Eighteen insider consumer tips from ex-Tmobile customer service representatives Christof and Anon. Oh no, we’re not done with that series. Not by a long shot.
1. Pay Attention to overages
If you notice any overages thus far (#646# then send for mins, #674# then send for text) and your bill cycle isn’t over yet, call customer care, ask them to upgrade your minutes/text plan/etc. Tell them to backdate it, if you don’t need the large amount next month (we all have those off, busy months) then downgrade again….
2. Make the reps notate EVERYTHING
First rule with this is going to have to be, make sure they notate EVERYTHING, if you have to, have them read back what they have, especially if you have been offered any sort of deal, supervisors will honor any notated offer when the rep goes to ask (like they will when they realize they cant do it), I’ve seen a lot of crazy deals happen with free phones, offers that didn’t exist, etc, just because reps have messed up and put “offered free blackberry pearl” or something relevant in notes. I’ve also seen reps not backdate text/rateplans properly but because they notated it, I’ve been able to credit the overages.
3. The real retention department kicks in after you’re a customer for 10 months
Once you’ve gone over 10 months of being with t-mobile, you’re eligible to go to the real retention dept, any time before 10 months, you deal with customer care. Again, I’ve seen some crazy deals come from retention, special rate plans, phone deals, etc. (all of which WILL renew your contract, but some of the deals are quite worth it)
4. Don’t call angry
We all get upset at incorrect charges, etc. but chances are if you come on the phone angry or yelling at the rep, you wont get what you want, there have been times I’ve told customers that due to them demanding things from me, and being rude, I wouldn’t waive charges. Honesty helps your case sometimes as well. I was always more willing to help someone who recently changed plans and got overages than someone who repeatedly denied using the minutes calculated or say they never sent a text in their life, when in reality their children used AIM on their phone for a day.
5. 2-Year contracts are for suckers
Quite similar to the Verizon rep’s comments, don’t get 2 year contracts, usually its just a 50$ discount, with t-mobile every 11 months of active service, you get a full discount again. TRUST ME your nokia 6103 will NOT last 2 years. Pay the extra $50 and then you can upgrade in 11 months as opposed to 22. The sales rep will try to talk you out of this, because they get an extra payout for it, but it is not worth it.
6. Call the second you think your phone is lost
For the love of god, call in the second you notice its missing, even if it may be in the car. Why is this? Because you are responsible for all charges up until you called in to suspend it, meaning if someone made 10 calls to Guatemala then you called in, you would have to pay those 10, however if from the time the suspend button is hit and the line fully suspends, you’re in the clear.
If you upgrade your phone in store and decide to return it within the 14 day trial period, make sure that sales rep memoes your account noting the price you paid, when it was returned, and make sure they call Customer Care to undo the contract extension. If you don’t ask, they won’t do it. It’s that simple. Then, if you decide to upgrade later, and the sales rep hasn’t done this, you’re f’d as there is no paper trail to prove you returned your phone and undid the extension. You’ll end up getting hosed on your next upgrade.
8. If you’re looking to activate new service, do it at the end of the month and do it at a slower location.
Sales quotas with T-Mobile are a real bitch, and they have a new focus on “accountability,” meaning if sales reps aren’t meeting their quotas, they can now be fired (one of many reasons why I quit). If you buy your phone towards the end of the month and have a rep who’s desperate for sales, he’ll cut whatever deal he can to close the sale.
9. If the bill payment kiosk in your store is closed, it’s because the sales manager in that store wants reps to offer you a new line of service when you come to pay your bill in person.
Avoid the hard sell and pay your bill online or in a store with a working kiosk.
10. Features are EVERYTHING to a sales rep at T-Mobile.
You are in a much better bargaining position for phone pricing if you’re willing to add on a few features to your account. Then, just go to the website and cancel them.
11.Not happy with your rate plan, and are out of your contract?
Talk to customer care about “preferred” rate plans. They’re a little known secret, and will not be proactively offered to you unless you ask.
12. T-Mobile sales reps are forbidden from saying anything disparaging about any handset in the store.
Do your homework before you go in. Reps know the specs of their phones, but they will not tell you that the RAZR is a hunk of crap, or that the DASH needs to be reset every two months or so.
13. MyFaves is a joke if you have a lot of friends who use T-Mobile.
All reps are aggressively selling MyFaves plans, and most people don’t need them. If you have a lot of friends and family who use T-Mobile, just add the unlimited Mobile-to-Mobile for $6.99 and save yourself some money.
14. Even if you have T-Mobile Web or Unlimited Data service, Instant Messaging programs still use your SMS bucket, and are not part of your unlimited data plan.
15. You are ALWAYS eligible for a mail-in rebate.
Even if the rep discounts your phone down to $0, if there is a mail-in rebate for it, you just have to go to tmobilerebates.com and download the rebate form and send it in.
16. Phone insurance is a total scam.
You pay a $40, $70 or $110 deductible (depending on the model) for replacements, and they won’t replace it in the store. You need to talk to Asurion (the insurance company) and not T-Mobile to get a replacement shipped to you. Once your shipment is confirmed, you’ll need to get a replacement SIM card in the store, and if you’re lucky, they might have a loaner phone for you, but that is extremely unlikely.
17. T-Mobile’s security precautions are a joke.
Put a password on your account that only you know, and make sure Customer Care has a special instruction to verify either that password or a photo ID in store before anyone can access the account. Otherwise, anyone with the last four digits of your SSN has essentially full access to your account.
18. If you see the phone for free on the website, but don’t see the phone in the store, that is a RED FLAG.
It means the phone sucks and they couldn’t unload them in the store (Motorola PEBL, for example).
— BEN POPKEN
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