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Jtalk4456

My review of Spectrum Mobile

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So here's some back story to this if you want to read:

Quote

As any self respecting tech lover and customer of an ISP, hearing that my ISP was having a cell phone service made me cringe internally, almost having a heart attack from the thought. most ISP's are known for crap customer service and mine is no exception. But during an unrelated conversation with spectrum, the guy on the other end ran through his spiel on spectrum mobile. I let him talk knowing I'd say no, but it turned out, I said yes. So the main thing I was expecting was that they'd lease towers from the cheapest crap companies and put it together saying the signal would be "amazing" but would actually be crap and it wouldn't cost any less than anyone else. Keep in mind I was paying 140 for 2 phones with verizon. Verizon is expensive, but their service has always been stellar, even if customer service lacked. As it turns out, Spectrum mobile leases Verizon towers and charges close to half the cost... So I now have them. 

Previous Situation:

Verizon - $140 for google pixel xl and s8 with 2 gb shared

4-5 bars no matter what, included no insurance on the phones

 

What we were considering:

Google Fi - would probably be about $70 with me getting a new phone because my s8 had a cracked screen and fi didn't support it anyways. 

would be super cheap. would be strung together with lesser signals which is what I expected of Spectrum Mobile. Had to wait because I didn't qualify for a phone payment plan, probably waiting for next years tax returns

 

Current situation with Spectrum Mobile:

note 9 and s9 on payment plan, 2 gb shared, full insurance on both all for ~$110, saving $30

getting the cost savings and new phones now not later. they use verizon towers so signal should be great, but i expected crap for customer service.

 

I'm grading this review by 3 categories. Price/Value, Process/Service, Product

 

In the value category I'm giving them a 3 out of 5. They're cheaper than verizon with the same towers and data plan. Fi is cheaper and so are a few others similar to Fi, but without verizon's impeccable coverage. Having said that, most in the US live close enough to areas with good coverage that verizon's advantage here is minimal if not negligible. They're middle ground. I still plan to move to Fi in 2 years or less, but this gets me off verizon's high prices without me paying upfront for new phones right now, which i couldn't afford. Also I was able to keep my phone number without a fee.

 

Products I give a 4/5. They use verizon towers at a lower cost which is great, but their selection of cell phones is a bit lacking on the budget side, which is a shame since their main selling point is aiming for people wanting the better service but being on a budget.

 

So now for the RMA story. this covers the policies and processes. In addition to the categories I will be separating when a problem is with the company or with the person. I've worked in call centers and there's a lot of times when someone F'ed up bad but the customer is mad at me cuz i'm the one bringing the bad news. I'm not going to rip the phone people for doing their job and delivering news I don't like.

So the new S9 was great... except the wifi was shaky and cell signal was 2 bars at best, dropping most calls. Since they used Verizon's towers this was not expected, this was a big problem. The realization that I'd get the same signal strength/service as verizon but cheaper was 110% of my reason jumping on this cringefest of a service. So a week and a half in and a few resets later, I finally called tech support. So I went thru the rigamarole of the automated phone tree, except it was a pain to get to the mobile side. I hope they intend to work on this because they're treating mobile as a separate thing from their internet, phone and tv services, but in the IVR, they are not separated as well. "are you calling about the account with internet?" No the mobile one, but as it turns out yes. My billing info is the same on both, so i have to say yes then ask for tech support, then i'll get the internet tech support who then pass me to the mobile team. This is a Process flaw, plain and simple. people already hate IVR's, don't make it complicated too. 

A word on why this next part is fundamentally flawed: Cell phones are used in a MOBILE situation, meaning typically not at home for a lot of people. They are used to communicate with friends family, maybe your spouse whose card is attached to the account... And I personally make business calls like this on the way home from work, NOT while sitting beside my wife.

So i finally get to the right people. they start to verify my account. Part of their verification process is the last 4 of the CC on file, which is my wife's. I am driving home from work, I don't have it. My wife is at work, I can't get it when I get home. I simply CANNOT talk to them even, because they cannot even TALK to me about my phone until they fully verify my account. Can't troubleshoot or anything... On top of the reasons I gave above, this is stupid because I don't want to be saying financial info over the phone unless I HAVE to, like when purchasing the service initially. Again this is a call I'm likely making away from home, maybe in public with a bunch of strangers around me. But I have no choice, I just have to call back. 

