Issue 27, October 2011
In This Issue
- Dialing In by CEO John Marick »
- And the Winner is... Lisa Larson Wins Our Grandparents Day Contest! »
- Feature Focus: Where to Go for Bravo Tips & Tricks »
- Free Smartphone: We're Giving Away a Bravo Smartphone on Facebook »
- Customer Star: Nalley Thomas Osland »
- Your Questions Answered »
- Refer A Friend: An Easy $10 for You »
- Support our National Parks. Read More »
- Get Twice as Much Data with Our Connect! Complete Plan. Read More »
We’re Here to Help
In addition to the extensive support you'll find on our website, check out these other resources:
Put $10 in your pocket! That's what you'll do every time you refer someone who signs up with Consumer Cellular. They'll be happy, too. Not only will they get fantastic cell service at great rates, they'll also get a $10 credit on their first invoice. Don’t wait to share the wealth! The best gifts don’t require contracts.
Want to tell a friend? Click here to send an email.
by John Marick
More than two thousand entries later, our second annual Grandparents Day Contest has come to an end. And, just like last year, we're sorry to see the conclusion of this great contest.
On the other hand, we're exceedingly happy for the numerous responses and votes we received and eagerly await next year's contest. Our top three winners were announced at AARP's Life@50+ event in Los Angeles in late September. Chances are you already know a little something about our three winners.
Our camera crew visited them and produced video profiles of each one. They saw Lisa Larson at her parents' home, a beautiful place in Wisconsin originally built by Lisa's great-great-grandparents on 40 acres as homesteaders in the 1800s. The Consumer Cellular team visited Kathie Sucidlo, of Maine, in a quiet New England town, 30 minutes or so north of Portland. And they spent time in southern California with Denise Kano, shooting footage of the big yellow house she so fondly remembered.
I encourage you to read the brief profile of each winner later in this issue, as well as view their videos.
In addition to wrapping up our Grandparents Day Contest celebrating generations of families, we also had a chance to visit with old friends, as well as make new ones, at AARP's Life@50+ in Los Angeles. The conference was invigorating and enlightening, with over 25,000 AARP members descending on the convention center. I want to thank those of you who were able to attend and stop by our booth to say hello. It was great to meet you!
Finally, this past month we also introduced our first smartphone, the Motorola Bravo, which we not only consider the perfect device for staying connected, but also an awesome deal with no contracts, flexible data packages and our risk-free guarantee. In fact, to make using a Bravo as affordable as we can, we've doubled the amount of data in our Connect! Complete plan without charging a penny more. See details later in this issue.
I would like to close my message this month by once again congratulating the many individuals who participated in our Grandparents Day Contest. Although we could only pick three of you for our top prizes, you all deserve recognition and praise for such heartfelt and honest videos and essays.
For more comments and industry insights from John, read his latest blog.
Lisa Larson Wins Our Grandparents Day Contest!
Without further ado, here are our top three winners for 2011:
Our Grand Prize Winner this year is Lisa Larson of Wisconsin. Her video entry, titled “I’m Just Beginning to Understand,” charmed us, again and again, over multiple viewings. It was thoughtful and artful, as well as passionate. It touched our hearts, made us think, and even made us smile. The story her video tells is all about love and the journey that children, parents, and grandparents take together. And speaking of journeys, Consumer Cellular is proud to award Lisa a six-night Caribbean cruise for four, provided by AARP® Travel Center powered by Expedia®.
Our Second Place Prize Winner is Denise Kano of Califonia. Her essay entry, “It’s a Great Life if You Don’t Weaken,” evokes what it was like to know and live with her grandparents, Nell and Phil, in a "butter yellow Victorian house on the hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean." If you read her entry, you know what an amazing story Denise told in a handful of paragraphs. By the end, you felt as if you truly knew her grandparents, especially the vivid and unpretentious Nell, who loved reading grocery store tabloids, making comments in a movie theater, and generally editorializing about life. Her grandmother lived by the motto: "It's a great life if you don't weaken." Nell lived to the age of 92 and Denise felt privileged to have spent 43 years of her own life with her. Congratulations Denise! By winning our second place prize, Denise earns four roundtrip airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States.
Our Third Place Prize Winner for 2011 is Kathie Randolph Sucidlo of Maine. In her essay, “Connections,” Kathie wrote eloquently about the special connection that "snapped into place" — a link between two hearts — when she held her first grandchild for the first time. While writing her essay, Kathie was actually looking forward to the birth of her second grandchild and one more connection, not just to her heart, but to hope. By winning, Kathie can enjoy a two-night stay for four at any Marriot property in the continental U.S.
In the words of the judges: "It was hard to narrow it down to only three. But we feel our top three winning entries really captured the heart and soul of the contest."
As a footnote, the judges recommended having some Kleenex handy when you watch Lisa's video.
Visit the Grandparents Day page to see our video interviews with each winner.
