Tuesday, January 30, 2007

T-Mobile Reminds Me That the Customer Is NOT Always Right

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

shut up nick k thx

Here’s a story you won’t soon be reading on The Consumerist.

A few weeks ago, I bought this outdated but cheap T-Mobile pre-paid phone directly from T-Mobile’s website for $59.99. So far I’m absolutely satisfied with it–great reception, easy to use, long battery life, and dirt cheap refills.

I was less than thrilled, though, to see the price of the phone drop to $29.99 a couple days after I bought it.

Having successfully obtained a price-drop refund from Amazon.com just a few weeks ago, I decided to try my hand with T-Mobile and ask them for a refund on the difference between the price I paid and the current price. I knew T-Mobile didn’t have a policy about offering price adjustments after a purchase, but I figured five minutes of my time would be worth it for a chance to save $30.

Here’s the e-mail I sent to T-Mobile’s Customer Service:

Dear T-Mobile Customer Service,

I am writing in regard to a recent order (#*********) I placed for the Nokia 6030 T-Mobile To Go prepaid phone. I recently activated my phone and am very happy with my new service.

When I placed the order on January **, 2007, the phone was priced at $59.99. Just a couple days later, I noticed that the price of the phone dropped to and remains at $29.99.

I’m hoping that you would be willing to refund the difference between the price I paid and the current price of the phone. Please refund $30 to the credit card I used for this order. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


I received an automated reply immediately stating that I’d hear back from a real person within 48 hours. Sure enough, I did. (Emphasis below is mine.)

Dear Nick,

Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile regarding our promotions.

Before going any further, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being a new T-Mobile customer since January 21, 2007. It is our pleasure to provide you with the best possible assistance for all questions and concerns you might have. T-Mobile is proud to be a leader in the field of wireless services.

We understand that you see our new promotion for the Nokia 6030 phone and like to get a credit on your phone purchase made earlier. This can be frustrating when you see the price change occur after purchasing the phone. We would be pleased to check for you.

Currently we do not have a price match available for our new promotions that come out. Sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

If you have any further comments, questions, or concerns feel free to contact us at anytime. Did you know that you may check your minute usage and balance directly from your phone? Simply dial #999# to see the amount of minutes you have remaining and the dollar balance. Alternatively, our support number is 1-800-937-8997 or dial 611 from any T-Mobile handset at anytime.

As a valued customer Nick, thank you for choosing T-Mobile. We appreciate your business.


Web Correspondence Specialist, T-Mobile USA

In short, the e-mail was a big “you’re outta luck” from T-Mobile.

At this point, I weighed my options. I could:

  1. Waste a few hours throwing a fit on T-Mobile’s Customer Service hotline, hoping they’ll cave to my demands.
  2. Register t-mobile-wont-give-me-my-money-back.com, post hourly about the horrible agony I’m enduring at the hands of the fiendish T-Mobile Customer Servile Representatives, and wait for the call from the New York Times.
  3. Throw in the towel.

Instead, I decided to go with Secret Option #4: Realize that T-Mobile is 100% right and shut my mouth. And no, that’s not the same as Option #3.

You see, T-Mobile has every right to refuse my price adjustment request. After all, as I stated earlier, they don’t have a price adjustment policy. While it would have been nice of them to offer a refund on the price difference, they certainly weren’t obligated to do so. In fact, it was probably unreasonable for me to request the refund in the first place.

Perhaps I’m a coward who’s deserting from the war between Big Business and Little Customers. Or maybe I’m a traitor for actually commending a company for sticking to its policies and not bending over backwards to meet my every desire. But T-Mobile won’t be receiving any hassling phone calls or lengthy demand letters from me. The only things they’ll be getting from me are a hearty thanks for promptly and courteously handling my situation, and my continued business.

Verizon, on the other hand, can continue to bite me.

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