Friday, August 28, 2009

Bless You, CREDO, You Try So Hard

I have to preface this post by saying: I like CREDO Mobile.

CREDO is a production of Working Assets, the good guys among phone service providers. As Working Assets, they used to issue a coupon for one free pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream with every monthly bill. That was awesome. As CREDO, they donate 1% of my bill to fifteen charities and non-profits I support and agree with. That's also awesome.

There are many things to like about CREDO, not the least of which is the fact that they got me away from T-Mobile. T-Mobile knowingly sells phones they anticipate will break down shortly after their warranty, but you have to upgrade them before the warranty is up, or else you have to pay full price for an entirely new phone. Attend: they will not replace their broken-assed phone. They make you buy a new one, if you want service for the remaining year of your contract. Oh yes, you have to sign a two-year contract (fairly standard among phone companies) and you have a perfectly working phone for the first year, but then it breaks down and you either have a non-working phone for which you still have to pay service, or you can buy an entirely new phone for a couple hundred dollars. Or you can break your contract and pay a $200 penalty. But CREDO covers that penalty fee, when you switch (and keep your number), and the Katana phone I got from them was free. Plus a portion of my bill goes to charity.

The only problem is illustrated in the two attached photos. The upper left is my bill: after I was refused a contract on the basis of my credit score (which, by the way, is 80 points higher than the national average), they still sent me a bill (for $0.00). How this bill, or service refusal, reached me is uncertain, for observe: my name is misspelled, my street is misspelled (trust me), my city was completely misspelled, and that is not the abbreviation for Minnesota. Their mailings reached me on the strength of my ZIP code alone!

But they corrected the error (that is, they deleted that account and started a new one, which was approved) and I got my new phone today and... it has their company name misspelled on the home screen, as per the second photo. Astounding, no? I asked them if they need an editor, for I am freelance and my rates are competitive.

Well, anyway, I look forward to my new, well-intentioned phone company.


Daniela S. said...

I, too, switched from my phone company that was giving me shitty service to the well-meaning Working Assets. When I had to contact them, they were incredibly friendly and didn't leave me on hold. I pictured people sitting around working a Green party, grassroots campaign. They turned to Credo, and things seemed to get much worse. Their customer service most recently was terrible. I've had problems with being overcharged on my bill. When I called a second time to talk about such mistakes, they said they refrained from "printing" my entire bill (my bill access is all online) because people were complaining it was too much paper. THEIR BILLS -ARE- huge because they print up activism information, too. BUT, I never agreed to opt out of seeing my complete bill. What was worse yet, I had NO way of seeing the complete bill. Combine that the recent change in the online accounts. I had to reregister, and ever since then, I have had a hard time of paying my bill online. Then they wanted to charge ME for not paying my bill on time, when I tried three times each month to make it go through on their setup. What I'm really looking for now is some other company to get me out of my contract with Credo. I can hope to raise money for charity in other ways.

Christian said...

They have a lot of work to do, figuring out the balance between inundating customers with too much non profit information and giving them sufficient bill information. They should have a bill-only option, for example.

Their customer service reps seemed well-intentioned but not deeply educated as to how to take customer information and set up an account. It shouldn't have taken five phone calls to get our phones working: no other phone company would do that poorly.

It sucks that consumers can only sift through the least-worst phone company instead of having one or two genuinely good companies to choose from.