T-Mobile Hands Over ‘Refurbished’ Phone Full Of Someone Else’s Data, Shrugs

A T-Mobile customer bought the un-carrier’s “Premium Handset Protection” when getting a new phone, and eventually had to use it when his Nexus 5 stopped working. The phone swap was a bigger hassle than he anticipated, but that wasn’t really the problem: the problem was that the phone was still full of the previous owner’s stuff, and logged on to her social media accounts.

The customer wrote to the New York Times’ Haggler column to sort out the issue, explaining that the Premium Handset Protection had been promoted as seamless, so that people paying for the service “won’t miss a beat.” The actual experience consisted of sending his handset to a service center in Texas, and buying a missing SIM tray from a vendor on Amazon.

Once the phone was finally usable, there was the issue with the device being full of someone else’s data. “We are looking into what happened in this specific instance with our vendor,” a T-Mobile spokesperson told the Times’ Haggler, since the vendors T-Mobile acquires their refurbished phones from are supposed to take care of these things.

It would be easy to blame the other customer in this situation, and it is a really good idea to erase your device before trading it in if possible. However, her phone may have failed mechanically before she could log out of Snapchat, or she may have thought that she was sending her device in for repair and it would be returned to her.

Here’s the part that sounds familiar to us at Consumerist, though: the T-Mobile representative told the Haggler that the complaint had been resolved. “I’ve verified that our care team spoke with the customer and that he is satisfied. This should be ‘case closed.’” she wrote.

Had it really? Nope, the customer said that he hadn’t told T-Mobile that he was satisfied. Heck, they hadn’t even compensated him for having to buy a replacement SIM tray to make the phone usable.

The Replacement Cellphone With a Past Life [NY Times]

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