T Mobile: Listen To The Most Pointless Customer Service Call Ever

Kapil’s brand new Blackberry arrived with a battery that won’t charge. He wants T-Mobile to exchange it, but he says T-Mobile wants to replace it with a refurbished Blackberry instead of a new model. Kapil is fighting back, but even at the executive support level all he’s found are rude, uncooperative T-Mobile employees who keep saying there’s a process, and that someone will call him back—which never happens. Kapil refused to hang up on the fourth day and demanded to know what happens next after nobody calls back, which seemed to confuse and anger the T-Mobile rep he was speaking with. And for those of you who can’t listen in, we’ve transcribed some of the juiciest parts.


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After a few minutes, the rep grows audibly annoyed with Kapil and tries to get him off the phone:

Your other option is to call customer care.

The reason I’m calling your executive office is because customer service has failed me and they are not helping me, and now you’re telling me that my only recourse is to continue leaving messages but no one is calling me back. I have called every day–

[cutting in] Sir, sir, we took a message this morning. He has 24 hours to give you a call back.

I understand there was a message left this morning–

[talking over him] Okay, so– but–

–but there was also a message left on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week and no one has called me back.

Uh, uh, from the notations in the account I don’t–

So you’re telling me the notes are more accurate than me? Because on this conversation there’s only one person that was part of that initial conversation and… it’s not you. I’m telling you that I’ve called all this week–

[cutting in] I’m telling you nobody from my team, nobody from my team, uh, went into your account.

What if they forgot to leave a note to that effect? Is that my problem?

It doesn’t matter, that’s not how our system works sir. Even if they were in the account and, and, and didn’t leave a note, it still shows there in the account.

So what if I–

[cutting in] At, at this point sir, I’m not going to argue with you. I can give you a phone number. If you need immediate assistance you have customer service to call. Okay?

I have tried–

[overlapping] Do you have any other questions or concerns for me?

I have tried customer service and they have refused to help me, so I called your executive office–

[cutting him off] Well sir, this is your option at this point, sir.

May I speak to a supervisor in your department?

No sir, you’re not calling customer service, you’re calling our executive offices.

This goes on and on like a Beckett play for a while. Eventually Kapil tries a different tactic, and discovers that just because he’s been led to believe he’s speaking to executive customer service, he may have actually been rerouted to regular customer service on his previous calls:

You’re evading my question here. I understand your process, that someone will call me back in 24 hours. I’m asking, if that does not happen, what’s happens next?

Somebody will call you back within 24 hours sir.

(Laughing) Are you a South Park fan at all? The TV show? [silence] Ever seen that TV show?

(Pause) …No.

There’s an episode of South Park where… imagine you’re a character called the Underpants Gnome. And these Underpants Gnomes are stealing everyone’s underpants, and when asked why they’re doing that they put up a sign that says Step #1, collect underpants, Step #2, a bunch of question marks, and Step #3, profit. When you ask them what step #2 is, nobody knows. You’re kind of doing that to me, I’m asking you if this doesn’t happen, if your process doesn’t work the way that it’s supposed to, which it hasn’t for me all week, what is the next step in the process. Like, how do I get past this?

Okay, again I’m telling you, you may have called the corporate office, but more than likely, it looks like from what I can see that you may have gotten transferred back to customer service, okay? As far as our team receiving the call, the first call that was received by our team this week was this morning, okay? So, from that point we have 24 hours to call you back.

But I have somebody on the phone. You’re in the same department.

I’m trying to explain our process sir. Do you understand it or do I have to explain it again?

Twelve minutes in, we find out that the mysterious Pancho—he’s the Godot-like character who’s supposed to call Kapil back—isn’t even someone Kapil has spoken to before, although Jason doesn’t seem to understand or believe that. And at about the 13:30 mark, Jason finally gets upset enough that he reveals that he does have a record that Kapil has called several times before—something he has kept denying knowledge of throughout the call.

It’s really a masterclass in how to pretend to offer customer service while stonewalling a customer. We like to imagine there are posters up around the T-Mobile offices that display our favorite line from Jason: “It’s not a refusal, sir, it’s how our process works.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

Comments

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  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    South Park Reference, ftw!

  2. Caroofikus says:

    Wow.

  3. xserrax says:

    this is exactly why i’m getting rid of t-mobile when my contract is up in July. ICK.

  4. DeafChick says:

    WTF is wrong with Tmobile? What is so hard about exchanging a battery? Give the guy a new battery! Seriously, that’s the only way you’re ever going to “get rid of him”.

