Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 3, 2005 8:29 PM. The previous post in this blog was Hell hath no fury.... The next post in this blog is Do the crime, do the time. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, October 3, 2005

Nickeled and dimed by Cingular

I recently bought a couple of cell phones and signed up for service from Cingular Wireless. One of the big selling points was the rebates I was going to get on the phones. Well, I got the rebates all right. But instead of credits against my monthly bill, or a check, I got not one, but two, of these:

What a pain in the neck. They usually didn't work the way debit cards are supposed to, which led to lots of confusion at various cash registers around town. In most cases, they had to be run as if they were a credit card. Some merchants' credit card gizmos flat out refused to take them. And the worst part was, once the balances ran down to under five bucks apiece, they were pretty much useless.

Let's say you've got one of these babies with $3.92 left on it. It's really, really hard to use that. If you buy something for less than that amount, a lot of merchants simply won't take plastic -- it's below their minimum. And if your purchase is more than that amount, you're supposed to ask the merchant to ring it up in two parts: one for $3.92, and the other for the rest of the purchase amount.

Yeah, right.

And so when my cards expired last Friday, there was still a total of five dollars or so that I was supposedly getting as a rebate, but that Cingular or its bank got to pocket.

Ripoff! Five bucks here, five bucks there -- you wonder what percentage of the supposed rebates they kept for themselves.

Where are the plaintiffs' attorneys when you need them? This one's a class action in the making. Somebody should give John Edwards a call -- on their Cingular phone, of course.

Comments (18)

Maybe you can send that puppy in as part payment of your phone bill.

Thieves. I can't wait 'til they get sued over it.

Your troubles with Cingular are just me!!

It usually takes three attempts to complete a call with their service and forget about the busy times of the day. Half the time when the network is busy your caller will be informed that your number has been disconnected or that they do not subscribe to the long distance provider program.

At least I can usually get a signal around my neighborhood and my workplace, which is more than I can say for the immediately preceding thieves that I bought service from.

try starbucks. they take credit cards for $1.00. i know because twice a month, i charge two coffees on my Discover card in order to maintain my zero interest balance transfer. best credit card deal i ever got--a zero interest loan for life.

Thieves. I can't wait 'til they get sued over it.

Thieves is right. I had four of these rebate Visa cards from Cingular...finally tossed all four with balances under $5, but balances nonetheless. Actually had post-it notes on them (let's see, this one has $1.87...)

Ridiculous marketing scam.

It's only going to get harder for consumers to have any kind of recourse against cell phone companies for this kind of crap now that the corporate-friendly FCC is in the process of totally preempting all state regulation of the wireless industry, even for general consumer protection matters traditionally left to the states.

(See e.g. this article.)

Did they say that you could not pay your cingular bill with the cards? That would seem odd.

I suspect you could have used the cards to pay your wireless bill until the card balance was 0, then paid any remaining balance like you usually do.

I am not sure I understood your complaint- other than that you never used up your card.

Nice to know that it's not just the former AT&T customers who are getting screwed.

I had no real problems with Cingular until I tried to change the details of my calling plan. They said they changed my plan effective immediately -- then continued to charge under my old plan. When I tried to contact customer service about it, they explained that the plan I had been told I was now on did not apply to residential customers and they had no record in their system that I had tried to have the account changed anyway. Eventually the best I could get out of them was a credit for half of the (in my view) erroneous charges, since they had no documentation in their system to back up my claim.

They were unable to explain how it was only half *their* fault for hiring customer service reps who did not understand their job. ;-)

In any event, good luck with 'em Jack. I cancelled my service (there's another idiotic story associated with that but I won't get started...) but I'm sure unfortunately I'm not yet done with them...

I used to work for a company which owned half of Cingular. We had to use Cingular for all our corporate cell phones. The billings would change from month to month and were often wrong, they'd change plans on us with no notice, and their customer service stank. I figured they treated us like dirt because we had to use Cingular (keeping the corporate dollars under the corporate umbrella), but I heard no end of similar horror stories from other Cingular customers who actually had a choice to leave. I tell anyone and everyone to steer clear of them - and to those AT&T Wireless customers who got sucked up by Cingular - run, do not walk, somewhere else.

I take it that SB845 died in the House...

Just think of all that money that Cingular - I mean its customers - could have donated to schools. ::roll eyes::

This may be a naive question - but does having all those Visa Cards under your name affect your credit rating in any way?

Did they say that you could not pay your cingular bill with the cards?

I believe they did.

A friend of mine had Cingular (AT&T Wireless) for over 3 years. She called them up to change her billing address when she moved from Gresham to Vancouver. A couple of months later, she called them to see what plans they were currently offering (in case there was a good deal she was missing out on). Cingular said that she couldn't change plans because she still had almost two years left on her "contract". Turns out when she changed her address, somebody at Cingular decided to put her onto a two-year contract without her consent. (She had been month-to-month after completing her original contract).

Needless to say, she is no longer a Cingular customer.

It just isn't Cingular. Every Christmas I receive gift cards at many chain stores typically found in your local mall. Every year, I have the same problem of having a balance on the cards and the stores assuming the balance. I ask for the balance back in cash when under $5 but they typically refuse. When they refuse, I return the mechandise for cash, write a note explaining why I returned their goods, and informed them that I will use the cash to buy similar goods in a neighboring store. I doubt my protest has any effect but I feel better.

I was a long-term AT&T customer before becoming a Cingular customer. I switched carriers in the middle of my billing cycle, and there's where my problem began: Besides receiving the monthly bill for my actual cell-phone usage, I got a separate bill for what I assumed was for the partial charges left over from my old AT&T account, except it was generated by Cingular. A small charge, about $11. I sent in a check with the bill. Less than a month later I got the amount returned to me in full, drafted on a Cingular Refund check. And each month, I get another separate bill for the "remaining balance" on my account. Repeated calls to Cingular's customer service are useless; no one knows why I'm being billed, and AT&T also claims no knowledge (one rep said my partial balance was reimbursed by Cingular!). I'm still getting monthly notices, telling me my account is "suspended", and the charges keep piling up. Who is sending these?

On a plus side, I'm getting better reception with Cingular than I ever did with AT&T.

Thanks, Ms. Em, for letting me know that happens to other Cingular customers, too. I just realized that started happening around the time AT&T Wireless became Cingular.

BTW, Jack, there are plenty of non-profits that take minimal donations.

I got a similar card from Hyundai for $50 in gas when I bought my new vehicle. I got one tank of gas, then that's when the trouble started. I had about $19 left, and that wasn't enough for the second tank of gas. So, I asked them to charge $19 on the card and I would pay the difference in cash. The cashier refused, because it was "too complicated". I asked for the manager on duty, and the manager also refused, saying it was their "policy not to have two separate ring-ups for the same transaction". Needless to say, I do not patronize that 76 station anymore.

(channelling Mr. Subliminal) By the way, did I mention it was a 76 station?


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics