EECB Scores Hit On T-Mobile, Saves Customer $400 Charge For Phone UPS Lost

When Jeffrey received his replacement smartphone from T-Mobile, he packed up his old one, used the enclosed prepaid UPS label, and dispatched it using a UPS drop box. From there, the phone disappeared. One customer service rep after another assured him that the lost phone situation would be resolved…and then a $300 charge for the phone appeared on his bill. It was time to escalate. It was time to use a powerful tool he learned about from this very site: the executive e-mail carpet bomb.

He posted his story and his successful letter on his blog.

I had a four-month battle with T-Mobile that recently ended that I’d like to share with the hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes we did and know how to exhaust every form of communication – not just with T-Mobile, but with any service provider you give your hard-earned money to.

After exhausting my patience with customer service representatives that I had to constantly repeat my story to (followed by constantly hearing the same responses) I decided to launch what I read was referred to as an executive e-mail carpet bomb. I strongly suggest you click that link and take the necessary steps to dispute your case. My mom would be proud. I remember her handwriting letters to executives when challenging credit charges when I was younger. About 27 hours after I sent out my e-mail I received a phone call “from the office of the president” of T-Mobile by a man who wasn’t even on the e-mail blast I sent. He said my charges were dropped and that he was sorry, on behalf of T-Mobile, for any inconvenience I experienced. Here’s the e-mail I sent out:

“Dear Executive Response Office,
My name is Jeffrey [redacted]. I have been a faithful T-Mobile customer since 2004. I have been teaching in the New York City public school system for 12 years, and am close to completing 1,000 days of teaching without taking a day off. I am writing because I believe I am being unfairly charged $399.81 for a MyTouch 3G Slide that I did not lose and I would like this charge removed from my account.

In August of 2011, I received a refurbished replacement MyTouch 3G phone for a malfunctioning phone MyTouch 3G that I was using. Taking the printed advice that came with the packaging of the refurbished phone, I placed my phone (using a pre-printed T-Mobile packaging label) in a UPS drop box. Over the next few days I checked the UPS website to see if my original phone had been delivered back to T-Mobile. I began to worry when I saw that the package’s tracking number wasn’t even turning up on the UPS system so I called T-Mobile Customer Care to raise awareness, report the problem and find appropriate next steps.

Every T-Mobile representative I spoke with within the first thirty days of my phone being placed in the drop box told me to sit and wait, not to worry, and that the situation will likely be resolved without any unnecessary charge to my account. I continued calling T-Mobile and every time I spoke with a representative they filed a research form of some kind – at one point even filing one for the wrong phone – and I was told to call back in a few days. Please check the notes on my account to confirm this. This process of being told to call back, to wait while another claim form was being processed went on until the phone was due back and the charge of $300 was placed on my account.

When I called to complain about the bill I was then transferred to a supervisor who said he would follow up with UPS and then call me back within 48 hours. He never called me back. I called again and was assured by another representative that they would file a claim directly with UPS and get back to me with my next action steps. They never called me back either. Instead I’ve received multiple text messages and phone calls from the finance department stating that my service will be suspended if I do not pay this bill. It is unfortunate that this phone was stolen from a UPS drop box, but that is not my fault and should not be held financially responsible for said loss.

I propose that this problem be resolved by removing the fee from my account.

I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem, and will wait until January 27th2012 before seeking help from a consumer protection agency, the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Communications Commission. I am, however, looking forward to hearing back from you sooner than that. If this matter is not resolved efficiently, I will feel forced to take my business to another cell phone provider. I have been a T-Mobile customer in good standing since 2004, and I would like to receive the fair treatment that I deserve as a responsible customer. I have enjoyed using T-Mobile for cell phone service, and I have appreciated the value of the rate plan that my wife and I currently have. I would prefer to stay with T-Mobile. However, I don’t want to feel that I am being robbed by the company, and I hope for a reasonable solution to this issue. Please contact me at the address below or by phone.”

Sending a link to his post to Consumerist, Jeff added:

I re-told the story and posted it on my blog, but thought it best to write you back and say THANK YOU for helping me beat the faulty charge.

Well, done, Jeff! We’re glad that our tips were able to help.

How I Beat a Faulty T-Mobile Charge [The Craft of Fatherhood]


Edit Your Comment

  1. BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

    Super yay for teacher Jeff!

  2. wrjohnston91283 says:

    Part of the problem is that all T-Mobile has is his word that he put the package in the UPS box and has no proof he did. While I probably would have done the same thing, this is a good story to remember when sending back expensive electronics – it may be worth it to find a location that would provide you with a receipt so you can prove that at least you gave the box with the tracking number to the carrier, so that if it doesn’t make it to the intended receipient, at least you can show you did mail it.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      This. Any time I send something back with a pre-paid mailer I always take it to the UPS store and get a receipt. This way I have the tracking number and proof that I dropped it off.

  3. Dryfus Ranon says:

    Got fed up with Counterforce Security a few years ago and filed a complaint with the BBB and sent a copy to Counterforce Legal. Wrote BBB at 3am. Sent copy to Counterforce at 3:10am. Got notification of release from contract at 8:59am.

  4. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Yay for Jeff! But I think throwing in the fact that he’s taught for 1,000 days and all that is a a little silly. Why not brag that he’s never burned down an orphange, raped a nun, or robbed a bank?

    • Shtetl G says:

      When I did an eecb i mentioned that I had only missed 2 days out of 1000 days of work as a teacher and I was only credited half the amount.

    • George4478 says:

      He would have claimed those things…..if he could.


    • ovalseven says:

      It was more than he needed to say. He could have summed it up by starting with, “I’m a very important person, so you should help me with this”.

  5. homehome says:

    you should have had a proof of sending and everything that came when you sent it. that protects you as well just in case soemthing happens.

  6. nearly_blind says:

    It’s great that he got the charge reversed, but from T-mobile’s perspective there was no proof the OP attempted to mail the package (the OP said there was no online tracking info at all which means the package wasn’t logged by UPS ). The OP may be an honest guy, but it would be dumb for T-mobile to have a policy where they credit you for a return based on your word alone. There are plenty of dishonest people that would take advantage of this to get free phones. Dropping a $300 item in a drop box is not really wise. The OP should have gone to a UPS store where he could get a receipt.

  7. technoreaper says:

    Why did he feel the need to say that he worked for New York City public schools and has worked 1,000 days without taking a day off? That’s pretty sad. The people at T-Mobile don’t care. He needs to learn how to write complaint letters better.

  8. mathquez says:

    As a follow up for those who’ve publicly wondered why I made note of my teaching streak – it’s really simple. I just wanted to appeal to the humanity of anyone reading. Perhaps this is lettuce for another salad, but teaching in any inner city public school system isn’t easy. Weekends and summers aren’t all rainbows and daisies when you take into consideration how much time is spent lesson planning, grading and tutoring – or working two other jobs just to make ends meet. Was it naive to think they cared? Sure, but I’d rather err on living in a world where people cared about the good you did and who I am instead of just hearing me complain. As for those who mentioned that I probably shouldn’t have used a drop box – you’re absolutely right. I do think T-Mobile should reconsider sending directions that specify using a drop box to return phones.