Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some days just call for an off-topic, poor T-Mobile customer service rant.

In November of 2012, Mark and I went to a T-Mobile brick and mortar location to purchase the new Galaxy III, which was offered with a rebate of $300, making the phone free.  We were adding Mark to my existing account, and the salesman gave us the phone, called in to add him to the account and get him a new phone, handed us the rebate paperwork and sent us on our merry way.

We filled out the paperwork and sent it in the next day. Two months later (January of 2013), Mark receives a notice in the mail saying the rebate had been denied.  I called T-Mobile for him and they said “oh, we can submit again, no problem”.  So, I had her do so.

Four weeks later (February), we receive another notice in the mail saying the rebate has again been denied, this time offering a reason; it’s because the rebate could only be honored if we changed the plan to a specific QUALIFYING one, and it had to have been changed at the time of service, or no deal.

I called T-Mobile again, ready to plead my case. How could this have happened when the phone was purchased directly at a T-Mobile outlet store? It’s not like we bought it at a Walmart or Best Buy!  After no less than THREE calls, all of which ended with the T-Mobile employee HANGING UP ON ME (most likely because they didn't want to deal with my drama), the 4th representative told me that she could get special permission to allow the rebate to go through, if I agreed to change my plan on the phone right there. She further said that once I have received the rebate payment, I could call back and change the plan BACK to what it was originally, with no penalty.

I agreed to the change, and had to agree to another two year commitment beginning that day. She assured me that it was indeed “pushed through”, and I should see the rebate in 4 to 6 weeks.

It finally arrived in late March. Good news, right?

I got around to calling T-Mobile back in mid-April in order to change my plan back to the original billing. I spoke to a very bright young man who first said “yes, I can do that right now for you” and put me on hold.  A few moments later, he came back on the line to say that the plan I was originally on, is no longer offered. In my head I am thinking; Oh jeez… c’mon….  are you serious?   He put me on hold, then came back a few moments later saying “good news, since you have been with the company for so many years, we CAN honor the change back.  I will do that now, and you will be good to go. He went so far as to say that my future bills will be $189.00, which is what I was expecting.

Fast forward to May 1st, when I receive a text message from the T-Mobile Billing Notification department. “Ken Kahle has authorized a recurring or scheduled payment of $389.40”

?! WHAT !?

I called them instantly, and another bright young man tells me that the plan I was changed to did not include unlimited texting and the $389 was the charge for the overages on texting. I had to review the entire story with the new guy from beginning to end, and he told me “I understand what a shock it can be when customers receive such a high bill.  I will make the change to your plan so that you have the unlimited texting that you were expecting, and if you will let me put you on hold, I will get Manager Approval to get your bill adjusted. A few minutes later, he came back on the line to say that his Manager approved the refund.  Before I hung up, I begged him to promise me that my plan was changed, and my refund would be made, and he said “I assure you, Mr. Kahle that your will receive this refund, and the changes have been made. You can log on to your account on our website four hours from now, and you will see the adjustments reflected there.”

Four hours later, I went to my account on the T-Mobile website. I see that there is a financial adjustment there in the amount of $218.64, but it says “credit” not “refund”.  So on Friday, May 3rd, I called them again. This time, the representative was on the not-so-helpful side. He quickly cut me off saying “T-Mobile does not automatically distribute refunds, they have to be requested.” I told him I am requesting it now. I was then required to give him my bank routing and account numbers and he said I would see the refund in 2-3 business days.

Three business days later, on Tuesday May 7th, I see no activity in my bank account, nor on the T-Mobile web page, so I called them again.  This time, I spoke to a man who took a full 13 minutes just to read through the memos and notes and account information associated with my phone.  Finally, he comes back on the line and says “your refund request has been denied”. 

?! WHAT !?

He further explains it is a T-Mobile policy that payments made by checking or debit accounts cannot be refunded until 10 days have passed.  My next step is to call back in 10 days (which will be May 10th), request the refund again, and then it should be received 2 to 3 business days later. Oh, guess what... ?  The rep then hung up on me.

