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I've been a customer of T-Mobile since 2002. Actually it was called VoiceStream back then. Usually I can call up and the reps will bend over backwards to answer my questions, solve my problems, and do whatever it takes to make me happy. Today was my first really bad experience with not one, but two customer service reps.

The website chat support and telephone support were both terrible.

I wanted to add a new phone & line to my plan for my mom. I wanted to ensure the new number used HER area code instead of MINE.

So I asked the website chat support: "How do I pick the area code for the new line?" The rep asked me several questions which had absolutely nothing to do with the question or the answer. The answer is "the new line has your area code by default. Once you receive the device, you can call T-Mobile to change the number." This is not an answer I wanted to hear, but I would have been less aggravated about it if I'd gotten this answer in two minutes instead of 20.

So then I called customer service. Keep in mind, I have never had problems with customer service in the past. Every rep I've talked to has been WONDERFUL. Until today.

The first person who answered needed to transfer me to a different department to add a phone and line. Okay, no problem. This second person confirmed with me that I wanted to add a new number and device to my existing plan. Yes. Then he immediately tries to pitch me "free data for life on up to two iPads." I said "I'm not calling about iPads, I am calling about a phone for my mom's birthday. I don't want to talk about iPads right now, I just want to get this phone ordered for my mom."

So he starts working on the order with me. And he gives me bad news: indeed my mom is going to get the device with MY area code, and will have to call to get the number changed to HER area code. This is absurd. Why can't you just assign the freaking area code before the SIM card ships? So he "notates the order" with her area code. I am betting she's still going to get the wrong damned number tomorrow, and I will have to call and sort this out.

Then the rep says "I know you don't want to talk about iPads Kelly, but this deal ends tomorrow. And you've been a customer for such a long time, you qualify for free data for life on your two iPads. You don't have to pay anything on your monthly bill, and I'll even waive the SIM starter package for you." Oh, I think, that's how they make money on free data for life. They charge for SIM Cards. Except neither of our iPads has Cell Data anyway, they're both WiFi only. The rep insists that all iPads have SIM cards. "Look for the small hole that you could stick a bobby pin in, and that slides out a little tray where you can put a SIM card."

First, no bobby pin I've ever seen will fit in those holes. You need a special tool, or a sewing needle. Second, I've put SIM cards in about a dozen smart phones in my life, if not more. I know what the hole looks like, I know what the tray looks like. It's not invisible. You can totally see the tray if there is one. So I start trying to take my iPad out of its case to look for said tray, just in case for some reason Apple decided to ship me a Cell Data iPad, even though I specifically ordered and paid for a WiFi only iPad.

And then I broke my iPad case getting the thing out of it.

And then I said "No, no tray." The rep kept insisting I look for the hole. I was like "Look. There's a little hole near the volume buttons, but no tray. There's the volume buttons, the power button, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the power port. There's no SIM tray. I promise I know what they look like. I specifically ordered a WiFi only iPad, and that's what I got." The rep was incredulous. He'd never heard of an iPad that is WiFi only.

So then he started asking me about my mom's iPad. Because giving her data on her iPad would be like giving her TWO birthday presents! Again I had to insist he drop the subject. I am not interested. Stop trying to sell me on something I didn't call you about. Instead, HELP ME WITH THE THING I DID CALL YOU ABOUT.

And now I have to get a new iPad cover. The damage isn't huge, but there are breaks in two places, and plastic is sticking out from where it should be. I tried super glue to no avail. And knowing my stuff, edges sticking out will catch on stuff and break them further down the road.

I considered asking the T-Mobile rep to pay for the new case, because honestly I'd never have taken my iPad out if he hadn't ignorantly insisted that all iPads have SIM card slots. I mean ... really? Clearly you've never actually even looked at purchasing an iPad. Apple's site is very clear on the subject.

I realize a lot of people who call customer service have no idea what they're talking about, but a good customer service rep can identify someone who has a clue. I've been a customer service rep, a tech support rep, back-up (in-person) tech support, and an administrative assistant (pseudo-tech support) for long enough to identify ignorance from experience. The problem is, this guy clearly doesn't have a clue, so he can't tell when anyone else does.

So now I have a broken iPad cover, super glue on my thumb, and drastically increased blood pressure. I foresee vodka in my immediate future. >:[


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2016 10:14 pm (UTC)
Having been a CS rep on the phone, I know what corporate is like, forcing you to upsell crap when you KNOW people don't want it. I've gotten into arguments in reviews over it. That being said, I can even let go that 2nd attempt, but to blindly go on and on with you over the SIM card tray or lack thereof was bad biz. He may be obligated for that last-ditch try, but "no' should have ended it. Of course, I dunno T-Mob's policies, but, DAMN.

Vodka, indeed.
Feb. 9th, 2016 11:13 pm (UTC)
If it's T-Mobile's corporate practice, it's new. I've had reps offer me upgraded services and devices, but never had them push past the first no. I've been in sales positions that require 3 no's, but not customer service. And the one. And the one customer service position I had where we were encouraged to ignore the customer's problems or request in favor of sales... I quit after two months. Such a bad company policy.
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:38 am (UTC)
I worked at T-Mobile (under one of the vice-presidents) for a little while, at the corporate office. I assure you that their mission statement is the opposite of this experience. If you want, i can probably track down someone you can call who will a) help you get the thing you want since T-Mobile is national; b) can address the horrendous customer service you have gotten and c) probably do something to compensate you. because WOW is this not what they are supposed to be about.

I can't remember what region you are in. It certainly sounds like your region needs to be reeducated in company policies.
Feb. 10th, 2016 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the offer! Someone contacted me on Twitter and said she'd keep track of the order. The phone is supposed to arrive today, so we'll see what area code it has. And hopefully this experience was just a fluke. I'm located in Florida, near Tampa, but I'm not sure what call center I reached. I'm very glad to hear company policy is still to provide an excellent customer experience!
Feb. 10th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC)
Reading over your post reminded me of horror stories I've read about how Comcast treats their customers who call in for help. Eesh.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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