  5. cortana says:

    This guy has the patience of a saint. I’d have blown up before the 10 minute mark for sure.

  6. Rachael says:

    I’ve heard horror stories aplenty about T-Mobile. With cellphone companies I imagine you trade one agony for another so there aren’t a lot of improvements between companies, but T-Mobile sounds particularly miserable.

  7. donnie5 says:

    Never had an issue with T-Mobile. They have a 14 day return in which he could return the phone (free of charge, they even pay the shipping) and then reorder a new one. It only takes about 7 days total. I have done it before. I do not usually rag on the consumer, but I think there is an easier way…or he is leaving out the part of the story.

  8. AnonyLawyer says:

    I have to say I have never had a bad customer service experience w/ Tmobile. I’ve been a customer of theirs for years and they cut me deals frequently to keep me.

  9. Namrepus says:

    ANyone here listen to the audio and they both sound like f’n chipmunks?

    Or is this a problem with my webbrowser?

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I just want to thank the Consumerist for posting a transcript. I can’t listen to the audio right now, and I appreciate being able to read part of it.

  11. Zanorfes says:

    Incredible. I was just about switch over to T mobile in a few months once my contract was up with AT&T. I’m going to reconsider.

  12. WingZero987 says:

    Step 1 – Give him a new battery
    Step 2 – ?????????
    Step 3 – Profit

  13. nice underpants gnomes reference!

    1. Reference underpants gnomes.
    2. ????????
    3. Laugh.

  14. Sockatume says:

    Yeah, this is the curse of modern customer service. It’s a very efficient system for getting rid of customers, with no actual ability to resolve problems outside of that system’s design. Sort of like the movie Brazil.

  15. Christopher says:

    This reminds me of the time that I had to warranty exchange a defective phone when I used to have T-Mobile. The CSR needed me to confirm two things before he would do the swap:
    – They only exchange the handset part, not the battery, battery door, or charger, or any other accessories.
    – There was a slight chance I might get a different model phone back if they were out of stock on my phone.

    So I then asked “If I do get a different model phone, it’ll have a new battery, battery door, and charger, right?” To which he responded “No!”

    …And then it began, back and fourth we went, he just kept arguing that I should agree because the chance of getting a different handset was infinitesimally small, but I refused to because I didn’t want to spend >$50 on new accessories if that infinitesimally small chance did happen. I also wanted them to show me where, in the warranty terms, it said they were allowed to do this. He couldn’t. I ended up getting escalated, and the supervisor kept arguing the same thing, until finally, after an hour the supervisor just caved and did the exchange, and notated my account that I didn’t agree with the second part.

  16. ajc308 says:

    What is the process to get a hold of these customer service conversations? Or is there a program I can use from my BlackBerry to record conversations?

  17. drunxor says:

    tmobile is a bunch of scammers. they extended my contract twice without telling me. now im stuck with them forever. multiple times i have called there and no one EVER calls you back

  18. I remember getting this link from an article (on this blog at one point) for using your computer.

    [www.newtechindustries.com]

  19. blackmage439 says:

    Kudos on the wonderful Underpants Gnome reference.

    1. Keep customers in an endless loop of stupidity, ignorance, and failure while their accounts remain active and billing.

    2. ?????

    3. Profit.

    Well, actually in this case, there is no step 2. This is exactly what’s happening.

  20. Toof_75_75 says:

    @ajc308:
    Here’s Consumerist’s post about it…
    [consumerist.com]

  21. [Continued0… Using your computer to record Customer Service Calls.

    Warning: Legalness of this will vary by state

  22. dbson says:

    Did he get a call back within 24 hours from Pancho??

    sidenote: great lunch place by me, Pancho’s Burritos… Coincidence? I think not.

  23. Buran says:

    @CBragg: He probably didn’t actually note anything in your account, either. Tech support is notorious for that.

  24. Woofer00 says:

    very entertaining call to listen to, never any answer to the customer’s question. Stuck forever in an infinite recursive process loop. If problem, go to process. If process fails, go to process.

  25. homerjay says:

    So this is where Consumerist tends to fall short- What happened after this call???
    I would rather have heard a recording of what this guy said to Pancho when he finally DID call back.

    This needs follow up.

