Monday, June 28, 2010

Grandma's new phone

I mentioned the other day about Grandma's phone.

A while back, while we (Wife and I) were visiting Grandma (my mother's mother, my only living grandparent), she mentioned having fallen outside. Wife and I had been talking that very week about such a situation, so we immediately asked her about that situation.

She said she had looked into LifeAlert (the company that took over the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials), but couldn't afford it. We had looking into it, too, as well as another service called Jitterbug.

She really perked up at that, because she had seen their commercials.

If you don't know about Jitterbug, it's a cell phone for old folks. Actually, they promote themselves as "meeting the needs of 'simplicity seekers'" -- a nicer way of saying a cell phone for old folks. And, it really is designed for them. But it's not cheap; however, their current rates are better than they used to be.

Anyway, Grandma was open to one of those, so we went looking for one. The Radio Shack had one, she picked out the one she wanted, and she was set to go.

Everything was fine until recently. We've had billing problems with Jitterbug.

We had set the account up for them to automatically bill a credit card, and that went along just fine. Then, suddenly, we got a past-due notice.

Wife called, worried that the credit card had been suddenly compromised and a bunch of charges placed against the card. But, no (thankfully), there was no problem with the card. However, the CSR said the card was due to expire soon. Not that it had expired, but was to expire soon.

Wife wasn't thrilled with that, but confirmed the card information, along with the new expiration date, and settled the account.

The, it happened again. We got a notice a couple of weeks ago that the bill was past due. We checked the credit card again, making sure that it hadn't been compromised. But everything was fine.

That's when I began looking at Verizon's phones. And, I found one that had a "911" button, as well as easy-to-read text. Samsung, who makes the Jitterbug phones, makes this one, the Samsung Knack.

Ordered it, and we gave it to her last Sunday.

She's had it a week now, and she says she likes it. Except she wants the ring to be louder: "I can't hear it ring if it's in my pocket. I can feel it, because it vibrates, you know. But I can't hear the ring with my old ears." My sister (The Mean One, who lives closest to Grandma) said she'd help with that.

But otherwise, she's happy about the new phone. The Jitterbug was an older phone that only had three buttons (red, yellow, green) that they don't offer any more. The new one has all the normal buttons (along with a "911" button), and she's thrilled to "have a real cell phone."

In Jitterbug's defense, when I called and canceled the service, the lady I spoke with was very apologetic and understanding. If they hadn't run into the hiccup with billing -- twice -- we would have stayed with them. Additionally, Sue Weaver, VP for Customer Service at Jitterbug, has expressed concern.

I can't fault Jitterbug's response to the issue. I do fault them for having the accounting problem twice.

Perhaps they'll get that straight. Perhaps they already have. But, it cost them a customer. And Verizon benefitted.

And, so did Grandma, who, at 96, now has her first "real cell phone."

I can hardly wait to get the bill.

1 comment:

  1. She'll be text messaging in no time. Then wait until you get the bill.


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