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Consumer Cellular Review

Editor's Rating:

2.8 / 5
Are you sure Consumer Cellular is right for you?

A good cell phone is a vital accessory for any senior these days! After all, we’re all far more connected to our phones than we used to be. Seniors can use their phones, not just for calls and texts, but to share pictures, stay up to date on social media, and video chat with their loved ones.

Just as with anything else, not all cell phone providers are created equal. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for promising cell phone companies to share with our readers. Today, we’re taking a look at Consumer Cellular.

Who is Consumer Cellular?

Consumer Cellular was established back in 1995 by John Marick and Greg Pryor. At a time when cell phones were still coming into their own, Marick and Pryor wanted to start a company focusing on giving a great cell phone experience to private consumers rather than businesses.

Since its tiny startup beginnings, Consumer Cellular has grown to serve over 3 million customers. They’ve conducted their business without mergers or buyouts, staying true to their small business roots.

Consumer Cellular is 100% American owned and operated, and all call centers are based in the USA. Their website also notes that J.D. Power has ranked them #1 in Customer Service among Non-Contract Value Wireless Providers, 6 Times in a Row.

Consumer Cellular Prides Itself in No Contracts – Ever!

One of the things we like about Consumer Cellular is they don’t lock their customers into long term contracts, ever. Although contracts are a normal part of paying for a cell phone service, the pressure of a set monthly bill can still be stressful for older adults on a fixed income.

With Consumer Cellular, customers can change their plan whenever they need to, with no extra fees or penalties. When customers go over their usage allowance, they get an automatic upgrade with no overage fees.

What’s Included in Consumer Cellular Phone Plans?

Let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of Consumer Cellular.

Where to buy: Purchase online, or at brick and mortar locations including most Target stores and some branches of Best Buy and Sears.

Handsets: At the time of writing, Consumer Cellular has over 20 different handsets available on their website. Brands include Doro, Apple, Alcatel, Samsung, Motorola, and ZTE. Customers can also bring their own handset and simply switch to a Consumer Cellular SIM.

Plans: Customers can choose from one line or two line plans (add a friend or family member for an extra $15 monthly.) The Consumer Cellular website lets you build your own plan and see what you’d pay for it before making a commitment.

Calls: Choose from 250 minutes a month ($15 monthly) or unlimited minutes ($20 monthly.) Minutes can be used any time day or night.

Texts: Free unlimited texts are bundled together with any of the Connect data plans (see below.)

Data: Several options ranging from 250MB monthly for $5 up to 20GB monthly for $40.

Extras: 30-day money back guarantee – if you’re not completely satisfied cancel within 30 days with no fees. Free usage alerts so customers always know how much of their plan they’ve used.

It’s also worth noting that AARP members enjoy 5% off monthly service, 30% off some accessories, and an extended 45-day money back guarantee.

Consumer Cellular is Ideal for: Seniors who want the flexibility to call and text as much or as little as they want to, with no worries about getting locked into a contract, or paying more than they need. This is also an ideal package for couples, as both people can share the minutes, texts and data on one package for just $15 extra monthly.

Consumer Cellular Reviews

We had a look around the web to find out what Consumer Cellular customers have to say. Here’s what we found.

What people loved: People love the no-contract flexibility of Consumer Cellular, and the range of handsets at different price points is popular, too. We saw several mentions of the fact that Consumer Cellular is cheaper than its competitors.

What people weren’t so keen on: Some people have issues with dropped calls or lack of reception, and we noticed a few people had issues with billing and customer service.

Our Verdict: Consumer Cellular is generally well-liked, and their flexible plans are fantastic. It is worth noting that their highest data plan is only 20GB monthly, so this isn’t the best plan for seniors who want to stream a lot of video on their device. But for those who are more interested in calling, texting, and a little browsing, it’s ideal.

