone service, and in both cases their services did not
work. The service was dysfunctional at best. Details are included
below. Since we did not receive the service for which we paid, we
asked for a refund. In our efforts to get a refund, we tried going
through three different Alltel channels to get a refund (also detailed
below). We were not successful. More information follows:
Building 4, Fifth Floor
One Allied Drive
Little Rock, AR
On January 9, 2007,
we purchased an Altell Phone and Altell's wireless "Pay-per-day" plan
for a total of $79.90. Dozens of attempts
to make calls were unsuccessful because of what was described to us by
Alltel customer service representative as "bugs in the Alltel
system." After a month, we decided
to make one more attempt, and purchased an additional $20 of Alltell's
"Pay-per-minute" plan. Our
experience was even worse this time. At
most, we only able to connect twice. Alltell's
service was an utter and complete failure. (A
detailed description of our problems with
the Altell system has been included below.)
To put it simply, we did not receive the service for which
we had paid. Not once but twice.
We explained the problem to three Alltel sources: 1)
customer phone service, 2) the local store manager, and 3) via written
documentation through Alltel's email support department.
In all cases, we were told that they could
not authorize a refund.
Resolution We Sought:
The resolution we sought was a refund of $99.90.
of the Failure of Altell Service:
Whenever we would try to dial a number, we would get one of
two messages. The most common message
was: "You are not authorized to
make calls to this number."
We called Alltel customer support on more than one occasion
and we were told to immediately re-dial the number and the message
disappear. That did not happen.
We continued getting the message. We
simply could not get through to the numbers
we were calling.
No matter what number we would call, we would get this
message. We were not calling from any unusual
areas. For nearly two hours one day, I
tried calling from the Boise, Idaho
airport and received an endless series of these messages.
A couple of weeks earlier, my wife also tried
calling from the Boise
was faced with the same problem. I tried
again at Seattle, WA
airport and received the same message again and again. Both
and Seattle are in areas
When we weren't getting the "You are not authorized to
make calls to this number" message, we were getting the following
"Please enter 1 plus the 10 digit number followed by
the number sign."
We would follow the directions, entering a 1, the 10-digit
number and the number sign. The call
would not go through and the same message would be repeated. And it would be repeated again and again.
This message would even appear when using the internal
numbers programmed into our phone for reaching Alltel customer support. Moreover, it would even trigger when trying
to reach Alltel to pay for service. We
also could not reach our voice mail. The
same message would be triggered even though our phone was showing that
mail messages were present.
Now and then, but on a less frequent basis, I would get a
busy signal from the number I was calling.
In one case, I was calling our home phone (a landline). I took this as a good sign, that perhaps I
might have gotten through. But after
calling several times over a period of an hour, I began to get
something wasn’t right. So, I used a pay
phone and called home. I learned from
Kathy, my wife, that the phone had not been busy. So,
once again, it confirmed to me that
Alltel service was at fault.
Additionally, I was able to discover another problem with
Alltel’s system. I learned this by using
a pay phone and calling home. I found
that a couple of my calls made from our Alltel wireless phone, had
rung our landline home phone number.
When my wife had picked up the phone, there was silence. She kept on saying hello, but while she was
saying hello, I was hearing nothing. In
fact, as I have re-constructed things later, I was actually hearing the
are not authorized to make calls to this number” message.
But my wife was hearing only silence. I
could not hear her. She could not hear me.
This same problem was also confirmed when my wife was using
the Altell wireless phone on earlier trip.
In other words, this wasn’t an isolated incidence.
We did manage, by some great luck, to get through to a
couple of numbers we were calling, but it only happened a couple of
it took a great amount of work.
At this point the question arises whether my wife and I have
any understanding of technology. But I
can assure you that I understand technology quite well.
I’m a computer programmer and a university
professor and work with technology on a day-to-day basis.
Additionally, I spent time a considerable amount of time
reading the phone manual, talking with Alltel customer support and
giving Alltel the benefit of the doubt.
I really went out of my way to make sure I knew how the phone
consulted customer support when things didn't work right.
But none of that helped.
We tried very hard to make the Alltel service work, but for
us, it has been an utter and complete failure.
Ron Watters and Katherine Daly
|Response from Alltel to the Better Business Bureau Complaint
We are in receipt of the complaint
filed by Ms. Katherine Daly dated on 03.20.07. Please see your case
number referenced above. We appreciate the opportunity to address Ms.
After review of Ms. Daly's complaint, we would like to explain that
Alltel offers a 15-day service guarantee period. This policy allows any
customer to return all equipment in good condition to the original
point of purchase in its' original packaging, with a sales receipt
within 15 days to receive a refund. If the purchase was made over the
phone, the customer will have return instructions in the original
ALLTEL continues to strive on customer and product satisfaction. We
apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused. If you
have any questions or require any additional information, feel free to
Executive Customer Relations
Our Rebuttal to Alltel
We appreciate the kind and very polite response of Mr. Samuel
Jefferson, Executive of Customer Relations at Alltel.
However, we would like to respectfully submit that Mr.
Jefferson has missed some of our main points, and most importantly he has
missed the significance of how Alltel's policies affect Idaho
We are aware of the 15-day trial period. But let's look carefully at the 15-day trial
period. Is this a realistic testing
period for an Idaho
consumer? More to the point, is this
really a fair business practice on the part of Alltel? Fair practices, of course, are of concern to
the Better Business Bureau.
