How To Handle Your Lifeline Complaints
Do you have Lifeline Complaints that you want to get addressed?
Lifeline free cell phone service is a fantastic benefit,
far from perfect. I get emails and forum posts practically on
a daily basis from customers who have Lifeline complaints.
They pretty much cover the full array of issues, concerns, and
- I can't activate my phone.
- My service was canceled, and
I don't understand why.
- My phone works, but it's
junk; it's slow, hard to use, and the battery doesn't last very long.
- I know new customers get a
smartphone; why can't I?
application/re-certification keeps getting denied, because someone else
already on the program is using my mailing address.
- My minutes are disappearing.
- My new minutes for the month
aren't showing up.
- I'm trying to get in touch
with a live customer care agent, but can never get past the automated
Complaining With The Right Tone Is Important!
The greatest challenge is getting the ear of these companies to make
your Lifeline complaints known. As you can imagine, it's run
as a low cost program. Although carriers definitely make
money from it, the margins are much lower than traditional cell
service. As a result, the level of customer service is
several notches below normal service, which most people would surely
describe as already lacking!
So what can you do? Posting about your experience on this
forum, and forums like it, are certainly helpful, as they do garnish
some attention from carriers, and provide a great resource for current
and prospective customers. However, official complaints
can be even more powerful. It's important to note that
regardless of what avenue you use to complain, it's critical that you
clear, articulate, and state the facts. Getting overly
emotional, and even rude, won't get you anywhere. Be firm,
but polite, and dare I say, even be respectful.
Keep in mind that you're not talking the owners, or even the working
level responsible for the decisions that have resulted in your negative
experiences. People just like you and I, doing their jobs,
will be reading and responding. Regardless of how in the
right you might be, if you're abrasive, they're not going to be
motivated to spend their precious time trying to help you.
There are so many other complaints that they can invest their time
in. So talk to them as though you're talking to your family,
friend, or boss.
Complaining takes time! Keep this in mind. It's not
just a matter of firing off an email, and you're done. You're
always going to have to demonstrate that you've made best efforts to
articulate your concerns directly with your provider. I'm not
saying you need to wait weeks or months, or phone them dozens of times,
however, do make an effort. Try calling them, and
requesting to speak with a supervisor. If you can't get
through, try one or two additional times. Try contacting them
via their website. Many companies also now use Facebook
Twitter to provide customer support, so try those mediums as well.
How Do I File A Lifeline Complaint?
Assuming directly contacting the company doesn't get you what you need,
filing official Lifeline
complaints is definitely your next recourse. Here are four
avenues worth considering:
Federal Communications Commission,
or FCC, is an
official governing body for Lifeline, so lodging a complaint with them
is a good first move. You can start on their website:
Universal Service Administration is
government body with Lifeline oversight:
state has a Public Utility Commission (PUC),
wireless. As their information is subject to change, simply
to a search for your state and PUC; for example:
puc". The first or second listing in the results will be the
link you're looking for.
Some additional Lifeline related resources on this site:
- You can also try the Better Business Bureau
(BBB). The BBB is a great source of information
first researching which Lifeline provider to use (if you have multiple
options in your location), as it lists actual
customer complaints, and whether they were resolved.
Generally speaking, companies want to rank well with the BBB as it's a
gauge of how happy, or not, a company's customers are. Note,
however, that the BBB doesn't have any authority to effect any real
change as a result of your Lifeline complaint. That said,
I've worked at carriers in the past that had dedicated people to
specifically monitor BBB complaints and work to resolve them.
Personally, I've used it myself (not for wireless), and was able to get
the company to respond. You can start here:
Cell Phone Complaints!
Are you having issues with your cell phone or prepaid cell phone service? Tell us about it!