September 19, 2009
I am a firm believer that the American people have a right to know when there is a company, doing business in the United States, that engages in business practices that most prospective customers, if they know, would rather avoid.
T-Mobile is one such company.
First of all, T-Mobile has a rating of "F" with the Better Business Bureau. The reasons for this rating (as of this date) include:
· Number of complaint(s) filed against business that were not resolved.
· 23279 complaints filed against business
· Failure to respond to 34 complaints filed against business.
There are a few things that prospective customers of T-Mobile need to be aware of:
1. If you have a problem with T-Mobile, the only people at T-Mobile to whom you will have access are those who answer the phone at the customer service number. They will not transfer you to someone who can help you if they can't.
2. If you do a search for T-Mobile on the internet, you will discover that T-Mobile does not want anyone to know where their corporate headquarters are. Supposedly, Robert Dotson, President and CEO of T-Mobile, resides in Washington State, at 12920 SE 38th St, Bellevue, WA 98006. However, if you send a letter to him at that address, he does not respond. There are a few possible reasons Mr Dotson does not respond:
a. he deigns himself far too important to answer letters sent to him regarding the manner in which his company conducts business;
b. he really doesn't reside there and mail sent there is intercepted by company employees such that he never sees it; or
c. he agrees with the manner in which his company is being run.
All of the above, however, reflect on the integrity of T-Mobile, the kind of business they are and what prospective customers can expect if they do business with them—past performance predicates future behavior.
My T-Mobile story:
In August 2008 I noticed a change in the total of my T-Mobile bill. As I was out of state at the time, I was unable to contact T-Mobile until October 2008.
As the change correlated with a change in sales tax charged in the county in which the post office for my zip code resides, but not the county in which I reside, I called T-Mobile customer service and asked what rates, county and state, were being charged on my billing.
The T-Mobile customer service representative (hereafter referred to as TMCSR) didn't know; the rates were not indicated on the bill, nor the amount those rates were being charged on, making it impossible to figure out. The TMCSR finally decided they were charging about 9% sales tax. When I enquired on what that tax was being charged, I was told by the TMCSR that tax was only charged on the regular monthly charge (in March 2009 another TMCSR claimed something entirely different and equally inaccurate). Knowing both my county and state sales tax rates, I knew that if this were the case, I was being overcharged. I requested the matter be looked into and my inquiry responded to. I was promised such would happen.
However, I received no response.
Nor did I receive a response in November 2008 after I again called and was told that they would get back to me within 48 hours.
Nor did I receive a response in early January 2009 after I again called and was told by the TMSCR that the notes on the account stated that the sales tax being charged was correct; no enumeration of charges being taxed, no sales tax rates indicated, however. When I requested to be put through to someone who could answer my questions, I was told by the TMCSR that they could not transfer my call, they were the only contact for the customer!
When I called in March I was told by the TMCSR that they couldn't help me! Again, they were unable to transfer my call to someone more knowledgeable about such matters (like maybe the accounting department).
In late March 2009 I received from T-Mobile a letter asserting that I lived in the neighboring county where the post office for my zip code resides. They delineated taxes charged for that county. They further re-iterated these claims in early May 2009, further claiming, in June 2009, that if I didn't like the taxes I was being charged, I should take it up with my local representatives, as though it was my local representatives fault that T-Mobile refused to address the fact that they were illegally charging me sales tax for a county in which I did not live!
On March 28, 2009, I sent T-Mobile a letter, including a form which I requested they fill out and return to me. They did not.
Between January 2009 and mid-May 2009, I sent T-Mobile:
1. the URL to the state Department of Revenue website where the sales tax tables are published;
2. a copy of the state Department of Revenue sales tax tables showing the tax rates for the county in which I live;
3. maps showing where I live;
4. a copy of the top portion of my property tax statement showing the county in which I live; and
5. a URL for the county website where a property search shows I do not live in the county T-Mobile claimed I did.
All of this was to no avail. T-Mobile refused to address the obvious discrepancy between the information I sent them and their claims.
In March 2009 I ceased paying the monthly billing sent by T-Mobile. By this point, I had racked up hours spent calling them; writing them letters; taking letters to the post office to mail and postage to mail; gas, wear and tear on my vehicle. I did continue to try and resolve the matter with no cooperation from T-Mobile. (In total 24 letters were written to T-Mobile between October 2008 and September 8, 2009, all regards this matter.)
