T-Mobile's Satisfactory Resolution: Cut The Phone Line, Refuse To Refund $1,766 In Erroneous Charges

Remember Motoko? T-Mobile sent her a $1,169.84 bill littered with charges from an unidentified number. When Motoko called to complain, T-Mobile admitted that the charges were likely fraudulent, but encouraged Motoko to pay the bill anyway. After posting Motoko’s story, T-Mobile’s PR watchdogs at Waggener Edstrom got in touch and claimed that the situation was satisfactorily resolved. We updated the post accordingly. Well, Motoko sent us a followup email, and here is her version of T-Mobile’s satisfactory resolution:

T-Mobile ended up cutting my line for nonpayment. They simply refused to investigate the matter or to call me back.

I was left with no choice but to file a BBB complaint. I guess that was the only way to get them to take me seriously. After another few days they finally admitted that there was fraud on my account. Their calculations showed that they owed me ~$500 but the BBB complaint response from T-Mobile shows about $1,766 in credit. Frankly I’m ashamed that I never bothered to check my online account more closely. I should have known better than to trust them. They refuse to tell me how the fraud was committed on my account or how the perpetrator had access to my account. They also refuse to show me detailed calculations of how they arrived at the credit sum. They initially told me they owed me about $80, then a few days later, $500, now I’m hearing $1,766 according to their BBB response. I really want to double check through their calculations, apparently the fraudulent number has been active since November of last year.

They said last week I would receive a check by this week but it’s already Thursday and still no check, instead I got another bill from T-Mobile even though they owe me $1,766 in credit! I’m not wasting any more of my time communicating with them. If they cut my line again I’ll just file another complaint and ask for more compensation. I finally got another line set up so it won’t be as devastating this time. It’s almost hilarious how they commit one ridiculous blunder after another..

They didn’t offer me any compensation until I specifically asked for it, and they only gave me $60 and a contract opt out without ETF. Frankly I don’t want to deal with this crap anymore. I’ll be switching as soon as I can pick out a new phone from Sprint.

An interesting note is that they did specifically mention they read the article on The Consumerist. They even had a T-Mobile rep respond with a comment and explanation (which was total bullshit since it did turn out to be fraud and that they screwed up majorly). I’m sure you already know that but I found it really cool that the major cell phone companies are keeping a close eye on The Consumerist. It just sucks that it takes nothing short of bad publicity to make them do the right thing. I can’t thank you enough for your help and for running such a successful site. It’s pretty cool how major corporations will finally listen to us through your site. Below is their response to the BBB in case you’re interested:

On September 21, 2007, the business provided the following information:
To Whom It May Concern: T-Mobile USA, Inc. ( ” T-Mobile ” ) is in receipt of your letter, dated September 13, 2007, regarding Motoko’s above-referenced account. T-Mobile has investigated the account and determined that fraud was substantiated. As such, T- Mobile has cancelled mobile number 401-XXX-XXXX and credited all fees associated with 401-XXX- XXXX. T-Mobile has placed a total credit of $1,766.10 which includes monthly access, usage and applicable taxes and one month access for the inconvenience. In addition, T-Mobile has removed the contractual obligation from Ms. Ishii account. This will allow Ms. Ishii to cancel her T-Mobile account without incurring a $200.00 early termination fee. Based upon the foregoing, we respectfully request that this complaint against T-Mobile be closed. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Where’s the money, T-Mobile? Waggener Edstrom says you’re good for it.

We’ll be happy to update this post once Motoko has her check for $1,766.10.

PREVIOUSLY: Your Bill Looks Fraudulent. Pay It Anyway
(Photo: 22n)


Edit Your Comment

  1. shamim316 says:

    lookout small claims court here comes another suit against Tmobile

  2. krztov says:

    “T-Mobile has placed a total credit of $1,766.10”

    uh, did she check her account? if its a credit, generally t-mobile posts it to the actual account.

  3. pyloff says:

    At least we have this recourse available. Thanks consumerist… I’ll say it.

  4. Transient says:

    I love that her resolution is to switch to Sprint. There is no other provider that I have personally heard of having more consistently and inexplicably screwed up bills than Sprint. Go team!

  5. AT203 says:

    If they send you a check for less than the full amount that they owe you, I would be wary of cashing it, less they claim that you accepted their offer to settle the matter for that amount.

