The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Volokh Conspiracy

Avoid #SpectrumMobile Like the Plague

What an appalling customer service experience.


I was enticed by Spectrum Mobile's unlimited data plan offer for Spectrum customers—what a mistake. I placed the order on Nov. 6, after having to go through the whole order process three times; apparently they were having computer problems on their end. (The process was time-consuming each time, because I was moving three lines from my old phone service, and getting three new phones.) Then I waited for several days, and nothing arrived; when I called them, it turned out there was some glitch with my order, though I hadn't gotten any e-mail from them alerting me to it.

Finally, on Nov. 15 the phone was scheduled to be delivered; it took me until yesterday (Nov. 18) to get it because someone had to sign for it, and FedEx just missed us Friday and Saturday (not Spectrum Mobile's fault on that). I got my new Google Pixel 3a configured yesterday evening.

This morning, the phone touch screen stops working—the phone is on, and even gets phone calls, but I can't do anything with it, because everything requires a touch screen. Well, I figure: Lemons happen, so I'll just call and get it exchanged. After literally over an hour talking to several people, it turns out that they'll send me a replacement phone … for arrival Friday. Now my old phone is disconnected (not sure whether I can get it back up by swapping SIM cards), my new phone is a brick, and I'm out of touch until Friday.

I can't say I was wild about my old Samsung 6, or Verizon. But at least they worked—more than I can say for Spectrum Mobile.

NEXT: Impeachable Offenses Need not be Criminal Offenses

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It's a conspiracy.

  2. No transfer by SIM. If your old phone is an Android, just connect to WiFi and go to the settings to manually back up your Google account (do a quick web search). Then on your new phone after you sign into your Google account, it will restore contacts and some settings. For apps, if you're not prompted to download all apps from your previous phone, then go to the Play Store, my apps, then "library", and just click "install"beside each app you want installed on your new phone. (Source: I just did this for a family member Monday.)

    I came here after reading a news article about California banning its government purchases of vehicles by Fiat Chrysler, GM, Toyota, and Nissan for siding with Trump administration over emissions standards, hoping to see a blog post about its constitutionality. This reeks of First Amendment retaliation for their lawsuit challenging CARB's authority to set higher emissions standards.

    1. If the touch screen is disabled, he can't do anything on the new phone except answer calls.

      1. Can he even do that? I'm pretty sure my iPhone requires me to use the screen to answer a call. Maybe Pixels are different.

        Without the touch screen, I couldn't do anything with my phone except hold down a few papers in a light breeze. Or maybe skip it like a rock across the pond.

        1. Don't know; maybe the volume buttons can answer a call, or maybe a verbal command? Never heard of any such thing, Maybe he can answer when connected by bluetooth to his car?

          1. He probably can answer with a wired headset, as that should be independent of the screen entirely.

  3. Frustrating experience for you. My own experience was the opposite...went effortlessly and everything worked first time. (I was annoyed that, so far, Spectrum Mobile will not recognize most Android phones...they say that more and more will be accepted over time. So, I had to spend $130 to get another phone.)
    But phone [knock on wood] has been working fine, reception has been great and consistent [not a single dropped call in 5+ months], and battery life is decent. For $20/month, I am very very happy. (And I'm not a shill . . . I'll [un]happily talk with anyone for an hour about how horrible Spectrum cable is.)

    1. Spectrum cable is the worst. It seriously sucks ass.

      Everything else is commentary.

      59 minutes and 30 seconds saved.

      1. Funny...I always say "Spectrum sucks balls." As the old joke goes,
        Q: What's the difference between santamonica's experience and Leo's experience?
        A: About 6 inches.

        p.s. You're really undervaluing the psychic benefit of venting about Spectrum bad service for an hour. Preferably while imbibing a fine beverage at the same time.

        1. Few things are as cathartic as a good rant punctuated by draws from a tumbler of Blanton's...if you can find any.

  4. Instances such as this frequently make a good case for revising AAA to reverse Concepcion. Systemic screw ups that mysteriously always seem to benefit the business and prejudice the consumer.

    1. How does pissing off customers benefit a business?

      So many people have this bizarre anti-business attitude that mis-colors everything they do and think. Customers really are king in the business world; businesses who don't please their customers, lose customers.

      1. In a limited market pissing off customers has negligible costs, and potentially significant benefits.

        Mobile phone in some locations are a good example (and a poor example elsewhere), specifically where only one network has effective coverage in key locations. I had this at the San Diego airport 15 years ago - only T-Mobile had coverage on the ramp so my options were to either not have a working mobile phone or pay the early termination fee - even though Verizon has explicitly advertised coverage there.

        Cable internet is often the same, with statutory prohibitions (Or limitations) on competition (as a google found out).

  5. It's a mistake to ever get your phone from the carrier because then you are locked in, and it is seldom cheaper in the long run despite their "discount" promotion.

    I always buy my phone's unlocked from Amazon or another 3rd party vendor.

    1. You are correct. Never buy from a carrier.

    2. I bought my *unlocked* LG Android phone directly from Spectrum. (I've used it overseas, using a Thai, a Vietnamese, and a German SIM, so I know for sure it's unlocked.") Not sure if Spectrum has changed its policy since then. (If yes, then of course we all agree 100% with your last sentence...nowadays, it would be beyond stupid to buy anything that is not unlocked.)

