T-Mobile: “Hanky” for your Business

That headline should’ve read, “T-Mobile: Thank you for your Business” but it could not since I wanted to cry tonight. Why? Let me give you the Reader’s Digest version of my adventure with T-Mobile.

Daughter drops phone in snow at school last Friday. Display is ruined making the phone virtually unusable. I order a replacement phone on Saturday ($70) and make it extremely clear that she’s leaving for Peru for Spring Break in six days on the following Friday. “Do I need to use overnight service?” I inquire. “Nope. It’ll be there for certain either Wednesday or Thursday.” You can guess that the phone doesn’t appear today.

Of course, all along I’d been tracking the replacement phone package with DHL but — after it fails to be delivered today — I call DHL who tells me that, “Oh…our deal with T-Mobile is that we deliver to the Post Office who delivers to you.”  WTF!?! That means that it will arrive around lunchtime Friday…well past my daughter’s flight departure for Peru.

I call T-Mobile customer service to discover how I can obtain a replacement phone from one of their conveniently located kiosks around the Twin Cities. Invest an hour with several folks (though a supervisor will never actually get on the line). Nothing they can do I’m told. Basically they tell me that — even though it’s their fault for setting incorrect expectations and making a mistake — that I should’ve known to request express shipment. Huh?

So here’s the only recourse I had: I went to a T-Mobile store and paid full retail ($300 with tax) for a phone. T-Mobile has a 14 day return policy. Though I find it morally objectionable to do this (but I’m pissed, so tough) in about 8 days they’ll be receiving back a slightly-Peruvian-used mobile phone and will be placing a credit on my card. I’ll then have my daughter use the replacement phone that will arrive (hopefully) tomorrow or Saturday.

Where’s the lesson? With this one action, T-Mobile has taken a long time customer and pissed him off. I’m publically blogging about this experience. I’ve heard horror stories about Sprint, AT&T, and other providers and have always proferred up T-Mobile as a delightful exception to this rule.

Not any more.

This would’ve been so simple to fix with an authorization to a store location to cough up a phone for a preferred customer. They were protected since — if I kept the replacement phone *and* the one I picked up tonight — they could’ve charged my credit card for both. Little or no risk here. But the customer service folks weren’t empowered and the “process and procedure” was to be followed vs. putting the customer first.

Here’s some irony for you: plastered all over the TMobile web site are the JDPower accolades they’ve received for great customer service.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.