  6. cryrevolution says:

    @KRZTOV: If she’s still receiving a bill from TMobile, they have not credited her account and they are still saying she owes money. I’m sure she’s already checked her online account before posting this on The Consumerist. She just is ashamed she hasn’t checked it much before this all happened. Otherwise she would’ve seen the fraud. It’s disgusting to see TMobile take that long to except full responsibility for the fraud. And if she doesn’t get a bill for that entire amount, that would mean they blatently lied to the BBB just to shut them up.

  7. cryrevolution says:

    *accept, not except.


  8. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Put it on a credit card and then file a chargeback and tell them that you never authorized the charge. They have to eat the $1766 plus whatever chargeback fee.

  9. macinjosh says:

    All the cel companies have problems that have been publicized..Same with cable companies,home improvement stores, etc.

    The only thing you can do is to leave the company that’s wronged you for one that hasn’t (yet).

  10. ry81984 says:

    I would report them to the usual regulatory agencies.

    Send more letters to TMobile with all of your evidence and who said they would remove the charges.

    Send letters now to the credit bureau’s explaining the fraud being committed by TMobile and if they can prevent TMobile from ruining your credit and if TMobile tries you will be disputing it. I would even send them the link to this story on consumerist.

    You should cancel your service with TMobile, unlock your phone and port your number to another GSM provider like ATT.

    The worst part of this is if you switch providers they can do the same crap. Your pretty much screwed with any provider you go with. They all suck with customer service.

  11. 5h17h34d says:

    @cryrevolution: go away grammar nazi. Sheesh.

  12. Gloria says:

    @5h17h34d: People can’t correct their own grammar now?

  13. cryrevolution says:

    @5h17h34d: I corrected my OWN grammer…the post above was mine and I had used the incorrect form of accept.

  14. ptkdude says:

    I love T-Mobile’s statement: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention”. I do belive the CUSTOMER brought it to their attention and they ignored it.

  15. Buran says:


    Stop dealing with their bullshit and FILE SUIT FOR THE MONEY THEY TOOK FROM YOU. A court has the clout to force them to do the right thing. The BBB doesn’t.

    And port your number to someone else and consider going prepaid if you fear that another provider might also do this to you.

  16. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Out of curiosity, is there any US cell provider that doesn’t screw its customers ?

  17. mantari says:

    File suit for the money they took from you? HAHAHA. You can do better than that. HAVE THEM PROSECUTED FOR MAIL FRAUD. That’ll get their attention quick enough.

  18. MercuryPDX says:

    @Buran: It’s been my experience that the BBB doesn’t do anything when it comes to larger corporations. As an example, my local BBB shows 17489 Tmobile complaints in the last 36 months.

    AT&T/Cingular (6076 in 3 years), Sprint showed none (they’re not a member), Verizon Wireless showed none (they’re also not a member)… so this data is pretty much useless for a corp operating at that high of a level.

    The BBB is good for researching and reporting local companies only.

  19. Boberto says:

    In fairness to T-mobil, they are by far the best cellular carrier I’ve ever dealt with. Perhaps something is missing here. I don’t doubt this occurred, but it seems so counter to every experience I’ve ever had with them.

    I feel this way because my carrier prior to TMobil was Sprint, and boy did they really suck. So bad in fact, I sued them in small claims court. After winning, they informed me that I should consider ever suing them again going forward, as they might decide to withdraw (from me) the “privelage” of their service.

  20. Buran says:

    @Boberto: Ha. And they think they don’t have any competition, apparently. Unfortunately, although you have had good personal experience, I don’t doubt that they have ripped off other people… as we see here, alas.

  21. mantari says:

    Here we go.
    Consumerist’s Instructions on Threatening a Company with Mail Fraud

    ARTICLE: Unlawfully Billed? Threaten To Report Them For Mail Fraud

    Have at them. Let us know how it ends up. I love this tactic.

  22. ExtraCelestial says:

    I absolutely loved every second I was with Tmobile… until I called to cancel my line. Apparently when you cancel your line all of your online access is also cancelled as well as the automatic payment feature. I was unaware of this. It took only about a week before I figured it out and payed my final bill and the $200 early termination fee, but in the interim I had all sorts of harassing phone calls and letters even telling my dad (who’s nowhere on my account btw) that I would be reported to the credit agency. The only reason why I waited at all was because I thought the auto was still in effect (it usually takes a few days to post) and didn’t want to be charged twice. The whole experience was insane and left such a bad taste in my mouth. I loved them before the incident though, always paid my bill early, and had numerous EXCELLENT experiences with customer service. I even assured them I would come running back the second I could legally disconnect my iphone from ATT. Now after that experience and reading this experience is there anywhereleft to go? It’s like we’re being forced to choose the lesser of the evils.

