Friday, September 23, 2011

Marriage 401, Lecture 512: How a Terminator Engineer handles T-Mobile customer service

I do not have much a temper. Oh sure, I rant and rail at the internet, but when I am angry at someone, I am calm and I seethe, but I try to get what I want with logic. I don't yell because what if that person gets angry back at me? That would be bad. I can't bear to have someone angry at me.

Usually, I get what I want with the nice, logical, you done me wrong approach, but sometimes, it fail. Sometimes, I hit a brick wall and there is nothing I can do and that is when I have to resort to writing a strongly-worded letter and crossing my fingers.

Here's what happened. We got our T-Mobile bill today. When we were in Germany, we were very careful to tell our phones No! NO! Do not connect! NO ROAMING! NO ROAMING, I TELL YOU!

The irony, of course, is that I cannot get a phone signal with my T-MOBILE PHONE just three miles from my house, much less a data connection. But put me in the Amsterdam airport or anywhere in Munich and my phone is chomping at the bit, ready to make that connection. At about $40 million dollars a gigabyte.

SH and I had decided to communicate by text while we were in Germany. No phone calls. No emails. Just text. So I had turn on my phone occasionally. Every time I turned on the phone, I got a warning that data roaming would incur significant charges and did I want that.

NO! I would say. NONONO!

We got the bill today.

$13 of roaming charges plus $1.50 for a phone call to voicemail that I did not make and did not show in my phone log.

I contacted customer service via their online chat.

I won't show you the entire transcript, but will give you the essence of the conversation:

Me: But I was very careful to decline data roaming every time I turned on my phone.

CSR: We can’t guarantee that your phone won’t roam even if you have roaming turned off.

Yes, that is correct. Even if I have roaming turned off, they cannot guarantee my phone won't roam, which means I will still be charged.

The CSR was unyielding. I had declined roaming. The phone had still roamed. She would not remove the charges.

I had started to compose a strongly-worded letter to the head of marketing for T-Mobile when SH asked what was going on.

SH believes in taking immediate action on certain things. When his honor has been violated, when we have been done wrong, he does not take it lying down.

I like that about him.

I also like that he can fix things.

He is a good man, SH.

He did not want to wait for me to write a strongly-worded letter.

"Give me that," he said, taking the bill, as he marched upstairs.

I tiptoed into the hall and opened the door so I could eavesdrop on his call to T-Mobile.

SH does not hesitate to raise his voice.

He is my instrument. When I need to be mad at someone, he does it for me.

He did a fine job, barely suppressing his disbelieving anger at the customer service rep, who, bless his heart, was not responsible for the crummy engineering that allows the T-Mobile phones to roam even when instructed not to.

T-Mobile, if you are reading this and I hope you are, this is what you get for working your engineers in the US 80 hours a week and for outsourcing the rest of them. You get what you pay for. You think engineers won't unionize? It could happen and then where would you be? You better start being nicer to your employees and to your customers.

The CSR told SH that yes, the phones roam even when told not to and what can one do?

SH asked the CSR if T-Mobile was prepared to lose a customer over $13 because that's exactly what was going to happen because now it was a matter of principle.

SH is actually a rather easy going guy and extremely generous ($13 is not a big deal), but when he decides to dig in his heels, he will not move. It rarely happens, but when he takes a stand, he is immutable.

The CSR must have sensed that, because he actually yielded.

Yes. What I had been unable to accomplish in half an hour with Kelly M, the online CSR, SH did in five minutes on the phone.

He is my $13 hero.

That doesn't mean we won't cancel T-Mobile as soon as our contract is up, though. They have really crummy service in Wisconsin.


Joy said...

God, it's refreshing to hear a story of victory over cellphone company "customer service."

Rubi said...

Go, righteous wroth, go!

Brimstone said...

Assertive. That is the word.

Don't bother switching, the other carriers are as bad or worse. Better an enemy you know...

Send an email to T-mob requesting an "unlock code". They will send it to you along with instructions. Once unlocked you can simple remove your American SIM card, along with your roaming cares, and insert a locally purchased Euro SIM card.