US MOBILE

US Mobile is quite possibly a cell phone provider you should avoid. In this post I will share the debacle I have experienced in seeking better phone service as I sought to move away from Straight Talk Wireless. US Mobile felt it was more profitable to charge me a restocking fee and use up hours of my valuable time rather than retain my business and correct the issue. I have worked diligently to accomplish moving services and I experienced a large amount of trouble. Such that if I had never began the effort I would have been better off. During all of this I have been professional, well spoken, and I was courteous. I feel the compartmentalization in these companies is to blame. This, their policies, and our in-action when trouble occurs allows it to continue. In this case the customer does not matter. US Mobile does not truly care about my experience.

In this post I will discuss the problems I have experience with Straight Talk Wireless and why I looked to US MOBILE for a solution. I will share exactly when the relationship began and how it progressed through time. I will be posting the financial and customer agreements on the timeline and make it simple for you to pull everything up so that it is easy to see what has gone on here.

It is sad on our earth today that private corporations, especially communication companies, prefer to treat their customers as a number and not an individual they value. They quickly charge fees and require you sign agreements that are one sided with no second thought about your experience.

In order to correct this failure today we as customers must make our experiences public. If we share just the facts that are true and provide supporting documents that cannot be refuted while upholding the truth in all things we will be helping everyone who reads it.

Update 5/29/22

I was contacted by US MOBILE which sought to compensate the restocking fee by offering a 10/mo credit for 5 months. I accepted the offer but I still do not have the shipping label to return the phone I have purchased.

The trouble I experienced with straight talk:

As I have mentioned before, compartmentalization prevents good customer service a lot of times due to the policies in place the employees who speak to the customer base have no power to discuss or change. So in no way do I blame the customer service team.

I prefer to use voice mail systems other than that which the phone provider offers. My preference began first due to an update at verizon wireless that was big enough to erase all of my voicemail and greetings. This was years back. The second reason for my preference is the abundance of cellular Vishing, and Smishing. Vishing are attempts to scam you through either automated or cold calling your cell phone. Smishing are spam messages sent over SMS. I prefer to run a cut down phone with very little stock software. I also like to use an application to detect the origins of all calls in case they are a repeat offender someone else has reported. This allows me to dismiss automatically any spam calls.

These third party voice mail systems are tied to unique phone numbers that only serve to deliver the voicemail greeting you created. So, a call forward is necessary. There are an abundance of call forward codes but the main one is *71 followed by the number your forwarding to. This is a Verizon Wireless code. Straight talk is a splinter off of Verizon Wireless. For several years I have had no issues. But recently in the last year or so with all of the equipment changes taking place to support 5G (a dangerous technology) something changed. I noticed that voice mails were not being stored. I thought it could have been just due to a slow market. But finally one day I was told by someone they could not leave a message. Who would have thought it would break by itself??

So I repeated the steps to turn off forwarding and re-establish it. *73 to clear out all call forwarding rules. Then I dialed *71 plus the number for my voice mail service. Nope. It did not work. I began looking in the phone for call forwarding options. Sometimes they put them under the dialer. No, it was not there. I called Straight Talk and it was one of those calls that used up the better part of an afternoon. I was on the phone for a 5 hour period during which they wanted me to upgrade the phone. I know the dangers of not upgrading, and also the things phone companies due to equipment during upgrades. Namely, they remove your ability to have privacy. But I played along. My phones are old so I thought about just buying a better phone at some point. After the upgrade the call forward option still did not present under my phone dialer menu. The entire day had been wasted.

After researching the matter again to refresh my frustrated mind, I learned again about call forwarding.

  1. Call forward – no answer — allows the phone to ring and if you dont pick up it forwards.
  2. Call forward – busy or offline — will forward the phone if one of the conditions exist.
  3. Dedicated Call Forward – Regardless of condition – every call goes directly to the forwarding number.

*71 is a nice code because it does 1 and 2, normally. Straight talk phone system recognizes the code and says it has forwarded calls. However, that is not truly happening. It goes to their voicemail instead of the forwarding number.

*68 is a nice code to forward unanswered calls.

*92 is a nice code to forward busy and offline phones to a number.

So I began to *73 then run the *68 # and *92 # codes and then I would test by calling into the phone and ignoring it. Followed by turning on air-plain mode and calling back into the phone (in air-plain mode). Sometimes it works sometimes it does not. After about 10 hours I find that the voicemail is reset and going back to straight talk wireless.

I am really not excited about doing a Dedicated Call forward. I like to pick up the phone if it is someone I know…

US MOBILE INTERACTION

So I first looked into the service and learned I could pay about 20 / month a phone for a basic plan. I am into saving a dollar. That sounded great. I ordered a sim kit. It arrived. I called us mobile asked them if my carrier locked phone with straight talk could work. The man thought it could but the website documentation did not. I went with the techs response. We spent a few hours on a Saturday moving the phone over to us mobile. Then I installed their sim card and the device complained that the sim card was not compatible.

Going back to straight talk took most of my morning on sunday. So I went ahead and ordered the moto g7 pro from us mobile. It arrived a few days later. I unboxed it carefully, in case I would need to send it back?? You never know when something will be wrong. The first thing I did was cut the stock apps and install basic advertisement free apps that use no battery. I remove google, motorola, and any extras. Then I install from 3rd party providers a dialer, a keyboard app, a calendar, camera, cloud storage and messaging.

So the issue with the phone. Yes, it was carrier unlocked. But it was not FACTORY or MANUFACTURER unlocked. So in disabling google the phone had a preloaded sentinel type software that found out everything was not good with google and demanded I enable it. I could not turn it off. This was popping up for me about every 10 seconds. I looked into getting the manufacturer unlock code and succeeded. I twrp connected the phone and then found that the stock os on the new phone blocks the factory rom from becoming overwritten. That means I could not load a custom ROM image for the moto g7 pro since the feature to unlock the rom for writing was greyed out in the phone app.

This is by design. The cell phone companies routinely have your phone dumping your activities to facebook, google, etc. We take this for granted in the name of ease and “good” services. But I view these things as unwarranted reconnaissance. I do not need google or facebook to keep track of my contacts or my interactions with them. No I have nothing to hide but I am responsible for a lot of PII through my business. My recent efforts to certify in the security field have made very plain for me this circumstance.

The new phone: I factory reset it, wiped it clean, repackaged it and it is ready to go back to us mobile. I only lack a shipping label.

What Next?

I am waiting to have a FACTORY and CARRIER unlocked phone. I have gone back to straight talk until I can resolve the phone need. Once I have it I will load it up with a simple load that does not share all of my phones contents to a third party cloud provider. No google. no facebook. no twitter. no microsoft. no apple. Just my phone, the apps on my phone (not cloud connected unless it is my server).

Danger. SMS stands for Simple Messaging Service… That is not encrypted by design. Your texts are stored in a cloud account at the phone provider you use. Do you think maybe they might want to use that information? I do!!!

Stop using text and sms. Go back to email. Find something you can control and own. I use nextcloud and host it in house. I work very hard to put nothing out there, for a private corporation to say they own. In their next breath they will try to sell your data by opting you into the data mining programs by default.

Can you see how they have conditioned and made you believe it was best to put all of your sensitive data in their cloud system?? How convenient?