Checking the mailbox the other day I found an envelope from CREDO Mobile — a company I’ve never heard of before — that has the following question right on the front: Is your cell phone supporting right-wing causes?
I hadn’t thought about it before, but I assumed it probably did seeing as the wife and I currently use AT&T. Mainly because it used to be Cingular until they got bought out and we just hadn’t bothered to look into alternatives yet. I’ve written blog entries critical of AT&T in the past so it’s not like I’m particularly beholden to the company, but the switch was pretty transparent and there haven’t been any developments to piss me off and make me consider switching so we just haven’t done so.
As an interesting aside, the blog entry I linked to is about AT&T’s TOS for their Internet service which, back in 2007, said they could terminate your service if you said anything bad about it. I didn’t use AT&T at the time, but I do today as I have their U-Verse service because the only other alternative here in Ann Arbor is Comcast and I hate the latter more than the former at the moment.
Anyway I open up the letter to find the following:
Dear Fellow Progressive,
ls your mobile phone company supporting right-wing politicians? You might be surprised to know the answer.
AT&T not only contributed the legal maximum to Bush-Cheney, it also recently gave $1 million to the George W. Bush Foundation to help pay for the Bush Presidential Library. AT&T is also the top contributor to the members of the House Tea Party Caucus, a veritable rogue’s gallery of representatives trying to abolish nearly every environmental safety and consumer protection law on the books.
If you’re a customer of Verizon Wireless, you should know they have contributed to Senator Tom Coburn (R—Okla.), who has called for the death penalty for doctors who performs abortions. (See our chart on the back for more examples.)
But the good news is that your cell phone can support the progressive causes you care about. ln fact, at CREDO Mobile we put your cell phone to work for the progressive organizations you help choose!
Now I’d be lying if I tried to claim that this didn’t catch my attention. Sure, on some level I’m aware that AT&T and Verizon contribute heavily to the Republican party for the obvious reason that the Republicans are much more friendly to Big Business™, but I hadn’t really considered the idea of voting with my pocketbook in some way. Hell, I didn’t know it was an option.
So I kept reading:
CREDO Mobile is brought to you by Working Assets. In addition to providing great phone service, we fight tirelessly on our members’ behalf for progressive causes.
Since 1985, CREDO has delivered over $65 million to nonprofit groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Natural Resources Defense Council and Doctors Without Borders. We’re also the only mobile phone company as committed to the planet as you are. We were the first to offset the carbon emissions for every phone we ship and we print our bills on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. In fact, unlike any other phone company, we plant 100 trees for every ton of paper we use.
Plus, we offer everything you’d expect from a first-rate carrier, and switching to our comprehensive service couldn’t be simpler. With CREDO Mobile, you get:*
- Contract buyout credit (up to $200 each for a total of three lines) and your choice of phone
- 25% off your monthly service fee for a year
- Special deals like 1,000 anytime minutes plus 1,000 texts for just $59.99 per month, and our new smartphone powered by Android™, the HTC Hero™ with Google™, for $79.99
- All calls carried on the nationwide Sprint® network, reaching more than 280 million people
- No contract for the first 30 days**
- Free shipping
- Ability to keep your current phone number
- Friendly customer service representatives standing by to answer all your questions
And, of course, you’ll also get the things that only CREDO Mobile can give.
For instance, part of your bill will be donated automatically, at no extra cost to you, to dedicated nonprofit groups you help select. And you”ll be part of our highly effective citizen lobbying program. We’ll send you alerts on issues of urgent concern to the progressive community and provide easy ways to take action.
With a president proving to be more centrist than his campaign promises, and with the clamor ofthe tea party on the rise, we can’t afford to slack in our fight for reform. We can enact a progressive overhaul of this badly damaged nation, but only if we use all of the resources at hand. And that includes our cell phones.
Sound pretty good doesn’t it? Of course that didn’t stop my skeptical nature from raising a few red flags starting with the fact that I’ve never heard of this company before. And, judging from the Google search I did of the company, not a lot of other people have heard of them before either as there are a lot of articles with similar titles to the one I’m writing now. Checking in on some of them gives you a mixed bag of opinions. Some folks say they suck and others say they’re great, but there doesn’t appear to be much of a consensus.
The other red flag that popped up is the fact that they criticize AT&T and Verizon, but not Sprint. You probably noticed in the bullet points that they’re carried on the Sprint network which probably explains why they don’t bash that company. Near as I can figure they’re just reselling Sprint cellphone service and it’s not like Sprint Nextel doesn’t give its fair share of contributions to the Republicans. So the suggestion that this would effectively redirect your money toward progressive causes is slightly misleading. Spring Nextel is still going to get some of your cash and they’ll use part of it to donate to Republicans. Still I suppose some of your money going towards progressive causes is better than none so long as the rates you’re paying aren’t too much higher than they would be if you just signed up for Sprint Nextel service directly.
I’ve been reading through some of the stuff about CREDO I’ve found via Google while typing this up and it sounds like some folks are quite happy with them while others are having various levels of problems. One thing is for sure, there are a lot of Liberals out there who appear to be very eager to support companies that share their progressive values. So much so that one has to wonder if we’re not ripe for abuse by companies who see an opportunity to milk a niche market. Being a natural cynic is why I’m leery of this offer.
So I figured I’d ask you guys if you know anything about this company. Have you used them before? Do you use them now? Are you satisfied with the service? Do they really live up to their promise of supporting progressive causes? Have you heard anything about them that would give you reason not to sign up? Or are you as clueless about them as I am?