Welcome to Cingular. Your money is very important to us. Please hold.

A few months ago, I bought my girlfriend Jamie a phone for her birthday. I had been using Sprint for years, but decided to try Cingular and their Razr phone. I received a corporate discount on the service, the phone, and they waived the activation charges. I kept it for less than a week, and I’m still regretting walking into that store at all.

When I bought the phone, the guy said I would not have to pay activation charges, and put that into the account info. He also said I’d have to return this within two weeks in order to get all charges dropped. As I was leaving a few days later for a trip back home to see my girlfriend, and wanted to try the reception there, I felt this was reasonable.

I took the phone home and waited a few hours, as I had to wait until the thing was activated. After several hours, I still couldn’t place a phone call. I’d be redirected to their automated line. The quality of that call alone was so bad I could barely hear what they were saying.

I decided to concentrate on the Razr itself. It’s a very nice looking phone, but the software was so horrible that I couldn’t stand using it. Motorola seems to be quite bad in this regard, and I’m choosing to stay away from Motorola phones for the foreseeable future. Anyhow, I decided that this whole thing needed to go back, but I didn’t have time to deal with it that day.

I left for a couple of days and then came back and returned the phone and cancelled the service. I had to talk to a person on the phone at Cingular, who was trying to get me to stay with them, offered me things, etc., but I said no. I then confirmed from both her and the employee at the store that I wouldn’t be billed a single thing. They both said that all charges are dropped and not to worry.

A month and a half passes. I get a call from a collections agency. Cingular wanted my wallet.

I called up Cingular and dealt with them for a bit. They were persistent, but not as persistent as I was. They claimed that I only had 3 days to return everything in order to not be billed for activation charges, rather than 2 weeks as the sales person told me. Furthermore, due to my corporate discount, I didn’t have to pay activation charges. Finally, the lady on the phone looked this up and found that, yes, there was a note saying I didn’t have to pay activation charges. They were just going to try anyway and hope that I wouldn’t notice/remember. Thanks guys, you really made me want to go back to you someday.

That phone conversation was in early November. I thought I was done, honestly. I received a letter with a “Sorry” and a “Due: $0” written on it. And a check for something like $17, which I’m sure is a trap. So that was it, right? Nope, of course not! This morning, I received a phone call. Cingular apparently hasn’t informed the collections agency that I no longer owe them anything, and the collections agency wants to know where the money is. I told them the story and they’re checking up on it, but I imagine this battle is going to begin again.

Another company on my personal blacklist.