Consumer Cellular

    Overall Satisfaction Rating
    1.32/5

    Based on 175 ratings out of 475 reviews

    • 5 stars7
      4%
    • 4 stars0
      0%
    • 3 stars3
      2%
    • 2 stars14
      8%
    • 1 stars151
      86%

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Consumer Complaints & Reviews

Contacted Consumer Cellular to order two cell phones and associated plans. I reviewed the coverage map and my location was well covered for text, voice, and data. I contacted Consumer Cellular and was placed on hold for 10 to 15 minutes for a representative. Within that time period I was in contact with a representative. I selected, and purchased two 5s Apple phones, service plan, and data plan and was told 3 to 5 business days for delivery, received in 3 days. I activated my phone upon receipt and noticed no service available on the phone and then one circle for reception. The phone went in and out of service but for the most part had no service.

Contacted Consumer Cellular (10-15) minute wait time again. A representative answered in 12 minutes and spent the next 45 minutes troubleshooting my phone issue. Let state there isn't an issue with the professionalism of the customer service, there is in how Consumer Cellular portrays their coverage map. Come to find out Consumer Cellular uses AT&T, and T-Mobile sims in their phones. If one does their homework you already know if AT&T or T-Mobile coverage works in your area. In mine, not so much and I had to cancel my contract. The representative was polite and sent by E-Mail return postage for the phones along with a cancellation notice. The reason for the one star is for their website coverage map, would have saved me from waiting for credit on my card.

I broke my phone and send to squaretrade which is a bad repair plan. I have been call then for the last 4 month try to get my bill fix. I broke my phone and they send me a new phone with a return label. I send the phone back to them in the return package they send the phone back and decline claim. When I call them back they said I need to send it to squaretrade.

I call squaretrade and ask them to send a return to me by mail. I call consumer cellular to tell them that. Then they took me to keep my phone to them. Until I get a new. After that they told me to send then the phone. They had me going around in circle after they figure it out they had no phone so I had to wait back order. So then they told me to send keep send the. All the time they are so. I tired of mess with 4 month and out of almost 250.00 - paid the $25.00 each for two phone a month, they are a big rip off. So I decide to another cell phone company. I am not pay them another dime. Everybody will hear about this.

I am waiting to speak to customer service and it's now 30 minutes and counting. This is ridiculous... it's 9:52 pm and I certainly don't think this is a busy time for customer service. Any other mobile service has a system where I can request for a call back when a customer service rep is available but Consumer Cellular has nothing like that. Only option is to hold... I am a new customer and this is my second call to customer service (the first one was no better) and I am pissed off and utterly disgusted. At this day and age, who waits to speak to customer service for 30 or more minutes... I am still holding while I type this. I will never recommend this mobile service to anyone!!!

I have been a customer for over three years and have not had problems until now. For the first time, I missed a payment. I had set up with Consumer Cellular to get the invoice via email. I never received the June bill and did not pay it as I did not get the reminder. On Friday July 8, I got an email that my phone service would be suspended unless I paid the June and July bills immediately. I had an electronic payment sent from my checking account as soon as I read the email from Consumer Cellular. It was to be transmitted the next business day, Monday, July 11. Today (July 11) I received another email from Consumer Cellular that stated there is "impending suspension" of service unless payment was made immediately. I phoned Consumer Cellular and talked to someone after being on hold for 30 minutes.

My questions were why I never got a June invoice and why was I emailed another suspension notice the very next business day? I was told by the employee that she could see the suspension notices but she had no record of any billing notices that went out over email. She would not comment about the swiftness of suspension notices going out. The second more threatening than the first. I told her that a payment for both months was electronically sent out today. She told me she would note that in my record. I told her that since receiving their email billing notices was not reliable that I want a written bill mailed via the US Postal Service from now on. She agreed to do this. I would not want to quit Consumer Cellular but will do so if this problem continues.

Consumer Cellular does not answer its customer car phone calls! Big problem! My husband and I changed from Verizon wireless to AARP Consumer Cellular back in May 2016. I purchased an upgraded smartphone for my husband and separate hot spot for our upcoming travel scheduled for the 2nd week of June 2016. We were told that Consumer Cellular did not require contracts and that we could cancel for any reason. However, they failed to disclose that should you make the mistake of purchasing a smartphone or any other equipment (hotspot) from them, they have a penalty requirement that requires you remain a Consumer Cellular customer for a minimum of 6 months or you will not be given the imei codes for the phone or hotspot you purchased from them that allows you to sure your property on another chosen wireless provider. So you may as well throw the Consumer Cellular equipment away.