  23. ExtraCelestial says:

    Also I’m a little confused by her letter. She says she didn’t pay the bill and instead reported them to BBB, so why would she get a check in the mail? The credit would be to the TMobile account and just bring her balance to zero, they don’t actually owe her money… unless I’m misreading something?

  24. darren604 says:

    If you look waaaay up (north of the 49th parallel) in Vancouver, Canada, you’ll find someone who’s been through something similar…me!

    I am a customer of one of Canada’s major wireless/phone/TV carriers, TELUS. And earlier this year, not only were my TV services disconnected for almost 3 months, but, when my bill arrived, it was TRIPLE what it should have been.

    Was I happy? Umm…no.

    Did they really care? Not really.

    Did I make a fuss? Absolutely…I blogged about it, talked about it, and complained about it.

    I’ve got a lot to say about TELUS…this one’s not done.

  25. chalicechick says:

    My understanding was that they had been charging her for this extra account for some time.

  26. tasselhoff76 says:

    Sprint sucks. Sprint sucks more than you could possibly imagine. I have been with them for five years and every single time they mess up and I have to call customer service, it sucks out my will to live. I have heard some bad stories about T-Mobile too, though. One day, I sat in a T-Mobile store and watched as a rep had to call the T-Mobile customer service line for this customer – they had lost the kid’s number. Somehow they were billing him but in their computer system, he did not have a phone number. It took the guy in the store (another T-Mobile employee) a solid half hour to convince T-Mobile 900 service rep that they were wrong. And they still said they couldn’t fix it for a week.

    There’s a reason T-Mobile and Sprint are cheaper than Verizon.

  27. ViperBorg says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: No.

    And for the love of all things that matter, stay the FUCK away from Sprint.

  28. ViperBorg says:

    Okay, last post didn’t post.

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: No.

    And for the love of all things… stay the FUCK away from Sprint.

  29. ViperBorg says:

    Oh, now it posts. Fuck.

  30. rewinditback says:

    so – i read about hijacking via Bluetooth connections which could be how this happened.

    a hijacker has a billable number ( 5 bucks a minute say). You walk through a mall or airport and they pick up your bluetooth… hijack your phone and make it dial the number. By the time you figure out your phone has dialed something, 20 minutes have passed and they’ve got your cash.

  31. Cowboys_fan says:

    Go picket in front of a t-mobile store like that sprint girl, that’ll get someone on the case.
    This is really quite sad for t-mobile. I used to work there and they absolutely do NOT rip people off intentionally. However here they admit to fraud, tell the BBB they’ve resolved the issue, and done nothing.

    @Buran: Its called MANDATORY ARBITRATION!

  32. Buran says:

    @Cowboys_fan: it’s called FEDERAL CRIME!

  33. Geekybiker says:

    +1 on the sueing bit. For the amount they are asking its worth the time and the money. You have proof they acknowledge this billing is fraudulent, yet they keep sending you the bills anyways. Time to stick it to them.

  34. krztov says:

    @cryrevolution: thing is, it wont show on her account for a few days, and wont show on a bill for about a month (doesnt show up til next generated bill)

  35. 46hillbilly says:

    If you still have the letters; the idea of mail fraud is a Federal Court rap and will very assuredly get them to move. The Federal Fines would be a great deal larger than your bill! Ask for punitive damages as well, lawyer fees in there as well.

  36. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    I love my prepaid phone.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Be careful of Sprint! I have a friend who is going through a similar customer service trauma with Sprint right now. ‘Sides their executive staff is in shambles – so no adult supervision over there.

    Sadly I’ve heard similar horror stories with Cingular and Verizon, it’s unfathomable how they can treat their customers. Of course if they didn’t have long term contracts and expensive out clauses they wouldn’t be able to get away with it. Hey WagEd – tell your floundering cell phone providers that if they provided legitimate customer service without having to kidnap and extort their customers to stay then they may just have a chance to topple some of their rivals. It once worked for Dell.