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42 Comments

  1. The author of this article left out a few things about Consumer Cellular. The writer was fairly clear about the fact that consumer cellular has a post pay service and not a pre paid service which isn’t crystal clear in their advertising. This means that you will not be under long term contract but they will consider you under monthly contract and you will receive a bill each month post service use. It’s important that the ppl esp the elderly understand that they will be billed every month until and unless they cancel their service with Consumer Cellular. It’s also good for ppl to know that if they get behind on a bill they will be relentlessly called my consumer cellular every day if not more often. – If they go over their desired usage they will automatically be bumped up to the next paid plan for that month which will, of course, be more expensive. This is a practice I thought had gone out of style in the dark ages with yearly cellular phone contracts. It had been my personal experience that Consumer Cellular was is much more interested in $$ as opposed to Customer Satisfaction. I am genuinely concerned about the elderly as I know my Grandmother was taken advantage of by many a T.V. service over the last 3 years of her life and I don’t like seeing ppl taken advantage of. Consumer Cellular service is enticing with it’s offer of low monthly rates for phone usage but please make sure you know all the details before you sign up. Lisa Elixson.
  2. Have consumer Cellular already, but need an upgrade, what type of phone do I need. Would like one that is easier to text and wi-fi.
  3. I know that it is stated that Consumer Cellular uses both T-Mobile and AT&T which gives them great coverage. However, it is unclear that it will self select the one that will connect to. I currently have Mobile-PCS (owned and serviced by T-Mobile) and there are LOTS of holes in my area and even lots of spots inside my home that doesn’t get strong enough signal. If the phone could switch between whichever signal was present that would be ideal. I fear however, that it simply means you get one carrier and they are (maybe) able to switch your phone to the other. Which is it? Anybody know?
  4. Wow! At 79, I read these comments with alarming confusion because I know a couple who sears by Consumer Celular. But MOST of these letters are quite negative. So do I try Great Call–the Jitterbug phone–instead? Do I stay with Verizon? This is really, really upsetting and confusing and I fear making a mistake…. What did The Reviewer recommend?
  5. I have been a customer for seven years now… no problems except my battery needs replacing. I have tried to replace the Battery at Target Sears Big Lots and I have called 3 times for help without any help at all…..If I can’t use the phone, I will not be paying my monthly bill… Surely if you send me a Battery for my red flip BQ50 asap I will send you your monthly payment as usual.
  6. The doro 7050 is treble! It freezes up and we need to take out the battery for it to work again for a short time . We’ve been through 3 of them since oct , wth
  7. If you go over the minutes or data allowed by your plan, Consumer Cellular will automatically upgrade you without charging overage fees. However, you will have to pay for the more expensive plan.
  8. They conveniently forgot to tell me that service would be spotty in this area. I am having trouble sending and receiving texts. Customer service was of no help and would not send me a survey to complete.
    1. Ask them to switch you to the AT&T network if you are on their T-Mobile network or vice-versa. Our T-mobile was 1 bar at the house. It’s now 4 bars with AT&T. We found out that they typically send you a T-Mobile sim card (even though we have an AT&T near us. AT&T is very good throughout the Phoenix area.
  9. We purchased a Consumer Cellular Phone for our son 4 yrs ago, he absolutely loves it. We have Verizon and are trying to get away from the contracts and high pricing. His phone is 1/5 what we pay for 2! When his phone quit working for who knows why 2 yrs ago we called the company and they sent out a replacement free of charge. I love that every time I call I get a person I can understand and I don’t have to be on hold forever. Now my husband wants a new phone and I’m telling him ‘Look at consumer cellular first!’
