One of the never-ending complaints about cell phones is reception. If you aren't close to a tower -- or if towers in your area are overloaded -- you'll have bad or no service.

“My AT&T contract was up in January this year,” Connie, or Peru, Ill., told “I always had poor service at my home and at my mother in laws house, which is seven blocks north of mine. I went to AT&T when my contract was up this winter and inquired if I could get better reception and to look at an iPhone 3G. I was told that they had a new tower at St. Bede which is west of my home about 2 -3 miles and I should get reception now. Foolishly, I believed them, and have been having trouble since. They will not let me out of my contract without paying the early cancel fees.”

Unfortunately, Connie missed her opportunity to switch service providers in January. Consumers just can't rely on what sales personnel tell you about coverage. The only thing you can do is ask someone who lives nearby what provider they use and if they're happy. Even then it can be hit or miss.

Wrong number

Jennifer, of Niles, Ill., doesn't bank with PNC, but she talks to them several times a day. I seems when the data for a PNC customer was put into the system, someone mistyped that customer's phone number. The number in the system happens to be Jennifer's cell phone number.

“This customer of theirs has been defaulting on a line of equity loan since 2010, so, the PNC Bank collection representatives have been calling me every time ever since Jennifer said. “It is now 2011 August, and I still get calls from them several times throughout the day.”

Jennifer said she has tried explaining the problem to the callers, and even their supervisors, to no avail. The calls, several times a day, keep coming.

“They have been wasting my cell phone minutes time after time on top of wasting my time,” Jennifer said.

If Jennifer has tried to resolve the matter with supervisors without success, sadly, they only thing left for her to do is change her cell phone number.

Take a number

Whenever you cancel a service, the rep who is helping you should give you a confirmation number. Write it down, because you may need it later.

“In June I called DIRECTV to cancel my service as of July 1, 2011,” Susan, of Bethesda, Md., told “I spoke to a nice lady who told me my billing cycle ended on the 21st of each month. So I told her I would average out my bill for the ten days I would be using their service and sent in that amount, $29.80. Today I received a bill in the amount of $151.84.”

Susan said she called and was told DIRECTV had no record of her cancellation.

“I told them I had been a good and loyal customer for years and wanted $122.04 removed from my bill,” Susan said. “I was told this was impossible. I than asked to be transferred to someone in the complaint or billing department. I was transferred to Angie who told me there was no solution.

Without a confirmation number, there probably isn't a way for Susan to show that she cancelled the service when she said she did. When cancelling a service online, make sure you print the confirmation page and file it away.

Peeved parent

David, of Wichita Falls, Tex., is angry at Orbitz and says he defies the company to challenge the facts.

“I had booked an airline/hotel/rental car package through Orbitz several weeks in advance and received an itinerary,” David said. “A few days prior to my flight, the itinerary was changed to the next day. I could not fly out the next day -- I would miss my only child's wedding, which is exactly what happened! To add insult to injury, Orbitz refused to assist me in obtaining even a partial refund or getting the flight rescheduled so I could at least visit the happy couple after the honeymoon.”

Yes, travel plans can sometimes get scrambled, but it seems you increase the odds of that happening when you try to do everything through one Internet site. Better to make your reservations directly with the airline, hotel and rental car or visit your local travel agent – especially when the travel is to a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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