T-Mobile: We Won't Swap Out Your Sidekick For A Different Phone

Amber is a pre-paid Sidekick owner who has been a T-Mobile customer for 7 years. After the recent T-Mobile data disaster, she doesn’t intend to get burned again. She wants to switch to a different phone, and she wants T-Mobile to buy back her Sidekick since they can’t deliver the data security they promised. Initially T-Mobile agreed, but then they pulled a Sidekick Data Outage on their promise and it disappeared forever.

Here’s the complaint Amber sent in to T-Mobile, after talking to 7 of their CSRs about the issue (we’ve edited it for length, and added emphasis to certain parts):

I am one of your many unfortunate Sidekick customers. In the wake of the data loss that affected one-third of your consumer base I was one of the fortunate who backed up their data on the included SD card. However even though I was one of the lucky my e-mail did not continue to work for several days. As I have a small business this was incredibly inconvenient, and detrimental to me and my own customers. Please understand that I have been more than patient. I followed all instructions that T-Mobile suggested and only called to make sure that an appropriate credit was added to my account because as a pre-paid customer I pay one dollar a day for data, that at the time, I was not receiving. The agent I spoke with was very helpful and applied a $10 credit with no problems.

My problems started on 10-13-09. I called T-Mobile to explain that I could no longer trust my Sidekick or the Sidekick data service. I asked what could be done for as I wanted to change from my Sidekick to another phone with similar capabilities. I was told by the rep that there was nothing that she could do for me. I then asked to speak to an account specialist manager, this is when I was transferred to Iris (Rep ID 72844).

After explaining to Iris my disappointment at being treated as a second class customer simply because I would not bind myself into a contract with T-Mobile, my concerns over this situation happening again and my loss of additional revenue by not being able to contact or fill my customers orders, I was placed on hold while Iris told me she would see what she could do. After being on hold for another 10 min Iris came back on the line and told me this.

That because I was such a “valued” customer she would be replacing my Sidekick with one of these options, a G1, Blackberry, or My Touch phone. My new phone would be shipped to me and I would be sending my Sidekick back to T-Mobile.

Let me clearly state this is what Iris told me would be happening.

Now I was more than pleased with this. I thought that I would be getting, at the most, a discounted price on a new phone. Iris then proceeded to gather some more information from me placing me on hold a few more times. She then came on the line and told me that she thought it would be best if she finished the paperwork and then called me back as I would have to be put on hold several more times. I agreed and Iris told me to expect a call back from her in 30 minutes at the latest.

30 minutes go by an hour goes by and no call back. So I called in where I then spoke to another manager, Marty (Rep ID 71576).

I then explain to Marty my conversation with Iris and told him I was calling to confirm that everything had been taking care of by Iris and to inquire about when I would be receiving my new phone. Marty places me on hold to check my account. He then comes back on the line asking about warranties and how I was going to take my phone in to the T-Mobile store where it was purchased ( I cannot do this by the way as the phone was bought out of town). I informed Marty that None of this was required or even asked for by Iris. I was then placed on hold again while Marty went to find Iris. I was then told by Marty that Iris apologized for the wait as she was suddenly swamped with paperwork and would call me back in 20 minutes.

I did receive a phone call but my phone oddly enough did not ring but went straight to voicemail. It was Iris telling me she was sorry she missed me but would try again in 30 minutes.

I waited and waited. No call ever came.

Today (10/14/09) I called T-Mobile to find out what was going on and to say I was angered by the experience is an understatement.

After being disconnected several times I was then connected to Robert (Rep ID 36543) who was very helpful in not disconnecting me. He then transferred me to account specialist Casey (Rep ID 12272054) who then escalated me to her manager Peter (Rep ID 81502).

After explaining my situation again. Peter was about to place me on hold when I stopped him and asked him a very simple question.

Was I being lied to?

Were these things being promised to me not going to be able to happen. I explained to Peter that I am not afraid of being told no. That I wanted to be told the truth. Was I going to be able to receive the phone that I was promised. After a brief pause Peter decided to do as I had asked.

He told me the truth.

He told me that there is no way that I would be getting a replacement phone and whomever told that I was or led me to believe I was had not told me the truth. That because I was a pre-paid customer nothing would be forthcoming. After expressing my shock, aggravation, and anger at this I then told Peter my truth. That I was done being lied to, given the runaround, and being treated like a second class customer with utter disregard for the $2,500 I have spent on Sidekicks over the years. Full price because I am a pre-paid customer. Not even calculating the money I’ve spent on minutes and my data plan at $1 a day. I told Peter that this is what I wanted to happen. That the original agreement, no, promise that was given to me by Iris be honored, and that I was now demanding that the phone be a My-Touch in red and that I wanted my promised phone by end of business Friday 10-16-09. I was then placed on hold.


I then spoke with Karen (Rep ID 86636). Karen informed me that Peter had explained everything to her and that T-Mobile did not offer any kind of replacement for pre-paid customers. She offered me her apologies and informed me that Iris was new and would be spoken with. Karen then told me that she could offer me three options,

1. I could be sent over to the sidekick department and taught how to troubleshoot my device and save my data to my SD card.

2. I could send in my sidekick and be sent another.

3. That she could lower my 0.15 a minute plan to 0.12 a minute.

The first and second are in complete disregard to everything I’ve been saying over the past two days and the third, the third is just insulting.

I then told Karen what I will now tell you:

Over the course of these last 2 days I have been patient, polite, concerned, aggravated, angry and now hurt. That a company that I have been with for 7 years thinks that it can treat me like a second class customer simply because I will not sign a contract and that it’s okay. Despite the amount of money I have spent over the years I have been lied to, deceived, runaround, my business put in jeopardy, and my time wasted. All because one of T-Mobile’s managers lied to me and T-Mobile will not honor the promises of its managers.

As Amber points out in her letter, as a pre-paid customer she paid full price for her Sidekick, so it’s not even as if T-Mobile had to subsidize it and wait several months for her to become profitable to them. She’s been pure profit from day one, and by her own admission was expecting at most a discount on a cross-grade. Amber admits she never expected a 1:1 swap; her real goal was to get away from the Sidekick data storage service and she wants T-Mobile to share the cost of that move. Instead of discussing other options with her, however, T-Mobile decided to stonewall her for two days and then refuse to cooperate at all.

(Photo: Noize Photography)

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