Welcome to the T-Mobile Customer Service Labyrinth, where every turn brings you back to the center, where headset wearing minotaurs tell you that the exit is right in front of you but it’s not the exit, and where the company can admit in writing to making an error that costs you $250 but says it’s your fault.
This is the story of Consumerist reader Katrina, who decided back in January that she was burning cash on her $80/month plan, especially when her carrier has a $30/month prepaid plan that provides all her monthly phone needs.
So on January 17, she called up T-Mobile and asked to be switched to the pre-paid plan. All seemed fine, until she got her February bill and realized that she was still listed as being on her old $80 post-paid plan.
After a fruitless visit to her local T-Mobile store, she called T-Mobile and spent 24 minutes being passed around from CSR to CSR.
“Each agent passed the problem to another department,” she tells Consumerist. “The prepaid department would transfer me back to postpaid and vice versa, even though I explained that I had already spoken with those departments. Each time I had to repeat all of my information so each new CSR could pull up my account.”
In the end, she just ended up being disconnected.
She tried T-Mobile’s online chat, which was about as helpful as asking my 7-year-old niece to fix your problem.
An e-mail in early March to a handful of T-Mobile execs provided an incredibly brief glimmer of hope, as she was told she’d receive a response from the company’s T-Force within 24 hours.
Apparently, in the T-Mobile CSR Labyrinth, 24 hours means two months — and only after sending yet another e-mail to T-Mobile.
When someone from finally got back to Katrina in early May, it was quite evident that no one at T-Force actually read more than 10 words of her thorough, detailed letter:
A review of your account shows that you are currently subscribed to our post paid rate plan. Please advise if you would like to have me change your account over to prepaid services. I can initiate the change once you advise me to do so and the process typically takes approximately 24 hours to complete. Should you wish to migrate to prepaid, I will also place a $30.00 credit on your account representing your first month of services.
Katrina wrote back, pointing out that she had already made the switch to prepaid back in January, and that she’d overpaid around $250 to T-Mobile during all the months this problem has not been resolved.
At this point, the same T-Force member appears to have actually looked at what Katrina was trying to tell her:
Our records indicate that on January 17, 2012, you requested to have your post paid account canceled and to open a prepaid account. Regretfully, due to an administrative error, that account change never took place.
Great — problem fixed, right?
Wait… no, T-Mobile wasn’t done passing the blame off on the customer.
Remember the calls she made where she attempted to have this problem resolved? T-Mobile suddenly does, as says they don’t count:
Our records indicate that on February 29, 2012, you were advised on two separate occasions that you were not on a prepaid account and on each of the calls, you were transferred to a prepaid specialist to complete the migration. However, you elected to disconnect the calls without completing the change. As the change was not completed upon the initial request, I will credit the difference of $57.49.
“Why would I spend 24 minutes (on the second call!) and hang up?” asks Katrina. “I called in to find out why my bill was incorrect… I did everything I could have done and explained the problem five different times. The T-Mobile customer service representatives were incapable of fixing a very simple problem and I was disconnected by T-mobile. I did not end the call. That is why I was forced to go to a chat, and then to email.”
So even though T-Mobile admits in writing (we’ve seen the actual e-mail from the T-Force member), and Katrina made multiple attempts by phone, chat and e-mail to have the issue resolved, she is still partly to blame, apparently because she didn’t stand outside the T-Mobile office hoisting a boom box over her head.