Where to Go for Bravo Tips & Tricks
Your Motorola Bravo smartphone gives you a lot of communication power and potential. To help make sure you get the most value out of it, Consumer Cellular has created two special support pages just for our Bravo customers:
Both support pages can help you master your Bravo with easy to follow, step-by-step video instructions and manuals. You'll find information on how to get started, set up and use voicemail, and browse the Internet. We've even put together Bravo Tips videos.
We also created the "My Consumer Cellular" application especially for the Bravo phone – and it's FREE! The app gives you quick access to manage your Consumer Cellular account on the go, displays your AARP card if you are a member and keeps track of your usage.
Speaking of usage, there are some activities on a smartphone that will very quickly eat up your data allotment. To make sure you are staying within your plan, here's a tip that will help you control data costs:
- Stream Video and Audio the Smart Way
It’s best to stream video over a Wi-Fi network so you won’t be using data from your data plan. The same is true for sending and viewing photos, as well as surfing the Web and using your phone for social networking.
We're Giving Away a Bravo Smartphone on Facebook
It's true: You could win a Motorola Bravo Android Smartphone in our Facebook giveaway. It's easy to enter, and it could be your ticket to a FREE Bravo. To enter, simply follow the directions on our Facebook Welcome page. You'll find all the details on how to win. Act now, the drawing ends on October 12th. Good luck!
Nalley Thomas Osland
To Nalley Thomas Osland ("Tommie" to her friends), a widow after 53 years of marriage and suddenly responsible for managing all her bills, Consumer Cellular has been "like fresh water in a desert."
It didn't happen overnight, however. Tommie built a folder of information about the company for about a year before joining. On a fixed income, she was cautious about how and where to spend her money. Even then, she held her breath. Consumer Cellular's affordable service sounded too good to be true.
"When I received my first bill it was half the amount we received over the years!" recalled Tommie. Still unconvinced, she thought she'd wait until the next invoice arrived. But when she received it, she was just as delighted for it was also half the amount she had been paying.
Tommie did her homework when it came time to select a Consumer Cellular device, as well. The more she read about the senior-friendly Doro phone, the more she was convinced it was the best fit for her needs. She chose the burgundy colored Doro model for its modern look. The more she uses the device, the more comfortable she gets "in my skin," as she put it.
Because Tommie doesn't consume a lot of minutes each month, she chose the 300-minute plan. However, in two rare occasions recently, she needed to increase her usage. She simply called Customer Support and asked for an increase in the amount of minutes and it was done. She found the process quick, easy, and hassle free.
Tommie now believes when something sounds too good to be true, it can still be true. She reminds herself of that fact every time she opens her monthly invoice and sees how much money she's saving over her previous provider.
Her advice to others? "Don't procrastinate and do what I did. You'll not only save money, but have pleasant experiences dealing with the employees at Consumer Cellular."
I'm a new customer and I keep hearing about Usage Alerts. What are these alerts and how do I use them?
Our Usage Alerts program is a free and unique cell phone monitoring service we provide to our customers to help them manage their cell phone usage and avoid overage charges. With Usage Alerts, we'll let you know when you are approaching your plan's limits for minutes, messages or web browsing. You can choose when you want to be alerted (at 75%, 100%, 125%, 150% of your usage limit) and how you want to be notified (email, text message or both). We'll take care of the rest.
Consumer Cellular accounts are initially set up to receive alerts at all levels via both email and phone. You may change these settings at any time. The process is simple, immediate, and can be performed online in your secure My Account page or by calling Customer Support at 888-345-5510.
And if a rate plan change is ever needed, we'll make it retroactive back to the start of your current billing period. This means you can lock in the best pricing for the month, even when the month is almost over. You can change your plan as often as you like and we won't charge you a change fee. You're in control of your usage.
How quickly are Usage Alerts provided?
There is a slight delay from the time you use your phone until we know what was used. Usage records can take several hours or longer to be received. However, once we know you've crossed the designated usage threshold, we reach out to you immediately. Email alerts are sent — anytime day or night. Text message alerts are only sent between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time to make sure we don't intrude on your evening. And we never charge for the text message alerts you receive!
We can help you learn how to get the most value out of your phone and plan. Just call us at 1-888-345-5509 or go online to view our How-To Videos or see the answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions.
We're happy to announce that Consumer Cellular is partnering with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) again this year. In June, we agreed to make a donation to the NPCA every time a customer signed up for email billing. This time, we are assisting the NPCA by sponsoring a Facebook program called "Support the National Parks.”
We are excited to support NPCA's mission to protect our national parks for future generations. The new campaign is an easy way for you to show your support for this great cause too. Joining is free. Click here to join now and then share this link with your friends and family. By simply spreading the word, you’ll help us reach our goal to raise over $5,000!
We've added more Web surfing to our largest Connect! plan, and we did so without raising our prices. If you're on our Connect! Complete plan, we doubled your data, and we did it for free. That's right, you'll get 200MB of data, double the previous amount, making it easier for you to stay in touch with loved ones. This upgrade is particularly helpful to customers who are staying connected to family and friends with our new smartphone, the Motorola Bravo. For more phone and plan details, visit our Messaging & Web page.