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A cellphone by any other number still rings as loudly

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Column by Robert Villanueva

By Robert Villanueva

For my birthday, I got a gift that keeps giving.

Giving me problems, that is.

Now, before I go any further, I have to be clear about a couple of things. First, the gift was a great item I had asked for and was not the source of the problems. Also, the experience to which I’m referring was not typical of the experiences I’ve had in the past when dealing with this company.

That said, let me tell you about Cell-mageddon.

As I have mentioned in a past column or two, I have a dumb phone. It doesn’t sync with other phones or scan QR codes like a smartphone does.

A smartphone never has been on my wish list. I’ve always carried a pre-paid cellphone, mostly to have a means of contact or being contacted in case of emergency but for convenience, too.

Over the past 10 years or so, I had gone through three cellphones with the same pre-paid company with no issues. I decided an upgrade would be nice. So on my wish list it went. It still was nothing fancy.

I got the phone on my birthday, June 3, and had to charge it that evening, so I already was eager to use it but had to wait until the next day to activate it.

That’s when all the fun began. I refer to that as Day 1 of Cell-mageddon.

You see, I decided to use the company’s online process to activate my phone and transfer my old cellphone number and minutes. Easy, right?

Wrong answer. Thank you for playing.

That easy process left me with a new cellphone number I didn’t want while keeping the old cellphone and cellphone number active.

I now had two working phones with two different phone numbers and minutes on both.

This was just the beginning.

That night involved talking to two tech-support people, about two hours of my time and numerous text messages from the company to my old phone telling me to contact their customer service number. When I did call the number as directed, my call ultimately went to an automated message that told me they could not take my call because a transaction for it was in progress for my cellphone and that I should wait 15 minutes and check my phone again, calling back if the problem persisted.

Guess what? It persisted.

Many days, several more phone calls and even several emails later, the issues still were not resolved. By then, the text messages — still to my old phone — numbered more than 20.

During that time, my new cellphone got my old cellphone number, as I wanted, except it only appeared on the My Phone Number screen while it actually functioned using the new number it gave me earlier. I resigned myself to the idea I would have to send out the new number to all my friends and family and just go with it.

That lasted about a day and a half.

Then my new phone was deactivated.

That took me to Day 16 of Cell-maggedon.

I finally had to call a special number with a code provided by the company via one of their emails.

The end result is that my new cellphone works ... with the new cellphone number ... displaying my old cellphone number under the My Phone Number display ... and my old cellphone works with the old number and has collected more than 30 text messages to call the customer service number.

I was told my new phone should display my new phone number if I take the battery out for a few seconds and replace it, but I haven’t been able to get the battery cover removed.

And I’m not calling tech support.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at 270-505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.