T-mobile’s Deceptive Business Practice

My family switched to T-mobile in June 2015. We switched to it because they offer free international data roaming. We were happy. Then in October, new iPhone 6s came out. Ever since then, it was nothing but a disaster and it all had to do with T-mobile’s deceptive business practices. I have had three separate instances. They all have the same kernel of the story.

1. Did I send my iPhone 6 for only $7 per month?

My younger son wanted to upgrade his iPhone 6 to iPhone 6S when it came out. So I called t-mobile. The person told me that t-mobile has a new program called, Jump! On Demand, under which they will send me a new phone and remove the balance of our old phone (his phone was financed through t-mobile) once I send our old phone to them. They told me that I will not be making any more payment for the old phone once they receive his old iPhone 6. So I agreed to upgrade. They told me that the new phone will come with a return label. But the label was never sent to me. So, I had to call t-mobile to get an RMA code to retrieve a return label. To my surprise, the return label did not include any tracking information as it was a plain USPS parcel service. That was mid-October. Since I had no tracking number, I had no way of checking if they indeed receive the phone. I spoke to T-mobile representatives several times since then. All of them told me not to worry and they would eventually find the phone. They assured me that once the phone is recovered, they would remove all the monthly charges for the old phone and the balance of the phone. That has not happened yet. Instead, t-mobile just sent me an email that they cannot the locate the phone. Furthermore, they are now saying that they never promised that they would remove the balance of the old phone. Instead, they were going to give me $7 promotional discount on the new phone. Essentially, they switched their program after luring me into giving up my old phone which I could have sold through eBay. I would have never agreed to upgrade the phone if that was the deal. So, essentially, they made me to get a new phone and I am paying for two phones at the moment. And, they took my old phone and giving me essentially about $156 ($7 discount for a year). I feel this is totally deceptive, bate and switch!

2. We cannot locate your iPhone again

Shortly after my son got his new iPhone, my wife wanted to get rid of her Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. We went to the t-mobile store. The guy there told us that we could upgrade to Jump! On Demand. The only problem was that her Galaxy had a hairline crack on the screen. So, they could not swap her old phone with a new one (which would have not worked out anyway, given what I know now), he told me that I should trade in “any working phone” to get trade-in credit which can be applied toward the balance of her Galaxy phone. Since I had an iPhone 6 that I was not using any more, I showed them the phone. They told me that they would give us $317 for it. So, we did upgrade. Again, the return label did not come. So, I called t-mobile to RMA code and retrieve the return label. Using the same USPS non-traceable parcel service, I sent my old iPhone 6. Once again, I never received any acknowledgement of the receipt of the phone. I started calling t-mobile for this phone as well. They could not again locate the phone. But their web site clearly says that they received the phone and changed the quote to $309 (citing that it was a different model), which suggests that the phone was actually received. Yet, no credit was given as of today. Furthermore, they say that they would never give us the full credit anyway. By giving up my old iPhone, i would be receiving $7 monthly discount (which I do not think I ever received for my wife’s phone). 

3. We thought you are trading in two phones

Few weeks ago, my older son called me to complain about the call quality. He said he wanted to call t-mobile to see if they would do anything. I told him that they would not do anything. He called anyway, and I was wrong. They suggested that he should upgrade his phone (iPhone 6+) to iPhone 6S. Again, they promised him that there will be no out of pocket cost since if he sends his old phone, that will cover the downpayment and they would remove the balance of the equipment charge that we still owe. My son told me that no purchase was made and he only inquired about the deal and asked me to call them. To my surprise, when I called them two hours later, the person told me that the purchase was done and all the money was charged to my account. And, she repeated the same deal – no extra charge and old phone charge will be removed. So, he received the new phone. Again, no return label was provided (at least they are very consistently poor in terms of providing the return label. I would fire the guy who is in charge of the return label operation!). So, I called t-mobile to get the RMA number. However, the t-mobile person said that there is no RMA number because no trade-in can be made and we still owe $560 on the old phone and another $900 on the new phone. What?!!! They told me return his new iPhone if we do not want to make two payments. So, this time I insisted that we were given UPS label for return which they did. We rerun the phone. UPS said the phone was received. It was last Wednesday. As of today, they have not given any refund. Instead, they charged the full price to my account and took money from my credit card. 

So, I can only conclude that T-Mobile has a great business model. They tell people to upgrade their current phone with a promise that they will remove the balance of the old phone and start a new payment program. In reality, what they do is that they never remove the old payment. They make you pay for two phones. And, even worse, they take away your old phone which they never give credit for. And, I am pretty sure that they are profiting from the sales of the refurbished old phone that they collected from their customers. Also, they took all the information about my old iPhones serial numbers and IMEI numbers. Why can’t they locate the phone – if it is in their warehouse or if they have already sold? What a business model that they have! I will follow through this problem and will report how it ends. In the meantime, I strongly suggest that no one should upgrade their current phones through T-Mobile. 

[UPDATE]

Once I posted my story here, I was contacted by a member of T-Force. I guess they are some type of specialized group of people who can resolve problems. In about two hours, they resolved all the issues. So, thank you, T-mobile and those members of T-Force. I am still not sure why I had to go through this hassle. Given upgrade to a new iPhone model is one of the most critical business operations at T-Mobile, I am wondering how they can screw up the process this badly and this consistently. This will make me think twice when I want to upgrade my iPhone. This was a really bad customer experience. 

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