The NeverEnding Story – Why T-Mobile is Horrible

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.

Backstory

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 contractreview@t-mobile.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:  corporate.responsibility@t-mobile.net, review@tmobile.com, glenn.zaccara@t-mobile.com, 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,
robert.dotson@t-mobile.com, Denny.post@t-mobile.com, John.Birrer@t-mobile.com, Larry.myers@t-mobile.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.

Sincerely,

Mark Roehl
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.

To: ExecutiveResponse@t-mobile.com

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]

Thanks,

Mark Roehl
Phone Number [Redacted]
Attached Lease Agreement: [Redacted]
The Waiting Game – July 25
After waiting a full week without hearing anything, I sent the below follow-up on July 25th.
To: ExecutiveResponse@t-mobile.com
Body: Dear Executive Response Office,

I want to follow-up on my original letter (pasted below). I spoke on the phone with Jeff Marino (sp?) and he mentioned if I proved residency in West Virginia, I would be allowed out of my contract without an early termination fee. This information (A copy of the lease agreement and contact information for the apartment complex) was emailed on July 18th and I haven’t heard anything since.

Any update is appreciated.
Thank you,
Mark Roehl
Phone Number: [Redacted]
Attached Lease Agreement: [Redacted]
More Waiting – August 1
On August 1, I sent a fax to both 505-998-3796 (this is the number give by Jeff Marino (sp?)) and 813-353-6545 (found online) with a copy of the lease agreement and the following message on the cover sheet:
Dear Executive Response Office,
I want to follow-up on my previous emails. I spoke on the phone with Jeff Marino (sp?) and he mentioned if I proved residency in West Virginia, I would be allowed out of my contract without an early termination fee. This information (A copy of the lease agreement and contract information for the apartment complex) was emailed on July 18th and July 25th and I haven’t heard anything since.
Any update is appreciated. I am attaching the cover letter of my lease in West Virginia.
Thank you,
Mark Roehl
phone number: [redacted]
August 2 – Email to Consumerist
After two emails and two faxes, I was running out of ways to get in touch with T-Mo. The only thing that directly resulted in communication was when I emailed God and Country. On August 2, I sent the following email to consumerist hoping that they could help:
To: Tips@consumerist.com
Body: Hi Consumerist,I’m in the same boat as Matt from your T-Mobile story today. I
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
below:

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 contractreview@t-mobile.com
(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.

Thanks,

Mark Roehl
T-Mobile Account – [redacted]
T-Mobile Phone – [redacted]

Consumerist emailed back:
“If all goes according to plan, you should be hearing from T-Mobile soon.”
August 8 – EECB #2 – 3:12 pm
After not hearing anything from T-Mobile, I was completely out of options. The only thing that had worked was when I emailed God and Country. At this point, I sent everyone on the original distribution list (see above) the following email:
Body – Dear T-Mobile,As detailed below, I have tried to work to resolve the issue of your lack of data coverage in my new home state without resorting other methods. On July 11th I was told if I provided proof of residency in West Virginia (Where T-Mobile does not offer data), I would be allowed out of my contract without an early termination fee. I have provided this information in the form of my lease agreement on 3 separate occasions. I have yet to receive a response.  Because of your inaction and inattention to this matter I am forced to terminate my contract in reliance on your previous statements that I can terminate my contract without penalty upon providing proof of residency.

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.

Thank you,

Mark Roehl

I also included the log of all the times I attempted to contact them.
At this time, I also took autopay off the account.
8-8-12 – T-Mobile Contact & 2 More Email Attempts
Within hours of sending my email, I received a call from Jason at the Executive Response team. He wouldn’t give his last name or direct email, but told me to resend the lease agreement or to go into a T-Mo store and have them fax it in. At this point, I had no reason to believe that emailing would work but I sent it anyway from multiple email addresses (Gmail and Yahoo). I requested a follow-up regardless if he received the email or not.
8-9-12 Follow-Up
Jason called to follow-up and said he didn’t receive the email. At this point, my options were to keep emailing or try faxing again. I told him I was going to go into a T-Mo store and fax from there. The fax number he provided was: 505-998-3796.
8-10-12 The Fax
I went into a T-Mobile store and had them fax the lease agreement. I also had them print out the confirmation. In all, I had 25 pages faxed.
8-10-12 Resolution (Finally)
After over a full month of emails, faxes and frustration, I received a call around 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon letting me know that I was no longer under contract with T-Mobile. Finally!!!! Success!
The Aftermath
Once I was out of contract with T-Mobile, I was able to port my number to Verizon, which gave T-Mobile their final opportunity to screw me over. Since the ordeal took so long, the next month had started on my T-Mobile account (my bills started on the 8th). According to T-Mobile terms and conditions, the last bill is the last month in its entirety, regardless of when service terminated. What this meant is that I would be paying T-Mobile for weeks when I was currently a Verizon customer. As an added bonus, T-Mobile also removed the employer discount on the final bill which meant I had to pay an extra 14%.
Lesson Learned
The lesson I take away from all this is never to use T-Mobile again and to share my story so if others are lied to, they have recourse. I urge anyone with T-Mobile to consider this story and think about if push comes to shove, are the cost savings worth dealing with a horrible company?
I encourage anyone to pose questions or comments in the comments section below.
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6 responses to “The NeverEnding Story – Why T-Mobile is Horrible

  1. How would/could one do this to the California DMV regarding unfair late fees charged after THEY failed to inform me charges were due?

  2. I experienced the same issue. T-Mobile is a disaster of a company, and Jeff Marino is just a poor little boy doing his little good for nothing task of acting like the companies bull dog to save those extra few pennies for a dying company.

  3. Thanks for a well written documented story of the Nations 4 g joke of a compa ny…I live in Disneyworld which by all practical business standards would be extremly well covered with roughly 200 gazillion people visiting from the world. This is the most opportunistic place to be to show the world how great your product is the global market. They fail to provide network coverage and lie when you call…about supposed engineering dept. Diagnosis…worthless. If they can’t get it right in Americas Showplace…how can they get it right anywhere?

  4. Way to win Mark,wow,I dropped these losers that I had been with for a decade,I was finely fed up with no coverage in areas I needed and them raping me for slow data,so when my last contract was up,I shot over to verizon which was a lot more reasonable!But the hook was T Mobile screwed me for and extra whole month because somewhere in the “agreement ” it says you have to give them a months notice!!!(dirty crappy company)Who ever reads this please RUN AWAY from T Mobile!!!!!

  5. all i have to say its that i understand but Verizon its not any better ! i was their costumer for 2 years and they really screwed me over really BAD!!
    So if anyone reeds this then RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM VERIZON!!!

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