Customer "Service" at T-mobile

Well this was an interesting week for me. On Wednesday I missed a call and my Pocket PC indicated that I had a voicemail waiting. So I went to retrieve the message and I was surprised to hear "The wireless subscriber you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time." I thought that was strange, so I tried again. After a couple of attempts, I dialed 611 for support.

Oh what fun! First I get an interactive voice response system that asks me why I'm calling. While I truly dislike these impersonal systems, I have to admit that this one is quite impressive. I said I was having trouble with voicemail. The computer responded by asking if I was having trouble with my voicemail password. I said no, and then it said it was connecting me to a support representative.

Instead of hearing someone get on the line, I heard another recording telling me that the wait time would be "less than 20 minutes" and I could leave a call back number if I didn't want to wait on the line. Obviously I had them call me back.

Sadly the computer was not "smart" enough to give the person calling me back the mobile number I was calling about. So I had to repeat everything I had told the computer.

The support guy walked me through a number of steps, all without success. Finally, he toll me that T-Mobile was having a problem with some users in California having their calls misrouted and that this appeared to be the problem. He then informed me that engineering had indicated that the problem would be fixed by eleven-twenty-nine.

At that point, I had to ask: "Do you mean 11:30PM tonight?" No, it was November 29th - a full three weeks from the day I was calling!

Needless to say, at that point what was a simply issue for me became huge! "How can you be telling me that you have a known problem and that it may not be fixed for three weeks?" I asked. The responses then became instantly "book" answers with absolutely zero empathy for the customer and the need to provide the service being paid for. Talking to a "supervisor" was even worse. She was extremely condescending and rude.

As a "journalist" I then called T-Mobile's press office and asked for the company's comments regarding the reported outage in California that I had heard would last for three weeks. The written response I was told to attribute only to "a T-Mobile Spokesperson" was as follows:

"A small number of T-Mobile customers in the greater Los Angeles metro
area may have recently experienced diminished service levels when
placing or receiving a wireless call. The issue appears to have been
resolved as of Nov. 8.

T-Mobile experienced congestion on its network due to an isolated
equipment issue at one of its switching facilities that serves part of
the T-Mobile network in Southern California. During this time, customers
may have been unable to place a call on the first attempt or experienced
mis-directed inbound and outbound calls.

This was an isolated issue and affected a small number of our customers
in the area.

T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience this may have created for our valued
customers."

Well all I can say is this:

  1. The "T-Mobile Spokesperson" did correctly indicate that the problem was corrected some time on Nov 8, but completely ignored the main issue of their customer service dept telling customers that it could take up to three weeks to resolve what was a major problem for those customer affected.
  2. The customer service personnel did not make me feel like a "valued customer".
  3. A quick read of the service agreement with T-Mobile indicates that they offer absolutely no "service level agreement". They can have system failures for months at a time and as a customer you have no recourse - at least according to the terms of the agreement. (The FCC and various state consumer affairs departments might have something different to say about that.)
  4. Due to the responses I got our company (in my "other job", not Pocket PC Magazine) is in the process of porting all of our employee numbers to another (nameless) wireless carrier
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