Tmobile To Receptionless Customer: "One Bar Is Good Enough To Make Calls"

date Jun 28, 2007 3:40 AM
subject Ludicrous customer service from T-Mobile

I am a T-Mobile customer from Sacramento California, I recently moved to San Francisco to attend SFSU in August 2006.

I am contacting you because I have been having an issue with T-Mobile customer service pushing me around and stripping me of my privileges as a consumer and a client. Throughout my conversation with customer care, the following issues I had could not be solved…

According to Supervisor “Lou” (Badge# 0955170), there was no reason to continue talking with me because he was the end of customer care and the escalation ladder and proceeded to disconnect me. I had spent my time with many representatives that day and I had ran out of patience after he insulted me many times. My following questions were dodged or were responded with unreasonable answers.

I complained that the service in my new location was sub par, and that I have waited for a new service tower since I moved to my new location. He said he would have a engineer come to the region and check it out. Many people I know have gotten the same response, long before hand and I knew the issue wasn’t going to be solved because within the period of 10 months I have lived at my location, I have resorted such actions such as: hanging my phone out the window, waiting minutes for my phone to connect a call and receive a signal.

I had Lou check out the service in my area, and on the T-Mobile coverage website it shows it as having 1 bar. My previous address was [redacted] San Francisco, CA, 94132; current temporary address is [redacted] San Francisco, CA, 94132. I told him that service has not increased at all since I have lived in my neighborhood in San Francisco. He told me that “1 bar is sufficient to make calls,” and that it was most likely my phone that wasn’t good, so he also suggested getting a new phone. The phone I purchased was ~300$ Subsidized, and I couldn’t see my self investing more since my phone is great. I am not the only person having issues in this area. He proceeded to offer me new services and phones at full price after I said I didn’t want them. If needed, I have many references who will vouch for the sub par service in this area which has not seen any increase in signal strength for T-Mobile.
Moreover, I asked for a hard bound copy of my contract, he responded by saying that T-Mobile will not forward that to me, and he continued to give me instructions to drive to Sacramento from San Francisco and locate the T-Mobile store where I had purchased service to obtain a copy of my contract.

He then insisted that I reached the end of the customer service line which I knew was non-sense and said no one else could help me and disconnected me without proper closure.

Due to the level of customer service I expected as a basic part of the contract, and the profound lack of customer service that has been demonstrated by T-Mobile, I respectfully will be requesting to be released of my contract with no penalty.

Eduardo [redacted]
ACCT# (916-[redacted]

Ridiculous. Why should anyone pay ~$60 a month for something that doesn’t even work?

Eduardo is using tip #2 of our “6 Ways To Cancel Any Cellphone Contract” advice post. Non/sub-par service is DEFINITELY a reason to be let out of a cellphone contract without early termination fees. And from what he says, it sounds like he’s not the only customer affected by Tmobile’s poor coverage.

If Dotson, has any manhood, he’ll tell his executive customer service team to cancel Eduardo’s contract without fuss or muss.

Still, even if Eduardo does escape contract, he’s still stuck with a $300 techno brick, which he’ll either have to eat, or sell on eBay, Craigslist or one of several online sites devoted to reselling phones and contracts.

(Photo: evansent)


Edit Your Comment

  1. superbmtsub says:

    No matter how much I love Tmobile (cuz I hate Verizon, Sprint is shitty, and AT&T spies on you), their coverage is getting worse. Every few months, I lose complete reception of Tmobile.

    I’m scratching my head and wondering if I should cave in to the devil which is Verizon or Sprint.

  2. DjSnipSnip says:

    Depending on what phone he has (the $300 mobile), he can use it with an AT&T SIM (unlock it first if needed).

  3. scoobydoo says:

    If you have DSL or Cable you could consider T-mobile@Home which lets you route your t-mobile calls over wifi so you’ve always got a great signal.