    1. We have reached out on multiple occasions to Consumer Cellular Service Supervisors, have sent 2 letters to John Marick, the CEO of Consumer Cellular, and Greg Pryor, the COO of Consumer Cellular to resolve a very serious matter amicably regarding two defective phones that presented my 72 year old husband to be without a working cell phone. On February 2019, my husband and I purchased a Doro phone at Best Buy through the Consumer Cellular offer. A week after we purchased the phone, we noticed the keys were sticking and adding additional numbers. This was frustrating and annoying, but we dealt with it. In September 2019, the keys were still sticking adding additional numbers, and we began to experience additional problems with the Doro phone – we were not able to access voicemail, and the outside display screen became a tie die of black and white and no longer displaying the caller’s phone number. We telephoned the Consumer Cellular customer service in August 2019 and described the issues we were having. They walked us through a series of trouble shooting with no luck. We were told that Consumer Cellular no longer dealt with Best Buy and we would need to wait two weeks for a Consumer Cellular rep to call us back regarding our one-year warranty. We waited two weeks and with no follow up from a Consumer Cellular rep, we telephoned back and for the second time a supervisor walked us through a series of trouble shooting with no luck. Phil, a Consumer Cellular supervisor stated he would submit a warranty replacement and we would receive our phone in one week. A few days later we received a voicemail from a Consumer Cellular rep that stated they needed to trouble shoot again for the third time before submitting the warranty. Brian, a Consumer Cellular supervisor finally agreed to ship us out a new phone. When we asked why the phone had not been shipped as promised by Phil, we were told Phil didn’t process the claim correctly. When we received the new phone on September 30, 2019 within hours none of the keys would work and my husband was not able to call out or receive calls. We telephoned customer service who walked us through trouble shooting steps and the phone started to work again by taking the battery out. When we asked for a replacement due to the phone being defective within hours after receiving it, the phone rep informed us that we would not have any additional problems and they could not replace the defective phone. The very next day, the keys on the phone were not working again and my husband was without a phone as he couldn’t receive calls or call out. When I returned home from work, we were both so upset, we immediately telephoned Consumer Cellular and they walked us through a series of trouble shooting steps again and stated we’d have to call back in two weeks. We started the process all over again of trouble shooting on multiple calls, being promised a phone was being shipped out, only to call back and be told a second time the Supervisor had not processed the claim correctly and they would need to trouble shoot again. Since receiving the 2nd defective Doro phone on September 30, 2019, my husband has to take the battery out multiple times a day for the phone to work. We had hope writing to the CEO and COO would have reviewed this matter and resolved the issue quickly, but we have not heard from the corporate headquarters. It’s pretty obvious that the phone warranty and Consumer Cellular’s Customer Service guarantee are not being honored by their company’s actions and procedures which put senior citizens in danger without a phone. We also found alarming that multiple Consumer Cellular Supervisor’s were very aware of issues with the Doro phone and stated that on the phone call. Consumer Cellular’s process that requires repeated trouble shooting multiple times over multiple days leaving a senior citizen without a working phone is very unsafe, unprincipled, and dishonorable. The only way Consumer Cellular would honor the phone warranty was for Consumer Cellular to ship us out a new (defective) phone, make us wait weeks through a trouble shooting processes, and then fraudulently claim the original phone had internal damage and charge us $50.00 for a 2nd defective phone that they will not allow us to ship back to them for a refund. We took pictures of our original Doro phone that had no signs of damage externally and even the white tab to detect water damage was in perfect shape. Consumer Cellular’s monthly charge is the most economical within our limited budget. However, we are so very upset with the way we have been treated by Consumer Cellular. We wanted to resolve this matter with them amicable if possible. Obviously, every senior citizen needs a reliable working phone for emergency reasons. We are between a rock and a hard place, we’re stuck with a 2nd defective phone, and Consumer Cellular will not work with us.
  10. Predatory billing and bill creep. Watch your billing carefully, folks! With Consumer Cellular, if you go over your data they bump you up to the next tier, and you have to take time to drop it back down by phone or online to get your (somewhat) low price again. Often, because of how the billing cycles work , they won’t let you drop your data and you get locked into paying for far more than you want to. When you get fed up and cancel service to join a cheaper unlimited plan from a big 3 competitor, they will bill your card -even if you specifically request that they remove it from your account and not bill it, Ever-, because they send an email after the call that says they’re billing you anyway.
    1. what you describe is NOT predatory billing. very unfair review. you don’t seem to understand how cell phone services work. try going over your data allowance with Verizon for example… you’ll be charged $15 PER GIG! frankly, the fact that Consumer Cellular will automatically upgrade you with no overage charges and not require you to even stay on that plan is a nice feature. good luck with your new carrier… don’t be surprised to see a significant increase in your monthly bill.
