11 Confessions of a T-Mobile Sales Rep

T-Mobile doesn’t want to be left out of the fun! One of their sales reps has generously and selflessly written down his innermost thoughts and sent them to the Consumerist for your personal edification. Bask in the glory of Confessions of a T-Mobile Sales Rep…

T-Mobile price matches. “T-Mobile has a policy that they do not advertise that is called a price match guarantee. This states that they can honor any price that has been printed (advertisement), as long as the terms and conditions are the same as T-Mobile’s. It also states that you can get an account credit if the price of the phone goes down within 30 days. “

T-Mobile lets reps give away accessories. “Most reps have the ability to give away accessories for free without checking with their managers. If we give any bit of discount, we don’t get paid out on the accessory so you might as well ask for it for free. Things like waived activation or discounts on phones can be done, but usually through the manager or senior sales reps permission.”

Use features to get free stuff, avoid insurance. “As other reps have stated, features are a big portion for reps. Any data feature nets the rep some extra cash. Use that to your advantage and ask them to throw in some accessories if you buy unlimited messaging or t-zones. The only thing that does not earn us money is insurance, so stay away from that one.”

Shop at the end of the month. T-mobile has a quota system for reps. They’ll be more generous at the end of the month. “Go in to purchase service during the last 5 days of the month. This is the time that is most crucial for store reps and their managers. They need to make sure to get quota, and everyone is more lenient during the end of the month.” If it’s not the end of the month, you can still try to take advantage: “If you have already been approved for service and you are not offered the deal that you want, give the rep your phone number and tell them to call you when they can give you a good deal. I had a customer do this and get what they want on the last day of the month because we were 2 activations short of goal.”

Never get a 2 year contract. “As the VZW rep said, only sign a one year contract. Yeah you have to pay 50 bucks more, but you can upgrade again in 11 months. “

Your rate plan doesn’t mean anything at T-Mobile. “At T-mobile, we don’t get paid very much on how high the rate plan is, so don’t push that you are going to spend a lot on the plan. We care about the accessories and the features. “

Get your rebate at the store and on-line. “As the cingy guy said, if you ask and get an in-store instant rebate, you can still find the mail in rebate at www.tmobilerebates.com. The rebate center will still honor it.”

Get free stuff by calling within 14 days and threatening to switch to another carrier. “If you want to squeeze a bit more out of the deal and you are within 14 days of new service, call the store and ask to speak to the rep that helped you. Remind him/her who you are, and ask what you need to do to cancel. This will set off alarms in the reps head since you are their customer, and they will get a chargeback if you cancel. When they ask why you want to know how to cancel, let them know that you have been offered a deal for a similar type phone for the same price from a DIFFERENT carrier, but with a couple free accessories and waived activation. Most likely the rep will try to offer you a free accessory to stay with us, being as how they worked hard at getting you to sign that initial contract and don’t want to lose the sale. You have to tell the rep it is a different carrier because if you say its another Tmobile store, the rep will not lose the credit if you cancel and sign back up with a different store. “

Replace a broken T-mobile phone with a prepaid one.“Go to Walmart and buy a T-Mobile prepaid phone. Your contract sim card will work in the phone no problem, and there is NO difference (software or hardware wise) between a prepaid phone and one that is upgraded with contract. Then put the prepaid activation code and sim card up on ebay, and make $10. (from what I hear, this is the same with Cingular and Verizon)”

Upgrade over the phone, not in a store. At T-Mobile, reps don’t get paid much for upgrades and don’t care if you get a deal on a phone. Upgrade over the phone to get the best deal.
“If you are out of contract, you have a bargaining chip with customer care over the phone. Ask for a cheaper price on a phone, or a “preferred” rate plan that’s cheaper but gives you the same amount of minutes. If you have been a good customer and made payments on time, you have a good chance of getting a discount. T-Mobile corporate store reps cannot discount the upgrade price at all in store. We don’t make very much money off an upgrade, and many will spend less time with you if its busy. Go in during a off-peak time if you want an honest opinion or to chat about the phones. There is nothing worse for us than to get an hour-long upgrade on a Saturday and watch as our coworkers are getting new lines and getting paid.”

Unlock your phone. Immediately call into customer care and ask to have your phone unlocked. Unlocking your phone allows your phone to be used with any GSM carrier (Cingular is the only other national US carrier). T-mobile will unlock your phone for free at anytime during or after you contract. Once you unlock your phone, you can now use a cingular sim card or any sim card in the world. Whether or not you plan on traveling, you have still increased the resell value of your phone by quite a bit.

