Kapil’s brand new Blackberry arrived with a battery that won’t charge. He wants T-Mobile to exchange it, but he says T-Mobile wants to replace it with a refurbished Blackberry instead of a new model. Kapil is fighting back, but even at the executive support level all he’s found are rude, uncooperative T-Mobile employees who keep saying there’s a process, and that someone will call him back—which never happens. Kapil refused to hang up on the fourth day and demanded to know what happens next after nobody calls back, which seemed to confuse and anger the T-Mobile rep he was speaking with. And for those of you who can’t listen in, we’ve transcribed some of the juiciest parts.
After a few minutes, the rep grows audibly annoyed with Kapil and tries to get him off the phone:
Your other option is to call customer care.
The reason I’m calling your executive office is because customer service has failed me and they are not helping me, and now you’re telling me that my only recourse is to continue leaving messages but no one is calling me back. I have called every day–
[cutting in] Sir, sir, we took a message this morning. He has 24 hours to give you a call back.
I understand there was a message left this morning–
[talking over him] Okay, so– but–
–but there was also a message left on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week and no one has called me back.
Uh, uh, from the notations in the account I don’t–
So you’re telling me the notes are more accurate than me? Because on this conversation there’s only one person that was part of that initial conversation and… it’s not you. I’m telling you that I’ve called all this week–
[cutting in] I’m telling you nobody from my team, nobody from my team, uh, went into your account.
What if they forgot to leave a note to that effect? Is that my problem?
It doesn’t matter, that’s not how our system works sir. Even if they were in the account and, and, and didn’t leave a note, it still shows there in the account.
So what if I–
[cutting in] At, at this point sir, I’m not going to argue with you. I can give you a phone number. If you need immediate assistance you have customer service to call. Okay?
I have tried–
[overlapping] Do you have any other questions or concerns for me?
I have tried customer service and they have refused to help me, so I called your executive office–
[cutting him off] Well sir, this is your option at this point, sir.
May I speak to a supervisor in your department?
No sir, you’re not calling customer service, you’re calling our executive offices.
This goes on and on like a Beckett play for a while. Eventually Kapil tries a different tactic, and discovers that just because he’s been led to believe he’s speaking to executive customer service, he may have actually been rerouted to regular customer service on his previous calls:
You’re evading my question here. I understand your process, that someone will call me back in 24 hours. I’m asking, if that does not happen, what’s happens next?
Somebody will call you back within 24 hours sir.
(Laughing) Are you a South Park fan at all? The TV show? [silence] Ever seen that TV show?
There’s an episode of South Park where… imagine you’re a character called the Underpants Gnome. And these Underpants Gnomes are stealing everyone’s underpants, and when asked why they’re doing that they put up a sign that says Step #1, collect underpants, Step #2, a bunch of question marks, and Step #3, profit. When you ask them what step #2 is, nobody knows. You’re kind of doing that to me, I’m asking you if this doesn’t happen, if your process doesn’t work the way that it’s supposed to, which it hasn’t for me all week, what is the next step in the process. Like, how do I get past this?
Okay, again I’m telling you, you may have called the corporate office, but more than likely, it looks like from what I can see that you may have gotten transferred back to customer service, okay? As far as our team receiving the call, the first call that was received by our team this week was this morning, okay? So, from that point we have 24 hours to call you back.
But I have somebody on the phone. You’re in the same department.
I’m trying to explain our process sir. Do you understand it or do I have to explain it again?
Twelve minutes in, we find out that the mysterious Pancho—he’s the Godot-like character who’s supposed to call Kapil back—isn’t even someone Kapil has spoken to before, although Jason doesn’t seem to understand or believe that. And at about the 13:30 mark, Jason finally gets upset enough that he reveals that he does have a record that Kapil has called several times before—something he has kept denying knowledge of throughout the call.
It’s really a masterclass in how to pretend to offer customer service while stonewalling a customer. We like to imagine there are posters up around the T-Mobile offices that display our favorite line from Jason: “It’s not a refusal, sir, it’s how our process works.”
(Photo: Getty Images)