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CU Praises Federal Inquiry Into AT&T Wireless Number Portability Complaints

Friday, December 5, 2003

Janee Briesemeister, brieja@consumer.org
(512) 477-4431 ext. 117

More Than Half of Complaints to EscapeCellHell.org Are About AT&T Wireless

Austin, Texas – Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for requesting information from AT&T Wireless regarding complaints to the FCC from the carrier’s customers. The complaints concern attempts by AT&T customers who switch to new wireless carriers and want to take their phone numbers with them.
“Consumers who have been waiting four years to switch carriers and keep their phone number are frustrated with the excessive delays,” said Janee Briesemeister, director of Consumer Union’s EscapeCellHell.org campaign. “We applaud the FCC for listening to consumer complaints and asking for answers.”
AT&T customers are complaining that taking their number from AT&T to another carrier is taking several days, instead of the two to three hours it is supposed to take. They are also saying that AT&T’s customer service representatives are not being helpful, with hold times on phone calls often lasting hours. The FCC has given AT&T until December 10 to respond.
EscapeCellHell.org, a project of Consumers Union, is encouraging consumers to send emails to the site about their experiences with switching carriers and transferring their cell phone numbers.
“Although not a scientific sample, over 50 percent of the consumers who have complained to us about their number portability experience are AT&T customers,” continued Briesemeister. “Clearly AT&T is having a problem and their customers – old and new – are paying the price. While we have heard complaints about all carriers, the majority are about AT&T.”
“We look forward to seeing AT&T’s response and expect the FCC to hold the company accountable for making sure that its customers get better service going forward,” added Briesemeister.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, is an independent nonprofit testing, educational and information organization serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.