Would you like to confess to the Consumerist? Do you work at Alltel or US Cellular? Best Buy? Office Max? Walmart? Microsoft? Dell? Toyota? Ford? United Airlines? Delta? JetBlue? Do you have a job? We want to hear your confessions. tips [at] consumerist [dot] com. Your job sucks and you’re not appreciated. Heal with us. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: medalian1)

UPDATE: Another T-Mobile rep rebutts some of the statements made above:

Being a TMO sales rep myself and having been with the company for over three years, I must point out a few possible inaccuracies in the other rep’s post on Consumerist:

Most reps have the ability to give away accessories for free without checking with their managers. If we give any bit of discount, we don’t get paid out on the accessory so you might as well ask for it for free. Things like waived activation or discounts on phones can be done, but usually through the manager or senior sales reps permission.

This may be true in that rep’s market or area, but is most certainly not true in many markets across the country. For example, in my area, management forbids any sort of discounting on accessories at all without a darn good reason, so unless you’re getting four or five new lines, don’t expect this to happen. The prices of accessories are what they are. YMMV. (Although, activation fees are waived pretty regularly in my market.)

Go to Walmart and buy a T-Mobile prepaid phone. Your contract sim card will work in the phone no problem, and there is NO difference (software or hardware wise) between a prepaid phone and one that is upgraded with contract. Then put the prepaid activation code and sim card up on ebay, and make $10. (from what I hear, this is the same with Cingular and Verizon)

Don’t expect a rep in a store to suggest this, as it’s considered commission fraud and I’ve seen reps reprimanded and terminated for suggesting it to customers.

T-mobile will unlock your phone for free at anytime during or after you contract.

This is completely false. TMO will unlock a phone at your request, but you must have continuous service with us for at least 90 days, be an active customer (not suspended or canceled) and in good standing.

6 Confessions Of A Former Sprint Sales Rep
7 Confessions of a Cingular Sales Rep
8 Confessions Of A Former Verizon Sales Rep


Edit Your Comment

  1. niccernicus says:

    Where are the US Cellular insiders?

  2. nweaver says:

    Verizon doesn’t use SIM cards, so no clue whether that trick would work.

  3. niccernicus says:


    It wouldn’t.

    CDMA carriers (ex. Verizon) require call ins to activate their prepaid.

  4. channelx says:

    @nweaver: It wouldn’t work.

    That’s a pretty neat feature however, because I like some of T-mobile’s phones better than Cingular’s, but like Cingular’s service for data plans more.

  5. nweaver says:

    channelx: However, both Tmobile and Cingular LOCK their phones to their own network.

    I want an unlocked GSM phone, please. Cheap, crappy, and no featured is fine, but I want one.

  6. kerry says:

    @nweaver: The rep wrote that T-Mobile will unlock your phone, regardless of your contract state. Most companies will unlock your phone once you’re out of contract. Just get the cheap phone from T-Mobile and have it unlocked, then feel free to use it on Cingular.

  7. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    It’s pretty easy to set up an unlocked phone with Cingular. Their website gives the correct settings you need to enter for WAP, voicemail, SMS, MMS, and so on. If not, you can always check HowardForums. Unlocked smart phones and PDA phones are more challenging to set up. Again, check HowardForums.

    The prepaid phone thing works for Cingular too. You can buy a brand new Motorola L7 with contract for $200. Or you can buy a refurbished one for $80. Same functionality, same accessories, it’s all the same. Only difference is that you get a generic Cingular box. The phone itself looks brand new. The accessories are brand new too. So you won’t be getting used earphones or phone chargers.

  8. Uurp says:

    That’s some high-quality PhotoShopping there.

  9. superbmtsub says:

    That last thing about unlocking is false. Tmobile has a 60 day policy. After 60 days of using a new phone thru Tmobile, you have the option of unlocking it thru them.

  10. weave says:

    @superbmtsub: I was told 90 days. But it’s still a nice service they provide.

  11. hunter5 says:

    it is 90 days, unless you purchase the phone at full cost, in which case it can be unlocked at any time.

  12. tmobcsr says:

    @weave & superbmtsub –

    You can file one unlock request per 90 days. However, you must wait 14 days after purchase allowing the buyer’s remorse period to expire (30 days in California) in order to process the unlock request of a brand new handset. To summarize, If you buy a phone today, and don’t live in California, and haven’t requested a subsidy unlock in the past 90 days, you can unlock your phone in two weeks. Just call and ask, then give an email address and wait about 24 hours.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, as a 6 year t-mobile rep here’s the deal with unlocking your phone 1. You need to have an account with us for atleast 90 days or buy your phone without a discount. If you buy the phone outright you must fax us your reciept showing you bought the phone new and from an authorized location (for example, ebay doesn’t count and you would be stuck) 2. It must be an “unlockable” device. Sidekicks and some of our prepaid phones are now deemed permantly locked. 3. You have to go through the entire buyers remorse period for unlocked phones. Even if you’ve been a customer for over 90 days and you upgrade, you still need to wait 14 days (30 in Ca) to have the device unlocked unless, again, if you paid full cost in a store and can provide proof of that.
      There are exceptions to these guidlines, as I’m sure you could assume, but those are the golden rules we follow when we get unlock requests. Also, we have had folks go out and purchase a full cost cheap nokia so they can unlock say, a brand new contract discounted blackberry. Keep in mind all phones have a unique imei number and it is required to be provided and to match the phone we are requesting an unlock for.