  4. banned says:

    I can only say, as a former CSR, that the information given is, in fact, T-Mobile policy. Unfortunately the contract states service is not guaranteed. The only way out is no service at all but as soon as they see occassional use, your SOL. When I worked there, you did not need deployment orders to cancel so try telling them you’ve been deployed to IRAQ. I don’t think escalating is the answer here as T-Mobile will look at it as, “You want us to give you $200.00 so you can go elsewhere!?” It just doesn’t fly. This is not a customer service issue anymore, T_Mobile has nothing to gain here. Who wants to be known as the company that says; “Hey, come to us, and cancel for any reason!?” Sorry but I think your stuck unless you take my advice about the military issue, and if they won’t cancel without orders, try a no charge suspend for 18 months for the same reason, then cancel when contract expired. They normally don’t extend the contract, though they are supposed to.

  5. Karmakin says:

    Rocnrule:I would (want to be known as the company who has open cancellation.)

    It’s called confidence in your product and/or service.

  6. banned says:


    Open cancellations are available and are called “Pay-as-you-go”.

  7. Dibbler says:

    T-Mobile? Wow, what a company. I bought my daughter a T-Mobile pre-paid cell phone from the local Target about a year and a half back. This way she could always get in touch with me if she needed to (she was 12 at the time). I picked them because Consumer Reports gave T-Mobile a good rating and I researched their website to make sure they had service in my area. Everything checked out fine so I made the purchase. I called to set up the service and get her some minutes added. The lady on the phone said they didn’t have any numbers available in my area at the moment and that I’d need to pick a different area code and then call back in a couple weeks to see if any were available. So, now if I need to call my daughter from home I have to call long distance. I called back every couple weeks fighting through the system to talk with someone. They never do have a local number available. During this time I notice that the service sucks…always at 1 bar and about half the time the phone says “for emergency use only”. Finally after maybe 4 months of calling to get a local number and thinking that maybe the lousy service has something to do with the phone being out of its “native” area I find out form the latest service rep that they don’t even offer service in my area and that the reason a number hasn’t opened up is because they don’t have numbers for my area. Jesus! If they would have just told me that in the beginning I could have taken the stupid thing back to Target and saved myself a couple hundred bucks and a lot of time on the phone! In my opinion, they suck!

  8. oneTee says:

    this is surprising because usually t mobile has great customer service. it’s the reason i switched from verizon to tmobile in the first place.

  9. bluemeep says:

    T-Mobile has always given us absolutely terrible service. We had to stop in at the local shop in order to get an error message clarified — turns out there was just mechanical trouble with one of the towers and it was fixed within a day.

    Unfortunately it took us an hour and a half to learn this information because the rep on duty wouldn’t break away an obviously upscale client. Making a sale is one thing and I understand that not everyone has the people skills to juggle an entire queue of people and the person you’re presently dealing with. However after she bought it, she had him read her the entire instruction manual.

    The entire damn thing.

    The lady finally left after mastering the art of turning her phone on and off. When the rep spoke with us, it took him roughly two minutes to check the error message and scribble down a customer service number to call. We finally got out of there half an hour after the store was supposed to close.

    Fun times.

  10. OminousG says:

    I have T-Mobile.
    I am currently on vacation in Stevensville, MD.
    I have 1 bar of reception.

    I can not, CAN NOT, make calls. The phones (T509 and a Stripe) will attempt to dial but can not connect. If someone tries to call me they don’t even get the VM, they get a busy signal.
    I can get texts, and can sometimes send texts.

    1 bar is not good enough to make calls. The bad part is that up here T-Mobile feels they have “good enough” coverage, so they don’t have any deals with other provides. So when my phone tries to connect to the stronger Cingular network I get a “not allowed” message.

    1 bar is not good enough to make calls.

  11. jopari: stuck on P.2 says:

    @bluemeep: I don’t know, to me that sounds like excellent customer service… to the point of excess. It sounds like the person who was in line before you probably had a problem with reading, and the CSR was simply helping her out. However, there is is point where he should have said “If you’d hold on just a minute, I have to help the people behind you, then I can go back to teaching you how to use your phone” or something to that extent. I’m sure that if you had a similar problem to the lady who was in front of you (you needed something read aloud to you) he would have obliged.

    Also, after about two minutes of waiting, I would have politely asked if he could help me, and then continue helping the lady before you… It may be that the CSR thought you didn’t mind the wait.