We think that most reasonable people would agree that 15
days is cutting it pretty close for testing a phone. It is barely adequate to conduct a fair test of
a phone in the local area. Even if we
accept that the 15 days is adequate for local testing, it certainly is an unrealistic
amount of time for testing a phone outside the local calling area.
Part of our complaint with Alltel, and part of our concern
for protecting Idaho consumers, is
that it appears to us that the company has purposely set the guarantee period at
a low number of days. This clearly does
not give customers adequate amount of time to test their phone outside their calling
This works, of course, to Alltel's distinct advantage. It's good for Alltel, but is it fair to the Idaho
consumer? We believe that it is
not. In fact, we find that the use of 15-day
trial period is deceptive and misleading advertising. It's deceptive and misleading because it
gives Idaho consumers the false
impression that they have an opportunity to return the phone should it not work;
but, in reality without more time, it is impossible for a consumer to determine
whether their phone works outside the calling area.
Let us explain this further by using our experiences as an example. In our situation, we had sick family members
in Seattle, and we needed to
communicate between Seattle and Pocatello.
We were assured by Alltel representatives that the phone
would work between Seattle and Pocatello. We purchased the phone, and tried it out in
the local area. It appeared to
work. Then we traveled to Seattle,
cared for sick parents, and returned. By
the time, we had returned, it had been more than 15 days since the phone had
But here's the important part of this experience, and which
further indicates to us that Alltel is using unfair business practices in the
state of Idaho. We did report the
problem by phone to Alltel within the 15-day period. But we were told by a customer representative
that the problem we experienced was due to "bugs" in the Alltel
system. He assured us that the bugs
would be fixed.
In fact, because we had been told that our phone problems
were due to system bugs, we decided to give Alltel the benefit of the doubt. We later purchased an additional $20 of
However, the bugs were not fixed. On a subsequent trip to Seattle
a month later, we still could not make any phone calls. (These have been reported in detail in our
first correspondence with the Better Business Bureau.) Once again, we reported this to Alltel within
the 15-day period. Since, at this point,
we were becoming concerned about Alltel's practices, we used written
documentation (via email) to report our problems.
We believe that we stand on very firm ground. We were sold a product and service which simply
did not work.
I've been a business owner here in Idaho
for many years. If any of my customers
had a problem with something I've sold them, I've immediately provided them
with a refund. I have never tried to
hide behind something like a 15-day trial period. If a product did not work, the customer got
their money back, pure and simple.
That's the ethical and right thing to do.
Alltel needs to do the right and ethical thing and provide
us with a refund.
Ron Watters and Katherine Daly
|Alltel's Response to Our Rebuttal
After review of Ms.
Daly's rebuttal, we would like to explain that Alltel offers a 15-day
service guarantee period. This policy allows any customer to return all
equipment in good condition to the original point of purchase in its'
original packaging, with a sales receipt within 15 days to receive a
refund. If the purchase was made over the phone, the customer will have
return instructions in the original package. In additions, wireless
services is subject to limitations and may vary based on system
availability and capacity, customer equipment, terrain, signal
strength, buildings, weather and other conditions. Service outside the
Alltel network, although depicted on our maps, is based on information
from other carriers or publicity available information, and we cannot
guarantee its accuracy.
ALLTEL continues to strive on customer and
product satisfaction. We apologize for any inconvenience this matter
may have caused. If you have any questions or require any additional
information, feel free to contact me.
Executive Customer Relations
ALLTEL Communications Inc
|Our Concluding Remarks
It is unfortunate
that Alltel did not make a good faith effort to respond to our
complaint. In both of their responses, they failed to address the
issues raised in our original complaint.
Moreover, their response our
rebuttal was a duplicate of their original response.
response: "After review of Ms. Daly's rebuttal, we would like to
explain that Alltel offers a 15-day service guarantee period . . . .
The second: "After review of Ms. Daly's rebuttal, we would like to
explain that Alltel offers a 15-day service guarantee period . . .
It's the exact wording in each case. A reasonable person could only
conclude that Alltel's representative did not read the original
complaint, nor did he read our rebuttal.
Sadly, it is further evidence
of Alltel's lack of concern for their customers. It appears that
Alltel's customer service record outside of our state is equally
discreditable. In fact, the Attorney General of Florida has filed a
class action lawsuit against Alltel in violation of Florida's Deceptive
and Unfair Trade Practices Act. "This case is a classic example of
stealth charges intended to claim every possible dollar from their
customers," said Attorney General Charlie Cristt. "This is wrong and
will not be tolerated."
We had hoped that, unlike their actions in
Florida, Alltel would have acted responsibly and ethically in the state
of Idaho. Our experiences have clearly demonstrated the opposite.
Ron Watters and Katherine Daly
Keywords (For Search Purposes):
- Please enter 1 plus the 10 digit number followed by the number sign
- You are not
authorized to make calls to this number
- Alltel Pay-by-day plan
- Alltel Pay-by-minute plan
- Alltell Customer Service
- Alltell Complaints
|We are particularly interested in your problems with "Pay-by-day"
and "Pay-by-minute" plans. Several Alltel customers have written us,
and we are just beginning to establish a nation-wide pattern of
problems with these plans, but we need more information. If you have
experience similar problems, tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see the main page describing Alltel problems.