T-Mobile Demands $1,100 From Defrauded Customer

T-Mobile is demanding that reader Motoko, a victim of fraud, immediately pay $1,100 before she can port her number to rival Sprint. Last month, Motoko discovered erroneous charges on her bill totaling $1,766; T-Mobile readily admitted that the charges were fraudulent, and told the BBB and Consumerist that Motoko would receive an immediate refund. Instead of a refund, T-Mobile sent Motoko’s another bill and suspended her service. Now, almost a full month after T-Mobile’s PR henchmen at Waggener Edstrom claimed that the company had provided a “satisfactory resolution,” Motoko checked in with another update:

T-Mobile has only given me a partial amount of the credit they promised me in the BBB response. I’ve only gotten $454 back out of the $1,766. Their new response on the BBB website states that my October bill will reflect the full reimbursement of my credit. Unfortunately, the October bill is still $1,100+ and it shows that the second fraudulent line is still active.

Because I’ve refused to pay the incorrect bill, T-Mobile once again suspended my cell service on Friday. As a result, I have been unable to port my number over to Sprint due to the suspension. Once again, I am out of cell service as a result of T-Mobile’s negligence. I am honestly baffled by this. T-Mobile has already expressly stated in writing that there was fraud on my account, that the fraudulent line has been suspended after an investigation, and that I was to receive a credit of $1,766. Absolutely none of that has been done. Now my cell number is being held hostage until I pay up a $1,100 bill that T-Mobile knows and admits was fraudulent. I don’t understand what I have to do to get these people to fix something. It seems like nothing short of a lawsuit will get things done at this point. If you have any suggestions, please let me know, I’d greatly appreciate it.

This is the newest BBB response, they’re asking this complaint be closed despite not having done anything to fix this problem:

October 17, 2007
Re: Motoko Your Case No. 22xxxxxx
T-Mobile Account No. xxxxxxxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

T-Mobile USA, Inc. ( ” T-Mobile ” ) is in receipt of your letter, dated October 5, 2007, regarding Motoko’ s above-referenced account. As stated in previous correspondence dated September 21, 2007, T-Mobile placed credits on Motoko’ s account totaling $1,766.10. The credits will be reflected on the October 2007 billing statement. On September 25, 2007, T-Mobile refunded the revised credit balance of $454.45 by check as requested by Motoko. T-Mobile regrets any inconveniences this matter may have caused Motoko. Based upon the foregoing, we respectfully request that this complaint against T-Mobile be closed. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address listed below or at 877-290-6323, extension 8043.

Very truly yours,

T-MOBILE USA, INC.
Jason Cook Executive Customer Relations
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
PO Box 37380
Albuquerque, NM 87176

PREVIOUSLY: Your Bill Looks Fraudulent. Pay It Anyway
T-Mobile’s Satisfactory Resolution: Cut The Phone Line, Refuse To Refund $1,766 In Erroneous Charges

(Photo: NYCviaRachel)

Comments

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  1. consumerist11211 says:

    I suggest filing a lawsuit, that should sort it out quickly.

  2. hypnotik_jello says:

    Telcos suck. I guess the question is really which sucks the least.

  3. humphrmi says:

    It sounds like someone in T-Mobile Exec Customer Service, who is probably reading this blog, needs to go knock some heads around in accounting. Don’t wait, do it now. You lose credibility every time one of these stories about Motoko is posted.

  4. Pfluffy says:

    Did I read on this blog several weeks ago that anyone who tries to collect a false amount or money not truly owed by mailing a bill through USPS is committing mail fraud?

    First I’d try to confirm that information and then go scream in my Attorney General’s ear.

  5. jamar0303 says:

    Great- now every big US carrier is guilty of something or other. At least there’s Alltel, Cricket, Helio, and such… I hope.