    In any occasion, I think that the CSR had good intent, but it was poorly executed.

  12. ingridc says:

    @rocnrule: “Who wants to be known as the company that says; “Hey, come to us, and cancel for any reason!?”

    It’s not just “any reason”. He’s paying for shitty reception and horrid customer service, and I think he’s justified in trying to amend his situation. I’m paying $50 for shitty service here, but I’m comforted by the fact that I’m moving soon. Otherwise I’d probably do the same thing.

  13. flashing12 says:

    It sounds like his problem is primarily at home, and he may just be in one of those fringe zones between towers. If he wants to keep his phone and plan Eduardo may want to look into a product called z-boost. It’s a little pricey, but will improve your reception in weak signal areas dramatically. Not giving TMobile or any other carrier a pass here, but sometimes you need to look at alternatives

  14. Trick says:

    I had LA Cellular back in the day (late 90’s) and had horrible reception near my home. I wanted to use my cell phone near my home the most but couldn’t.

    The CSR was at first asking if my reception was good elsewhere, such as out in the middle of the Mojave Desert when I was off-roading. Of course it was better…. go figure. Anyway, she said you appear to have no problem with our phones then.

    When I explained I spend more time in my house than out in the middle of the desert she seemed to not be able to find any other excuse and let me out of my contract.

    I was expecting a fight but didn’t get one… one of the few good experiences I have had with cell phones…

  15. banned says:

    I’m just giving T-Mobile’s perspective, this is not my opinion, I feel crappy service is a valid arguement. I’m just saying T-Mobile doesn’t see it that way because they are not going to give money away and allow a competitor profit off of you at the same time. Like I said, he should try the military cancel/suspend then cancel later route.

  16. macgrs says:

    The unfortunate thing with T-mobile is that they don’t know where they have service. I’m originally from NH and went to RPI in Troy out near Albany, NY. I tried to get a phone with them since my family was using T-mobile at the time. They told me that I would get great service in Troy. I had heard otherwise and was a bit skeptical so I borrowed my mom’s phone for a week and sure enough, zero signal. I went with Verizon have had great signal everywhere since.

  17. vr4z06gt says:

    @OminousG: huh thats wierd because I can roam 100% perfectly I use a prepaid nokia 6030?? i think, but its prepaid and im almost always on unicells or cingulars towers, the rep told me that prepaid is now allowed to roam at no additional cost in the US. You might want to inquire about that.

  18. OminousG says:

    From what I’m told, if T-Mobile has a tower in the area they have no reason to go into contract with the other providers to allow their phones to switch towers.
    My families T-Mobile phones switched fine going through North Carolina, you just tell the phone you want to manually select the network and everything is good to go. Here in MD however, that is not the case.

    The problem is how T-Mobile defines “having a tower in the area”.

  19. jmackowi says:

    I’ve been a T-Mobile subscriber for 5 years now, and I’ve only had one bad experience with customer service. My wife went over her minutes, and ended up with a $200 bill. I got this escalated to the retention department since the contract had expired, and they would NOT cave in on this. I threatened to go to Sprint or Cingular (because of the ability to buy extraminutes cheap/rollover), but they wouldn’t give in. We finally setlled on one free month of service with a new plan and a discounted new phone. Other than this (which was our fault), they have always been a pleasure to deal with. They allow you to extend your contract one year at a time and still get a subsidized phone (albeit not as subsidized as a 2 year contract), and I have an unlimited data plan for $2.99/month because I am grandfathered in after signing up in 2002. I’ll be sticking with T-Mobile long term, unless they royally screw up.

  20. MrFlashport says:

    I put up with T-Mobile for a year, in the beginning the service was stellar, the in-store customer service was equally excellent. All is well until you start having problems, the so-called customer care are staffed by tools no different than any other American wireless company. The difference between T-Mobile and the others is they don’t have “the Network” to be pompous asses like Verizon, AT&T (or is it “at&t”, or Alltel). T-Mobile’s network is, for the most part, the weakest of all the national providers.

    They lack any real high speed data, zero coverage in rural areas, and they have the fewest roaming agreements of any national carrier. For example, T-Mobile has no roaming agreements with Cingular in the entire state of Georgia. Good luck making a call anywhere off the few interstates we have, and a large stretch of I-85 going into South Carolina is now devoid of coverage. Speaking of the Carolinas, T-Mobile has ZERO native coverage and relies on roaming full time there.

    I used my get of contract free card and ported over to AT&T, what a difference. Sure AT&T is full of tools, but at least they have coverage and that is what matters most to me: being able to make and get calls most anywhere. Cannot count the number of hours I spent troubleshooting T-Mobile’s shoddy, outdated network in Atlanta, which hasn’t been expanded since it was built over a decade ago by former Powertel.

    T-Mobile sucks, someone needs to buy them out. Sad because their international parent is top notch. Oh well the blue ball works for me.

  21. rolla says:


    i dont understand people when they have crappy service and yet, refuse to switch to the other evil carriers. Hell, theyre all evil…what matters to me is whether i can get calls.

  22. ConRoo says:

    One bar? That’s why we folks in the country keep our land line.

  23. tylermorgan says:

    T-Mobile’s Executive Customer Relations have always been good to me; last month, I had an issue with my bill – charges for random, 5-40 minute calls to the operator were showing up, and because I have a data-only (Sidekick) plan, I was being billed at $.25/minute. My Executive rep refunded me the charges, and sent me a new SIM card. After I put in the new SIM, the Sidekick stopped connecting to the network (it was old, and beat up) – they promptly shipped me a new Sidekick, free. If you’re nice and understanding, Executive Customer Relations people have the power to do almost anything to keep you happy – they’ve always helped me out.

  24. Havok154 says:

    I can tell you that because a phone is expensive, doesn’t mean you will get good service. I bought 2 phones that were new and supposed to be good but always end up with crap reception. Everyone one else I know gets the cheap phones from the same provider and end up with perfect service everywhere. Maybe I’m just a cell service sponge and that’s why my phones never work.

  25. Pipes says:

    Uh oh. I’m a T-Mobile subscriber and I’m moving to Raleigh in a month. So I’ll be roaming all the time? Will that affect me or my bill at all?

  26. bluemeep says:

    @jopari: Actually, she was a fairly well-to-do real estate agent that apparently had difficulties grappling with technology. Or as she put it: “I don’t want to push a button and launch a missile!!!!!” Great service for her, sure. Terrible service for us and the four other groups of people that were stuck standing around until she was comfortable with the notion of dialing.

    Believe me, we all made our presences know at one point or another. One fellow that just wanted to make a return made it at six or seven points. He was just as ignored as we were…much to his glee when he was told an hour later that he was missing one of the manuals, that his return couldn’t be processed without it, that no he couldn’t just pay for a replacement and that the 14 day return policy would be up tomorrow so he was pretty well screwed. That was not a happy man.

  27. nachas101 says:

    I’ve been with T-Mobile for a few years now and have had no problem with reception, access to the network, or customer service.
    Quite the contrary, they have all been excellent.
    I don’t drop calls, never lose service (except in elevators and parking garages) and have gotten top notch customer service.
    Bad story. From what I understand, Sprint is good in Cali, but not where I live. My buddy had sprint in Cali, then moved home. He got zero reception in Chicago.
    Just a note – T-Mobile isn’t all bad.
    I hope they resolve this properly.

  28. Helvetian says:

    He should consider T-Mobile’s new HotSpot @Home service for flawless coverage anywhere in his home.

  29. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    I used to live near Downtown LA and I must say that T-Mobile is the only carrier of the Big 3 (Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile) to have absolutely no reception out there. The one year that I had T-Mobile service I would never be able to make or receive calls no matter where I was. I chose them because they had more minutes than the other providers but I soon found out they could provide more minutes because no one could use those minutes. I don’t know how many times I would finally drive near an area where reception existed only to find that I had 6 or 7 missed calls because of the lack of reception.

    I must admit that I’m still shocked that T-Mobile has such pitiful reception in the heart of LA – not exactly a small market.