In 2009 or 2010, I purchased a 3G internet stick from T-Mobile, which connects via your USB port to a laptop computer to get internet access over the cellular data network. In late 2010, I upgraded my Mac OS version from Leopard to Snow Leopard, and the device stopped functioning.

In April 2011, I went to the T-Mobile store and was sold a replacement stick that would work with Snow Leopard, and was assured it would work with OS X Lion. I agreed to a new contract and received an updated device.

In late 2011, I upgraded to Lion, and my internet stick failed to connect to the internet. I searched for months online looking for a workaround, none of which were successful. After many months of patience and frustration and paying $60/month to not get the service I expected, I contacted T-Mobile and requested a cancelation. I was told that the $250 early cancelation fee could not be waived, even though the device I was provided was likely to never work on OS X Lion or Mountain Lion. I was told to write a letter to T-Mobile’s customer care department (yes, a mobile phone company asked me to write a letter, the irony of which I’ll leave to you).

I wrote a letter requesting that my account be credited for the many months of unused service, since T-Mobile had no intention of living up to its end of the agreement (you know, selling a device that actually works when users logically upgrade their operating system). T-Mobile responded by misspelling my name, and saying no, and telling me I could transfer my account to someone else if I wanted. As if I would force a friend to take over this service.

I wrote another letter, suggesting that they could either cancel my account and refund me for the unusable time, or they could send me a new Mi-Fi device at no additional cost, and I would then continue paying until the end of the agreement.

Their response basically said, no, we didn’t read your email, we won’t waive the cancelation fee, and here’s an updated amount that you must pay us. Their letter shows a complete lack of even understanding the problem.

So, I’ve now paid >$700 for internet service that does not work, T-Mobile has no intention of making the device they sold in 2011 work with software released in 2011 or 2012, and they believe they are not responsible for anything, and that I am in breach of my agreement.

I see it otherwise, but I’ve had zero success getting anywhere with T-Mobile’s Customer “Care” department. Am I wrong to expect T-Mobile to make their device work with the recent versions of Mac OS X? I cannot imagine they would not provide updated software for Windows 8 for example. Or if I’m in the right, what should I do, as it’s not like this is a large enough expense to file a lawsuit?

10 Responses to “T-Mobile’s Lack of Customer Care”

  1. on 15 Oct 2012 at 10:05Aaron Newton

    Have you tried going through your credit card company and disputing the charges? They may go for it. Is there any language in your contract that indemnifies you against this fee if they don’t deliver on their end?

    If those things fail, I have a friend who truly enjoys wasting the time of customer service departments who would happily call them several times a day and fight them for you probably for free. He lives for this stuff…

  2. on 15 Oct 2012 at 13:58Dylan

    Unfortunately I think I was paying via my checking account rather than credit card.

    I’ll keep your friend in mind!

  3. on 15 Oct 2012 at 13:59Dylan

    As far as their contract, I’m sure it’s heavy handed and unreasonably favors the carrier in every circumstance, reasonable or not.

  4. on 16 Oct 2012 at 9:19Brandon Payton

    What do you think about small claims court? IANAL, but even if there is a contractual disagreement on where cases can be filed, would they rather fight you or resolve your concern? Right now, they’re just ignoring you.

    Here’s how AZ defines small claims jurisdiction:
    http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/22/00503.htm&Title=22&DocType=ARS

  5. on 16 Oct 2012 at 9:22Dylan

    Brandon, I agree, it’s an option, I just see that as a last resort rather than giving them the opportunity to do the right thing.

  6. on 16 Oct 2012 at 10:02Brandon Payton

    :) definite last resort. Good luck.

  7. on 22 Oct 2012 at 17:33Dylan

    FYI, t-mobile has responded reasonably well. They are replacing the device, and crediting a couple months of service.

  8. on 26 Oct 2012 at 6:10Brandon Payton

    That’s good to hear. What led to their change of heart?

  9. on 26 Oct 2012 at 6:28Dylan

    The complaint to the BBB.

  10. on 26 Oct 2012 at 9:55Brandon Payton

    You have restored some faith in the BBB for me.

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