Thank you, Cingular Guy! You make Cingular look slightly less evil. Not an easy task. If you work at Sprint or T-Mobile and would like to offer some tips for our readers, write to us at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.MEGHANN MARCO
Avoid contract extensions by changing your rate plan at a store. "If you want to change your rate plan, do it in a retail store instead of on-line or over the phone. Officially after 1/2 of your contract is over a rate plan change results in a contract extension, but I've never once seen that rule enforced in the store."
Features are your friends. "You can just about get about get a rep to do anything you want if you offer to get a text package or a data package, and they can be cancelled on-line or over the phone the second you leave the store. The same goes for accessories. Offer to get accessories if it will get you a deal, they can be returned no questions asked within 30 days. (Let me put it this way, if a customer came in looking to get a treo w/the data package and accessories I would have sold a Treo 750 for $100 after rebate)"
Upgrade more often with a higher priced rate plan. "[Cingular's] upgrade policies are similar to Verizon's, if someone's rate plan has been 75 dollars or higher (including features, but excluding taxes) for the last three months, they can upgrade 1/2 way through their contract."
Get the rebate in the store, and at home. "Try to get the rep to give you the rebate in the store, they'll be likely to do this if you agree to get accessories. You can get go on-
line and print out the rebate form from Cell phones and cell phone plans from Cingular Wireless
and send it in anyway."
Make the store compete with the website. "Remember that the retail stores can match prices for the cingular website, so check those prices before you go into a store."
Get credit for your mistakes. "If you go way over on your text messaging one month, go into a store and ask if they can credit you the difference if you sign up for a bigger text package. They should be able to do this, and you can always drop your text back down after you've gotten your credit."
Use the internet for $20. "Also, regardless of what kind of phone you have a $20 mediaMAX data package will give you unlimted access to the web that will not use your minutes, whether you're using a phone, a PDA
, or even a laptop card."