Looking Out for the Customer

I’d like to start this post with a quick trip down Memory Lane. There’s an old Elaine May-Mike Nichols sketch called the “$65 Funeral” that appeared on the Jack Parr Show. Some of you may remember it. This hilarious skit was a great example of how a business will attract consumers with an initial offer, and then try to up-sell those prospects to a more expensive product. In this case, the business promoted a very cheap funeral but if you wanted anything with it, say, music, you had to pay extra.

I was reminded of that comedy skit the other day when I read how Verizon announced its Share Everything cell phone plan, which represents a dramatic change in their core mobile service. Under their new plan, customers will get unlimited voice and texting plans, as well as data plans they can share with family members across devices.

That might sound like an attractive offer on the surface but it’s actually a plan that favors heavy data users and penalizes consumers who are more frugal in their cell phone usage. Like the funeral “special,” there are hidden gotchas in the offer.

Under the new Verizon plan, customers are forced to pay for unlimited minutes. Additionally, they are forced to pay for a text-messaging plan, even if they don’t do any texting. And the cost of their data plan, in some cases, doubled. As a result, many customers, especially light or occasional cell phone users, will end up paying for a benefit, such as unlimited minutes, they don’t need and will most likely never use.

In such situations who really is looking out for the customer?

We don’t lock our customers into a two-year contract. And we don’t like to dictate usage to them. That’s why we allow them to add more minutes to their cellular plan at any time—without charging a fee. We offer affordable share plans. And we are not in the habit of raising the prices on our plans. On the contrary, we’re more inclined to give our customers extra minutes or data for the same price as before and have done so twice in the last two years.

To answer my own question from above, I like to think Consumer Cellular is looking out for the customer. We give them the freedom to make their own cell phone choices. And that’s a plan worth sharing.

26 Thoughts on "Looking Out for the Customer"

  1. Freddel says

    Verizon customers have the option of enrolling in the unlimited, cross sharing plan. They are not forced into such a plan. Once they see their bill, I'm sure that some will reconsider their selection.

    reply to Freddel

  2. Tom Rawson says

    I'm pretty happy with the service here, but as far as I can tell, you _do_ force us to buy what we don't want in order to get what we do want. This is because of the bundling of text messages and data. I would like to buy more data, but I'm not happy that I have to take a ridiculous number of messages which I can't use.

    reply to Tom

  3. Karen says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Consumer Cellular!! Can't beat them!

    reply to Karen

  4. paul says

    i don't understand map coverage nor 9 hours usage nor 31 days pls explain

    reply to paul

  5. Lita says

    I'm a senior, my daughter is a deaf adult in her 40's. Mine is minimum usage, hers is text only since that is all she needs. Her children love the fact they can text their mom or send her pictures with no special gadgets or relay services required. We've tried them all. Consumer Cellar is the only phone we've found that gives us what we need at a price we can afford to pay. Thank you Consumer Cellar.

    reply to Lita

  6. john says

    You bundle unwanted software on your smart phones; do not allow it to be turned off; and then force me to pay for its use of my data plan. That is not consumer friendly. Why?

    reply to john

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello John. Thank you for your post. You may actually disable those apps if you're concerned about data consumption. From the Task Manager, you can add apps to the “Auto-end list” so they're not constantly running. Or you could also go into settings, applications, running services, then select each app you want to stop. Then it won't run until started again. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  7. LORETTA SCHOGGENS says

    I WAS FED UP WITH AT&T BUNDLE. I AM A WIDOW AND MY CONTRACT HAS BEEN UP WITH THEM FOR YEARS.
    I WOULD NOT RENEW; I CHECKED OUT VERIZON AND TO ME IT WAS WORSE THAN AT&T. WAS BROWZING AND CAME ACROSS CONSUMER CELLULAR AND LOVE IT. I TELL ALL MY FRINDS! LORETTA SCHOGGENS

    reply to LORETTA

  8. Ron says

    Dear Mr. John Marick,

    I am currently a Verizon Wireless customer. I have been without a contract with Verizon for over 5 years, and this no-contract state works perfectly for me.