  26. MeOhMy says:

    Here’s my dealings with T-Mobile “customer service”:
    1. Sell me a Sidekick and a Samsung phone
    2. Bill the Samsung phone for Sidekick service even though it’s not a Sidekick
    3. Refuse to refund me for the Sidekick service despite having records that the Samsung phone never even used the Sidekick service (duh)
    4. Eventually get a CSR to grudgingly offer a partial refund.
    5. CSR issues LESS than the agreed upon partial refund and does it in such a way that in a follow-up call another CSR says that no further credits can be issued at all.
    6. When attempting to combine my wife’s and my T-Mobile accounts, a T-Mo in-store rep threatens me (I have a police report to prove it!).
    7. T-Mobile customer relations does nto care to follow up with even an apology.
    8. ???
    9. Profit!

    The only reason I’m still with T-Mobile is because all of the mobile providers are so patently incompetent across the board that switching now that it’s stable will only bring more erroneous charges and more visits from the f*ckup fairy.

  27. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Woofer00:
    “Abort, Retry, Fail?”

  28. Ailu says:

    UNREAL. According to Jason’s own words, apparently you are stuck with the same inept customer rep you are assigned to for a LIFETIME, no matter what. What I want to know is, did ANYONE finally call him back that day?

  29. Joafu says:

    *Shoots self in head*

  30. alexiso says:

    TMobile has always been good to me until I demanded something and they completely shut down. That experience, more than a year ago is why I have purchased a TMobile phone from eBay and am completely bypassing signing a contract with them. This is also besides the point of when I looked at buying and resigning with them they told me I would incur an $18 activation fee and I’ve been a customer of theirs since having a cellphone. Why should I have to pay that? It’s insulting.

    This was incredibly aggravating to read good luck man!

  31. Anks329 says:

    thanks for transcribing the best parts of it.

  32. Turcicus says:

    I have actually dealt with Pancho in executive customer service, and he was a nice enough guy. Kapil should call the number for executive customer service and ask to speak with Pancho directly.

  33. aahoff says:

    I am having similar problems with T-Mobile. My daughter’s SideKick ($400) which she covets is defective. It freezes up and resets itself many times in a day. This phone is 5 months old (purchased 2 weeks after its market debut) and has been taken care of. No water damage, no drops, etc. My daughter initially phoned customer service and went through the issues and was told that we needed to take it into a store to be replaced. The rep further announced that this was not an isolated problem. Located a store (which had the wrong operating hours posted) only to find the door locked and a badge toting off duty Chicago police officer at the door. After dialing TMobile to find out “why” their hours has not been changed on the site, the manager, Trent comes to the door. He tells me that the rep could have handled the exchange over the phone but they like to “see” the phone before they make an exchange to make certain there isn’t any “water” damage. He also tells me that this isn’t an isolated problem but he can’t help me because even though the store has 5-6 customers in the store, his system is shut down but there is another store not far which has longer hours. I made my way to the store with kids and spent 2 hours there sitting at the counter with a very nice customer service rep. This location also had an off duty police officer with his badge hanging around his neck. I would like to point out that I live in a very nice area in Chicago and such protection isn’t necessary. Perhaps consumers are fed up with the total lack of customer service and need muslce to move along those who have had enough. Now back to the phone… the store rep had to call the service center. This took almost 90 minutes. I asked the customer service rep if this freezing up and resetting itself was a widespread problem and she did not answer me. I then asked for a new phone to be sent. I had to pay for expedited shipping and when I asked to speak with a customer service supervisor I was placed on hold for 20 minutes at which time she came back and told me that she had spoken to her supervisor and that because I was already at the store there wasn’t any way they could waive the fee. I then asked to speak with the supervisor again and was told that they were too busy to speak with me and that if I really wanted to speak to them I would have to wait another 30 minutes. I told the T Mobile store rep to complete the transaction that I would aruge about the fee given I spent time and money going to two different stores for help. I phoned customer service the following day and they happily gave me a $15 credit, and suggested that I send a detailed comment on their webiste because they take proper customer service very seriously. The phone arrived in 4 days time only to find that it was a “like new” phone aka refurbished phone. I immediately called T Mobile and spoke with Pierre who transferred me to Kyle. He seemed to care and suggested that he contact the company directly to request a new phone because they were on East coast time. He promised to phone me the very next day once he got in at 10am and had a bit of time to get a few things out of the way. The entire day came and went and no call. I then phoned in again and spoke with a supervisor who told me that he had no idea why Kyle would attempt to contact the company. He then indicated that if I wanted to upgrade and purchase “new” phone, that I could do that. I then asked him why would I spend more money on a phone that is defective when they should be replacing it for no cost at all. He said that was the best he could do. I then asked to speak with his supervisor and he told me that his supervisor was “armed” with the same tools that he was and I would not hear anything different. I then insisted on speaking with his supervisor. I was placed on hold and then told that his supervisor would phone me in an hour. It’s been 4 days and I’m still waiting for that call.

