How to Lose a Customer

Sean McCord, a long-time nTelos customer, tried to upgrade his phone there the other day. nTelos wouldn’t let him buy a new phone without seeing his driver’s license. The store manager was unable to explain why, so Sean left, drove to Cingular, and now he’s their customer. Local businesses like nTelos should always be our first choice but, as Sean shows, they’re certainly not our only choice.  #

5 Responses to “How to Lose a Customer”


  • Thank you, Waldo. The fact that nTelos is a local company has been important to me, and is one of the reasons I stayed loyal to them for so long. When I left the store, my intent was only to find if another cell phone provider would accept my UVA ID. Cingular was simply the closest. I was also pleased to discover that they offer a 15% discount to UVA employees; nTelos offers only 10% and, as established, doesn’t take UVA IDs.

  • Is this a proof of residency/citizenship thing?

  • I would love to hear back from an nTelos rep on that question, Sylvia. If that’s the case, it still doesn’t make any sense, since I was a customer for nearly ten years and they had all my information in their system. Even more puzzling to me was that neither the clerk nor the manager could explain why that was their policy, only that it is their policy.

  • Mr. McCord:
    I am not a representative of NTELOS; however, I feel you may have missed a few important facts about your purchase at the wireless store. What you didn’t mention was that you were not just purchasing a phone, you were upgrading your phone, so therefore you were signing a contract. State/gov IDs although not full proof are much harder to replicate and tamper with that a simple employee ID card that many companies now a days use. Your employee ID is not a state/gov issued ID and shouldn’t be accepted as a form of ID for credit to purchase new service or renew current services. It is ashame that the manager/rep did not understand the company procedures enough to explain to you the very reason you feared showing your DL is the very reason they were asking for the ID. I think if some stole your employee ID and used your identification to start up service at a local carrier, you would be more upset than the simple fact the carrier was trying to protect you. Both the rep and manager should have been able to explain these reason just as I am now to you. What I would recommend to you is that you go to the local DMV and get an identification card. This is a state issued ID and can be used to run credit and for identification when signing contracts ect. I know I would have turned you away the same way the store did and actually been more suspicious of the reason you wanted to hide your ID. As far as the increase in discount from Cingular to NTELOS. Most Cingular plans are more expensive than plans at NTELOS, so therefore to compare your discount, please don’t forget to do the simple math in what you may or may not be really saving. So next time you give someone a hard time about protecting your identity–just remember why they are asking.

  • “Unknown” cross-posted his message. I replied here.

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