Dear Chad, Alltel Customer Service Sucks

A few months ago we switched to Alltel. I love my LG Touch phone, but the other day I had a problem with text messages (a long story) and needed to call for help. You’d think this would be simple, but it wasn’t.

First I had to get another phone so that I could poke, prod, etc. my LG Touch per their directions; then I had to find the number to call. Going to was discovering the first FAIL:

They require you to enter your zip code to get the “offers” in your area before accessing anything on their site.

Since I’m already a customer — a customer with a problem, no less — this is an unwarranted frustration. To help you, here are Alltel’s numbers:

Personal: 1-800-alltel1 (1-800-255-8351)
Business: 1-888-4AT-BIZZ (1-888-428-2499)

Once I call, go through all the prompts — including entering the digits of my Alltel cell phone — eventually reaching the place where I get the prompt to speak to a person. “Hip-Hip-Hooray!” right?


Once you press (or say) that magic number, Alltel forces you to agree to one of those satisfaction surveys. “Press 1 if you’d like us to call you back in an hour or, if you’ve called after 9 PM, call you back after 9 AM tomorrow, on the number you are calling from; or press 2 if you’d like us to call you back in an hour or, if you’ve called after 9 PM, call you back after 9 AM tomorrow, on your Alltel phone.”

Wait a freakin’ minute.

I have to agree to a “How satisfied are you?” survey before I even get any help?!


My already frustrated brain was certain that my transfer to a person had been lost and that the system had bumped me ahead to the post-call recording.

I mean, why would they hold a customer hostage like that?

But I angrily spit-out the vocal response and was finally patched-through to a human, a human who — yes, you guessed it! — made me give my Alltel number out again before she could/would help me.

I get that we live in an age where everything has to be as automated as possible because even outsourced jobs cost more than robotic voices and technologic routing. I get that data is at a premium in your competitive business. I get a lot of things about business — your business, and business in general.

But really, Alltel, do you have to hide your contact information?

Do you have to add more layers of insulting behavior to the process, holding human interaction (the very essence of the wireless business) hostage to the tune of promises a frustrated customer must keep?

All of this is like layer after layer of frustrated-icing on a bullshit cupcake.

Here’s a business tip you obviously don’t know, Alltel: It is cheaper to retain a customer than to go out and get a new one.

You don’t retain customers by keeping contact with you at bay, especially when they are already frustrated and calling customer service. So take that advice and stick it in your circle.


  1. My husband needed a new phone so his mom signed up with Alltel to get him a phone because he was in basic training. We got on a cell phone plan together when we got married so his mom called to cancel the account which went through successfully. The next month, we received a bill from Alltel. We figured maybe they sent it because we cancelled in the middle of the month and still had to pay for the first half of the month or something. The next month we got another bill from Alltel. We paid in person and asked if it would be the last bill since the account was cancelled. We were told the account had not been cancelled so we though maybe my mother-in-law had goofed. We paid the bills for a full year before we finally remembered to ask my mother-in-law to cancel the account. She called Alltel and they confirmed that it had actually been cancelled the year before.
    Alltel has not refunded us any of the hundreds of dollars we paid on those bills in the year. We mentioned several times while paying the bills to their employees that the account should have already been cancelled but they just said we were wrong so we paid anyways. They say it’s our fault. So I guess our options were to pay the bills and just throw away our money for no reason or not pay and get more and more bills with overdue fees. Because it’s “our fault” the won’t refund any of the money. So my mother-in-law said it was all taken care of, they finally made sure there would be no mistake that the account was cancelled.
    Well what do you know?? This month we got ANOTHER bill. I called customer service which was NO help at all. The man didn’t know why we kept getting a bill and said that if we called the right people they should have refunded us for the past year. He said we needed to call “customer loyalties” and would not give me a phone number to reach “customer loyalties”. Shouldn’t customer service be more helpful? Alltel is a mess and I warn everyone against them when they talk about getting a new phone.

  2. As far as the original post, a sad illustration of how not to do ‘Customer Service’, with the best point being: ‘It is cheaper to retain a customer than to go out and get a new one.’

    As far as Ann’s story, perhaps time to contact your state’s Attorney General?
    They may or may not do anything, but it won’t cost you anything, while it may cost Alltel a huge headache, especially if they’re doing this to a number of people.

  3. How is this story different than anyone else’s customer service. I have worked for a competitor and the same scenario happens. Isn’t it better that your account is verified rather than your account information being given to anyone? i think we need to settle down a little and realize that this is how the wireless world works.

  4. I think, Susan, you are missing the major errors in this post. A customer shouldn’t have to work so hard to find a customer service phone number. A customer shouldn’t have to see ads before getting a contact number. A customer shouldn’t have to agree to or participate in surveys regarding satisfaction prior to receiving any assistance. On & On.

    I appreciate the work customer service folks do; I’ve been one. This was about horrible customer service before I was even given a person to talk to, or asked to verify account information. And if it is “how the wireless world works” that’s a damn shame. Though I’ve not had so many problems with other companies.

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