    Cell phone companies are like politicians….. you need to accept their all less than perfect and align yourself with the one that will help you and your causes. In this case, TMobile has sold me a defective merchandise which I extended my contract to purchase at a discount which wasn’t really worth it, sent me a refurbished one, refused to answer my questions regarding the problem, and doesn’t return phone calls. It would appear that they no longer care about customer service. It reminds me of that Capital One commercial with David Spade. I plan to go all the way up the ladder, but it sounds like the problem starts with shoddy management. In the end why wouldn’t they want the phone to work…. it is a vehicle to earning them revenue unless they’re only in the market of selling defective equipment. Maybe they don’t make money off of usage anymore………

  34. dragonfire81 says:

    This reminds me of dealing with escalated issues at Sprint. If it was something we couldn’t deal with at normal customer service, we had to create a “case” that sent to some mysterious department (that could NOT be contacted in anyway by phone mind you) and give a customer a 72 hour turnaround time. If 72 hours past and nothing happened we could do nothing except resubmit it and tell them to wait another 3 days. How’s that for an efficient system.

    It’s funny how certain phrases are common call center jargon when dealing with customers. “I do apologize” is one of the most common, as are “you need to understand” or just “Again sir/ma’am [re-explain situation without providing solution]” or “that’s how the system works”. That was our de facto answer when a customer had an issue we couldn’t explain “That’s just the way the system works”

  35. jbutler9 says:

    Make sure you all link this in an e-mail and forward to all your friends. Tell them to contact another phone company like AT&T and see if they will credit you the T-Mobil termination fee to join their network. Enough of this crappy customer support bull, lets show companies that we are not gonna take it any more.

  36. VikingP77 says:

    I think Kapil is being very nice. There was NO reason for the rep not to take over the issue and do his job. What else is he there for? To call other peoples customers to let them know when other reps would be calling them back? I hate T-Mobile…I hate AT&T…but I’m not really home enough for a home line. What choice is there until we can get these companies to clean up and start treating customers well?

  37. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Sockatume: Exactly right.

    Someone needs to play this conversation on the floor of Congress to show them what the average American has to go through multiple times per week just to get the goods and services that we pay for. It’s high time for a Customer Service Bill of Rights cause most large companies doing business in America today are hopelessly broken.

    Hats off to Kapil; he handled himself very well throughout the tortuous stupidity of that T-Mobile rep. Jason was worse than useless. T-Mo would be better off playing a recording that says, “Please call customer service and someone will get back to you. This is our process.”

    They can then save money by firing “Jason” The Underpants Gnome.

  38. iEddie says:

    Does anyone have a number for Sue Nokes? :)

  39. lol_wut says:

    Present your case to competing companies in your area. Since T-Mobile has obviously spent all the time and money they want to on obtaining you and keeping you as a customer, your options are rather limited at best.

    See if AT&T, Verizon, etc, will be willing to assist you with the termination fees with T-Mobile in your effort to get reliable service. Share with them this call recording, any and all documentation you have, and let them decide.

    Basically you are asking for credit for someone else’s mistake, so be prepared to wait while someone decides if that is a good business move. Ultimately, they might take the offer because it will prove to be excellent PR for that market.

    [Blank carrier] makes good on T-Mobile’s folly!

    Or something like that.

    Then present T-Mobile with that early term fee payment in the form of a check from your carrier – along with a letter shared on every consumer site on the web. CC J.D Power, or any other company that has cited T-Mobile with highest rated customer service.

    Remind them it is all subjective anyway. [Which will be their primary objection, anyway]

    Metrics-schmetrics….

  40. I think corporations like T-Mobile have given up on trying to provide customer service.

  41. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @iEddie: (425) 378-4991
    email:
    sue.nokes@t-mobile.com

    Might have been changed though. No guarantees.

  42. Anomaly69 says:

    I kind of hope someone goes postal on one these places one day, maybe then they’ll get the message. But probably not, they’ll just vilify the poor guy they drove to violence.

  43. HOP says:

    this outfit is really terrible…i don’t have a cell phone yet, but the service i do get will not be them….i’ll also spread the word….i’m listening to the recording…what a dump job….

  44. mgy says:

    @Anomaly69: Even if they wanted to change, they can’t. “It’s how the system works.”

  45. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @iEddie:

    Damn, you beat me to it!

    I was going to suggest going through her as well…we had her help out with certain things at the airline I work for and from what I know of her, she’d flip a lid if she found out how much crap the OP had to go through….