This made me very mad since they did not tell me that until after the 30 day time limit they impose for new accounts... Even though I asked them to disclose all requirements prior to changing carriers. Needless to say, my smartphone did not work on the Consumer Cellular system and I had to go back to Verizon wireless in order to have a phone. I called Consumer Cellular numerous times to try to resolve this issue... no luck. So upon our return in July from our trip I canceled the hotspot completely and continue to allow only my husband's phone on this system for the remainder of the 6 month period so he can then change over to Verizon wireless again. Many of my calls related to this issue went unanswered or I received conflicting answers from their customer service. I finally resorted to sending multiple emails with the title: "no one answers your phones...have someone call me." I would not recommend the AARP service unless you do very little calling.

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New consumer here trying to port number to Consumer Cellular. Currently on hold for 31 minutes and counting. Automated message stated a hold time of 10 minutes. Don't remember the last time I encountered such poor service. Glad I had this experience, made me change my mind on switching to Consumer Cellular.

I just recently left Consumer Cellular after about 5 years with them. They always had great customer service and the best prices around, and you could cancel the 'contract' at any time. It's become more common now but it was something that really set them apart when I was shopping around. Unfortunately, I need better coverage with a new job I took and decided to try out one of the larger carriers. So far so good but if I run into any issues, I wouldn't mind going right back. Probably not a good buy if you use a lot of data or talk non-stop on your phone but, for me, it's more of a tool than a way of life and Consumer Cellular caters to that market segment.

I engaged this company because of its association with AARP and its low cost. I was sent a new sim card and told to put it in my phone before calling them. That was misinformation #1. When I called to begin service, they called my previous carrier, Verizon, and cancelled my service even before checking to make sure I actually had service with CC. Well, I didn't so I had to find a Sears to take the phone to. They called the customer service number and I was told my phone had to be unlocked. Misinformation #2. I then went to Verizon to have them 'unlock' my phone. That process took another 2 hours because I didn't have the Verizon sim and had to go home to get it. Then Verizon tech support told me my phone was not locked so I went back to Sears and had them ring up CC customer service.

After another hour, I was told my phone is not compatible with Consumer Cellular, misinformation #3. This was information that could have been provided to CC at the very beginning and saved me all this headache but they never asked. Then when I went back to Verizon to re-establish my service, I was told that because CC is so small it could take up to 2 days to get my number back from them. I was also told that the information needed to cut off my service with Verizon to begin with, my acct number and PIN, were not provided since I couldn't remember the PIN. I was told they would have had to guess the PIN. That was either CC or Verizon but after spending the entire day trying to get my phone working, I could have cared less.

Now I have my phone working but I have to pay more with Verizon since my plan I had been on is no longer available. Bottom line, I tried to save money and I ended up paying more and with one whopper of a headache. AARP needs to distance themselves from this horrible company. I spoke to three different people at CC, waited more than an hour on hold, and was given misinformation at every turn. The moral to this story, not everything that is inexpensive is worth it and generally you get what you pay for.

Was not receiving calls from my son who lives in Ireland. I tried to speak to a representative of Consumer Cellular and was informed by the automated system that this was a busy time and the wait might be 15 minutes. I was given this information all three times I tried throughout the day, I finally waited, about 30 minutes until my battery went dead with no response. Today when I checked my usage, I was informed that the wait time was charged against my usage. How can I speak to anyone to complain without using all my time and I am already at my limit? Very unhappy with their service and will look for a better carrier.

I find that when dealing with people, you have to educate yourself as much as possible. We transferred two Apple Phones 2 years ago, transferred our service, received the new cards, inserted them, changed the settings as was clearly stated on the material that came with the cards and have had two years of "cell phone bliss"!! That is compared to Verizon (whom we had used for 30 years until they decided we were not important enough and started jacking up our rate each month!) and T-Mobile (unfortunately they tie the hands of their store staff and fire the ones that do give good service!) I have my Mom-in-law on Consumers and am transferring my Sister and her Hubby this month! No issues at all!!

I have had Consumer Cellular for over TWO years. Service was ok. Never great. The cost savings made it bearable. For the last month service has turned very POOR. Can't make or receive calls. Customer service said it was my fault because of my location (my location had never changed). No service is the most common on my flip phone screen. Customer service is very poor and has no concern. I changed carriers!!!

When I purchased my data plan, I used the 'bring your own phone option' plan. We checked the phone and it worked. What the representative at CC and the salesperson at Target didn't tell me was it had to be configured to CC network. I have no technical knowledge. Had I known that, I would have asked them to show me how. The information doesn't appear on their site. The two people I had contact with had no knowledge either. After getting back from an extended road trip, I contact CC again. This representative apologized for the mix up and talked me through setting the phone up properly. When I asked for credit for the 19 days the phone was set up improperly, I was told there was nothing that could be done. Not only am I out for that amount of usage but also got lost, wound up in a 'questionable' neighborhood and couldn't find where I was.

Phone worked well in the city, but in the country towns and I mean small towns NO SERVICE. I was led to believe that this is ATT reseller. When I switched back to Verizon they told me it was T-Mobile. I purchase two iPhones from Consumer Cellular, paid full price and owed them nothing. When I tried to unlock the phones to use on Verizon, they refused. They said I had not had the service long enough. Sold the phones to Verizon.

I will admit that the drawing card of US-based customer service and the high ratings they advertise and the fact that the service is postpaid were drawing cards. Alas, although the CSRs are easily understood, they have no power to do anything meaningful and neither do the supervisors. The telephone is upper end, but didn't work correctly and was in the warranty period. If I wanted to replace, I would have to buy another phone. No loaner available while they checked it out. Data stopped working which required directory service at full billing plus keypad did not work properly. These people do not understand the meaning of basic common law. I wish I had researched more carefully. The whole episode was a severe disappointment.

1st of all so many people on here have written actual book size complaints!! Keep it short & to the point if you want it read. If anyone ever should contact you to help fix your problem, that's when you can tell the wordy details. Doubt you'll be contacted!! If so come back & tell us! I'm here to say: Do not buy Consumer Cellular!! MY COMPLAINT~ CC Says you can transfer phones THEN forces you to buy one of theirs. Their BILLING CYCLES are just 22 days! NOT A FULL MONTH - So they get you & ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU CANCEL!! Do not give anyone your social security #!! Even doctors - you never know who works there & how easy it is to steal identities. Make one up to shut them up. Lastly are you considering this cell company? Forget it!! Do not buy Consumer Cellular! Rip offs!! (Sorry for caps but CC will make you yell too!! Lol.)

Called Consumer Cellular twice and waited over 20 minutes both times. Second attempt tried to use the mail back service and it does not work, just get put in call queue. System says 15 minutes wait. First call 22 minutes and no operator answer. Second call 24 minutes and no operator answer. Did this on a Saturday afternoon. Very poor and sad customer support. This organization cannot possibly rated high. Have had this same issue for two years whenever I need to talk to a support person.

From the moment I created an account with Consumer Cellular it was a nightmare. I created my account by splitting from my mother's account. I had an iPhone 6 for almost a year on her account. The iPhone was half-paid off. Consumer Cellular did not like the fact that my mother, my father, and I were all on separate accounts. They didn't like this because we were listed at the same address and were related. I'm not sure why any of that was of their concern, but it was.

I was moving out in 3 weeks and my father and mother are separated. However, my father never updated the address on his account. I couldn't prove that I was intending to move out and my father did not have access to any of his utility bills. In order to prove his address, he would have had to change his driver's license to reflect his new address. Although separated, my father and mother were taking time to sort things out. For my mother, the thought of my father having to change his address was unbearable. She broke down in tears while speaking to the customer service reps.

I don't understand why you care what our living arrangement is, Consumer Cellular. Our personal lives and relationships are not your concern. This is where it really gets terrible. The billing department is extremely rude. Consumer Cellular charges twice as much for a plan slightly worse than a comparable plan from my new company, Cricket. Well, because of these factors and the general disregard I received, I canceled and switched. As soon as they canceled, they locked my "unlocked" phone. I called in to pay it off to unlock it. They said, "pay it off, and we'll unlock it". Okay, fine. I paid it off.