  6. cryrevolution says:

    @Pfluffy: Well, her account was also suspended as well as receiving that bill. So TMobile fully intends to keep pestering her to pay, even though they already called fraud on the acct., and said they would give her a refund. I agree with consumerist11211…it looks like TMobile is just not going to get it, so I would file a lawsuit in small claims court. Good luck, Motoko.

  7. TMurphy says:

    Is there anything that can be done about T-Mobile’s outright lying in the BBB report? It would be nice if there could be a nice big fine for doing that, but something tells me that will never become the case. I am curious how much of the “refunded the revised credit balance of $454.45 by check as requested” is a lie too (I would think the by check part might be the only truth in it).

    It seems that a lawsuit might be the fastest solution (based on what I know about this stuff, my opinion is worthless, though); it should be easy to collect the documents showing that T-Mobile said they would send a refund, and documents showing that you never got it. I would think that they are at least smart enough to offer a settlement. I guess the question would be whether you just go for the billed amount, or if you push for more due to damages, and since they deserve it.

  8. Buran says:

    Sue in small claims, go to your state AG as well. Involving lawyers will get something done. If they don’t fix this up for you, refuse to pay and check your credit report (maybe even file a statement with the bureaus) to make sure you don’t get a black mark for refusing to pay for fraudulent charges.

    Oh, and don’t pay up to keep your number if all that doesn’t work. It’s not worth it.

  9. iEddie says:

    You could possibly pay the bill on a credit card, port your number to Sprint, and then dispute the charge on the card.

    There’s also no law against lying to the BBB.

    I hate PR henchmen.

  10. cryrevolution says:

    @iEddie: A lot of times that doesn’t work with CC companies, as sometimes paying would mean you accept the charges. I would call the CC company first & let them know the situation & they can probably suggest something either way. Or sue the hell outta TMobile. :)

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    This is the newest BBB response, they’re asking this complaint be closed despite not having done anything to fix this problem:

    Which goes to show you that as a consumer agency the BBB are just glorified record keepers. Just use them to figure out who NOT to do business with, and to lodge a complaint to warn future customers.

    I agree with Buran… it’s time to take it to court.

  12. TechnoDestructo says:

    Maybe they sent the check to the people who committed the fraud in the first place?

  13. azntg says:

    See if you can get the local media involved, for some more publicity hit. Then all else fails, take it to small claims court for compensation. Enough’s enough.

    The BBB is useless for disputes. You can put something so that people who actually browse through the BBB’s site can see the red flags, but they aren’t going to do jack for your problems.

  14. Left hand not seeing what the right hand is doing… Classic…

  15. iEddie says:

    @cryrevolution: I thought there was a law in place that would force them to investigate the dispute? If you tell the CC company the charges are unauthorized then I believe they *have* to remove it. Am I correct?

  16. itsame says:

    Answers Simple.
    Get the number to one of their CEO’s and call them.
    CEO’s HATE receiving calls from their customers, but they care in that you’re a possible deduction from their wallet.
    Heres a little story about time warner. They dicked me around for 5 days, made me take 2 days off, and failed to show up for installation on a total of 7 seperate scheduled visits.
    Furious, I called their corporate line at 5:30.
    by 7 o clock, I had 5 SEPERATE technicians at my house.They just rolled in 1 after the other, and were affiliated with eachother in no way. The techs told me they recieved the equivalent of an “All points” bulletin, promising OT to anyone who would take the call, and demanding that someone arrive to install my cable.
    Getting the number? use the internet. Check your stocks if you can. It’ll work

  17. boxjockey68 says:

    What is wrong with these arrogant companies? I used to have T-Mobile…..I was never impressed with them but now I wouldn’t use them if they were the last service available.

  18. tadowguy says:

    @IEDDIE: The CC company sorta “suspends” the charges until the situation is investigated. However in this case T-Mobile is also holding the person’s number hostage. If I were Motoko, I would just get a new number. After a couple months of no service on that number anyway, they’ve probably already had to tell everyone they know that their phone service is dead.