Now I have a life with a full time job and 4.5 kids (one in the oven) and it's another week before I find more time to make the call and have my wife with me. So now I'm in and talking with tech. Except the reason i'm calling this time is more urgent. In the last few days, the port got jammed and I can't plug in/charge my new phone. Now to keep fair, getting a dud phone is not spectrums fault, they didn't make the phone, I just had a run of bad luck with that one. My new one is fine. But this issue changed the process from troubleshooting and MAYBE an rma to RMA NOW PLZ!!!! So now we hit the most frustrating thing in all this, the RMA process. First off the lady explaining this to me was rude as F

Spoiler

 

Her: reading disclaimer..."and if we receive the phone broken or with large cosmetic damage, you will have to pay the full cost, etc."

Me: no worries, not a scratch on it

Her: 

SIR, I HAVE TO READ THIS DISCLOSURE!!!!

Me: whoa chill! I know you have to read it, it's fine, I just said it was good, I work in a call center too, I know how it goes.

Her: I DON'T need you to interrupt me, sir, I'm JUST doing my job and you're being VERY disrespectful to me!

Me: 😐... I didn't say anything disrespectful to you.

Her: it's not what you said but how you said it, and your tone was rude and hurtful to me!

Me: umm can i speak with your supervisor please?

 

So now I'm talking to a competent person. They fill out the RMA "requisition" form. great, so how quick does it get shipped?

Him: Well at this point you will get a call back from the RMA team within 12-24 hrs to confirm the troubleshooting, at which time they will finish the paperwork and ship it out with standard 2 day shipping

......

Me: Ummmmmmm I think I dropped my ear in the river, it sounded like you said I've troubleshooted to confirm a physical damage on the device is physical damage and is well within 30 days return period, but I need to wait for a call back from an escalation team that will confirm I still in fact need a new device????

Him: yes, sir.

............................................................................WTF?!

I didn't say that, but yeah basically I was in disbelief. The initial troubleshooting is to determine if it's just an idiot wanting a new device, I have no problem with that. But why a redundant check from a different team that cannot be reached directly?? I work and will not be around my home phone during normal business hours. This just asks for a game of phone tag with the angry customer. I rant for a bit from the perspective of someone who is very patient on the phone, knows the industry, never yells or cusses at call center workers and has worked in several call centers. I told the Super. straight up how stupid that process was. I would deal with it and be frustrated, already being off to several strikes against the new company, but some people would NOT deal with that BS! Hearing a process like that would be dumping gasoline on the wick and shooting a flamethrower at the wick that's connected to a bomb in the customer's head for most customers. 

But, I just finished getting service moved over and I have the feeling that once I get a good phone that works, I'll never have to deal with their stupid processes again and all will be well.

So I endure. Side note, since I cannot charge the phone, I have no way to receive phone calls, so I tell them to call my house phone, the one they provide service for anyways.

4 days go by, I expected phone tag but I've had nothing, no missed calls. I take the first chance I have to make a call at home since i'm off. I tell them straight up, they need to get me my phone and not worry about the stupid RMA team until after I get my phone, it's been twice the time expected and 4 days past any other carrier that doesn't have a redundant RMA team.

The lady agrees and says she will take care of it and says she is getting it set for shipment now and RMA will still call but the phone will already be on the way.

Fine...the next day, I call to see if i can get a tracking number. the lady informs me there is no tracking number, the phone has not been shipped because RMA is still trying to contact me

ON THE DEAD CELL PHONE I CAN'T ANSWER!!!! Keep in mind the original lady that "took care of this" for me was a supervisor...

The lady was nice, but this was far enough. I ask for another supervisor straight away. After an unusually long rant on my part telling him what other less mannered customers would have done by now and how he should expect this on a daily basis if these practices continue, this supervisor got a phone coming out to me. He promised a tracking number in my email the next day, and he kept his word there. He also agreed with me that I had not received what I was paying for and was within reason asking for a refund on my half of the service that month.

Side note that relates to their value proposition:

Spoiler

 

The refund I get will be tiny. In my head I imagined half of ~110 or roughly 55. in reality it was less than 20 because of their pricing structure. 

They charge for 3 things: Phone payment, insurance, data plan. There is no "Line cost" there's no extra fees and different categories. The amount he was able to refund was only the data, since I'm still getting a phone in the end and have to pay for it, and not paying but still having insurance would be fraud. So it turned out worse for me in a refund situation, but I rather like their simple breakdown.