The next time I call in, they tell me that they can't unlock it. Why? Because I have to have had owned the phone for 180 days. I owned it for 365 days! After actually 7 more phone calls, I finally get a gentleman who tells me that they understand this is a special circumstance and that they will unlock the phone. Guess what? They didn't. I call in again. Another fine gentleman tells me that they will unlock the phone within a week. Guess what? That's right, they still didn't. Now, I received my first "bill". $215 for an account I never used. That's a grand total of $540 they want me to pay when they've rendered me almost no services.

I call in again. Now they tell me they can't unlock my phone until I pay the $215. Like I'm going to do that! I told the current rep the situation and false promises I received. He told me that those individuals breached policy and I can't hold the company accountable for what they said. Well then, if it doesn't matter what these people say, as long as they get paid, then how can I trust anything they say! As soon as they get paid, they rollback on their promises and say, "that rep breached policy by telling you we can do that for you". That's easy to say. This company used to be about the CONSUMER. It used to care about its customers. Now, all you are to them is dollar signs. Stay away.

The new Apple 5S, from their notice of purchase, exposed the ACCOUNT NUMBER, THE NAME FOR THE PHONE, AND THE PHONE NUMBER. All of which are highly proprietary. That nickname has been mine for 55 years, and it's now out in the WILD (aka internet), because they failed to understand that a normal email account is not a secure portal like a bank. Which gives meaning to stupidity from Corporate deciding that the CLIENT HAS NO RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. Failing to consider: IT'S MY MONEY AND MY TIME, and they wasted both for 3 1/2 weeks. I cancelled all of it.

The technical support group has little knowledge of cellular networks and data speeds. With a new AT&T state-of-the-art tower seen from our front window just 1/8th mile away, tech support claims our SIM cards are for AT&T service, all the while our data speeds measure down 0.08 Mbps and up 0.11 Mbps. These results have been the same over and over. CC dances around blaming my Samsung G S3 phone and that the town has really weak signals throughout (probably because AT&T hasn't allowed them on that tower but they don't understand that, OR, CC is throttled down by AT&T and they have no clue).

A chat inquiry with AT&T cell personnel states in writing that the tower is theirs, it is active, and equipped with 3G, 4G, and LTE and HD voice (their statement). They state they will "absolutely" support my Samsung phone in their BYOP program. I have the chat statement of their various expected data speeds well into numbers beyond my expectations... I only need to see a number to the left of the decimal!! CC just makes alibis and tries to support their advertisements of having great data speeds. They have almost no understanding of what they are saying.

They usually fall back to wanting my phone to be their provided phones at $3-400 dollars. In reading these reviews, I would never trust them in a purchase of their phone. I was really surprised at some to the CC push back on billing issues and all sorts of ducking and dodging issues while playing hard to reach. That's bordering on dishonest. During the two to three months past, I have only been hung up on twice, lol. If you can live with only voice and text, CC can do that OK. But at the same time, there are many resellers that can do that. And don't pass up looking into prepaid phones that you use all the minutes purchased and can have automatic replenishment of additional needed minutes.

I was wrong. They have factored in that gray area of going over the plan limit and not reaching the next plans starting point. And it's complimentary! I proved this to myself empirically. My billing was about to turn over and I just so happen to be at 25 out of 30 megs of data use. So I did some 9 mb of surfing and then waited for my invoice.

Sure enough, they did not charge me for the extra 4 MBs with the invoice calling it: "Complimentary Overflow Wireless Web MBs" So we can have the best of both worlds: automatic plan changes when you go over but not until you reach the next plans bottom level threshold.

Their only fault was that I did not see this communicated with the announcement.

Original Review

In regards to your new automatic upgrading plans: I applaud your new feature but I am also mildly upset that, to me, it has not been thought through completely to give customers the very, very best options. The new system begs the question: What happens if I go over my current voice plan by JUST one (1) minute? Will this result in my incurring a higher charge (which can be $5 or $10) for that one minute extra? And the same thing about the text & data plan: What if I go over the text or data plan by one message or one byte? Will this mean an extra charge of $2.50, $5.00 or $10.00??