This is unbelievable to me.
                They withdraw a sum of money that is MORE THAN double what my payment should be.
                I have had to call THREE times to request it back, but I still have to call a FOURTH time, and will be required to wait 2 weeks to get MY money back?

What kind of company IS this? I used to give glowing reviews of my experience with this company whenever friends or co-workers asked me about it. I've never been late with a payment, and I have to wait two weeks? My mortgage payment is due BEFORE the 10 day, plus 3 day waiting period.  Why doesn't anyone at this company think that their customers live off of the money that they withdrew, according to their own admitted error?

This is shameful customer service, and shameful treatment.  As a professional, who works in the field of customer service excellence, I am appalled at their behavior, at every step of this journey. This has been going on since November of 2012, and I still have no guarantee that it will be met with a resolution by Wednesday May 15th (according to their timeline).  Tell me, what working American can afford to have more than $200 suddenly tied up, and held from their use?

Shame on you T-Mobile.


5/14/13    Phase 2 in the T-Mobile chronicle…

I called on the morning of Monday, 5/13 to make the official 2nd refund request of the balance of $218.64 since 10 business days had passed, and a very friendly “Brittany” said to me; “Thank you, Mr. Kahle, I have processed your request and you should see the refund in 2 to 6 business days.”

The very next day, Tuesday, 5/14 (yes, today), I went to check my T-Mobile account on the T-Mobile website, and the credit balance shows -56.84!  Unbelievable, that ONE day later this company issues my invoice for my next bill, and the day after I request my full refund, they apply my credit to pay their bill, a FULL TWO WEEKS before it is due.

I called T-Mobile Customer Care again, and this time I ask to speak to a Supervisor. He explains to me exactly what I have already determined. It seems it is their procedure to apply any account credit to a bill immediately when the invoices are created.  So, my questions is this; if they have a POLICY that requires a 10-day waiting period before credit refunds can even be made, plus a 2-6 “processing” time period, but they also have a POLICY that takes the credit away for the next bill 14 days early, where would my refund ever actually fit in there?  Effectively, this company has taken payment in full for 2 ½ months of service, and I receive no recompense for their multiple errors.  I have made NO error with this entire string of transaction, but it has cost me money out of pocket, far earlier than agreed upon, that is frankly needed elsewhere.

The call was wrapped up with another “promise” and another “guarantee” (yes, the word “guarantee” was spoken to me); the Supervisor told me that he had conferred with his colleagues, and they have agreed that I WILL be refunded the full $218.64 (in the next few days), and that my regular monthly bill of $160 will be due on June 1st.

I will believe it when I see it. 


5/15/13 Phase 3, final phase in the T-Mobile chronicle…

This time the Supervisor was telling the truth, as my full refund was deposited back into my checking account this morning. 

Although I am happy that I have MY money back, I still think there are several people who work there that still deserve a spanking.

5/28/13  12:41pm

Wow... who knew there would be ANOTHER problem directly connected to this same problem:

On 5/28, just less than 2 weeks after being refunded the $218.64 credit, I was surprised to receive a text from T-Mobile that reads "Your bill is past due. Act now to avoid service interruption and $20 restore fee per line..."

I call immediately and speak to a young lady who says "Mr. Kahle, it looks like your account is 25 days past due.  Let me transfer you to a special account department and they can help you".

I was connected to Jennifer who took some time to research the account all the way back to December. She said everything looks exactly the way you described it, but there is one unusual entry, and that is dated May 15th, 2013. I don't understand what it means, so I am going to have my supervisor research the account and give you a call back.  I hope we can resolve this for you, Mr. Kahle."

Now, I am waiting for a call back, and for the NEXT domino to tumble over and reveal ANOTHER surprise that this company never bothered to inform me of.

I am paid in full as of May 1st, and my next payment is due on June 1st.  Because of yet another T-Mobile error, I am suffering the effects of more bad customer service.

I may have gotten a refund on my credit that should never have been taken in the first place, but this matter is NOT resolved...

I suppose I'll be back with another update...........

Ken Kahle
.... and now we return to our regularly scheduled program.....

Have a DISNEY day!