Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cha-Ching: Cell Phone Ripoff

Last November, I spent a week down near Lufkin, Texas doing the "Renaissance" thing. The night before we were supposed to pack up and head home, there was a weather bulletin about possible snow and ice in West Central and SW Arkansas.  I don't like driving in snow and ice, but was ready to do it if I had to.
I made it as far as Texarkana before I decided I needed to stop for the night (too many "scenic detours", so I was way behind schedule). Just as well, though: the storm front moved through and left a thin layer of ice on the bridges and trees. 
Next morning, I got back on the road and pointed myself towards home, but no scenic detours this time: I needed to get case the weather turned bad again. I made a pit-stop in Waldron, grabbed a Throwback Mountain Dew (good stuff), then was on my way again. When I got home, I couldn't find my phone.I checked the floorboards of the van: not there. Checked my pockets: not there.
Turns out my phone was either dropped or "requisitioned" while I was in Waldron. A quick call e-mail to ATT and I was told my phone would be "blacklisted" so no one could use it. Two days later, I was receiving messages from ATT that I was over my data limit and over my phone minutes.  How could this be if my phone was "blacklisted" ? According to the Customer Service representative, it wasn't. I'm glad I kept a transcript of my original conversation, so I was able to get the overages credited back to my account AND my missing phone finally deactivated. 
Going to the local ATT Store, I got the run around when I tried to replace my phone. First they tell me I can upgrade for a minimal fee, then they tell me I have to sign a new contract to get a new phone, but they "lease" them now for X dollars a month. After 12 months, you can buy the used phone or upgrade to a new phone with a new lease. OK, fork that. I went to a place called Gadget Grave and replaced my phone for around $75. It may as well been an upgrade as it had more power and more memory than my old phone (ATT sold me a dog of a phone. Little wonder it was discontinued shortly after I bought it two years ago).  So I've been very happy with my new phone and have been doing a lot more with it(this coming (from someone who never saw the need for a smart phone)
Well, a week ago, I dropped my phone. I've dropped it a couple times, but nothing ever phased it. This time, the screen cracked. *sigh* So I thought about Gadget Grave and figured they could help me. Yes, they can replace the cracked screen: for $150 ! ! $150 for a phone I only paid $75 for? FORK THAT!
So now I am searching for another replacement phone. Most likely the same model as the one that just broke, but this time, I'm spending a few extra dollars for an Otter Box or similar case to keep it from breaking if I drop it. I was already in the process of doing that, but the phone had other ideas. :(

(No, I DON'T know why Blogger added that funky background color)

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