I have done this in the past and opt'd not to bump up but pay the a la carte charge of 25 cents or 10 cents instead. I called customer service and was told that I could opt-out completely from this new auto plan changes by calling them, customer service. Sigh! First: it's not stated on your website of this option and that's not nice. Second: why can't I just get on the website to change this hidden option? And thirdly, I was told that once I opt'd out of this new feature I could not opt back into it. Grrrrr!

In this day of computers this could all be solved with a simple mathematical sub-routine. Did you know computers are good at math? :-) A computer could calculate: If customer is over plan X, calculate by how much, compare this amount to the next plan up and choose the lesser! It couldn't be any easier and will save YOU lots of irate customer calls over time when they see their bill jacked up for a very little reason!! Think about it. Computer routine vs customer service black eyes, causing them to spend time on the phone listening to complaints that could have been avoided and (maybe?) being asked to provide refunds. Please forward this to the powers-that-be for me so that they can think about it.

I changed phones in May 2016 to a iPhone 6s. After only having the phone for ONE DAY and getting little help from Consumer Cellular, I cancelled the phone, sent it back and received my $81.90 refund rather quickly. I put Apple Care on that phone, but cancelled it and Apple Care told Consumer Cellular to dismiss the $5.00 charge because I had the phone for ONE DAY! Consumer Cellular has steadfastly refused to dismiss that $5.00 charge from Apple Care. I received a call today from C.C. telling me that the $5 is now past due!! I am a senior with a history of heart problems and I need your help! I had service with Consumer Cellular for many years and I cannot believe that they are doing this to me! I will NEVER have that company again!! They are so rude and REFUSE to listen to me! I wonder if John Marick knows the caliber of his employees.

What CC does tell you is that it uses the AT&T network. True. What CC does not tell you (or its telephone representatives) is that it uses a second tier service of AT&T which is restricted mainly to metropolitan areas & major highway routes (compare the coverage map at CC with AT&T). I found this out the hard way, when I traveled to Yosemite National Park, in the valley when I had AT&T I got coverage, but with CC I got "No Service". That is when I looked at CC's coverage map and discovered most of the central & northern Sierra is not covered, which is a deal breaker for me. Otherwise, I like the plans, alerts, website, customer service. I am sorry to leave this carrier.

I recently decided to switch my plan from a $30/mo one to a cheaper one. When I got on the page for changing plans, the pay-as-you-go plan and the $10/mo plan were grayed out and didn't respond to clicking. I was allowed to switch to the $20/mo plan, and did so. Some text on the page said that because of my usage, not all plans were available. I was going to cut back my usage severely, and wanted to go to the $10/mo plan, but they wouldn't let me go to that plan. Apparently CC is afraid that I'll go over the minutes limit of the $10 plan. But CC needn't worry about that, since if I go over I'll pay a whopping 25 cents a minute. I suspect CC just doesn't want to lose money by letting me have a cheap plan. This is very troubling. I might call the BBB or even sue CC.

The worst customer service. Long wait time. Extra charges. Late notifications of your usage. Exorbitant fees and taxes which I did not encounter with other carriers. Rude and unapologetic customer service with wait time over 15 minutes when you call. Sales stuff is ill informed and separate from tech support so you need to spend even more time on the phone to get your questions answered. 100% satisfaction guarantee is a lie. Go elsewhere. There are many carriers to choose from.

I called their customer twice about not received usage alerts. 1st call they said they stop the 50% usage alert, but I will get a 75% alert. I went over my 75% the next day and still did not get an alert. Made 2nd call and I explained I got alerts last month but now I not getting any alerts and this is the 2nd time I am calling for this problem. Agent said they needed my IMEI #. I gave it him and he sent a test text and I received it. Afterwards I try to log in using the CC App and found it NOT working. I repeatedly tried several times after several days including uninstalling and reinstalling the App and still doesn't work. So now I'm NOT getting alerts and their App to measure usage doesn't work if you had to up the plans. They advertise these features, but they don't work after you go with their service. They also constantly send you advertisement to buy their products false advertising their features. Looking for another carrier.

