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Cell Phone Hell, revisited

A few months ago, I wrote here about my own journey into “Cell Phone Hell,” figuring that anyone who has owned or who owns one of these technologically superior communication devices would be able to relate to my anguish.

In a nutshell, I signed up with a giant cell phone conglomerate that, in turn, provided me with a cell phone. That phone died after about four months. And I mean died. Dead. Unfixable.

After I paid $50, the conglomerate provided me with another phone. That one died ” dead, unfixable ” after two months. The conglomerate sold me a new, different phone for $100. When that phone died after a month, I officially entered the depths of Cell Phone Hell, and asked to get out of my contract.



No can do, said the conglomerate, which led me to write about this situation in this column.

By the time I got to work on the day my column came out, I already had three messages.



The first was from a woman named Candy who owns a cell phone business called Mountain Mobile out of Silt.

“My heart goes out to you,” Candy said. “It sounds like you need some support and help.”

Jim Henderson from E-Tech in Glenwood Springs called, too.

“You’re in Cell Phone Hell? Well, I can turn on the air conditioning,” Jim said. “Call me. Maybe we can come up with a remedy.”

Jeff and Amanda from All State Communications in Glenwood also called. They were very nice, offering help as well.

Since Candy called first, she was the first on my list to call back. We talked about my situation with the big conglomerate cell phone company.

“There are four or five big companies out there,” she said. “People either hate them all, love them all, or have some they hate and some they love, all depending on past experience.”

Candy said around here, it can be difficult to fix a cell phone problem because, as yet, there are no master cell phone agents in the area that exclusively sell and repair a certain type of phone and phone service.

That means that if anything goes wrong with a phone or with service, people can get stuck talking long distance with someone who can’t directly fix the problem.

“With some of these companies, if someone has a pulse, they’re hired,” she said. “And they’re handed a script to read if customers call with a problem.”

That’s why she said, as far as cell phone service is concerned, people need to make sure they are getting top-quality customer service on a local level, and sign a contract with a provider they trust will help them if a problem arises.

“It’s buyer beware with cell phones,” she said. “People really need to shop around to make sure they’ll get good customer service when they sign on.”

I showed Candy my pile of paperwork ” my contract and bills ” and she offered to call the conglomerate to see if she could get a reduction in my bills, which amounted to more than $500.

Candy did just that. She got my bill reduced to $120, and got me out of my contract to boot. I think that’s the customer service she was talking about.

I haven’t had a cell phone ” and neither has my husband, Erik ” since this process began back in March.

But Erik is a horseshoer. He’s out on the road and could really use a cell phone. And as a newspaper reporter, I find myself rifling through my wallet for change to use a pay phone (when I can even find a pay phone!).

So we’re going to try it again, but we’re not going it alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that to own a cell phone, you better have a professional like Candy on your side to guide you through the mire.

Carrie Click is a reporter at the Post Independent. She’ll keep readers posted on how the new cell phone service works out. She can be reached at 945-8515, ext. 518, or at cclick@postindependent.com.


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