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T-Mobile and the cost of bad customer service

December 5, 2011

If the social media revolution has done one thing, it has made customer service critical to an enterprise. From Jeff Jarvis writing about his exploding computer to United Breaks Guitars, we don’t get mad about the act, we get mad at the customer service that surrounds the act.

Case in point: I recently moved from a city to a small town. In the small town, I don’t get service with my T-Mobile phone.

No worries.

The only reason I went with  T-Mobile was they had the first NEXUS Google phone. And I really wanted that. In the almost 2 years I’ve been with T-Mobile, they have been excellent. There have been a couple of times when the phone didn’t work – due to coverage issues, but for the most part, they fulfilled their part of the contract.

When I moved, they stopped fulfilling their part of the contract. So I sought to end our relationship.

The customer service guy, we’ll call him Tony, took my call. He asked me the nature of my call.

I have moved to a place that doesn’t get coverage and need to cancel my phone, I said, naively expecting that to be it.

“Can you tell me where you live?” Tony asked.

Not sure why it mattered, I asked.

“I’m here to help you continue to use your phone.” Tony said, earnestly.

“But my phone doesn’t get service. It doesn’t work.” I pointed out.

“Do you have wifi at home and work?” He asked.

I told him I did.

“So your phone works there, correct?” Tony pointed out smugly. Okay, I only picture him with a smug look on his face.

I was taken aback. Was he really telling my that my wifi enabled phone works in spite of their service because I happen to pay for Internet access at home and get it at work? Was he really making the argument that my phone was still worth paying full price at T-Mobile because of wifi?

Turns out, when I signed on with T-Mobile, I signed a piece of paper that said if I moved to a place without service – it was tough cookies for me.

In essence, I would have to pay a termination fee for breaking a contract that T-Mobile was no longer living up to.

And that’s the risk of social media. Ten years ago, you could have a policy that seems to be designed to piss off customers, because no one really cared about pissing off a few customers.

Things have changed.

If we could have split ways today on amicable terms that would be the end of it. I would even say T-Mobile is a good company.

Now they’ve created an enemy.

And for what? A $200 cancellation fee.

If I make one person think twice about T-Mobile – they lose money. If I make 2 people pick another company, they lose massive amounts of money.

Bad customer service is never worth it. Why do big companies persist in it?

Your turn. What are your horror stories? Bonus points if they are T-Mobile horror stories.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Alicia Giafaglione permalink
    December 7, 2011 6:42 pm

    I too have had a terrible time with t mobile. i recently called them to set up a payment agreement and after being set up , my services were erroneously cancelled. When I called to complain and seek an answer to why they had done this , they told me that I had called to cancel services. i told them that I had not. They were unable to verbalize anything further. Then I asked how I would be compensated for the amount of time that my services were off ( about 1 day ) and was told that although I hadn’t received services that I would still need to pay for them. As if this wasn’t bad enough, several days later after realizing that the funds agreed upon for payment had not posted to my bank account, I called my bank to check and see if the check had even presented for payment and was told “No”. I called T mobile upon 5 different occassions about this to find out what had happened ( knowing full well that somehow they had bungled the agreement – as this same thing has happened to me in the past) and was consistently told that they had already received payment and could not help me in anyway. When I continuously explained that this was impossible as the funds had never left my account I was continuously confronted with CS persons who had no clue what I was talking about and even less of an idea or desire to work the problem out . i really felt as though I were speaking a completely different language and the only phrase they knew was “I am very sorry that you are frustrated”. Beyond that they could not communicate with me on any verbal intelligible level. I am not just waiting for them to terminate services once agin and can not do anything to prevent this frustrating situation from happening. it is truly frightening to know that such incompetent persons have any dealings with others funds or services in any way.

  2. December 8, 2011 8:55 am

    Thanks for your comments. Sounds like you’re having a worse time than me.

  3. December 8, 2011 7:44 pm

    Thanks for the comment. I’m amazed at how bad they are.

  4. January 10, 2012 5:19 pm

    I have also had terrible service with t-mobile. Approximately one month ago I received a courtesy phone call from T-mobile informing me they could upgrade my account from pre-paid to regular account. The woman, whom barely spoke English, explained to me that the new plan would be unlimited talk, text and web. She explained to me in detail that with the web I would receive 200mb of data at regular speed and after the initial 200mb my speed would slow. It sounded like a wonderful deal so I agreed to change my account. Today I received another courtesy phone call. The woman told me I had gone over my 200mb of data and now I owed them $10 in overage charges. I explained to the associate that the woman who had originally changed over my plan had told me that I had unlimited internet. This associate told me she was sorry about that and that she could change my plan to an unlimited web plan… FOR AN ADDITIONAL 20 DOLLARS! I declined and told her that I would just like to have the ten dollars of overage charges taken off and have a block put on my internet. Then this associate told me she COULDN’T take off the charges. Even though the woman who changed over my plan had a VERBAL AGREEMENT with me. I ask to speak to her supervisor. I was on hold for TWENTY MINUTES and then they HUNG UP on me. Needless to say I called back and talked to another associate. This associate told me she could also not take off the $10 dollars and that she could change my plan over to $20 a month. Which I declined AGAIN. I tell her I am so upset with the service that I am thinking about canceling my plan. Excuse the language. THIS BITCH HAS THE AUDACITY TO SAY SHE WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO TRANSFER ME TO CANCELLATION!!!!!! So to top off the horrible service T-mobile would rather lose my business than take of a $10 dollar charge! At this point I am LIVID and start to curse the lady out. Then she tells ME to be professional! After I have been hung up on transferred all over the place and blatantly ignored I have to be professional?!?! Are you effing serious? So I ask to speak to her supervisor. I am on hold for another five minutes for her to tell me her supervisor is busy ( talking to other pissed off customers I’m sure) and he will call me back. IN TWENTY FOUR HOURS! Ridiculous! I have worked in retail for five years and I can tell you with complete certainty if I ever did this I would be out of a job faster than I could say “soup kitchen”. I would rather use a tin can and string to communicate than deal with these A-holes for one more minute!

  5. May 17, 2012 8:49 am

    I just sent you my story, on video. Feel free to embed it here, if the comments allow the code. Otherwise you can just update the post.

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