Do you hate Cingular? There’s 2 easy ways to get back at them, especially if you have rollover minutes you’re never going to use!
Recently I read that Cingular has begun to block free conference call services. The phone numbers for these services are located in remote exchanges in Iowa whose telcos charge the incoming carriers subsidies (often called “termination fees”) due to their remote location. These services locate themselves in these exchanges since they get a cut of the subsidies, which they use to run the service.
As a result, Cingular is not happy, since these services have caused their monthly bill for the “termination fees” to go from about $2000 to $2 million….within one month! They are suing some of the telcos over this issue, since they believe that this practice is illegal and in violation of FCC regulations.
Sign up at FreeConferenceCall.com – all you need is your name and email address. You will get a phone number in the 712 exchange as well as an access code that you will use to begin the conference call. Call the number and put in the access code. It will place you on hold until someone else uses the same code to join the conference call. You can just leave your phone there overnight if you want to, while Cingular has to pay for it! Or you can actually use the conference call functionality – it supports up to 96 callers on one line! Have some fun with it!
The number that FreeConferenceCall gave me was not blocked yet however it eventually may be. If it is blocked, we can try Method 2…
Find a 712 conference call/international calling number that is blocked on Cingular. Try calling it on your non-AT&T landline, Skype, etc just to make sure it isn’t a disconnected number. (I have not been able to find such a number…yet!)
When you do have such a number, call Cingular and complain about it. I don’t know how effective it will be, but they will probably take notice if a lot of people start calling!
File complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, the FCC, and possibly your state’s Attorney General (links go directly to their complaint sites.) You have a legitimate complaint, since by paying for phone service you should be able to call any number in the US, and they are arbitrarily blocking these numbers because they don’t want to pay the fees. The BBB will most likely contact Cingular about your particular case and possibly take greater action if the volume of complaints is enough. The FTC/FCC probably won’t take an individual action but if enough people complain they will probably do something. Regardless, it’s definitely worthwhile to file complaints with all of them – it’s not hard at all.