    2. This information is specified on their site and is not kept secret. I’d rather pay $10 more if I go over, rather than a large bill like other companies. Their data charges are very reasonable in my opinion.
  11. I bought an ALLY device in November for my neighbor, I bought it through Consumer Cellular, it has NEVER worked. I have called Consumer Cellular over a dozen times about this device, I still do not have the problem resolved. It has come to the point where I have written a letter to Consumer Corporate headquarters. I am enclosing the letter at the bottom of this page. Dear Sirs. I have been a customer of Consumer Cellular since about 2012. I have always considered Consumer Cellular a very good company and have recommended it to many of my customers. I have five phones on my account. All work good with not problems. In the past every time I have contacted Consumer Cellular I have had the problem fixed rapidly. Recently I purchased an ALLY device for my elderly neighbors, the man has had a stroke, and cannot talk well. He has also lost most of the use of his right arm and leg. His wife trusted me to buy this ALLY device for him. I purchased the first device in 2016 and I purchased this device in November 2018 to replace the first device. The device is supposed to alert the monitoring company when he either falls or pushes the button. My neighbor fell on March 20th 2019, the device did not work. I called the monitoring company and they told me the device had never been activated. I gave them all of the information including the IME no and they had no record of the device. I finally got the device activated but it only worked one day before it quit. I have called Consumer Cellular several times and have been given all kinds of excuses as to why I cannot get my device replaced or my money refunded. I even bought the warranty on the device, But since it is still under warranty from Consumer Cellular it is not their responsibility yet. This morning a man Named Chester called me and left a no. to call him back on voice mail I called twice, first time it hung up on me after 8 minutes, and second time I hung up on CC after 23 minutes of waiting on hold. I talked to a representative this morning named Lindsey who promised to call me back in 24 hours to see if I can get any portion of the money I paid $141.04 for the device and I am paying $29.00 a month for no service whatsoever. I need to have some kind of refund. What is amounts to is that an 80 year old couple have paid $368.00 for something they have never been able to use. I would like to know who I can talk to that can solve this situation for me.
      1. Consumer Cellular is a rip off. I purchased 2 phones, one for my wife and one for me. I can turn these phones on side by side but only my phone will get a signal. Her phone needs to be rebooted 3 or 4 times before it gets a signal and is constantly searching for a signal. I have called Consumer Cellular 5 times about this problem. They tried to boost the signal to no avail. I called them back and told them to replace the phone. The rep said he would. The next day I get a call from Consumer Cellular that they will not replace the phone but wanted me at my expense to replace the SMS card to be sure it wasn’t that. I asked to talk to a supervisor but he wouldn’t do anything either. I called the insurance company that I insured the phones with but they refuse to fix an on going problem. Needless to say, I cancelled the insurance and I am currently seeking another carrier. Consumer Cellular sucks ass and I do not recommend them to anyone. They will be receiving their faulty phones back very soon. If it sounds to good to be true than it probably is. Consumer Cellular are liars and cheats. St eer clear of them.
  12. The last actual “review” by a purchaser was March 2017. Has anybody purchased and used the system since that time. I’m considering it because it would be way cheaper than what I have now (except for the $150 charge for the equipment) but I got burned on a Great Call system in 2016 and am reluctant to get burned again.
    1. I bought mine this summer (2018) after taking a minor fall and fearing a repeat performance. I get billed directly by consumer Cellular with my phone bill, The system works well, operators are friendly, The fall protection works, I accidentally jarred the device while sitting down once and it called the operator. I did a lot of research before buying this unit I am pleased with it, I feel secure with it and I doubt superior service is available for the price. I hope this helps.
      1. Today is 2/21/19 & mine has been working but this morning is just red light only? Will be calling them later to make sure they are still in business. I had 2 calls(accidentally) this week & it called them & they immediately called me to make sure I was alright. If they discontinued I will really be disappointed.
