UPDATE: After you’ve taken a look at this, please take some time to check out the update to this story. It contains T-Mobiles reaction to this story. You can check it out here.

I love T-Mobile. We’ve had it for years now. I had it for years before I moved to Virginia and the only reason I dropped it was because Verizon was the only one who had usable service in that part of Virginia at the time. My entire family is on my plan. Even though we have 10 lines and 7 financed phones, our bill is routinely under $400. $40 per line with financed phones is pretty good. The speeds are good. We just got an upgrade here in my area of Ohio and I now get about 35 down and 15 up. That’s much faster than my home internet.

T-Mobile has come out with so many excellent programs for their uncarrier initiative put in place by CEO John Legere. Killing contracts, early upgrades, free music streaming (net neutrality arguments aside) and low base prices have changed the mobile industry in this country for the good.

But they make it really hard to love them.

John Legerge T-Mobile

My problems began in this case when the Samsung Galaxy S6 came available for pre-order. In my haste, I accidentally ordered the wrong phone. Totally my fault and I take full ownership of that. I ordered a Galaxy S6 Edge instead of the regular Galaxy S6 and in the process of the order I had to put down $222 to complete the order. Understandable that they need tax paid up front and paying for shipping gets refunded eventually so no biggie. For any phone that’s over the $650 base price they ask their customers to pay $100 at the time of purchase. I paid the extra $100 for my 64 GB iPhone 6. To purchase the Galaxy S6 Edge, you have to put down $100 since it’s a $750 phone.  I didn’t realize that’s what I was paying for here but I have no qualms with their policy. I was excited to get the phone.

So off my $222 went to T-Mobile, back I went to work and later, a nap I took. After my nap I woke up and checked my order again and realized my mistake. A quick call to T-Mobile and I thought my problems were solved. The nice customer service rep helped me cancel the order and force through an order for the phone I really wanted. I put down nothing but tax and shipping this time. Unfortunately for me, T-Mobile is super quick about sending out their orders. The S6 Edge (and the regular S6) both got sent out and I had deliveries scheduled for two consecutive days. First the S6 Edge, then the S6. I had emails with tracking numbers and order confirmations and after another quick (not actually quick) phone call with customer service I was told my best course of action would be to reject the shipment of the phone I didn’t want and I would be refunded my money when they got the phone back.

I posted a note on my door for the delivery man that I wanted to reject the package, clearly stated the tracking number of the package I didn’t want. After a quick chat to confirm, he was back on his truck to complete his day and send my erroneously ordered phone back to the docks in Texas. My Galaxy S6 came the next day. About two weeks before they were supposed to be released, mind you. Pretty awesome.

So, by this point I’ve spent about two hours on the phone with T-Mobile getting everything sorted out. Again, I take full responsibility for everything up until this point. I wasted T-Mobile’s time and resources because in my excitement about the S6 I ordered the wrong phone. Everything after this point I put solely on T-Mobile. And I’m disappointed.

A week after the phone was returned to T-Mobile, confirmed through tracking, I called into see what the deal was. I figured that a week was more than enough time to get my money back. They had their phone and it was a simple refund, right? No. I was told during that call (also over an hour) that they would have to file a handset research form to see if they actually got the phone even though the tracking number that they provided me confirmed it was delivered back to them. No one had told me this so I’ve now wasted a week waiting on a refund that’s not coming. No word for another 10 days after I was told I’d be emailed about this when they find the phone. Another call. Another handset research form filed. More waiting.

Many different phone calls resulted in many different answers. It would take a week to get my refund. No, ten days. Actually it should take up to three billing cycles.

What?

At that point, I started to get very frustrated. Many hours spent, many expectations set and now I’m being told it may be 3 months to get the money back for a phone I never touched.

T-Mobile Phone Frustration

An accurate representation of my frustration

In May I was lucky enough to get escalated to a gentleman named Josh from Oklahoma. After almost two hours on the phone with him, I finally felt like someone was on my side. Another handset research request was sent and a follow-up call in a month to see where we were. The follow-up call was set up to coincide with the three billing cycle mark in this saga. So on Tuesday I got a call and still no refund had been sent by T-Mobile.