      In a nutshell, there is no scamming possible through the unlock process.

  13. superbmtsub says:

    Yea. I got no problems with Tmo but how do we get a 1 year “Family” plan? All the 1 year stuff is for single plans.

  14. ajfili says:

    @ superbmtsub:

    You can get 1 year family plans with T-Mobile not a problem. I do them at my store every once and awhile.

  15. formergr says:

    @Uurp: It’s actually not Photoshopped, that’s what T-Mobile is called in Germany (T-Punkt)– punkt just means “point”…

  16. everclear75 says:

    I just tried to upgrade my phone over the phone and was offered the same price as everyone else.
    I wasn’t asking for a free phone just a few bucks off of the price. Allwell, I’ll just keep my old beater(Nokia 6600). And i was trying to get either the Samsang 619 or the Nokia 5300.
    Can any of the CSR help me out here>?

  17. kerry says:

    @everclear75: Did you threaten to cancel your service? That’s the magic passphrase to get a retention person, once you do that they’ll be able to give you a better deal (following the guidelines above, obviously). I don’t think a regular CSR can do that for you, though, just a retention rep.

  18. chuckmeister says:

    If you see by any chance a Rizr Z3 or even a Z6 I would STONGLY suggest you run from each as far and as fast as possible. BUT, if on the other hand you come across the 2007 Best Cell Phone at Barcelona Spain this year, you have a big winner. World’s First Kick Slider, World’s thinnest Third Generation (actually 3.5G) and it has a whopping capacity for 4GB Trans Flash! http://www.SuperVideo.com has pics & details…Aloha

  19. Fox57 says:

    @nweaver: do a little shopping on the web a phone unlock program is pretty easy to find

  20. tigarr says:

    I just bought a Nokia 6682 online that is locked to Cingular. How hard would it be to get them to unlock it?

  21. TmoInsider says:

    As the poster of this article, I would like to comment on the other rep that wrote in.

    As far as discounting accessories, any store that would rather waive an activation fee versus sell an accessory is crazy. Considering that the accessory costs T-Mobile $3-8 usually, it would be stupid to give a $35 credit versus giving away 2 accessories for a grand total of $6. The only way that this would seem logistical is if the customer was purchasing 2 or more accessories at $20+ each. But, each manager runs their store differently and there are metrics for each store that they have to hit. What does this mean for the consumer?

    – When signing up, be open to free accessories OR waived activation. (In my market though, waived activation was highly highly unacceptable in any circumstance)

    Secondly, you were right that no rep would recommend purchasing a phone from Wal-Mart and switching the sim card. This does not mean that you cannot do it, or that its “wrong” for the customer. The customer will not get in trouble for it, which is the important part.

    – As a customer, the possibility of purchasing a prepaid phone at Wal-Mart/target/etc is there in case you need it. Don’t expect customer service or T-Mobile reps to “help” you with it or suggest it.

    Lastly, about unlocking. You are definitely correct on the policy requiring certain time frames, and that your account is in good standing. I forgot that there were requirements. They are however, much more lax than Cingular. Good catch though.

    – Customers need to wait until after the 14 day policy for sure, and then it depends on when you had your last phone unlocked and your payment history. Also remember to tell them you are traveling, or they might not unlock it just to be done.

  22. Mr.Purple says:

    @Uurp: Actually it is not photoshopping. In german it means “t-point” (if my bad german is correct.)
    No photoshopping here!

  23. RED13 says:

    Attn: everclear75
    As a CSR for t-mobile I often refer customers to My.T-Mobile.com the samsung T619 is still free on-line only.

  24. marimelo2 says:

    After receiving service from another wireless company for several years, I decided to give t-Mobile a try. After reading “11 Confessions of a T-Mobile Sales Rep,” I followed some of the tips. I decided to approach T-Mobile on the last day of June. I was interested in the 8100 BlackBerry Pearl cell phone. The retail price of the phone was $199.99. A $50 mail-in rebate was offered, bringing the price down to $149.99. I advised the rep. that I wanted to add unlimited text messaging and Internet access along with the accessory package as long as I received a huge deal on the phone. The rep. talked to his manager then came back to me and said that after I received the $50 rebate, the phone would cost me nothing. Today, I did cancel the Internet service and I will take back the accessory package to another store. I decided to keep the unlimited text service. Thank you so much for the tips, they really worked!