In early May 2009, I notified T-Mobile that if they did not resolve the matter by May 20, 2009, I would terminate my cell-phone service through their company. They did not resolve the issue and I terminated my service on May 19, 2009.
T-Mobile immediately embarked in what can only be termed a campaign of telephone harassment, calling my home from 877-819-6042. If I answered the phone, I was instructed, by an automated caller system, to press "1". If I pressed "1" I was reminded that my bill was past due and immediate payment was demanded. If I didn't answer the phone, they called back in four hours and in another four hours after that if I didn't answer that time. The calls were coming three days a week.
I called T-Mobile at the number the automated calls were coming from; I told them to knock it off; that, under the circumstances, what they were doing was harassment. They refused and this conduct continued until June 22, 2009 when I chose option "2" when they called my home one day; option "2" being that I was not the party they wanted to reach or the number they were dialing was not for the party they wanted to reach. The telephone harassment ceased.
But T-Mobile continued their adamant refusal to address the issue that caused me to terminate my cell-phone service with them.
In early June 2009, I filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General (WSAG), outlining what had occurred and T-Mobile's adamant refusal to provide me, the customer, with information to which I had and have every legal right.
The WSAG contacted T-Mobile. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from an individual who identified himself as Jason Moten of T-Mobile. He wanted to "resolve the issue." I told him that anything he had to say, he could put in writing and send to me, and I hung up. He called a second time, leaving a message on my answering machine that he didn't "have to put it in writing" but that since I was being uncooperative, he would send the information to the WSAG.
Who was uncooperative? I'm not the one who adamantly refused to provide the information to which the customer has every legal right until contacted by the WSAG!
On their website, in a document entitled Our Code of Conduct, T-Mobile claims:
"We are passionate about our Customers' satisfaction. We are considerate of their valuable time and hard-earned money. We strive to find ways to improve customer service."
Really? Ten months is being considerate of the customers' valuable time, and costing the customer money is how T-Mobile is considerate of the customers' hard-earned money? Requiring the WSAG to become involved before providing information to which the customer is legally entitled is how T-Mobile improves customer service?
T-Mobile is passionate about Customers' satisfaction? Quite obviously that sounds good but the reality is something entirely different as witnessed by the number of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and, in this instance, T-Mobile's refusal to pay the costs their conduct caused.
The next day, Mr Moten again called my home. When I answered the phone, he acted like he had never spoken with me before. When I asked him if he had called the day before, he then admitted that he had. His reason for calling was that he wanted me to send him the information proving that I lived in the county I do! He would later try to claim that I refused to give him this information for which he had to sign to receive!
I asked him where he was located and he stated Albuquerque, New Mexico. I told him I had sent that information to T-Mobile Customer Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico previously; then asked him if he had seen any of those letters. He stated that he had not. I asked him if the people at T-Mobile communicated with each other. He had no answer. It was very apparent to me, at this point, that people within T-Mobile do not communicate with one another; either people to people, department to department, building to building or branch to branch.
Mr Moten supplied his address and I again sent to him information that I had sent to Customer Service in Albuquerque, NM in the prior 4 months! As stated above, he had to sign for this information to receive it.
On July 21, 2009, ten full months after my initial inquiry, and only after T-Mobile was contacted by the WSAG, I finally received from T-Mobile (via the WSAG) the information I had repeatedly requested!
Interestingly, through all their prior claims of the amounts being charged and on what, the sales tax rates being charged were actually correct.
At that point, I sent Mr Moten a letter, informing him that T-Mobile's ten months of knuckle dragging had cost me money, for which I fully expected to be reimbursed.
On July 31, 2009, Jason Moten called my private cell phone (costing me money). Mr Moten informed me that he was the only person who could authorize reimbursement of my expenses and he could not. (Figure that one out … he was the only one who could but he couldn't.) Shortly thereafter I received a letter from Mr Moten stating that if I did not pay the balance claimed due by September 8, 2009, he would turn it over to collection.
