Dear T-Mobile: Please Stop Sending 5 Text Messages At 5 AM Every Month To Say That My Billing Cycle Has Started

Dustin is angry and tired because T-Mobile sends him five text messages at 5 a.m. on the 11th of every month to let him know that his billing cycle has started. He asked T-Mobile to stop sending the useless message, but they insist that the texts are a “feature” that can’t be disabled. Their solution? “Put [the] phone on silent on the 10th of every month.”

T-Mobile’s heart is in the right place. What they need is another feature, one that lets you disable their annoyingly useless text message reminders.


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  1. Veeber says:

    Could we put the phone on silent, then have someone make an important call at that time and then sue for the lost revenue? Might get their attention then.

  2. mantene says:

    Probably a silly questions but here goes: Why does it send 5 text messages?

  3. Mr_D says:

    I have T-Mobile and don’t get these messages, so evidently it is a feature that can be turned off. I do get a nice friendly SMS reminder telling me a payment is posted. Sometimes I get duplicates, but never 5.

    I see Windows on there, perhaps it’s a “feature” of their smartphone plan? I only have the baseline 300 minute plan.

  4. smirky says:

    @mantene: Because it’s a nice prime number?

  5. chiieddy says:

    @Mr_D: I don’t get any text messages from T-mobile. Sometimes I get a random 529_ok test message.

  6. Black Bellamy says:

    You need to call the president of T-Mobile at his house at five in the morning every month to inform him that you’re still a customer.

  7. ohiomensch says:

    I have had t-mobile for several years and the only time I get txts from them is when I cross the border into canada.

  8. mantene says:

    @smirky: do you think T-Mobile is using prime numbers as a way of showing they are intelligent?

  9. chrisjames says:

    Do they charge for receiving these messages? Wouldn’t that be fraud. What about violating whatever that thing is that equates text messages to spam?

  10. howie_in_az says:

    @Black Bellamy:

    You need to call the president of T-Mobile at his house at five in the morning every month to inform him that you’re still a customer.

    This. Also tell T-Mobile that their text messages constitute harassment and threaten to call the cops.

  11. tekkierich says:

    Just tell them that if it happens again you will switch services.

  12. CarnageSIS says:

    I’ve had T-mobile for years and never recieved these messages.

    Heck, my family’s had T-mobile since they were Voice Stream (I believe that was the first one). My parents are not ones to use text messages so if they had been recieving such messages I would have needed to clear them.

    But Mr_D could be right this could be a smartphone feature and closest thing I’ve had to a smartphone is a Sidekick. Perhaps double check your my T-mobile profile online and make sure your not accidently requesting these? Or if there’s an option there to turn it off?

  13. neilb says:

    I don’t get these on my account either.

    Here is a different stupid thing they did. I used to work in Detroit right near Windsor, so I was within yelling distance of the Canadian towers.

    I got a txt from tmobile letting me know that I can still get txts internationally.
    Then they charged me an international txt charge for this. I accidentally had picked up that Canadian tower for all of 10 seconds. This was after having international calling disabled.

  14. smirky says:

    @mantene: That would make about as much sense as the 5 messages.

    My service used to do send me unsolicited texts at annoying times so I just suspended my text capabilities. I know that doesn’t work for everyone but I just don’t text so it wasn’t a big deal for me.

  15. smirky says:

    If they continue to send these despite being asked to stop can that be considered harassment?

  16. chuloallen says:

    First time i have ever heard of this. I have NEVER received any such notifications – and you do have an option in your T-mobile profile to turn off such notifications

  17. chuloallen says:

    oh, as for the Smartphone, i have T-Mobile Wing on a family plan for about a year now, so no its not a smartphone thing

  18. Mike_ says:

    Sprint did this to me a few years back. I got some sort of billing alert at 3:00 in the morning. Wide awake, I called in to complain. The rep was completely unsympathetic, and told me I should just shut off my phone at night. Seriously.

  19. v12spd says:

    I’ve had the same issue every now and then with T-Mobile. Most of the time, its the phone/towers fault, if they don’t get a delivery receipt, then they resend the message again and again until the system gets a receipt to ensure you’ve gotten it. Happens with my Sony Ericsson P1i and Blackberry Pearl also when I’m on the phone and the phone will show me my texts, but is unable to send a delivery report to the network. So it will keep sending the message to me again and again until I hang up and give it a second to sync and call back. Annoying but until the network or smart phones get smarter, not much we can do. Side note: this never happens when I use a phone that isn’t a business/smart phone. It’s as if the receipt of my messages on a regular phone doesn’t matter to them, or the network is biased towards business phones with full data packages to ensure message delivery.

  20. DrGirlfriend says:

    @chrisjames: T-Mobile doesn’t charge for any text messages you receive from them.

    I have been a customer since 2002. This has never, not once, happened to me. How many times has the OP called TM anout this? Has he escalated this? Because it’s probably a glitch (oh sorry, I mean “feature”) that is not mandatory, if other people aren’t getting them at all.