I said I finally felt like someone was on my side and I truly mean that. Josh went above and beyond in my opinion to try to get this sorted out. After my most recent call with Josh I’m expected to get my refund by Monday. Maybe. At this point I have zero faith in T-Mobile to get this done. But the story doesn’t end there. It only gets better.

I recently sold my iPhone 6 to a colleague as I haven’t been using it and I wanted to free up some funds for other devices to test out.

During the three billing cycles I’ve been waiting for my refund, not only have I been paying on the S6 that I actually have but I’ve also had to pay on the S6 Edge that I don’t have since it’s not been resolved. T-Mobile customer service has been mainly good about this throwing me a couple of credits here and there for some (not all) of what I’ve had to pay. And I appreciate that. But what I discovered really pissed me off.

While checking my bill to see how much it would drop without the iPhone payment I discovered that I’ve been paying for my S6 twice. Once on my line, once on my wife’s. There should be no confusion on T-Mobile’s part since my wife has a Nokia Lumia 1520, a phone never sold by T-Mobile that we bought on Swappa.com and had unlocked since Big Magenta doesn’t offer any flagship Windows phones.

So how did my phone end up on two different lines? Your guess is as good as mine. After over an hour on the phone with T-Mobile for the second time in the same day, I had no answers but I did receive a credit for the months I’ve been double paying. It’s something.

T-Mobile Billing Frustration

The Jedi Mind Trick has proved ineffective in solving my billing issues

I blame myself. It’s T-Mobile’s fault for charging me twice for the same phone but it’s also my fault for not checking my bill thoroughly the last few months, especially considering what’s been going on. I’d say I’m pleased with the credit that they gave me and the promise to get it removed from my account but it’s not over yet. Once the bad phones are off my account I’ll start to breathe a little easier. Right now Both of the Galaxy S6’s are still on my account. The Galaxy S6 Edge still shows up in my EIP payments but it has a zero balance. When I get my refund maybe that saga will finally end. I’m convinced that the S6 that I actually use is going to get removed and blacklisted.

Confused yet?

I am and I’ve lived it. T-Mobile wants to play in the big boy pool with Verizon and AT&T but I really wonder if they have the infrastructure to last. My love for T-Mobile and John Legere (and Des) are undying and even as I sit here and write this, I still wouldn’t consider moving to another carrier right now but this has to get sorted out. I’m not the only one. On the T-Mobile section of Reddit stories of lost phones, mishandled trade ins and screw ups are all too common. Very occasionally they go in the favor of the customer who ends up with a free phone but very often consumers are left with questions on how they can be expected to pay hundreds of dollars for devices they’ve sent back or never received.

Customer support has mainly been great during this. I’ve had a few very thick accents a few people who I may have caught on a bad day but largely my issues have been addressed instead of just being stonewalled and told no. One of my biggest issues during this whole process is that I’ve had to push the issue every time until I got in touch with Josh. Every time something happened is because I called and forced them to act. Returning a phone to a warehouse should not take even one call to get your money back, let alone the multiple calls I’ve had to make. And during those calls I’ve been given multiple pieces of incorrect information. If anyone can explain why I’ve had to file something close to 6 handset research forms, I’d love a logical explanation but until that point it’s going to seem ridiculous to me.

Once you get customer service on the phone, they want to work with you because they value as a customer and that’s great but if they don’t have the infrastructure to process orders, refunds and trade-ins (a huge factor in the contract buy-out promotion) then the company will fail, sooner or later. Cell Phones and Wireless Carriers are something that Americans expect to “just work”. I don’t want to have to fight with my carrier about my bill, trade-in or anything else.

Please, T-Mobile. Call Jeff Bezos. Amazon is a marvel of efficiency in the online sales, packing and shipping market. They basically revolutionized e-commerce and I really feel like there’s a lot to be learned from their growing pains.

Stop making it so damn hard to love you.

About the author

Matt Adams

I love technology, Arsenal FC, The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Kentucky Wildcats. I’m obsessed with phones and talking about them. You can find me on reddit, my username is mattsatwork. My views are my own!

  • A’s Network

    You should call T-Mobile’s executive support. They can help you out and put a refund quickly!

    To get this whole thing started just email T-Mobile’s president at John.Legere@t-mobile.com, he’ll most likely reply directly or have an executive give you a call.

    Good luck 🙂