T-Mobile Charges $5 For Every Failed Call From Cruise Ship

Kayla left her phone off and safely stowed away during her Caribbean cruise, where it couldn’t run up roaming charges high enough to ruin any vacation. When she learned that there had been a minor earthquake and a hurricane back home, she decided to eat the roaming charges and pay the high per-minute prices to check in with her loved ones. Everyone else on the ship evidently had the same idea, and it was difficult to get a call through. When her bill came, Kayla learned the hard way that T-Mobile, at least, imposes that $4.99 per minute roaming charge on calls that don’t complete.

She writes:

As a smart consumer my phone was powered off and safely stored away for the duration of my Caribbean cruise. After seeing earthquake reports closely followed by coverage of Hurricane Irene my boyfriend and I decided that it might be a good idea to suck it up, pay the ridiculous wireless fee and check on our families. (Silly us!) I guess a lot of people had the same idea – throughout the day at sea 13 attempted calls were placed and 13 attempts disconnected within seconds.

Fast-forward to the end of my billing cycle – a whopping $109 in roaming charges! We did have two brief calls that did connect – and I will gladly pay the $4.99 a minute for them – but the 13 attempted calls resulted in $64.87 in roaming charges. According to several T-Mobile CSR’s, any attempt at a connection gives them the right to charge me – even if the connection is not successful. “It isn’t their fault that I was unsuccessful in my attempt to place an international call.”

Multiple reps also stated that they are charged by the company who manages the ship’s tower and they need to recoup the fees for each attempted call. One CSR actually went as far as to say that I had no one to blame but myself for these charges since I tried to make my call multiple times.

In an effort to resolve the situation I reached out to Wireless Maritime Service (the company that manages the on-board tower) about working with T-Mobile to remove the charges for the attempted calls. To my surprise a very helpful WMS employee explained that wireless carriers aren’t billed for each attempted call and that the $4.99 for each of my attempted calls is, indeed, a fee created by T-Mobile. She suggested that I explain this to a T-Mobile CSR supervisor in an effort to have the charges removed. Obviously this did not work.

Has anyone else had a similar situation with international charges and successfully resolved it? The 7 or so CSR’s I dealt with were not willing to budge on the issue. I also am still waiting for a return call from a department manager – that was promised within 2 hours…over 24 hours ago. This is another shining example of how T-Mobile has lost their customer oriented focus.

Other readers have succeeding in making T-Mobile see logic through the careful use of the executive e-mail carpet bomb.

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