Friday, July 4, 2008

Declaration of Mobile Contract Independence

I've been waiting for the end of my current mobile contract to get a new phone. Now that the second version of the iPhone is on its way, I decided to call my provider a couple of weeks ago to find out exactly when my contract is up.

Symbolically, my contract expired at midnight on July 3rd... meaning that the 4th of July is my Mobile Phone Contract Independence Day.

In that light, I thought it would be appropriate to lightly rewrite our great country's Declaration of Independence and declare my independence from a tyrannical Mobile Contract:

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Declaration of Mobile Contract Independence

In My Loft, July 4, 2008.
The curmudgeonly Declaration of Bob West,

When in the course of Mobile Communication, it becomes necessary for a Wireless Phone Customer to dissolve the Contractual Bands which have connected them with a Provider, and to assume among the Powers of Technology, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Physics and of Rollover Minutes entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mobile Customers requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

I hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Mobile Phone Users are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Long Battery Life, Liberty to Roam, and the pursuit of Cool.

That to secure these rights, Services are instituted among Consumers, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Subscribed.

That whenever any Contract with a Wireless Operator becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the Customer to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Contract, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Reception and Happiness. Prudence indeed, will dictate that Operators long established should not be changed for light and transient Outages; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Callers are more disposed to suffer, while occasional Dropped Calls are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Contracts to which they are signatory. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Wireless Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Mobile Operators, and to acquire new and hipper Handsets for their future Use.

Such has been the patient Sufferance of this Customer; and such is now the Necessity which constrains him to alter his former Systems of Mobile Service. The History of the Present Mobile Provider is a History of $200 cancellation Fees and Refusals to Budge, having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over this Customer. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to a candid World.

It has refused its Assent to Contract Cancellation, most wholesome and necessary for the Customer's Financial Good and Self-Esteem.

It has forbidden its Customer Service Reps to waive the $200 cancellation Fee, unless waived as part of a Service Renewal or Upsell obtained; and when so waived, it has utterly neglected to offer a sufficient handset upgrade, instead thrusting upon the Consumer wimpy, dorky-looking chunks of outdated electronics.

It has refused to provide others dissolution of contractual bonds; unless those People would relinquish 200 Bucks, a Sum inestimable to them, and formidable to a Customer's Cash Flow.

It has cobbled together a network of Cell Towers at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the places this customer frequents, for the sole Purpose of appeasing a few crotchety retirees in Beverly Hills.

It has dropped Calls in Korea Town repeatedly, opposing with weakness of signal the Rights of the People to talk and text from Olympic Boulevard.

It has refused for a long Time, after such Dropped calls, to put up new Towers; the Customer remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Irritations of talking to One's Self, and Deciding Whether to Call Back.

It has obstructed the Advancement of Customers' Reputations as being hip and cool, by failing to establish a Contract with Apple for the provision of a subsidized iPhone, locked or otherwise.

It has made Customers dependent on their Service alone, for the Term of their Contracts, and for the Amount and Payment of their monthly Bills.

It has erected a Multitude of new Towers, while somehow ignoring dead spots.

It has kept us using, in Times of iPhone buzz, a Samsung Clam Shell with a clunky Interface and no Photo Caller ID, without the consent of the User.

It has affected to render its Contract Enforcement Division independent of and superior to the Customer Base.

It has combined with its Lawyers to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by a customary Service Agreement; giving rise to their Acts of pretended Benefit:

For protecting themselves, by a Contract Clause, from Punishment for any Service Interruptions which they should commit on the Users of these Services:

For cutting off or rendering unintelligible our Calls with all Parts of the World:

For imposing mysterious Fees on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Groovy New Technology:

For transporting Customer Service beyond the Seas to be staffed by overly-cheery night owls with thick accents:

For abolishing the free System of Competition among Service Providers, establishing therein an arbitrary Contract Term, and refusing to Pro-Rate, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule in these Service Areas:

For taking away our Freedom to Choose, abolishing our ability to order an iPhone, and thus altering fundamentally our willingness to answer a call in front of Others:

For suspending our contractual Habeas Corpus, and declaring themselves invested with Powers to tell us when we are allowed to upgrade.

It has abdicated Responsibility, by declaring our situation out of their hands and waging psychological War against us.

It has plundered our bank account, ravaged our hearing, fried our brain cells, and destroyed the ability of our People to use a Soft Keyboard and pinchy-like Interface Gestures.

It has coerced our fellow Users taken Captive through draconian Contracts to conscript their fellow Countrymen and Women, to become the Jailers of their Friends and Family, or to bankrupt themselves by ridiculously inflated Rates.

It has excited Consumer Insurrections among us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Networks, the merciless Teenage Savages, whose known Rule of Texting, is an undistinguished Destruction, of the English Language as we know it.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated smarmily-presented offers of more-expensive phones and an additional two years of Obligation. A Service, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Corporate Tyrant, is unfit to be the Exclusive Mobile Provider of a free People.

Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our Mobile Overlords. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legal Department to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration from our previous Service and subsequent Signup with them. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Data Connections and Textual Correspondence. They have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Humankind, Enemies at Contract Renewal Time, and in Times of Solid Service, Friends.

I, therefore, a Resident of the United States of America, sitting at my iMac in my Loft in Downtown L.A., appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of my Intentions, do, solemnly Publish and Declare, That this Mobile Service Customer is, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent of his current Service Provider; that I am absolved from all Allegiance to said Provider, and that all contractual Connection between me and my Mobile Operator, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Consumer, I have full Power to stand in an absurdly long Line at an Apple Store, grab an iPhone, sign a new 2-year Contract, wait around while the contraption is activated, and to do all other Acts and Things which Mobile Phone Customers who lust after objects of excellent Industrial Design and Human Interface may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, I pledge to Apple and AT&T my Mobile Life, my auto-debited Checking Account, and the transfer of my sacred Mobile Number.

Signed by ORDER and

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