  19. Jean Naimard says:

    It is amazing that, even though the BBB has been exposed numerous times as being croporate shills, people **STILL** insist upon complaining to those dopes…

  20. Crazytree says:

    no need to file a lawsuit.

    send them a Fair Credit Billing Act letter like YESTERDAY.

  21. cryrevolution says:

    @iEddie: Well, when I worked for disputes in Chase, they’ll investigate, but for the most part if you give the company your cc number & TMobile can somehow prove it was you that authorized the payment, its up in the air. Unauthorized meant (when I was there) usually that someone fraudently (sp?) used your credit card or number without your permission. Even unauthorized is investigated. So, for this situation I would assume the best action would be to continue disputing this with TMobile…and court. Or, get a higher up on this, like ITSAME commented.

  22. razrbruce says:

    Forget the BBB and small claims court. This has gone far enought to now include a claim for mental anguish and harassment. Find a lawyer who will take the case on contingency and structure the fee at 40% of the sum received over and above the already agreed to be paid ($1766).

    A claim for $100,000 or more will get their attention.

  23. n/a says:

    @jamar0303:

    Avoid Helio, the guy who runs the company is a scientologist who happens to own Earthlink.

  24. Antediluvian says:

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address listed below or at 877-290-6323, extension 8043.

    Very truly yours,

    T-MOBILE USA, INC.
    Jason Cook Executive Customer Relations

    Hey Jason — I have a question. How come T-Mobile is being so dickish?

  25. nealibob says:

    “…once a consumer has requested service from a new carrier, the old carrier may not delay or refuse to port a number even if that individual owes money for an outstanding balance or termination fee.”

    I agree that this should be brought up to other authorities, but the real WTF is that the port is being blocked.

    from [www.fcc.gov]

  26. vex says:

    Can she even file a lawsuit? Isn’t she bound by a MANDATORY ARBITRATION CLAUSE?

  27. jawacg says:

    Here, see if you can get a contact number or e-mail addy for Sue Nokes. Check out the article for more.

    [money.cnn.com]

  28. loueloui says:

    This really doesn’t surprise me. T-Mobile customer service is on par with Sprint, which is tied with Kim Jong-Il in concern for customer satisfaction.

    My just weeks old Blackberry crapped out, and they sent me a defective replacement, followed by another defective replacement. Their response was that they could replace my practically brand new $400 phone with a far less expensive, and incompatible model, or I could buy another one at full price. Great!

    After explaining that I was not an idiot, and wouldn’t accept their offer, they had me stop by a store to ‘check out’ my phone. The first address they gave me was actually for a Cingular store, a competitor. The second address was a kiosk in a mall which was staffed by an 18 year old kid, and did not have or sell any Blackberries.

  29. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Not trying to say “I told you so” or anything, but this cannot happen to me because I have prepaid service. I think what we should all be trying to do is to move to a safer prepaid model that allows us to purchase just what we expect to use. That is, to the extent we should be accepting any level of service lower than unlimited calling in and calling out for a set monthly fee.

  30. hollerhither says:

    I should know this, but are cell phones considered a utility, like land lines? There is, or at least used to be, a consumer affairs division in some states that functions like an ombudsman between the consumer and the utility offices. After experiencing chronic phone problems, I wrote a letter to the NY office and within days I had a call from the teleco’s corporate office and the problem was finally resolved. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the division, but it shouldn’t be too hard to track down. Or, as others have mentioned, I would go to the AG. Good luck.

  31. bufftbone says:

    LAWSUIT!!!

  32. fr33dom101 says:

    T-Mobile did this to me as well. They charged me over $1200 for “mobile-to-mobile” calls and when I complained, they dropped it down to $800 and wouldn’t budge from there. It took me over 2 years to get them to drop it down to $200 at which point I just paid them to make them go away. Not that what I have now is any better…just last week ATT sold me a dead phone ($300+ HTC Tilt) and wouldn’t replace it.