Did Sprint break its “buyback” promise?

Cellular tower, waiting to be disconnected. / Photo by Gary Lerude - Flickr
Gary Lerude – Flickr
Question: I need your help with Sprint’s buyback program, which lets you receive credit for your old cell phone. I recently had to cancel my Sprint account because I moved to an area where I didn’t get service.

When I canceled the contract, I agreed to pay a cancellation fee, but the rep on the phone said I could go through Sprint’s buyback program and receive a $177 credit for my phone directly on my account.

But when I went into a Sprint store to return it, a representative told me I had to mail it back for the credit to go to my account. I went to Sprint’s website and did an online chat, and I was told the credit would not go onto my account, but I would have a check written to me.
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New law aims to short-circuit public phone overcharges

1-no phoneThe trouble started when Tom King’s cellphone died on his way to a job interview last year. He saw a public phone at Washington’s Bainbridge Island Ferry and was relieved when a sticker reassured him that he could make a four-minute call for $1, he says.

That didn’t turn out to be entirely accurate. King made four one-minute calls using his credit card, for which he expected to pay $4. But a few days later, he discovered that he’d been charged $14.98 for each connection, for a total of nearly $60. “I was shocked,” he says.
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My T-Mobile phone doesn’t work — now what?

Question: My daughter and I have been experiencing problems with our T-Mobile service, and we need your help. I’ve made multiple calls to T-Mobile and received the exact same responses: “You’re not the first person to call about this problem, and a ticket has already been opened,” and, “Remove the battery and SIM card and put them back in.”

I saw one of your recent columns, and I took your advice and sent a very long email requesting that my accounts be canceled, without penalty. After a month, I received a generic letter stating T-Mobile “can’t guarantee service in all areas.”

It infuriated me. I’m not asking for service to be guaranteed in all areas. I should be able to expect adequate service in areas where there is service. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
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Help! My phone’s been disconnected!

Question: I need your immediate assistance. Tonight at 5 p.m. Comcast disconnected my phone service without a verbal or written warning. When I asked Comcast agents why this transpired, none could provide me with a valid answer or fix it.
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My house burned down and now my phone company won’t answer my calls

Aftermath of forest fire. / Photo by Ken Schwarz – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: My house in Fort Collins, Colo., burned to the ground during this summer’s wildfires, and I’m having some trouble with my phone company that I could use your help with.
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Help, they canceled all of my Travelzoo vouchers

Question: Travelzoo ran this deal a few weeks ago that offered two nights in Palm Springs, Calif., including dinner for two.
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#Nophone day one: Are we suffering from cellular withdrawals yet?

Maybe we picked the wrong day to quit talking.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Am I stuck with this $378 phone bill?

Question: I’ve been haggling with Travelocity for almost three months about a flight, and I need your help. I recently booked flights from Newark, N.J., to Madrid, Spain via Continental Airlines and on to my final destination of Barcelona, Spain, via Iberia.
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Ridiculous or not? US Airways closes a “loophole” – but opens a can of worms

A few weeks ago, Bob Johnson got an email from a US Airways employee that began, “They’re at it again.”

What was US Airways up to? At the beginning of the month, the carrier quietly added a new fee: Passengers who book a ticket through a travel agent but call the airline directly to make a change to their itinerary will now have to pay another $25 to speak with a phone agent. They were exempt from the fee before.

And here’s where Johnson comes in. Calling him a loyal US Airways customer would be an understatement. Johnson helped start a group called FFocus, which advocates for US Airways customers, particularly frequent fliers.

While he isn’t opposed to reasonable fees, he says this one makes no sense.

“US Airways defies logic on a minute-by-minute basis,” he told me. “This latest change is yet another example of the ongoing customer-unfriendly attitude of US Airways. Somebody explain the fairness of this new policy.”
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Independence Day!

Today is the day I untether.

I’m disconnecting all of my landlines, my ISDN and upgrading to an ultralight, two-pound laptop. What better time to share a few thoughts about the future of technology and travel — and what it might mean for you.

A lot of you have already unplugged your phones. Few of you probably know what an ISDN is or what it does. And computer upgrades happen every day. But when everything happens on the same day … well, that’s noteworthy.
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