September 1, 2011

Cell Phones, Landlines, and Communications Error Part II

Help. Get me out PLEASE!
I have been a loyal customer of TMobile who bought out SunCom and before that I had Verizon, who screwed me royally. I won’t go into that but it was about “only the primary number" had allocated minutes and subsequently I was charged $600.00 for additional minutes, although my total minutes were unused.

The explanation was very simple – the line who used the minutes was not the primary number.

I will fast forward to the present and the past three months which have totally sucked up every ounce of patience I thought I had.

This particular time (yes – there was another ugly time when I tried to go wireless (and if you care to read about it – click on Communications Error by Bev Hamel), has been abysmal. It’s true, history does repeat itself, particularly on Sunday afternoons when I clean up my computer from a weeks worth of internet surfing, or when my cell phone contract is about to expire and I need to make a decision whether to stay with my current company, or not.

We are!
Up until a few months ago, I had been happy with my cell phone carrier, T Mobile. I had not been happy with my two teenage daughters and their cell phone usage, but I was safe – I had family allowances and could control their usage. What I couldn’t control was their carelessness in taking care of their cell phones. There have been mysteriously broken phones, dropped phones in places where one does not want to go fishing, not to mention confiscated phones that only a parental figure can reclaim. We have had stolen phones and phones that disintegrated through wear and tear – but no one admits to being responsible.

This is not T Mobile’s fault, but the unauthorized text messages and charges to my account when parental controls were in place, is. No one in my family knows any one from Mauritania, nor do we even know where it is though through Googling the number and name, Mauritania is a country in West Africa and an Islamic Republic.

Not one of us received a message – just a charge. Okay so $.20 is nothing, but it does add up. The first time I called customer service, I was told – text back to “STOP.”

“How do I do that? The phone doesn’t ring and there is no record of receiving the message on our actual phones. The only way I know about this is because the charges are on my bill!”

“That is not possible,” a very thickly accented voice replies.

Where is Muriatania?
“Can you explain to me why I have my phone turned off and I am asleep at 3:00 in the morning? In fact all my other three cell phone users are asleep as well. Can’t you stop this?”

“No,” the voice said. ”We can’t block International calling or text, besides you have parental control and family allowances.”  

I'd rather have the parental controls.  The messages continued and so did the charges. I continued to spend quality time on the phone with T Mobile customer service. requesting the charges be removed. Every person I spoke with had a different solution.

So, this was my first problem – I talked to many customer service people until I demanded a supervisor. But it still took hours, days and weeks to resolve. I am not sure if this was finally resolved because  I condescended to renewing my contract, getting new phones, adding an unlimited text and data plan for my family, with the exception that the two teenage people in my family  - have 500 minutes each. One of these people used the minutes in a few days, and although the text messaging was unlimited, the other teenaged person, made international calls to Morocco (which were not in the plan), while the male parental figure accidentally downloaded a bloat ware app though I told him the Android Market is loaded with free apps.

Ok, so I love my new Khaki Slide!
This, though is not the last straw. It seems somehow, my new family plan racked up a whopping $653.00 bill this month.  It seems there was a little bit of communication error, between customer service reps and supervisors, not to mention it turned out the free phones we were suppose to receive, weren't free after all.

If only this was all, and I wont go into detail, but between the severe storms, earthquake, my Windstream land line and broad band connection went puff! New phones, new modem, new plan, and two weeks later, a new bill, I am ready to become a hermit.

However, we no longer have text messages from Mauritania showing up. They are now coming from EGYPT!

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