The Cingular Comedy Hour

So I called Cingular to double-check when my contract was up so I could switch my cell phone service to another carrier, and I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with this lady who couldn’t tell me anything about my account…

Her: I need your account password in order to do anything on your account.
Me: I didn’t set a password.
Her: Someone did.
Me: Well it wasn’t me.
Her: Do you want to try and guess it?
Me: Not really, but if you want to sit here all day with me, I guess we could go through every possible password in the universe.
Her: You can always request to have the password taken off the account.
Me: Okay, I’m making that request now.
Her: You need to write a letter with your account number and social security number on it and mail it in.
Me: Does it have to be notarized or something so you know it’s me?
Her: No.
Me: How about I just give you that info over the phone then?
Her: I can’t do that.
Me: Why not?
Her: Because you might not be you.
Me: But a letter proves it’s me?
Her: Hmmm, I guess not.
Me: So you can’t tell me anything about my account without this secret password, but I can make a payment?
Her: Right.
Me: What if I don’t want someone else to make a payment on my account?
Her: They would be able to.
Me: So you’re telling me I can get into my bank account by them verifying info about me, but not my cell phone?
Her: Yes.
Me: Well that’s dumb, don’t you think?
Her: Kind of, yes.
Me: At least we agree on that. What if I just want to cancel my service right now?
Her: You can’t cancel your service without the password.
Me: Okay, so the only way to stop my service if I don’t know this password is to just stop paying the bill?
Her: Well, your phone would be shut off for non-payment, but you still would be billed your monthly charges going forward.
Me: For how long?
Her: Forever.
Me: Hahaha… so I can’t cancel my service, I can’t see anything on my account or anything else because someone put a password lock on my account?
Her: Right.
Me: That’s kind of funny… {looking on website at the same time} Okay, I found a place on your website where I can log into my account with my secret password, so I guess I’ll write a script that just tries every possible password.
Her: Well if you get the wrong one 4 times, it will lock your whole account and you will have to call to get it unlocked.
Me: Well I guess I’ll try that… thanks.

{trying random passwords until my account is locked and call customer service back and get a different guy}

Me: Hey man, I need to get my account unlocked because I’m trying to hack my account since I don’t know what the password is and I failed too many times.
Him: {looking at my account} Your password is the last 4 digits of your social security number. Probably someone entering your account into our system added it by accident. I’ll just take the password off your account.
Me: Sweet thanks. By the way, when does my contract expire?
Him: The 20th of this month.
Me: Thanks, bye.

The first person I talked to was funny to talk to, but could have saved a lot of time if I got the other guy first. ๐Ÿ™‚

38 thoughts on “The Cingular Comedy Hour”

  1. Just like the airlines man, you have to just call back until you get someone who lets it slide. I hated being with Cingular when I lived in San Diego. I cancelled them the second my contract was up.

  2. Thats one of the reasons I switched to T-Mobile. I’m thinkin that on the 21st you better port your number to T-Mobile and join Bobby and I on the blackberry bandwagon. The new Blackberry Pearl is rad and T-Mobile has an awsome plan for it!

  3. Ooookkk…

    and companies wonder why it is, security is a joke.

    Just goes to show, companies at times do NOT have the Gieco cavemen at the helm…maybe that needs to change, no?

    – Kc

  4. Reading that was the cingular most amusing thing of my day.
    Reminds me of Seth Godin talking about “This is Broke“, that first lady
    on the phone was definitely broke! ๐Ÿ˜€

    (long video but i find Seth funny)

  5. Hey…this is my first time posting on your blog but I’ve been reading since the MPAA thing started. Anyways, your Cingular story brought to mind the very recent VerizonMath incident. Bascially a guy asked how much he would be charged for data usage while he was in Canada and was quoted several times by several different people 0.002 cents per Kb. However, he was charged 0.002 dollars per Kb and everyone at Verizon refused to recognize that there was a difference between the two numbers. Instead of the $0.71 bill he was expecting he was charged $71.00

  6. Pingback:
  7. Shawn, if you go with a cellular wholesaler who can hook you up with any service, you’re troubles are over. I have used the same one since 1993. I get personal service from the same guy (that’s 13 years) and changing service is easy because my contract is with him, not the carrier.

  8. Christ, I went through the same thing when I accidentally locked my cell phone. I bought the stupid thing off of ebay and had no idea what the password was.

    I went to 3 different verizon stores and no one knew how to unlock the phone without a password. Well, it defaults to the last 4 digits of your cell phone…

    so stupid

  9. HA that is hilarious, I work for a company that does some work for Cingular/ATT, and they have not been that bad with us… “man you Gotta love customer service now a days”

    Thanks for the laugh.

  10. Sadly, this is similar to what you’ll experience with any customer service nowadays. i recently had the same experience with my bank. -.-

  11. I call a fake.. CW policy has never been to have you mail in a letter.. you must goto a cw store (att now) and show photo ident to have the password removed. another note.. several accounts have the last 3 of the social as a pswd.. even though it is a vid requirement.

  12. I thought that this was golden…

    Me: Hey man, I need to get my account unlocked because I’m trying to hack my account since I don’t know what the password is and I failed too many times.

  13. It’s unfortunate that you had a bad experience with Cingular, but I think it is understandable that they wouldn’t let you alter your account without the password. It is for your own security. And by the way, anyone can pay your bill – even if their not the account holder, but we can only give authorized users information like “how much is due” or “when the due date is.” Why would you not want someone using their own money to pay your account?

  14. Though the first woman you spoke to obviously handled that call incorrectly, the second (the man) you spoke to handled it incorrectly as well. Cingular employees are indeed instructed to tell you if the password that is on your account is the last four digits of your social security number. But you are supposed to be required to provide that set of four numbers, and whenever you ask about a contract date, the employee is required to inquire why you are asking, and if you are addressing possibly leaving when it is up, they are supposed to make a ‘save’ attempt. If you just failed to document that call as intensely as the previous one, then *shrug* . If not, well, the second employee would receive a rather bad call score.

    So regardless if the guy seemed to help you alot faster, he , and not the woman, jeopardized the security of your account alot more.

  15. Verizon is worse… I don’t want to even think about all the shit I’ve been through with them. Arg.

  16. That’s hilarious. I hate talking to tech support most of the time, but I’d have loved talking to the second guy. So much simpler than the first, which is how it normally goes.

  17. If you forget your password they send you to a store with 2 pieces of ID to verify the account before it is removed or changed. Not sure what company you called but it wasn’t Cingular.

  18. My little brother once tried to get my PUK number from vodafone once, phoned them up and they said they needed his password. He told them he hadn’t set one, but they assured me he had. They asked him to guess it, for example his mother’s maiden name, which he gave, and then they asked his address and date of birth. Of course, none of them matched, and they promptly told him nothing more could be done and hung up. Sounds suspiciously like data mining, considering he’s with a pay-as-you-go SIM.

  19. I work in a call centre that kind of stuff happens all the time when some of my colleagues are too stupid to realize whats happened to be honest though its not like you need a doctorate to work in a call centre most of the people there are thick as feck!

  20. Shawn,
    I think the girl you’re talking with, do not use her computer to research information about your data because she cannot answer any of your question. Well, i can see that almost all people commenting in this post have the same experience. Anyway, i am glad that the guy already answer question about your password account. Thanks for sharing this story.


  21. youโ€™re talking with, do not use her computer to research information about your data because she cannot answer any of your question. Well, i can see that almost all people commenting in this post have the same experience

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