First phone they sent me had been removed from its box & used to access websites. The time & date of this use was proved to be before it was ever delivered to me. The second phone was also removed from its box but did not appear to have been used. This second phone used up ALL the package in 4 days WITHOUT my EVER receiving or making a SINGLE phone call, text message, email or accessing the Internet. I upgraded my package 2 or 3 times & it still used up ALL the package without my even using the phone. When I called (repeatedly) their customer service to find out what the problem was I was told - the phone was accessing the tower & that's why it is using up the package. This makes no sense to me.

I have had cell phones for 15 years + or - & I have NEVER experienced anything like this. I paid $100 for that phone! I cancelled the service with Consumer Cellular after only 2 or 3 months. They continued billing me & to this day claim I owe them money. The service I have now - I pay $60 a month & I have UNLIMITED EVERYTHING & MY OWN HOTSPOT. I don't pay for any of my calls incoming or outgoing. I have unlimited data & Internet access & my very own hotspot. I don't make or get that many calls & very rarely use the hotspot, but it's available if I need it & it works Great! I wish I had NEVER gotten involved with Consumer Cellular. I have filed complaints against them with AARP.

Update: refund received minutes after 6th call to Consumer Cellular customer service. Representative told me it could take up to three weeks for it to be processed. This was after she pulled up my file and said the $1105 charge was for the data I used in the period after my service was terminated.

Original Review

I was actually pretty satisfied with my phone and service until it became clear that I needed more data than the existing plans allowed. In the first month, I upgraded to the highest plan, with the expectation that I would be charged for data usage beyond 4Gs (as was advertised on their web page). Once I crossed that threshold I received a message that my data service had been suspended. When I called customer service I was told that I had indeed gone over my plan and would not be able to use it until the next billing cycle. According to them it was up to the carrier (in this case, Sprint) whether I would be charged for the overage or just cut off.

After a few months of "watching the meter", in fear of another suspension and feeling a little bamboozled, I decided to try another service. It was my intention to downgrade my CS plan to 'talk only', and keep it as an emergency phone. Two days after downgrading I received notice that my service had been terminated because of my continual overuse of the data plan. Fine.

One month later, after satisfactory service with my new service, I noticed a huge charge to my checking account in the amount of $1,105.00. WTH? I called immediately and spoke to a nice young lady who took my complaint and forwarded it to the billing department. She asked if I would like to remain on hold or wait for a "callback" from billing. I was at work so I opted for the callback. I assumed they would get back to me within a couple of hours but the call did not come. I called customer service that evening and was told that billing usually gives a 24-hour window for callbacks. Fine. I called the next afternoon and was told that customer service usually takes 24 to 72 hours to respond to billing complaints.

At this point I was feeling a little irate. I asked to be transferred to billing and was told that would not be possible. "Why?" I asked. "Because the request has already been sent". No matter how many ways I posed the question, the representative told me she could not connect me with the billing department. I had to demand to speak with a supervisor several times before another person got on the line and told me the same thing. "Oh, wait," he said suddenly, "I just got confirmation that your refund request was received by billing.. I asked why he could communicate with the billing department but I could not. Never mind. I asked how long the process would take and got another "24 to 72-hour window". That was yesterday. My fingers are still crossed.

My aunt purchased a Consumer Cellular phone from Target and signed up for her service plan. 3 weeks later she was in the hospital and asked to return the phone and cancel her plan. The phone was returned with no problem. I called Consumer Cellular to cancel her account. 35 days after her passing I get a overdue bill from them. I call and they tell me no one ever cancelled her account. I gave her the information I had but they only wanted their money stating NO EVER CANCELLED THE ACCOUNT. I paid the bill and was told a close out bill would be coming. Their mistake but my aunt in death had to deal with this second rate company. I WILL TELL EVERYONE I KNOW TO STAY AWAY FROM CONSUMER CELLULAR, YOUR COMMERCIALS ARE A LOT OF BUNK!!!

We have been using CC for approx 2 years and have referred many of our friends to this company. Never had a problem with their service. Many of the complaints on this site seem to stem from people who are not familiar with their new phones. Read the manual folks. For example, If you have a limited data plan and don't want to go over your usage allowance, turn off cellular data and use WiFi.

I just bought a new Motorola Moto G LTE. I've been on hold off and on for a total of 2 hrs 30 minutes. As of the time of this message, I'm still on hold. What happened to their customer service?