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Desperate BusinessmanI know, I know, I missed last Friday's blog. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it was Christmas and I was away from the computer. Second, I might have written the blog earlier in the week and scheduled a post, but I was busy being frustrated and exasperated with a certain company. So, this week, I think I'd like to write out my frustrations in part to exorcise them and in a part to warn those who may have a future problem.

I thought about keeping the name of the company anonymous, but I've ranted about it on Facebook. So, this is a warning to all U.S. Cellular fans and employees: I am about to trash your company.

I am under my mother's account and back in September we upgraded plans so that I could get a Smart phone. Specifically, a Galaxy S5. I wanted one so I could be an Uber driver, which side job has been fun and brought in a few extra dollars.

A couple weeks ago I was out driving and the GPS system was talking to me, then it sputtered and died. I restarted the phone and it worked for a couple hours then went silent again.

The next Monday, I went into a U.S. Cellular store to see if they could help. It was determined that the secondary speaker (the one that plays ring tones when there is a call, plays music, etc.) went bad.

USC has two options in the cases where the phone is defective. 1. Turn it in to them and they will send it to Samsung for repair. It was under warranty so no problem. The problem with this option is the wait time with no phone to use. Anywhere from 2-11 weeks (depending on which agent I spoke to). Sorry, I have a business other than Uber for which I need a phone.

2. The other option is something called Advanced Exchange. Let me give you the details. USC would send me another phone and all I had to do was pay $35 in shipping.

Here's my problem with this option: My phone was just over three months out of the box and it went defective all on its own. I didn't drop it, I didn't dunk it water. It went bad by itself. Now, if I had a defective toaster from any store, that store would not A). have me send in the toaster to the manufacturer for repair, nor would it B). charge me shipping for a new toaster. They would give me a new toaster from the shelf, no charge.

Not USC. I'm already paying for the phone through the contract and they want me to pay extra for another phone? (Hint, there's some foreshadowing in what I did NOT say in the last sentence.) They tried to claim their phones cost $700 and to give me a new phone would cost them money. Lie! If that was the case, they're losing money with every new customer through the door because their plans say the phones cost X, but they'll only charge x (a hefty discount down to what I think is the actual cost).

Two days later I went to the store where I purchased the original phone, argued with the agent, who called the dreaded 'customer service representative' who, reluctantly, dropped the cost to $20. I still was not happy. It's a new phone, why should have to pay a dime for a replacement? Well, up the chain it went until some 'supervisor of tech services' was to call me within 48 hours. One guess whether that person called.

Back to the store on Friday to argue some more with my last resort option being I'd leave the company and go with someone else. Finally, finally, through more back and forth, I was going to be given another phone at no charge. Another phone. NOT a new phone which I didn't find out until the following week. They couldn't just exchange the phone for one they had on their shelves in the back because I was going to get a 'Samsung certified, tested, pre-owned phone'. That, by the way, is double talk for a used phone.

UPS (another company that is on my S-list for worst companies to deal with) delayed my shipment two days, but I finally received the phone on Christmas Eve day. I went to the nearest store to get the information transferred. However, I received a used phone, but no battery or SIM card. Had to use the ones from the old phone (and they wanted $35 for this?). The agent in the store could not even open the box in which the phone came. She didn't understand the annotations to the account, could not open the little battery cover, and while she managed to get information transferred, didn't know how to Blue Tooth the ring tones over. Some twit she talked to said it would take three hours when I knew it took two minutes.

Down to another store where the guy transferred the ring tones. Then to another store on the 26th for help to reinstall some apps and clean the old phone of personal info. (Let's switch batteries back and forth. What fun!) At this store, I find out that USC, in October, a month after we signed up for the plan, had lowered the price of the plan, but didn't tell us. I think USC owes my mother $30.

Now, in conclusion, I think this whole situation has been absolutely ridiculous, illogical, and completely unprofessional on USC's part. Yes, I yelled at the CSRs, but I was not going to back down for what I felt was right. I think their advertising is false (when it comes to coverage). I think their policies are horrible. They've proven to me that they are nothing grubby greedy profiteers who really don't want to make things easier for their customers.

I may be wrong, I don't think that is the correct way to run a business.

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