  25. daveyb7676 says:

    The unnamed T-Mobile rep suggests that you can replace a broken handset by purchasing a prepaid phone at a store like Wal Mart, and then swaping in your contract SIM card. While this may work with GSM handsets for T-Mobile or AT&T (Cingular) IT WILL NOT WORK WITH VERIZON. Verizon, along with Sprint and Alltel, use CDMA technology. In the United States and Canada, CDMA handsets are carrier-specific and they do not have SIM cards. When CDMA phones are activated by the service provider, the subscriber information is loaded onto the handset’s hard drive. There is no way for a consumers to replace their CDMA handsets on their own without having the replacement handset activated by the service provider.

  26. marlo says:

    I have been with Tmobile for over 3 years. I have a motorola razr that sucks. After troubleshooting I was told that I may be able to switch to a different phone using my insurance…is this going to be worth it?? How do I argue that I shouldn’t have to pay to get a different phone because the phone I purchased does not work properly? Ideas and suggestions please??!

  27. Wakefield103 says:

    I called T-Mobile support today and asked if they would price match a phone listed on amazon.com. I didn’t even get to the point where they asked which phone or what the prices were before they stated clearly that they “do not price match.”

  28. tross05 says:

    As far as insurance goes… You only have to pay a 70 dollar deductable through asurion. The cost of a new Razr v3 is 159.99 right now. And yours isn’t working or eligible for warranty exchange because it’s a. more than a year old, b. has water damage or c. has physical damage, all voiding the warranty. the brand new NC price is 159.99 for a new V3 right now. but ask them if you’re eligible for discount on an upgrade. if the pricing sux, call customer care and if you’ve had service for more than 10 months, they’ll transfer you RIGHT over to an ‘account specialist’ (retention cue) and probably offer ya a good deal. wink wink

  29. dougiebrz says:

    I just signed up with TMobile. I have the MyFaves plan and an unlocked phone from Cingular/AT&T which i plan on using instead of buying a new phone. My question is, will i have to pay for the calls i make to the MyFaves numbers because I’m not doing it from a TMobile MyFav phone?

  30. ptjims says:

    As I understand it you will have to have A myfaves capable phone to access the service They will not activate the plan unless you have A myfaves capable phone. So I believe you will be charged for all calls to myfaves numbers if you use any other phone.

  31. Milhead says:

    I have bounced between MyFaves phones and older phones, T-Mobile and unlocked other carriers. The only limitation that I can find is that you cannot setup or change your five on the older phones. You need to have a 5-faves to start the service but I switched back to my wildly unpopular unlocked Canadian V635 and they work fine. You can also adjust your 5-faves through your my-T-mobile web page.

  32. gravion17 says:

    easiest thing to do is just google ” unlocked gsm phones ” and go from there….the number of sites selling unlocked gsm phones is ridiculous!

  33. AphotiX says:

    It is definately 90 days with good account standing, and the phone needs to have been used on the line before it is unlocked, meaning, no reading the IMEI (serial number) off of the box in order to unlock the device. You need to use your sim in it first for at least one day, after being outside of buyer’s remorse (14 days most places, 30 in California and I believe in Hawaii as well)

    Your myfaves are billed as of how they are represented in T-Mobiles billing system, not your phone. If it was based on your phone, then couldn’t people just write spoofing software for MyFaves? They could, and that is why its based on the storage of your favorite five in the billing system. All calls incoming or outgoing are compared against myfaves, weekends, nights, mobile to mobile or any additional features, depending on the number dialed and the time the call was made. In summary, it doesn’t matter if your handset is supported or not, myfaves is free. CSR’s are simply not supposed to place you on a MyFaves plan with an incompatible phone to reduce calls into customer care when you have a complaint about getting billed for a call you thought was in your myfaves but wasn’t.



    Lastly, if you intend to cancel and call in but haven’t been a long standing customer, don’t expect to get a good deal, we do have a tenure limit to getting you over to our ‘retention’ department. We will make an honest attempt to help you either way, but we also like job security so we can’t obviously be giving out all kinds of phones.

  34. bt1957 says:

    As far as T-Mobile goes their service coverage sucks. I traveled from Little Rock to Texarkana with no bars period. I live in Conroe TX. in an apartment and have to go outside in the parking lot and practically stand on my @#$%^& head to get a call to go through. Everyone I know that uses AT&T or Verizon could be sealed in a closet and recieve incoming calls. What’s the deal T-Mobile?

  35. Anonymous says:

    if you unlock a phone aren’t you restricted to using wi-fi (assuming the phone is wi-fi enabled) in coffee shops etc? don’t you lose the convenience of e-mailing/browsing from a non-wifi location?