    The sue.nokes@t-mobile.com is a screened email address, but I forwarded the link to this thread to her directly. Is there a way to PM the OP or how would I/T-Mobile go about contacting the right customer named Kapil?

  46. Rajio says:

    Seriously Kapil, way to keep your cool. Well done.

  47. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: Easy. Ask Jason The Underpants Gnome. He said he’d “forward Kapil’s contact info to Pancho”, right?

  48. macinjosh says:

    I believe there is a chance that Pablo has not been given orders to call this guy back for whatever reason (maybe Kapil wasn’t transferred to the right dep’t or whatever.

    Now that K has a recording saying that Pancho will call him back within 24 hours, he should give them one more chance. If Pancho doesn’t comply, he’s got T-Mobile by the bawls.

    And if the contact number is his cel phone, then he and a Tmobile rep should look at his bill or recent usage to see whether or not Pancho has called.

  49. crazypants says:

    True story:

    About a year ago my wife’s phone’s battery went kaput about 9 months into our contract.

    We have Cingular/AT&T, and we took it back into the store we bought it from… the rep gave us a brand new OEM battery completely free of charge and apologized for the inconvenience.

    Doesn’t get much better than that…

    Woo, AT&T!@#%^&

  50. geckospots says:

    Kapil is far, far calmer than I would be. That entire call is just head-deskingly unbelievable.

    Jason is a douchebag. There’s no reason at all that he could just say ‘Sure, how about I help you with the problem you’re having?’

  51. ShadowFalls says:

    Wow… this whole thing is just sad…

    I know how he feels, it is like talking to a brick wall reinforced with every metal known to man. You keep asking the same question and they keep evading it with the same response over and over again.

    How hard was it really to address someone’s problem? How many of you all actually get a call back when someone says they will do so? For me, very rarely. If so, it generally has nothing to do with customer service.

  52. glass says:

    I’m with T-Mobile. Other than a few hiccups, I’ve had a good experience. But the few complaints I have are really worth jumping ship if there’s something better out there. I’ve heard horror stories about literally every provider.

    What do you, the commenters, recommend?

  53. wesrubix says:

    What the hell? I haven’t had any customer service problems with T-mobile. In fact, their customer service is why I like being a T-mobile customer! (Not to mention their el-cheapo data plan of 6/mo.)

    Um, maybe you should just try calling T-mobile again, and tell them the phone won’t charge and you would like to return it. If they try to tell you it has to be refurbished, then tell them you want a refund. You deserve a new device.

    And why didn’t you ask for a new battery?

    As for the South Park reference, as funny as it was, that kind of conversation is not productive.

  54. crazypants says:

    Oh, and every single time I’ve ever been on the phone w/AT&T Wireless and like the call drops, I get an instant call back from the rep I was speaking with.

    These are just general customer care reps too.

    There are bound to be a few douchebags that work at AT&T, but I’ve called in to them at least 20 times in the past year and have yet to run into one.

    Reading these customer service horror stories regarding Sprint or T-Mobile makes me appreciate AT&T’s reps all the more for never giving me any of this sort of grief.

  55. Gokuhouse says:

    I just listened to the whole conversation and I use the word conversation loosely here. This guy was talking to a wall! This guy had one very simple question for Jason…”If hour number 25 comes, what is he to do?” Is he supposed to just wait forever because if the “process” doesn’t get followed there is NO moving forward…That’s the impression I got. I look forward to a follow-up on this post.

  56. krztov says:

    “It doesn’t matter, that’s not how our system works sir. Even if they were in the account and, and, and didn’t leave a note, it still shows there in the account.”

    at least they were honest about that, as soon as you enter a customers account, even if by accident, leaves a footprint memo in their system, shows your name and employee id with nothing else.

  57. Vandon says:

    Does it seem odd that the call is almost exactly 15 minutes long? Like he was under the gun to be sure the call was finished within a certain time limit?

  58. ninjatales says:

    This is the story of a distressed T-Mobile customer named Kapil, his nemesis Jason Cook (Executive Customer Relations T-Mobile USA), and the mysterious Pancho.

    Seriously. Who names their kid Pancho? I feel like Jason’s making up that part just like he is that someone will get back to Kapil. Good luck my friend and a word of advice – there’s no point in remaining a T-Mobile customer anymore since all telcos are now complying with the govt spying program.

    I’ll be making the switch over to AT&T sometime this summer. They got cooler phones.