  6. So...I bought a vintage camera lens on eBay from seller ernhil for $23.94 (including shipping).

    I had it sent to my PO Box. I was given a tracking number. So far so good. I signed up for USPS tracking updates. I received an update telling me that my package has been delivered. I went to the post office to pick it up.

    Slight problem. The package is not in my PO Box. The tracking delivery notice said that it was delivered to an address, not a PO Box. I did not notice that until after several daily visits to the post office asking to see if they had found my missing package.

    The Post Office could not say why and had no idea to what street address (residential or commercial) my package was delivered.

    I'm thinking, "Unfortunate, but fortunately, I bought it using PayPal. PayPal, eBay and USPS all cover the cost of the lost item."

    Or so they say. I contacted the seller whose response can be summarized as "Tough shit. Not my problem."

    I called eBay and after a run around I got an eBay "supervisor" to acknowledge that the package was delivered to the wrong address. The "supervisor" said eBay would refund my order.

    eBay canceled the transaction but did not give me a refund. I contacted eBay again. This time eBay told me that they are not going to give me a refund because eBay only requires the seller to produce a tracking number showing that an item was delivered.

    It does not matter to eBay if the package was delivered to the wrong address or even to the wrong address in a different city. It does not matter to eBay if the item was never mailed at all.

    By the way, the seller did not mail the item via USPS Priority Mail and did not insure the package so there was no way to get a refund from USPS.

    I then contacted PayPal, which denied my claim for the same reason -- all that PayPal requires from the sender is that he provides a tracking number that shows some package has been delivered somewhere.

    Since eBay had canceled the transaction, I was unable to leave negative feedback. To make things worse, the package finally arrived the following week (some honest person had returned it to the Post Office). The Post Office did not contact me. I did not learn of its delivery until I checked my PO Box, which I do every week.

    Turns out the camera lens has a defect inside the glass the size of a nickel. The camera lens did not match the lens in the picture which showed a clean lens. That would have been grounds, theoretically, for a refund.

    The USPS tracking number is 9400109699937695413013 which is still available online and clearly states "Delivered, In/At Mailbox" (not PO Box).

    Should you want to contact the seller to get his side of the story, he can be reached at

    The moral of the story is that eBay's buyer protection guarantee is worthless. PayPal's buyer protection guarantee is worthless. eBays' seller ratings are a fraud and I no longer have my packages delivered via the Post Office if I can avoid it.

    It could have been worse. This valuable lesson cost me $23.94 and a worthless vintage lens is not comparable to what Professor Volokh went through.

    Still it would be nice if people like us who get ZuckerBoned had some recourse.

    1. Nice story, bro. But cellphones. Focus.

      1. The gun nut is a bigot? Your failure in the culture war will be comprehensive, clinger. Better Americans will celebrate your replacement, though.

        1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland - Everyone already knows you are a cocksucker and a coward. If you are going to butt in, you should at least answer the question.

      1. "OK, Boomer" stopped being clever about 10 seconds after it was first used.

        1. “OK, Boomer” was never clever.

        2. Indeed, but I took Leo Marvin's response to be a bit of a joke at both the "OK Boomer" meme's expense and at Charles Nichols'.

          1. And yet my responses are deleted whereas their comments remain.

            You never did explain why referring to a cocksucking fudgepacker as a cocksucking fudgepacker is not allowed but comments by cocksucking fudgepackers are allowed.

  7. Personally I would adjust the headline to "Avoid #Spectrum Like the Plague", It is a company that eternally hikes rates for no reason, provides little to no service, and charges an arm and a leg if you need some service. The problem is they are a monopoly in many places.

  8. So how are you, Professor, going to avoid Spectrum Mobile?

  9. One needs only ask around about Charter or Spectrum. Anyone who has had any dealings with these scoundrels gets dyspepsia upon the mention of either name. They have quit trying to spam me by phone or online. Now they just infest my snail mailbox with their spam, which goes straight to the trash can.

  10. And this deals with issues of law and the Constitution ... how?

    Probably most of us have parades of horribles we could share that consist almost entirely of dealings with tech companies. You may have opened the door to this post turning into a group therapy session. If so, it is my understanding (and experience) that dealings with Verizon will figure prominently.

    1. It's not your blog. You don't get to police content.

      1. Mr. Jwpvysig, Jr. wrote: "It’s not your blog. You don’t get to police content."

        And I'm policing content ... how?

    2. PoxOn ...: To answer your question, not at all!

  11. I read through this and fully expected it to end with something about Epstein not committing suicide.

    1. Epstein did not kill himself. The End.

  12. You bought a third rate phone through a third rate provider and expected differently?

  13. Been a Verizon customer since the company first launched. Yes, it's expensive, but cell service is critical for our business, and our business has never been adversely affected by a problem Verizon could have prevented. Sometimes you do actually get what you pay for...

  14. I don't know how it is in LA, but in Texas, I switched from an old Samsung Note 2 on Verizon and a Samsung galaxy 4 to an LG Stylo 4 and LG Stylo 5 respectively. Both on MetroPCS. Coverage has been just as good as verizon. The phones only cost around $210 each. You own the phone, and its unlocked after 90 days. No contracts, etc. Unlimited everything for $40/mo per phone. Its been a great switch for me. Spectrum is excellent cable and internet service here in Texas, but I know nothing about their mobile service they are now pushing.

  15. Everything is ginger and spice, sugar and plumbs.

Please to post comments