    Consistent with your article, Knowing that Verizon's share all plan is the first attempt for them to move away from me, not me choosing to move away from them, the only thing that is holding me back to switch to Consumer Cellular is lack of coverage coverage in Canada and Mexico. About every 2 to 3 months, for work purposes, I travel to these countries.

    Knowing that Consumer's network is AT&T based (and AT&T is a Global carrier), are there plans in the near future to consider opening up coverage in Canada and Mexico. I am ready to switch to Consumer. Awaiting your reply. Thank you.

    reply to Ron

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello Ron. Thank you for your post and for your question as well. Our service only works within the United States. We don't have plans to expand our coverage into Mexico, Canada or any other country. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  9. Bob says

    Most of the customers above probably should have called customer service and had there questions addressed there. Any time I've called I found the agents to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I cut my bill from Verizon to less than half by joining Consumer Cellular and I still have a smartphone.

    reply to Bob

  10. kathy says

    Looking to get this for my mother in law whose contract is up. Need to port her number to the phone at consumer celluar. What is the charge for that and how long does it take? Can I find a retail location to do this for me?

    reply to kathy

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello Kathy. Thanks for your post. We don't charge anything additional to port phone numbers to our service. Typically, ports complete 1-3 days after you've received your new equipment from us – but your old phone will still be in service until the port is completed. Please feel free to contact our support team if you need any additional assistance at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  11. Don says

    Can a land-line phone number be ported to consummer cellular? I have a phone with AT&T in CT and would like to change it to a cell #.

    Thanks

    reply to Don

    • Tina at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question! Yes, in most cases we can transfer a landline to our service. The number must be active while we complete the transfer and it can take a few days to fully complete. If you would like more information, please call us at 1-800-686-4460.

      reply to Tina

  12. Samantha says

    I have a verizon phone and want to get a consumer cellular one. Can I transfer my number? What are the steps do so?

    reply to Samantha

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Samantha. You can transfer your number to our service easily when you start service. However, please do not cancel your Verizon service until you are completely activated with Consumer Cellular to ensure a smooth transition. To get started, just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be happy to assist you. Thanks again!

      reply to Ashley

  13. Luce says

    I am a Consumer Cellular customer. What is the cost to text from US to Canada?

    reply to Luce

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Luce. It will cost $0.05 per message from your phone to a mobile phone in Canada. Texts sent from Canada to your phone will simply be deducted from your plan. No matter which country you send text messages to, the pricing will be the same. Thank you again for the comment!

      reply to Ashley

  14. Melody Tapprich says

    Will I be charged for someone in Canada calling my cell phone. I’ve been texting her n didn’t realize I’d b paying .05 a text. Now I’m worried I’ll b paying whopping phone bill.
    Also my data on my phone has been running up extremely fast this month. My husband n I both have restricted background data on n I only used the data yesterday for a short time n it’s up way over 300 already. Last night it said 498 n then dropped by this morning. I usually only use 150 or less. Thanks.

    reply to Melody

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Melody. If someone in Canada calls your phone, those minutes will be deducted from your monthly plan. If you call them in Canada, the minutes will be deducted and you’ll pay an additional per minute fee. It varies from country to country, and you can view them by country on our international calling page here. As for the data issue you’re experiencing, I took a look at your account and I see that Gail, our Customer Account Advisor, was able to help you adjust your data settings so that won’t happen again. If we can assist you with anything else at this time, please feel free to give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us today!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Tammy says

    I need to port my number out and it keeps saying my info doesn’t match. Can you please assist me?

    reply to Tammy

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for posting, Tammy! I took a look at your account, and it looks like Stephen, our account advisor, was able to assist you with this. If there is anything else we can do for you at this time, or if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  16. BC says

    Why is the Consumer Cellular telephone number answered by Verizon Wireless? Are the the same company?

    reply to BC

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi BC, our contact numbers on our website should not redirect you to Verizon Wireless since we are separate companies. If you are instead reaching Verizon Wireless, I recommend chatting with us here so that we can review the number.

      reply to Nicole

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