I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. The reason it hasn’t happened up to now is that it’s going to be fairly long and I get angry when I think about the whole ordeal. Anyway, without further ado, here we go.
I had been a T-Mobile customer since around 2004 and was very happy with the coverage and service in Columbus, OH. Even though they couldn’t match Verizon’s coverage, the cheaper price for monthly service more than made up for it. I had two lines on my account (mine and my finance’s). In the winter/spring of 2012, I wanted a new phone. I loved my Nexus One, but the time was right to upgrade to the Galaxy S II. So my options were to buy the phone at full price or sign a new contract and get the phone subsidized. Another issue to consider would be that my fiance’ would be moving to West Virginia for a year in the summer so if I was going to renew my contract, I had to make sure the phone and data would work in both places. A call to T-Mobile and a look at their coverage map (See Below) showed that they have a ‘Service Partner’ so we’d be covered. The rep on the phone also confirmed this. At this point, I pulled the trigger and re-upped with T-Mo. All was good.
West Virginia or Bust
The move to West Virginia happened in June. All was good with the cell phone service for the first few days (other than no 4G)…. then out of the blue, I got a text message from T-Mobile alerting me that I had used up 40 MB of my 50 MB roaming cap and my data would be shut off for the month once I hit the 50MB threshold…. I found this very perplexing since I was on an unlimited plan and had been assured that all was good from T-Mobile.
When I returned to Columbus, I called T-Mobile who let me know that West Virginia was in fact roaming, and both phones would be frozen out at 50MB of data. At this point, I wasn’t happy, but it was what it was. I spoke to the rep (Jennifer at #611) and requested to purchase additional roaming data. This is where it gets weird. T-Mobile didn’t want my money. They said the data was capped at 50MB and I was stuck. My only option was to email contract_review@T-Mobile.com and maybe they would let me out of the contract.
You can imagine how frustrating this was. My finance’ was in a new town where she didn’t know anyone, starting a new job and relied on data for everything from directions to email. Suffice to say, she wasn’t happy.
On July 8th, I sent the following email to not only email@example.com, but I also did a search for any and all t-mobile executive email address. After being a long time reader of consumerist (consumerist.com), this was the perfect opportunity for an Executive Email Carpet Bomb (EECB).
Email #1 – July 8
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mercedes.Avelar@t-mobile.com, John.Clelland@t-mobile.com, John.Carney@t-mobile.com, Casey.Otley@t-mobile.com, Cole.Brodman@t-mobile.com, ExecutiveResponse@t-mobile.com,
email@example.com, Denny.firstname.lastname@example.org, John.Birrer@t-mobile.com, Larry.email@example.com, Kelly.Spindle@t-mobile.com, Salaman.Toya@t-mobile.com, Jennifer.Bachus@t-mobile.com
Body: Dear Executive Response Office,
Account Number: [redacted]
I renewed my contract with T-Mobile on April 26. I moved to Charleston, West Virginia at the end of June and was incredibly dismayed to discover that T-Mobile does not have full data service in Charleston. I have a Samsung Galaxy SII and not having data is unacceptable. Before I renewed my contract I confirmed that coverage was available in Charleston by using the tmobile.com coverage map and speaking with a T-Mobile in-store representative in Columbus, OH and a representative at your 800 number. All three sources represented that I would be able to use my phone and use the data coverage included in my plan (2GB per month unlimited plan).
However, after less than a week of moving to Charleston, I was shocked to receive a text message on June 26 stating that I was within 10 megabytes of having my data entirely cut off and the subsequent message later in the day saying that I would be without data going until the bill resets for the next month. On June 26, I immediately called 611 and spoke to “Jennifer” and then to “Scott” (among others) who both stated I would not be able to purchase additional data, nor were they able to let us out of our contract without paying an Early Termination Fee (ETF).
I was fraudulently and intentionally mislead that I would be able to use all the features of my phone and realize the value of my data plan. T-Mobile’s fraudulent misstatements about my data plan and its coverage are unacceptable and actionable. I am hereby demanding to be immediately released from my contract without paying an ETF. You have until July 15, 2012 to respond to this demand. Your failure to reply to me on this issue by the deadline will be deemed to be an acceptance of my demand and I will move forward with cancelling my contract. I look forward to discussing the immediate resolution of this issue.
West Virginia Address – [redacted]
Phone Number – [redacted]
July 9, 2012 – First Communication from T-Mo
Within 24 hours of sending my email, I received a call from Jeff Marino (sp?) from the executive response department acknowledging receipt of my email and letting me know that he was going to look in to everything and get back to me. I felt awesome, I thought the first email was leading to results.
July 11, 2012 – Second Communication from T-Mo
I received a phone call in the late afternoon from Jeff Marino (sp?) letting me know that T-Mobile would allow me out of the contract without an ETC if I can provide proof of residency in WV. I was given an email and a fax number to send to. This was awesome news. T-M0bile had stepped up and done the right thing, all I had to do was show proof of residency in WV. This was a minor issue because only my name was on the T-Mobile contract and only my fianace’ was on the lease agreement. The quick and easiest solution, would be to simply add my name to lease.
The next day we called the apartment complex and initiated having me added. This took a few days because they had to run the standard checks and whatnot to make sure I wasn’t a creeper (I wasn’t!!!).
The Lease – July 18
Anyway, by July 18th, I had a copy of the lease agreement with my name on it. After a quick conversion to .pdf, I fired off the following email to T-Mo.
Body: Hi Jeff,
Please see the attached lease agreement thus proving proof of residency in West Virginia. The apartment complex is:
Apartment Address & Leasing Phone Number [Redacted]
website url: [Redacted]
recently moved to West Virginia for a one year job opportunity, where
there are no T-Mobile towers and I’m allowed 50mb a month of roaming
data before all data is shut off. My chain of events is detailed
Early July – Called T-Mobile at 611 to try to buy additional roaming
data. Was told by multiple levels of escalation that there was nothing
I could do other than send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
(spoke to Jennifer, Jeff and others).
July 8 – Fired off an EECB
July 9 – Received a phone call from Jeff Marino (sp?) at T-Mobile
Executive Response dept. acknowledging receipt of the email.
July 11 – Received a phone call from Jeff saying T-Mobile would allow
me out of the contract without an ETC if I can provide proof of
residency in WV. I was given an email and a fax number to send to.
July 18 – Emailed T-Mobile with copy of lease agreement and apartment
contact information – No Response
July 25 – Emailed T-Mobile again with copy of lease to follow-up – No Response
August 1 – Faxed lease agreement to T-Mobile – No Response
At this point, I’m not sure how to proceed as I’ve tried contacting
T-Mobile on different channels without success. Anything Consumerist
can do to help is greatly appreciated.
T-Mobile Account – [redacted]
T-Mobile Phone – [redacted]
This email thereby constitutes notice that unless I hear from you by Friday, August 10 at 5pm EDT, I will begin the process of porting my number to another carrier and canceling my account. Any attempt by T-Mobile to assess a termination fee would be in bad faith and in violation or your previous statements and my reliance thereon.