4/24/2009

Democracy Now's Credo Mobile Scam


"The cell phone company that calls for Karl Rove's arrest!" A "progressive" company. "Socially responsible". It all sounds great, right?

Supposedly, they stood up to the big bad government during the wiretapping push by the Bushies and supposedly they're a nice liberal company all for social justice and progressive issues. At least that's what the pitch is from Democracy NOW via an ad for a company called Credo Mobile which used to be Working Assets long distance until they figured out no one uses long distance in the age of VOIP and cellphones.

So, we checked into this socially progressive company who believes in privacy and standing up for the little guy in these tough times.

Turns out it's not what it seems to be. After entering all your information and being presented with all the pitches about the company and how progressive they are, they quickly ask for your Social Security number so they can run an "industry standard" credit check. Oops! So much for the whole privacy thing and being socially responsible. After all, as any true liberal would tell you, the SSN is supposed to only be used to identify you to the Social Security Administration and not as your personal ID for corporate dossiers that include almost every detail about your life since birth.

In today's economic climate people have seen their credit scores drop along with the stock market. Job losses, lack of medical insurance, and loss of homes to the mortgage crisis have all conspired to hit folks in the pocketbook and as a result the much vaunted "credit score" has taken a hit as well.

Socially progressive? Liberal? Standing up for the folks hit hardest by the policies of the right? Standing up for privacy?

Not hardly. Credo Mobile appears to be just another gimmick to help the McMansion liberal set feel better about their white guilt. It's a gimmick pushed by liberal groups who probably are getting kickbacks on new signups. Socially responsible? I don't think so.

It's bad enough to be manipulated by the right, it's even worse to be manipulated by Progressives pushing products or services that only give lip service to those values while continuing to do business as usual.

What's worse, is that Credo Mobile, unlike the other carriers doesn't even offer an option for people to get their service by paying a refundable deposit or offering a "pay-as-you-go" type of plan, thus participating in the "liberal" phone company idea. It's strictly the old style cellphone service operating by the same big business model that the right loves so dearly, complete with contracts, penalties, credit checks, and hidden plan charges. The really progressive thing to do would be to change up their business model and get away from the per minute idea with surcharges and simply charge a monthly fee for service like cable and phone companies do today. Then they could dispense with the need to consult dossiers on private citizens and simply offer an option for automatic credit card or bank billing. THAT would be progressive! Instead, it's the same old Republican model given a fresh coat of paint and lots of liberal catch phrases. After all, they charge for extra minutes but make no refunds if you don't use the ones in your plan. Does that sound like something that fair minded and honest liberals would do?

After having service with Verizon for years, Credo doesn't think my credit is good enough for their Liberal Phones because the cost of an organ transplant wrecked my credit for the forseeable future. The "progressive" thing to do would be to look at people and their situations first rather than simply prying into their finances with automated software and dismissing them out of hand. In fact, their business model sounds exactly like something the right wing would do. Credo, the "socially responsible" company cares so little about people that they simply throw up an alert screen telling you you're not worthy of their "liberal" company. My, how Republican of them!

My advice? Give Credo Mobile and this latest moneymaker from a liberal website a pass. It's a right wing business in Progressive clothing and to me that's way worse than a right wing business who is honest about what they are and how they do business. So, Verizon will still be getting our money every month as they have for over a decade and their contributions to right wing politicians will wipe out the quarter that Credo contributes here or there to maintain its claim as a "Progressive" company. Too bad.

BTW: That big "contribution" to liberal causes? It's a whopping 1% of your bill. In our case that would be 47 cents. I'll remember to drop that by to my local GLBT community center each month. Heck, I'll do Credo one better and round it up to 50 cents!

I also tried to find out how much Laura Scher their CEO was pulling down yearly as the darling of the "anti-greed, socially responsible" crowd. Interestingly, I can't find it listed anywhere. Although I did note that her political contributions last year (personally) were almost $39,000. That's down from $73,000 during the 2004 election cycle. Guess she's not worrying about insurance or medical bills.
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