OAKLAND, Calif., April 3, 2019 (Press Brief)—On the 46th anniversary of the first cellular telephone call, FairShake, the online platform for filing consumer claims, revealed that Americans spent an estimated 325 million hours, equivalent to 37,000 years, on hold with their cellular service providers last year.
That number is out of the estimated one and a half billion hours Americans spend on the phone with their providers overall, for reasons such as understanding their plan details, paying a bill, or resolving a dispute.
The first public cell phone call was made on April 3, 1973, by Marty Cooper of Motorola. Cooper, an inventor of the cell phone, placed his call to Joel Engel, of Bell Labs (AT&T), from a New York sidewalk. His call was made on a phone the size of the hardcover version of a Harry Potter book. The phone’s battery took 10 hours to charge, and provided 20 minutes of talk time.
FairShake, a startup that helps customers get their complaints heard by wireless and cable providers, based their estimates on a survey of American consumers conducted through SurveyMonkey.
While 57% of customers in the same survey said they were happy with the quality of their phone service, only 32% expressed happiness with the customer service of their provider.
At least 58% of customers surveyed had called their cell service provider in the past year, and 21% in the past month. Customers reported that their reason for calling on average required two calls to resolve, and that around one-fifth of call time was spent on hold.
FairShake CEO Teel Lidow said of the results, “Everyone knows it can be way too hard to get a straight answer from your cell phone provider. We see customers every day who have spent countless hours, often over several months, trying to get bills corrected, or just to have companies honor the commitments made by their own salespeople.”
The current regulatory environment, and the potential for ongoing consolidation in the wireless industry, seem unlikely to lead to better customer service anytime soon. “We try to help people understand the legal alternatives to dealing with customer service,” says Lidow, “because everyone should know when they have options other than listening to hold music forever.”
FairShake (myradvocate.com) is a team of legal tech entrepreneurs empowering consumers to get money back from big companies when customer service won’t help. Founded in Oakland, California, in 2018, FairShake has helped thousands of consumers through the company’s online platform that makes it easy to file and track complaints, and to escalate them to the consumer arbitration system if negotiation fails.
For press inquiries:
Max Kornblith, Head of Analytics & Marketing