  21. tokyomonster says:

    This only happens if you’re on T-Mobiles smart access plan, which you have if your credit sucks. Mine does, so I’m on it. I get the text messages.

    When I had my dad open an account for me, and I would just pay the bill, he was on the regular account, and I would not get the messages then.

  22. gmss0205 says:

    Another reason to switch to Alltel

  23. cde says:

    Better, yet, can we TURN ON notifications?

  24. boss_lady says:

    @Mike_: Oh god, that’s SO not the point. I hate when CSRs give bullshit runarounds, amirite?

  25. retromad says:

    Here is a trick I learned to avoid telemarketers calls that can help. Enter the number that is texting you into your phone as a contact ant set their ring as silent….problem solved! Does not keep them from calling but does stop you from having to hear about it.

  26. Verdigris says:

    @gmss0205: I enjoy that comment. But soon, Alltel will grow to the size of T-Mobile, and probably stoop to the same level of ‘excellent’ customer service.

    I don’t know about T-Mobile, but I know with Alltel you can block test messages on an individual basis by texting “B (phone number here)” to 8888.

    Might be worth it to ask a T-Mobile rep how to block SMS from individuals.

  27. Optimus says:

    What you should do is cancel your service and have the
    Early Termination Fee (ETF) waived based on breach of contract. When you signed up, you signed up for text messaging at a specified rate. This “feature” artificially inflates that rate (unless you have unlimited texting or the text messages are free) and is in breach of contract.

    Beyond that, I would login to their website and see if there is an online account option to enable/disable such text messages. You can also use the website to set up a filter to block these text messages from reaching your phone. I had to do this once because I was getting some horribly repetitive spam about a bunch of men wanting to meet me through “love connection” (or some such nonsense) right after first getting my phone. Being male, I found this somewhat disgusting.

  28. joshthephenom says:

    Oh man, Alltel is no better than any other cell phone company. One time I sent them a check for my monthly payment, and they cashed it, and then claimed I had never paid. I sent them a fax (twice) of my bank statement showing that it had cleared, and they still didn’t believe me. After multiple escalations and hang-ups, I finally reached a CSR that was like “Oh don’t worry, I’ll clear it up for you”. I wish one of the first 10 people I talked to would have done that.

  29. chuloallen says:

    @Optimus: nice idea, but they dont charge for messages from customer service

  30. wooster11 says:

    I have T-Mobile and a Smart Phone (Dash) with Windows Mobile and don’t receive these messages. I am signed up for some text messages from T-Mobile (new bill available and payment has posted) and only receive 1 of each every month. It is strange that you’re getting 5 of the same message. I’d sign into My T-Mobile ([]) and login to check if you are signed up for those notifications. But it still begs the question as to why you’re receiving 5 of them.

  31. humphrmi says:

    Too bad, T-Mobile AKA DT is usually more clueful than this.

    That said, I have AT&T (iPhone user) and I don’t get messages at 5:00 AM.

  32. wesrubix says:

    This should be an option somewhere in their billing system. I saw a similar option on my-tmobile today to receive an sms (txt) alert when my bill was ready.

  33. Lady Caca says:

    Hey Consumerist, thanks for publishing me :)


  34. I have been using TMobile for years now and do not get this message. It is a feature that can be turned off somehow..because it is not showing up in my messages from them.

    I used to also get a message saying my payment had posted but I got that stopped too…..long ago so I don’t remember how. I am sure it was done by calling because I do not like to mess around with their website.

  35. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @Mr_D: I don’t get any text messages from T-mobile. Sometimes I get a random 529_ok test message.


    Those are updates for your SIM…helps keep things working when they update the “firmware” of their towers and such.

    You should just write them a letter in T-Mobile Magenta, then you’ll get some attention!

  36. pigeonpenelope says:

    Likely he’s a Flexpay customer because only they get text messages about their bill cycle and such. It sounds quite annoying. I get “your caller tunes song is about to expire” messages and they annoy me. It makes me want to delete caller tunes but the thought of annoying people who call me too much with songs that will get stuck into their head makes me smile.

  37. marzman says:

    He is either a flexpay or smart access customer.
    He Can turn off these messages through the web-site as far as I know or simply block them entirely with the spam/keywork filters on the website.
    While annoying, t-mobile does not charge for such messages so its not running up the bill.

  38. ConsequencesIX says:

    I’ve had T-Mobile for years and never once got an e-mail about my billing cycle starting.

  39. ILoveChocolateCake says:

    There is no reason that you should have to deal with this. Other users don’t have the trouble and I can assure you it was most likely just mis-information that you received.

    I’d call up and ask if you can have a help desk ticket filed for the issue. I have a hunch, that might be just what you need.

  40. ILoveChocolateCake says:

    Also T-mobile does not charge for any system text messages.

  41. Maykentucky says:

    Ohmygosh, this JUST happened to us. I thought it was a fluke, but it really is annoying, even if it doesn’t charge. T-mobile is a lesser evil in many ways than the other cell behemoths, but getting repeated text messages at 5 a.m. is NO fun.