  59. Phreggs says:

    I’ve been a Tmobile customer for the past couple of years now, and have had no issues with their support. Actually had a phone that the internal antena had become loose the day after their 14-day exchange. Which at that point would normally require me to purchase a new phone, or have it sent out for insurance to investigate it.

    Tmobile instead replaced the phone (with a new phone), and provided me with a temporary phone. The only “issue” that came up had to deal with them recieving the phone *the got it a week later than what was expected*.

    Phone service is great, love my new Sidekick Slide, support has always treated me well.

    Previously i’ve been with Sprint and AT&T. Both of which i’ve had horrible experiences with.

    In Kapil’s case, I would reconnmend bringing the phone into a Tmobile Store and seeing about exchanging it that way *if it was purchased at a store*.

  60. Verdigris says:

    Waiting for Godot referrence FTW!

    Loved the South Park analogy form the caller too.

    Good stuff all around this post!

  61. Jmatthew says:

    So here’s the secret of T-Mobile

    They have two tiers of customer service. Which tier you go into depends entirely on your credit situation when you sign your original contract.

    Good credit, good income, welcome to the good rep tier. All your calls are handled by T-Mobile reps who will doa pretty good job for you. I’ve been in this tier forever and I’ve had great service from T-mobile.

    Not so good credit? Welcome to the lower tier. Lower tier calls go to outsourced call centers with reps that are trained less, less dedicated to t-mobile, and working under a completely different set of policies and procedures.

    If you’ve had crappy service from T-Mobile I guarantee you got stuffed into the lower tier somehow.

    This guy just isn’t good at taking owernship, which is a bad trait in an executive call center rep. He should be all over making sure you get a call back. I’m sure if T-Mobile reads this he’ll be getting a good chat.

  62. jwissick says:

    Wow… Insane

  63. Wyndikan says:

    If I knew where that representative lived, I would seriously march down there and punch him in the face.

    This phone call infuriated me. Kudos to Kapil for keeping his cool.

  64. REDSUZE says:

    Ineptitude of the highest degree! No wonder TMobile ranks so low in the mobile world. The customer service training apparently is run by Attila the Hun.

    Redsuze

  65. Durango3000 says:

    This is far from unique. I used to be a Verizon rep, and it’s pretty typical. Consumers seem to envision a close-knit group of workers in a “team” type environment which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Call centre workers work 24/7, which means lots of overlapping shifts, they sit in different areas sometimes every day. The rep likely has no idea where these “other departments” even exist, they could literally be in another country. This isn’t an office setup where he can just call “mary” and get some info. As soon as you hang up, his headset goes beep and another call comes in. The rep in this case likely has NO IDEA what the process is and is therefore incapable of satisfactorily answering the customer’s question. Call centre workers rarely even have meetings, and are forced to keep up to speed on everchanging policies via poorly written, often contradictory electronic documentation. Remember, the rep couldn’t care less about your problem, they are severely restricted in their scope of influence, and could lose his job for “going above and beyond” in any way. Ladies and gentlemen, companies like have only to meet basically ONE requirement to keep their license with the FCC…they need to answer X% of your calls within X minutes of you calling. How they handle your calls and how long it takes to resolve your issue is completely irrelevant.

  66. Durango3000 says:

    PS: Ownership? No such thing in a call centre. Reps aren’t allowed to “take ownership” in any way. He can’t call other departments, and why would he want to “go the extra mile” anyway? Will you support him when he gets fired for long talk times?

  67. ShirtGuyDom says:

    God that conversation went nowhere.

  68. macinjosh says:

    “Seriously. Who names their kid Pancho?”

    Mr. and Mrs. Villa

  69. ludwigk says:

    If ER’s system works by assigning cases to certain reps, and only that rep can help him with his case, then it seems entirely non-productive for him to keep complaining about it.

    Jason can’t help him, which truly sucks, but if he can’t, then there’s little reason for him to keep hammering his head against a wall.

    Plus, in certain points, there is evidence that Kapil fails to make the distinction between customer service and executive relations. These are two different branches in a gigantic corporation, and it probably sucks twice as much trying to work with both.

    It also sucks that customer service couldn’t resolve his issue, but breaking their normal operating procedures by calling corporate and being forwarded around can be shooting yourself in the foot.

    Then, asking for Pancho’s work schedule is a 100% dick move. That sets off alarms in service related jobs. Weird stalker-type behavior is unfortunately common in the customer service industry, and nobody wants to be a part of that.

    He could have settled this entire problem by accepting the refurb in the first place. In all likelyhood, it would have functioned identically to a new unit. It’s not like they take an old blackberry and rebox it, they probably send it back to the factory to be reworked, with new casings and buttons.

