The important stuff

Everyone will be happy to know that our wonderful legislators are working on the important things:

Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon) has heard the same complaint many times. He wants to prohibit cellphone providers from requiring that customers extend their contracts in order to change their plans.

“I’m a businessperson,” said Staton, who filed a bill on behalf of frustrated cellphone users Tuesday. “I’m not a big fan of government regulations. But I know that when an industry is not willing to self-police, there is a role for government.”

Staton said he understands why cellphone companies extend the contracts of customers who are trying to downsize their service plans. But he said people making a change that does not reduce revenue to the company should not be hit with a contract extension.

Senate Bill 395 is likely to face stiff opposition from Georgia’s telecommunications companies. Several telecom businesses are already pushing for less government regulation of the wireless industry.

Let’s just be clear – the proposed bill isn’t to end contracts, it’s just to make it so that if you change your minute plan or your phone or something like that the company can’t make you extend your contract another 2 years (or, you know, whatever).

3 Comments so far

  1. STEVE BEVILLE (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

    When I bought a new cell phone from Verizon Wireless about four months ago, the sales person told me three things I really liked. First, he said that if I stayed within the 4 or 5 different plans under the “new” America’s Choice master plan, I could switch among them without having to extend my contract. Second, he told me that even though the America’s Choice coverage area did have non-Verizon gaps in it, I’d never have to pay roaming charges. Finally, he told me that due to me being a long time customer – about 15+ years – my phone was essentially free, after rebate. I got one of the super phone models.

    I remember, however, the days when I was afraid to even call customer service and ask for something as simple as a change to my voice mail service, for fear it would re-up me for a new contract.

    I’d always thought the auto renewal of one’s contract when you changed your calling plan was “dirty pool”. It was only because I knew I was going to stay with Verizon anyway that I never really made a big deal to them about it. However, I don’t like dirty pool antics by any cellular carrier. But, a law? Competition ought to be the way to cause cellular carriers to stop playing badly in the sand box. Perhaps that’s what made Verizon change – or allegedly change – it’s policies on this issue.

    Now, I will have to say, I’ve never tested those three things I’ve listed above. Perhaps it would be interesting to talk with one of the Verizon managers to see what the reality is. But, then, I’m personally so happy with Verizon I don’t have a reason to switch. But, then, there are those who are not as happy with the Big V as I am.

  2. shelbinator (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 1:50 am

    Quoth Steve: “But, a law? Competition ought to be the way to cause cellular carriers to stop playing badly in the sand box.”

    Cellular companies have been in “competition” since well before I bought my first 2 pound Motorola flip-phone in 1998 (and thought I was the bee’s knees for doing so), and yet they’ve all (the 3 that I’ve been with) been screwing me with such contractual minutia without fail for the entire period since. This is why I just don’t put as much faith in the forces of the free market as others do.

  3. Nikki (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    We’re in the midst of switching from Cingular (Our Reps are So Terminally Stupid You’ll Never Call Again!) to T-Mobile. . . . We’ve gone to great lengths to avoid being screwed. Whether those lenghths will be far enough is another question.

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