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My Nightmare | PSA for Service Members With Cell Phones

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I don’t know what we were thinking. I guess we thought we would save some money during deployment by putting hubs’ cell phone on military suspension. The way we saw it, he wasn’t using his phone and instead of collecting seven months of voicemail we would turn it off temporarily.

About 4 days before the ship pulled into Hawaii I called our service provider and asked them to turn his phone back on. I was so excited to finally hear his voice! I knew he would want to call as soon as they were in port and back on U.S. soil. The day they did pull in to Hawaii I remember sitting there all day waiting for his phone call. Around 9pm PST I sent him a funny text about his sailor (me) missing him… nothing. Around 10pm I called and his phone service was not restored. I called our service provider… again.

I didn’t know at the time that he had also called them when he got to land, tried to call, and discovered his phone wasn’t working. They were having a problem with their server and the person I spoke to didn’t put him on a plan. We’re on a family plan- all they had to do was add his phone back on. Issue was resolved and I was able to speak with him later that night.

Cut to a few days after homecoming. We were out and I was driving so he tried to call Nan to ask her some mundane question. Guess what? No service. We once again (4th time) called our service provider. Somehow they didn’t have him on a plan and they disconnected the phone. I’m sorry, what?

Situation under control until the bill comes in the mail. Our bill DOUBLED by adding a new $9.99 line to our family plan (I had been paying about $80 a month during deployment, and around $100 before deployment). Call number 5, within a two-week period of time, occurs. I’m spending more time with customer service than I am with my husband! Turns out someone at our service provider decided to put us on some RIDICULOUS plan for about a million minutes a month when we had been on the lowest number of minutes a month. Let’s face it: we have a land line and a family plan. We don’t need more than 400 minutes!

Everything is going fine until we get this months bill in the mail. Are you ready for this? THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS! Oh no, no, no, no, no! I immediately picked up the phone and called our service provider once more. It appears that while in Hawaii, hubs’ had to use an INTERNATIONAL TOWER and we were thus charged for international roaming.

Everyone has a price, and mine friends, is $441. I was so steamed that I wanted out of my contract for the last three phone calls! I had had it this time. The poor girl on the phone was a sweetheart and calmed me down pretty quickly. She reversed the international roaming charges and on top of it, gave us a $200 credit on our account! That means not only do we not need to pay this month, but next month we’re not going to have to pay very much!

CUSTOMER SERVICE. Where has it gone in this country? In this economy. You had also better believe I played all the cards in my hand: I dropped the name of the biggest competitor. I played the “is this how you treat Veterans?” card. Hubs just laughed, but it’s true. The only reason we suspended his service was for him to deploy and defend our freedom.

Lesson learned [and came right out of the customer service managers mouth]: next time (if there ever is a next time) we will not use the military suspension. This has been a bigger headache than it was ever worth!

When your service member deploys, what do you do with their phone? Is it just us, or has anyone else ever dealt with these issues and how did you get your service restored to normal?

[While I recognize I have not used the name of our cell phone carrier, please know the purpose of this post is not to bash one service provide over any others and I chose to leave this information out. If you tweet with me, I’m sure you may remember parts of this whole debacle from June. Please do not refer to the company in comments.]

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About Elizabeth

Paleo wife on 150lb weightloss journey documenting life, marriage, health & military move to Okinawa! Tough Mudder (Nov '12) and Stella & Dot Stylist!

6 responses »

  1. Last 6 month deployment DH did suspend it…but then he lost the phone. He ended up going with a different provider when he got a new phone so we didn’t have this isssue…good to know though! Thanks for the heads up:)

    Reply
  2. HB has ——– and when he deployed we suspended it. We reactivated it for R&R and when he came back with absolutely no problem. It was super simple and hassle free {which is unheard of for cell phone companies in my opinion} They even helped us out with how he could make free phone calls from some of the in between places without an international plan. Overall I was impressed although a few people did give wrong info {but me being me, I double and triple checked so it all worked out}

    Reply
  3. We had an issue living in Chula Vista, we would get Mexican cell phone towers all the time and they kept charing us the int’l roaming fee! I was like, heck no, it’s not our fault that their towers are better then the service providers! They service provider told us to look at the name of the tower on our phone before making a call, again, heck no! We ended up changing providers! Glad you got good customer service, but what a pain!!

    Reply
  4. We don’t suspend Chris’s phone. He’s gone so often and for (usually) such short periods of time that it just seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth!

    Reply
  5. We suspended OccDoc’s phone. I actually hung on to his phone while he was gone since he didn’t want to worry about it in Afghanistan. Plus, he had his army-issued iPod touch to play Angry Birds, so he didn’t need his phone while deployed. I reactivated his phone the day before he came home without issue. We were super worried about the whole suspension/reactivation thing, but it worked out well for us. I would have freaked with a bill that high!!!

    Reply
  6. We did suspend his phone for his last deployment. The only difference is that he’s the only one on his plan, and I just am an added on my mom’s plan and pay her $10/mo. (who do I call the most anyway??). Since he was the only one on the plan, I thought they’d charge us a holding fee or something, but it went to $0/mo. And it was super-easy to restore. (I think he did it at his last port call, but I’m not sure.) I’m sorry you went through that headache! At least they sorta fixed it in the end though.

    Reply

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