    If it differs in any way, scratched display, mashy buttons, or other symptom of physical wear, get it replaced again. Regular CS can do this for you, without having to hop/skip/jump through executive relations, which is totally underwhelmed by your refusal to accept your warranty replacement, which is probably part of the service agreement anyway.

    I used to do warranty service for electronics, where we openly admitted that our replacements were refurbished. I said “If you can tell the difference between this refurb unit and a brand new one, anything at all, bring it back, and I’ll replace it again. If that one also fails, I’ll give you a new one.” Out of hundreds of replacements, neither of those events ever occurred.

  70. overbysara says:

    has there been research done on the crappiness of customer service in america? is this limited only to america? is customer service at big companies in other countries just as crappy?

  71. pigeonpenelope says:

    if you’ve got a crappy battery that won’t take charge, exchanging a phone will not resolve your problem. the problem will still be there when you get another phone.

    also, he has just screwed himself because now that Tmobile knows he records his calls, he will not be helped unless he verifies he is not recording the call.

  72. lefty_redhead says:

    My T-Mobile story:

    Opened an account for my sister 3 years ago when she had no credit and my cell phone was through my husband’s corp. discount (Nextel). Free phone, dual copies of the bill (to her and to me), and she is on autopay. When her stalker ex sent her 1000 text messages in a week, they retroactively gave her the unlimited text package.

    I called her after she had been in the hospital to check in. I could not get through or leave a message. I called T-Mobile to see if she changed her number again (stalker ex), and explained how it’s my name, her phone, stitches from her hernia operation opened a year later (TMI, I know). The rep put me on hold to try to call sis, came back and said the call went through then they texted sis to call me ASAP.

    I ran screaming from Nextel at first opportunity to TMo. They overnighted a replacement battery when my phone would not turn on after charging battery and trying another battery. I called back later and said the phone was fine, just hitting the off instead of on key (so humiliating!) they said keep the battery (and laughed until they cried, but hung up first).

    Called 3 weeks ago wanting the Curve for less than the current customer price. Used all the Consumerist advice and scored a deal (go retentions team). Got the bill for more than I negotiated. Sent e-mail at midnight, got a response by 9 a.m. I got the correct phone price but forgot about tax (and overnight shipping since hubby was jonesing for the Curve)which they told me about before ordering. No upsell on data package, just kept the promo plan I started with.

    I have had a few TMo reps that are asshats. I just hang up and try again with another rep (likely somewhere else). I’ve been with Cingular (at the time), Sprint/NextHell, and TMo. Sticking with TMo, even though it doesn’t always work in my 100-year old office building (where I have an office phone, so no biggy).

  73. mike6545 says:

    thats true, they always answer my questions and remove any charges or fix any problems i have. Well good luck with that.@AnonyLawyer:

  74. LyriCali says:

    I am going to cancel my T-Mobile service and advise all my friends to do the same.

  75. Sweetleader says:

    As many people have alraedy said. Getting a refurb phoen doesn’t mean it is going be covered in scratches and blemishes. All the refurbs are is other phones people have had problems with and replaced through there warranty. The phones are then just repaired and sent back out as refurbs.

    While I admit the CSR wasn’t that great this guy Kapil was being a Dick to begin with trying to fight something that doesn’t need to be fought. But alas, having worked for T-Mobile customer care for almost a year I can say that the majority of customers who call in are Dicks from the start anyways so you get what you give.

  76. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    “…on this conversation there’s only one person that was part of that initial conversation and… it’s not you.”

    OOOO, I wish I had come up with that one. I’ll use it someday, I’m sure.

  77. darkryd says:

    Why argue?

    He should have plainly stated his case in a professional manner and then fired off an EECB if they didn’t respond.

  78. keainansen says:

    I can’t wait to leave T-mobile when my contract runs out in 2 weeks. I’ve had the same issues as this guy, their customer service is absolutely incompetent.

  79. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    He could have settled this entire problem by accepting the refurb in the first place.
    @ludwigk: Why on earth would someone accept getting a used phone when they paid for a new one? Why can’t they just exchange it for a new one. Besides, why should we think they’d suddenly become helpful in the event the refurb is damaged in some way.

    @Sweetleader: He’s a dick for trying to get help? All he wanted to know was what he should do when they don’t call him back.