    2. I’ve had the Ally for years & love it am grateful to have it. It will call them if it appears you fall which is amazing & helpful when you live alone. The first one I had worked great for years. I had fallen at home when alone. Thank God my son happened to be here that day. I fell in bathroom, fractured femur & hip. Would have died here alone with my little dogs if son wasn’t here. Had 6 surgeries, etc. My adult children wanted me to go in assisted living as I have difficult walking & usually use wheelchair/ But I refuse to leave my home so decided to try Ally. And as I said love it.
  13. That does it. I was ready to send for one of these gadgets and then my daughter suggested I get more information and I latch into this link. Totally against buying one. If something happens while I’m trying to resolve these problems and die, they will get my money without a care. No thanks!
  14. Does Ally come with a lock box? What happens when EMS people get to the house and the doors are all locked?
    1. I know this is an older post, and not sure about all locations, but where my Mothers lives here in Michigan we had to contact our local Fire/rescue department to have a lock box installed on her home. They came out and installed it to her front entry door knob for free. Being the fire department is dispatched for all medical emergencies (including when her alert is activated) they will be the first to arrive and open their lock box (where her house key is located) to access the residence. So this is something you would do, not the medical monitoring service.
  15. I have ben told on two different occasions that IT would call us to resolve problem with my mother’s new Ally,; no call received yet.
  16. same problem as already reported.. the response center VRI had 3 IT tickets to activate my unit and never did. My first unit was defective, and returned. My replacement unit would not give out my information to the response ctr. as a Unknown Caller. Now I’m told by Consumer Cell that my unit was not activated. I’m not going to purchase another unit with these problems. Seems that Consumer Cell & the response Ctr are not able to work together to make the item work. Total lack of communication between the company. It’s a good device, but beware. It will cause a lot of issues trying to get it to work, and forget about any support. You won’t get it without back & forth calls which in this case. Item is being returned. Consumer Cell is really good for the phones, but the support on this unit is not available.
  17. Anxious to see an update from a current user of Ally. I need this type of device and would like to purchase but only if it is trouble free. Do you know who runs the call center for this and their qualifications/track record? Anxious to see replies.
  18. Purchased ally which never worked. Recieved msg that the IT people knew about it would call back. Never did. After calls back and forth it was determined that it should be sent back. Waited a week for return label. Called Consumer cellular back they said no they had not sent it yet. Meanwhile, billing took the $23.75 for the use of this dead ally. Got a call from them (again) saying they were unable to return the money for the month we paid for. It was not in there system. So not only am i out the $24 bucks, I havent got a return label yet. But my disabled partner is still out a call button and so far $158 for the button itself! Not one bit happy.
      1. WOW, that doesn’t sound like Consumer Cellular. This must be a third party product. You need to be sure Consumer Cellular administration hears about this. I won’t buy one until I see better reviews now.
        1. I agree that this is VERY unlike Consumer Cellular. They have the best customer service out there (all Americans, all the time–no language barrier). I would push for a refund/credit for the unused time. They are a very fair company in our years with them. I am thinking of getting an Ally for my 87 year old mother who falls regularly (sometimes knocking herself unconscious), and she lives alone at least part of the time but wouldn’t go into a care facility if it were the last thing she did. Thanks for the post, and hang in there. Be persistent. Ask for a supervisor if you need to. They will make it right.
          1. Let me know if this was resolved and how effective the Ally is. I’m having foot surgery soon and live alone. I want a medical device. I am already a Consumer Cellular customer. Please update the information if possible.
        2. I was not told by the sales clerk the Doro needed to be turned off at night or the keys would freeze up. I had not been turning it off as I did once and it would not come back on. I don’t have the strength to remove the back as that’s what he did when I went to Target something with the battery. When I went yesterday he said keys were probably fried because of me keeping it on. I asked him why he did not tell me this when I purchased and he said it’s probably in the paperwork somewhere. Not very supportive service for a 75 year old senior. I now worry if it will come on should I have an emergency. Is this a safe phone for a senior?

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