If you're on one of those smartphone installment plans at major U.S. wireless carriers you're likely to be shafted in the customer service queue and be less satisfied than folks on a contract, according to J.D. Power data.
J.D. Power reported that wireless customer service and satisfaction has taken a hit for customers who have shifted away from subsidy-based plans. AT&T and Verizon have launched equipment installment plans where you pay for a smartphone month-by-month without a two-year contract. These plans were largely launched to combat T-Mobile, which caters to customers without contracts via its "uncarrier" plans.
Apparently, customers who lease a smartphone wait more for support.
- Overall satisfaction among customers leasing smartphones is 15 points lower than those with a service contract.
- When customers with installment plans contact their carrier satisfaction is lower too regardless of channel.
- Customers with installment plans are more likely to contact carriers with questions or issues. Thirty-nine percent of customers with installment plans contacted customers support over the last three months compared to 35 percent with contracts.
- Installment plan customers are also more likely to be transferred and wait 1 minute longer for a problem to be resolved. Installment plan users wait 17.1 minutes vs. 15.9 minutes for contract customers.
- With the shifting landscape in consumer plans, T-Mobile has surged in the customer satisfaction ratings.
Here's the scoreboard.