It took ten months and the involvement of the WSAG for T-Mobile to provide information to which the customer has every legal right; however, the customer should not be reimbursed for the costs T-Mobile's knuckle dragging caused! In other words, T-Mobile does not care, counter to their claims, what their business practices cost the customer; their focus is on the money, the more the merrier, by whatever means necessary, even if that means being the schoolyard bully! Their "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau reflects that attitude.
On August 14, 2009, a letter outlining this matter was sent to Robert Dotson, President and CEO of T-Mobile. If Mr Dotson did, in fact, receive that letter, it was not responded to. Instead Mr Moten mailed yet another letter to me, indicating that he had received the letter sent to Mr Dotson and re-iterating that if I didn't pay the balance claimed owing in total by September 8, 2009, he would turn it over to collection.
On September 4, 2009, a complaint was filed against T-Mobile with the Better Business Bureau. That complaint was forwarded on and responded to by Jason Moten who requested the Better Business Bureau close it as the matter had been turned over to collection; his obvious contention being that T-Mobile's turning the matter over to collection negated their conduct in this matter.
In his response to the BBB, Mr Moten also stated that "T-Mobile regrets any confusion regarding the tax rates;" his "regrets" obviously an attempt to digress from the reality of the matter — T-Mobile's poor business practices that cost the customer money (in violation of T-Mobile's own Code of Conduct)! Quite obviously, that Code of Conduct is for show only!
Mr Moten further claimed that there was no contractual agreement to pay my costs because of T-Mobile's knuckle dragging! Mr Moten tries to digress from the legal and ethical obligation by trying to claim it as something other than what it is.
On September 5, 2009, a check was sent to Robert Dotson at the Bellevue, Washington address. That check was for the balance, after deducting from the balance T-Mobile claims owed the actual expenses (postage, gas, telephone calls to my private cell; but not my time) incurred by me due to T-Mobile's failure to provide information, the legal right of the customer, in a timely and reasonable manner. That check was sent certified, registered and restricted. It was signed for on September 8, 2009 by someone presenting themselves as Mr Dotson's "legal representative".
On September 18, 2009, a call was received in which the caller, using an automated caller system, did not identify themselves but instructed that if I was Lynn Stuter to press "1". I hung up and hit last call return. The number came back as 866-216-5551. I called the number and the individual who answered did not identify either himself or the company he represented. I asked who he was, what company he worked for. He responded that he worked for a company called GC Limited. When I asked what his business was, he responded, "investments." I told him my number was on a do not call list, to remove my number and not call here again and I hung up.
On September 19, 2009, I received a second call of the same nature as the one above, only the recording used a different voice (in afterthought, obviously intended to deceive the party being called). This time I chose the option telling them that they had reached the wrong party. After hanging up, hitting last call return, obtaining the number called from (866-216-5551), and calling that number, I was told the name of the company was GC Services and their business was "collections". When I asked who they were representing, they would not tell me since I would not tell them who I was.
Where I go from here is yet to be determined. I rather doubt any judge, hearing this, would award T-Mobile one red cent more than they've already gotten. I am, at this time, considering my options.
Looking at the Better Business Bureau website, it is apparent that I am not the only former T-Mobile customer who has been subjected to T-Mobile's less than stellar business practices. I have no doubt, at this point, that had I not filed a complaint with WSAG, I would have never received the requested information. Had the sales tax being charged been wrong and I had paid the balance, I would have been out the money. As it is, T-Mobile expects to get their money despite what their knuckle dragging has cost the customer.
As a matter of information, T-Mobile has been charging my daughter the wrong sales tax rates for over two years (or possibly longer). They have also been charging her the 6.38% utility tax for the neighboring county. My request of them was obviously a valid one.
When you look at the number of complaints against T-Mobile, it becomes apparent that they are not a good company with which to do business.
If you are currently a T-Mobile customer, I would encourage you to look elsewhere for phone service.
If you are looking for a cell-phone provider, I would encourage you to look elsewhere.
If you are a Costco member who has had a run-in with T-Mobile, consider contacting Costco and requesting they terminate T-Mobile's kiosk activities within Costco stores.
A class-action lawsuit against T-Mobile, by dissatisfied former customers, has been suggested. That might be a viable solution to their less than stellar business practices.
Lynn M Stuter
September 19, 2009