Nextel False Advertising

A nephew of mine and his wife, living in Orlando, Florida were looking for a good push-to-talk style cellular phone and they had seen the advertisements for Nextel on various occassions and considered that since _all incoming calls_ are always free and outgoing calls between

9 PM and about 7 AM are free they'd try Nextel, since the price was otherwise okay. They got a phone for him, and one for his wife under some special pricing plan.

As I have heard it, the key word at Nextel is 'worldwide'; good in any city, any time. Am I mistaken on that? No need for 'roaming', etc. That's how they phrase it in the television ads they show here in our town.

Well, both nephew and his wife were getting sort of tired of living in the Walt Disney tourist trap of Orlando, and decided they would move elsewhere, with their three year old daughter. They have to have money coming in while they search elsewhere, so wife decided to stay at home (she runs two apartment complexes in Orlando) while her husband (my nephew) came here to Independence to look over the job market and housing market. Then he would send for her and their child, or perhaps return to get them and bring them here if he found a house they would like, employment opportunities, etc. So far, so good ... for a small town of 8000 people in a rural area, employment and housing opportunities are extraordinarly good (at least _I_ like it here).

They bought their Nextel phones about a month ago ... which worked quite well in Orlando (the push to talk feature, other calls, etc). The wife and husband had an understanding; if _she_ had any hassles at all, all she had to do was push the button and tell him, and that was the plan for when he came here to Independence, also. She pushes to talk, if it is something he cannot handle by speaking to her, the intent was he would return home _immediatly_. His itinerary was from Orlando to Atlanta, then onward to Nashville, then to St. Louis, over to Kansas City and then a downward 'dip' to Independence to see 'Uncle Pat' where he was rather certain he would find _something_ employment wise and housing wise he liked if not earlier in the trip.

They did push-to-talk all the way from Orlando though Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis and Kansas City. He got out of Kansas City heading south/southwest toward our town, and the phone went dead. He got here yesterday (Friday) morning, used my house phone to check in with his wife in Orlando who was beginning to get frantic. Not only did 'push to talk' not work, but she tried dialing direct into his number instead, and got nowhere with that except his voice mail. I played with his phone, which had a big 'no service' message on the LED; not even a digital clock message or anything else. Assuming the tech support people would want all the details, I called his wife and got _her_ phone number and ESN, etc before I called tech support.

I assumed it was just a question of maybe changing some parameters in the phone to make it properly go into 'roaming mode' since his wife had earlier called tech support and was told by them to have him reccycle power to get service restored, etc. That did no good, so I called tech support on 800-639-6111. I told them where we were at, and that we do, of course, have cell towers all around here. In particular Dobson cell towers serve Cingular Wireless, US Cingular, and (Dobson's own) Cell One. So its not for a lack of coverage that we were getting the 'no service' message. The tech punched in my zip code, and street address, then came back and said 'no towers or service in your area'.

My next question was 'what about roaming?' If you do not have your own cell tower, you must have access to someone else's tower in the area ... (and Dobson came to mind). No, he said, Nextel does _not_ roam. Either you get our service or you don't get service.

How odd ... I told him I heard many commercials on television saying Nextel was either (take your pick) 'Worldwide' or 'Nationwide' and the last I heard Kansas was part of the world and part of the nation. His response was that to Nextel, the phrase 'x-wide' referred to wherever they had towers, not elsewhere. About that same time there came another Nextel commercial on _our_ television. Now don't you think that is fraudulent to make those claims if they are not true?

I fixed up Justin with my old AT&T Free2Go phone with twenty or thirty minutes of talk time, and put him on Yahoo Messenger with a camera of mine so at least he and wife and their child can chat as needed. I had thought about trying Nextel at one point, I am sure glad I did not fall for that 'nationwide coverage' lie.

Patrick Townson

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