 

So I now have a phone that works fine, and to clarify, my wife's phone was perfect from the start, so nothing to complain about on her side.

So every single call I had so far has ended up in a supervisor call. I'd say this was only 20% rude advisor though. most of the people I've talked to have been excellent with customer service.

All the supervisors were extremely professional and competent. One gave me a detailed explanation on Different types of cell signals in the initial conversation about bad signal quality. This guy wasn't in the tech team, just member services. The real problem here is that their company has awful policies and processes that leaves their advisors to be constantly giving out bad news or asking the customer to do things they don't want to do or can't do. They're giving customers every reason to hate them, every reason wit an RMA to say "screw this, I'm switching back to <carrier>, this BS isn't worth the cost difference.:

I give their policies/processes a 0 out of 5. It was abysmal. if anyone reading this has not had to get a replacement phone, I'll tell you what normal is:

1. call and tell them it's broke 2. they troubleshoot and confirm its broke 3. they send a new phone within 2-3 days 4. you send the old one back

no phone tag, no redundant teams, all of it set up with a single phone call, and typically no need for a follow up call.

 

I didn't flesh out every little detail of the calls and issues, but this should give a good picture for anyone with this option considering their choices. 

Overall this is one of those things to me where as long as you don't get the dud phone, you won't have a problem. The product is good and the prices are almost great, but if something goes wrong, you're going through hell to fix it. Having said that, I've not had any "normal calls" like changing billing info, general questions, upgrading/downgrading service. I've only dealt with RMA so far, and I've only been with them for a bit over a month now.

I hope this text was is enlightening for some and at least funny for others.

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Interesting. I also cringed when I first saw the Spectrum Mobile ads, mostly from a “Wow, is this the best for the marketplace?” Now hearing about their processes, it sounds like the service level for S. Mobile is the same as Charter S., Charter, TimeWarner. Now, I am not too concerned that they will be taking over the cellular market overnight. 

Thank you for the information! I too have used multiple C.S. services at one time or another and am familiar with the phone tree/department shuffle. Now, I have fell prey to the cord cutting ‘revolution’ and am only paying for internet with C.S.

 

Best of luck with the rest of your time on Spectrum Mobile. Do you plan to switch again? As my income will be lowering some soon: Is the cost savings worth the ocasional hassle? Also, is there a long-term contract, fees with dissociation? Seemingly pointless fees at time of registration? (Not including 911 or Convenience taxes, if you have them.) Finally, does C.S. Mobile offer Wi-Fi Calling? I’ve found that asking people is better than the website for that particular question. :)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, logzen said:

1. Interesting. I also cringed when I first saw the Spectrum Mobile ads, mostly from a “Wow, is this the best for the marketplace?” Now hearing about their processes, it sounds like the service level for S. Mobile is the same as Charter S., Charter, TimeWarner. Now, I am not too concerned that they will be taking over the cellular market overnight. 

2. Do you plan to switch again? As my income will be lowering some soon: Is the cost savings worth the ocasional hassle?

3. Also, is there a long-term contract, fees with dissociation? Seemingly pointless fees at time of registration? (Not including 911 or Convenience taxes, if you have them.)

4. Finally, does C.S. Mobile offer Wi-Fi Calling? I’ve found that asking people is better than the website for that particular question. :)

1. I actually believe this is good for the marketplace. All the other ISP's will jump on the bandwagon and bring a lot more competition to the market.

2. I still plan to move to google Fi long term, but I have to build up some money for the switch, and their phone options are still a bit limited last time i looked

3. no contract other than phone payment plan. There were no weird fees at time of registration, though coming soon i should be getting a first bill

4. I had to check on this, and as it turns out, yes

Quote

 

WiFi Calling is included with all Spectrum Mobile plans at no extra cost.

Currently, WiFi calling is available for select Spectrum Mobile devices, including:

  • Apple iPhones
  • LG K30
  • LG Stylo 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
  • Samsung Galaxy S10e/S10/S10+

 

in the process of learning that I was pleased to find out that their support site for mobile is pretty nifty when it comes to helping people find common settings.

https://mobile.spectrum.com/support/article/360000683187/device-help-tutorials

click on any of the phones and a setting you want to work on and it has a visual guide

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