Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Can You Hear Us Now?

Lawmakers Debate Cell Phone Rights Bill

For some time now I've been railing against the industry-wide practice of requiring two-year agreements for cell phone service. I've just endured two years of hellacious customer "service" with Sprint, and I would love to give them the big kiss-off. Problem is, any new company I choose is going to require a two-year agreement. I'm afraid I may be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Finally there is talk of legislation to change this practice. Frankly I'm surprised it was ever tolerated in the first place. The legislation proposes limiting contracts to one year, but I'm in favor of having no contracts at all. I never had a contract for my home phone service. I don't have a contract for my cable and internet service. If I fail to pay my bill, they stop providing the service. It seems pretty damn simple, and it's always worked in the past.

Of course, if I hadn't experienced such infuriatingly incompetent service, I probably never would have given the contract a second thought. The industry is arguing that "regulation isn't necessary because the industry is so competitive it has to adjust to consumer demands." Well, that may keep prices competitive but it won't do me any good if I sign a contract with Verizon only to find out they've just hired the same quality of idiot to handle my account.

Seriously, how is it that the cell phone industry got this arrangement, when no other service industry requires a signed contract? (Gym memberships are the exception that proves the rule.) If anyone has any ideas for how we can correct this insanity, please let me know.

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