We have used T-Mobile for our mobile phones since 2005. Over the course of 2021 I grew frustrated With T-Mobile. They had become too costly. There were no deals for existing customers. As our monthly mobile bill approached $200 I felt there must be a better way.
In December I decided to make a change. In truth, I’d made this determination in the early summer, but had to wait until the end of the 24 month promo deal associated with our current pair of Pixel 4 phones. That agreement ended on December 13th.
December 18, 2022
Free of the encumbrance of the purchase arrangement, I ported our two active numbers to Mint Mobile on December 18th.
Mint Mobile is a MVNO that offers well-priced prepaid service on T-Mobile’s network. So, I was confident that the experience of the service would be unchanged. We’d just cut our monthly cost.
I took advantage of a holiday promo, paying $240 for 6 months of 3 lines, where each line had unlimited voice & text, with 15 GB of data. 15GB is more than we actually need, but the price was good and I didn’t want to feel constrained.
The third SIM was for my Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop, which has a built-in LTE radio. For the past couple of years the laptop serves as a backup to our Comcast Business Class service. Mint doesn’t actually offer data-only (aka tablet) SIMs. I just got an extra voice line and put the SIM in my laptop.
The cost of the 6 month term was very appealing given that we had been paying T-Mobile $185 every month!
In just a few days I received the SIM kits. The porting process went smoothly, taking about 30 minutes for each of our phones. The SIM card for the laptop was a new number. It just seemed to work. There were no issues at all with the transition to Mint Mobile.
A few days later, I called T-Mobile customer service and arranged to have the account closed. That process did not go well. It was apparent that I was connected to an overseas call center. Their command of English was not very good.
The CSR kept trying to drag me back to some kind of script. After going in circles for a bit, being on hold a while, and starting back into that same circle, I asked to be connected to a manager. I eventually got to speak to a manager who said he was going about closing the account. Then we were cut off. We were basically done, so I didn’t think too much of it.
In years past, I don’t recall T-Mobile customer service being as lame what I had experienced on this occasion. That said, it’s plain to see that the feisty upstart that once call themselves The Un-Carrier has morphed into something more like the competitors they once ridiculed. At least we were done with them.
They charged my card again on January 23, 2022. To be fair, it was a post-paid service, so they could argue that was legitimately the last invoice. Even though, we’d not used the service at all since December 18th.
Since I had ported my numbers away, I no longer had a way to log into their portal. The account was supposed to be closed, so why would I, in any case?
February 20, 2022
On February 20th they once again charged my card again. This time it was a slightly reduced amount. The sum charged reflected a minor change. They had dropped a long-unused voice line we had once provided to a family member. But they charged me for the two main lines, that had literally seen zero use. Apparently they had NOT closed the account as instructed.
So, I got them on the phone a went through the process of closing the account again. This time considerably more agitated, I immediately asked to speak to someone senior. They paid close attention and promised that (1) the account would be closed and (2) the sum charged in February would be refunded. At the end of this exchange I was reasonably certain that I had finally accomplished my goal.
March 11, 2022
This morning I received yet another statement, this time advising that I would be charged $24.39 on March 20, 2022. This was clearly indicated as the final bill. However, since I had not used the service since December 18th, and had been promised a refund of the prior bill, I feel this new bill is entirely unwarranted.
I called their customer support line and was once again connected to someone with very little command of English. While pleasant and very careful to follow their script, I insisted upon being connected to someone senior. I was told that they were not available, but would call me back in 30 minutes.
They never called back.
In frustration, I reached out on Twitter. That got a response from @T-MobileHelp, who are at least based in the US. After about an hour of back and forth, they advised that the state of the account prevented them from helping. They advised me to go to a T-Mobile store. Fair enough.
I went to the nearest T-Mobile store. The young man there advised that such matters were beyond the scope of a franchise store. He advised me to go to the nearest corporate store, which was not too far away.
It’s worth noting that Mint Mobile doesn’t have stores. That’s one reason they can be so cheap.
Arriving at the company owned store I told my story to the manager on duty. She initially told me that I’d have to contact customer service. Since customer service had just that morning directed me to a store, I found this less than satisfying. So, she got their customer service folks on the phone right there in the store.
They took my info. Did some investigation. And eventually came back with what they thought was an answer. The account had not been closed. One past line that had been used in my laptop was still “active” even though it had not been used in months. This despite the fact that I had spent hours, over weeks, trying to get the account closed.
I successfully ported two numbers away, but that process did not involve T-Mobile. Mint did that through their own automated provisioning. I had been very clear with T-Mobile. On two occasions – cancel all remaining devices/numbers. Close the account. Finito! No mas!
Making it right: Part #1
She did one thing that I had not thought to do back in December. She removed the credit card on file from the account. Once I had ported out my phone lines, I lost the access to their web portal so I could not do this myself. This ensures that they cannot charge me further.
Making it right: Part #2
She took steps to see that the amount charged in February would be refunded. At least, that’s what I was told. But, I’ve heard something similar before.
I feel that this whole escapade has been a profile in organizational incompetence. I don’t have much faith that the matter has actually been resolved.
Since I have now fully exercised my due diligence in the matter, my next step will be to dispute the February charge with American Express. Amex insists that you make a genuine effort to settle disputes with a vendor before filing a complaint with them.
I should like to point out, while I was and remain frustrated with the company, at no point did I vent or otherwise become abusive to their staff, either in person or on the phone. They’re just folks who have a job to do. The people who craft the collective ineptitude, making that job harder, live in the corporate ivory tower.
T-Mobile is clearly not the company it once was. We’ll be very happy to finally be rid of them. I had to write this all down, if only to vent the anger they inspired today.
Hello, Mr. Fox
We’re now half-way through the 6 month initial term with Mint Mobile. We’ve had no issues at all. Highly recommended. They offer a 7-day free trial SIM that includes 250 MB of data, so you can briefly try the service at no cost.
We even like their little mascot, the Mint Fox. We also enjoy the funny YouTube commercials featuring Ryan Reynolds who is part owner of the company.