How-To Get Out Of A T-Mobile Restocking Fee: Get Mugged

By T-Mobile’s logic, a broken phone that they sold you is your burden to bear. Is the battery faulty? You pay the shipping. $20.

Of course, if they send you a new battery, and you happen to be mugged, you obviously have no use for the battery they just sent you. You suggest you’ll send it back.

How much will sending it back cost? $100. Restocking fee: that’s what the boy who scans in the barcode and puts it back on the shelf makes for his five minutes.

And, of course, you’ll have to buy a new phone.

Of course, if — like James — you have happened to get into this predicament by being mugged, you can at least take solace in the fact that all your credit cards are cancelled, and T-Mobile has no way to bill you, until they start calling in the collecting agency.

James’ email, after the jump.

My name is James. I signed up for a TMobil wireless plan around three months ago when I first moved to Philadelphia. I was charged an upfront fee of $75, I guess because I have less than perfect credit. I signed up for a plan that was around $40 a month, to include 300 text messages, and I got their second-cheapest phone which, when included in a plan sign up, was $10.

From the beginning I had constant problems with the phone. 1 out of every 2 calls dropped, reception was awful – and this in in Philly, one of the largest cities in the U.S.! After a month I had had it, so I called TMobil. They attempted to run some “tests” on my phone from their location, and then determined I must have recieved a bad model. They agreed to send a replacement phone – but wanted me to pay a $20 shipping charge.

I outright refused, and my customer service person – unfortunately I didn’t note down her name – said that they would do me the COURTESY of waiving that fee this one time, but if I needed a replacement in the future, they would not.

Well, as I was waiting for the replacement phone, more good luck came my way when I got mugged at gunpoint. And – you guessed it – they took my phone. Now I thought to myself, “Ha-ha, the joke is on them, it doesn’t work properly and a new one is on the way!” But when the new one arrived, imagine my surprise to discover it was only a PIECE of the phone – specifically the main phone unit itself. There was no battery, and no memory chip.

A leaflet inside told me that I was supposed to take my battery and memory out of the non-working phone, put them in the new phone, and then mail the non-working phone back to them. Problem – my non-working phone was in the hands of some nasty ruffians.

I called T-Mobil. I was told that since I did not have the non-functioning model to send back to them, I would be accessed a restocking fee of $100.

WTF? That’s more than it would have cost for me to buy a NEW TMobil phone – battery and all – from a local TMobil Store!!

So to recap – I was expected to pay $100 restocking fee, *AND* to buy a new battery and memory card. At that point I told the woman to just completely cancel my service, and she told me she would be glad to – at a $200 early cancellation fee. I told her that their service never worked properly to BEGIN WITH, and she told me that I was outside of my 2 week grace period to make that decision without being fined.

Ultimately, though, the joke is on TMobil, since among the things in my wallet which was also stolen was the credit card they had on file for me, which has since been cancelled.