  80. boltuprite says:

    I didn’t hear Kapil advise he was recording the call, which I believe makes it illegal to do so without advising the party that you’re recording…now that this fact is out, you can rest assured that since he’s recording surreptitiously, getting help in the future is going to be difficult at best now…

  81. samson says:

    a att ceo

    Edward E Whitacre Jr
    Total Compensation
    $19.46 mil (#64)

    5-Year Compensation Total
    $92.55 mil

    Edward E Whitacre Jr has been CEO of AT&T (T) for 16 years. Mr. Whitacre Jr has been with the company for 43 years .The 64 year old executive ranks 1 within Telecommunications services

  82. macmizzle says:

    Hmmm… probably called a guy who actually has no access to his account whatsoever, and after being on the phone for him so long, tried whatever he could, lied even, to end the call. I can think of many times the same thing this has happened to me when talking to acquaintances.

    Also, I believe boltuprite is correct. Good luck to Kapil using the recording to prove his point. Now the entire Internetz knows the call was not-so-legally recorded!

  83. cobaltthorium says:

    @boltuprite:
    @macmizzle:
    When he called, he probably got an automated message saying “This call may be recorded”. Since Jason didn’t seem horrified at the idea of the call being recorded by Kapil, I assume it’s kosher, or did you both not actually listen to the call before making inflammatory remarks?

  84. Danj3ris says:

    Obviously T-Mobile is one of many companies who currently subscribe to the notion that the world will be ending in the next 4 yrs. So to put it in plain English, you just don’t matter.

  85. Danj3ris says:

    Duh :p

  86. deleterious says:

    @boltuprite: If he lives in a “one party” state, he doesn’t have to inform anyone that he’s recording the call. Only he (the one party) has to know about the recording.

  87. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    “There’s an episode of South Park where… imagine you’re a character called the Underpants Gnome.”
    Actually that sounded like, “There’s an episode of South Park where- it’s about an imaginary character called the Underpants Gnome.”

    He can’t tell you what the process is because a backup does not exist. I’ve worked at three different over-the-phone customer support companies now, and there is one process and one only. If that fails the customer all you can do is apologize and start over from the beginning.

    I can understand the frustration on both fronts, honestly. It’s irritating as an employee to have to explain to people all day that there is nothing you can do for them except to assure them that the system will eventually work. It’s irritating as a customer who knows that the system is not working and that you feel it necessary to seek assistance through other avenues.

    However, as the customer says, if he’s already got a guy on the phone, that person should be helping them as best they can, not assuring them they’ll get a phone call in the next 24 hours. The only reason this passing-the-buck would be acceptable is if you’re got a ticket in the system for an at-home service for your internet or something. Obviously we can’t help further until the appointment time has passed.

    The line, “Do you have any other questions for me at this point?” is the classic way of getting off the phone if you’ve failed to make the customer so belligerent that you can justify just hanging up on them. It’s also convenient because it’s often required of reps to meet the benchmarks for their evaluations. Since that didn’t work in ending the conversation he’s forced to just hang up and reason with himself that the QA department will understand and adjust his evaluation score appropriately.

    This looks like a classic case of a rep who doesn’t know how to problem solve. All he knows is what he’s been trained to do, which really isn’t all that much else besides spewing out scripted apologies and thinly-veiled lies disguised as promises. Unfortunately a lot of guys like this quickly get pushed up the chain to manage other phone goons. They don’t like it when you can problem solve. They like it when you enforce “the system.”

    I hope that someone working above him hears this phone call and takes the time to explain to the guy that- while meeting your QA benchmarks is a necessary evil to working in the telephone customer service industry- you ultimately need to solve the customer’s problem.

    It’d be easier just to fire him, but good luck with that. Why it didn’t set off alarm bells in this guy’s head when the customer mentioned “if I was recording this call” is beyond me. On the other hand, you’re supposed to operate /assuming/ that you are always being recorded, that EVERY phone call is an evaluation candidate.

  88. hmm and somehow they’re rated as the best customer service providers…i smell a research rat.. i have never had a problem with Sprint CSR’s. they have always been polite, professional, and efficient on my FIRST call…

  89. mistaketv says:

    I have had eerily similiar experiences–the promised callbacks within arbitrary timeframe that never happen–with both Buy.com and TiVo. I feel for this guy and I am amazed at how calm he stays. That rep has some serious “training issues.”

  90. blinko says:

    Kapil states he got a new phone that would not charge and was told a refurb phone would be sent to him. The thing is he has at least a 14 days buyers remorse period to return a faulty phone and get a brand new replacement. Did he not notice it not charging for two weeks?

  91. closed_account says:

    I am just happy someone else calls them more than I do.