September 12, 2008 – Alltel Prepaid Wireless Review

OK, I know many of you don’t come here for wireless reviews, but I’m sure some will find this as a result of a google search. Emma is now old enough to practice managing her own money. She made an annual budget for clothes, school lunches, entertainment, etc. and we set her up with a credit card/checking account and bi-weekly deposits.

She had a big paycheck from babysitting saved up and wanted to get a prepaid cell phone. She researched and found Alltell wireless would be the best package for her. Her first transaction was to purchase the phone and initial service. She was very excited when the phone arrived, activated it and found she could not receive calls. Try customer service – closed. She calls the next day, they try some things and say it should work the next day. The next day it still doesn’t work and she calls back again and reached 2nd level tech support. They can’t get it to work and say take it into the local office. She reports this to me and my response is you paid for a new working phone, not a phone DOA, call back and ask for a return.

She calls back the next day and they say return it to the store even though the instructions with the phone say to return it via mail after receiving the “RMA Code.” She emails the appointed email address to get the “RMA Code” and two days later it finally arrives (keep in mind the 15 days you have to return a defective phone are ticking away with every delay). I’m thinking they’re sending a prepaid label and number in the mail for the return. Wrong – she finally gets an e-mail with the RMA number (why it takes upwards of 2 days is beyond me – every other transaction I do online responds within minutes).

She calls for clarification on shipping – it’s on her dime to ship it back with verificaton of delivery, but she shouldn’t worry since she is supposed to return it to the store anyways. And they way they won’t refund the “activation fee.” So I go to the Alltel web site store locator and find a map of the nearest store location. Actually, this is nothing other than another delay because the store is on the other side of town than depicted on the map on the Alltel web site and driving directions are to a random house on 12th street in Marshalltown – this is following the directions on the Alltel web.

You know what’s next, I get to the store and they refuse to take the phone. I argue for a bit, the CSR fumbles with the keyboard and says there’s nothing they can do. I kindly say, that I’ll spread the word and walk out the door. So I am. I enclosed a nice letter explaining the poor phone, poor service, miscommunication, and wild goose chase I encountered and kindly asked for the entire amount back. I’ll keep you posted what their response is.

Alltel Response:

Emma was grateful to receive her entire purchase price back from Alltel, including activation fee, so was only out on priority mail return shipping, verification of delivery, and run-around time.

one year ago…”Buckwheat Cover Crop”.