Monday, September 14, 2009

T-Mobile Goes Consumer UN-Friendly

After winning awards from JD Power for consumer satisfaction, it seems unusual that T-Mobile would do something that will irritate their customers. T-Mobile has initiated a $1.50 charge for paper bills. That's the bill, not a detailed statement. While other carriers are trying to cut their bills down to a 1-page statement, this move by T-Mobile goes farther. It has created an enormous amount of ill-will for such a small increase in revenue.

T-Mobile customers who are irate about this charge are considering this enough of a change in contract terms that they intent to cancel their T-Mobile service, expecting the Early Termination Fee to be waived. A few state attorneys general agree.

I can think of a number of ways to make this change a lot more consumer-friendly, and T-Mobile may eventually regret this move. But we advise customers who like T-Mobile to consider carefully before jumping ship. This really IS a small change and shouldn't make T-mobile any less of a great value. It may also be a good time to consider switching to T-Mobile Prepaid.


William said...

I don't understand why T-Mobile is doing this, when a sizable portion of their customers probably don't have the means to manage their account online. I haven't had paper billing in a couple of years, but those who need to pay their bills via mail should not be penalized. A few years ago Sprint had an option for subscribers to drop paper billing, and save $5 per month. I'd rather see T-Mobile do something like that instead of charging extra. On the other hand, it's still the best bang for buck major carrier, so it's difficult to be too upset.

Benjamin A said...

This was reversed on Friday before it went into affect.

This was posted on their Forum Friday afternoon

Paper Bill Charge T-Mobile Statement

T-Mobile is committed to encouraging customers to make the move to paperless billing. It’s a great alternative to paper and better for the environment.

Since the announcement we’ve heard everything from kudos to concerns about the move to paperless – especially from our customers who today are receiving paper bills at no charge.

So, we’ve decided to not charge our customers a paper bill fee for now. Instead, we'll be taking more time to determine the fairest way possible to encourage people to go paperless.

Customers can still visit to sign up for paperless billing.

We thank our customers for their patience and appreciate people letting us know how they feel about this important topic.

Dylan said...

This is a consumer victory; as Bill's well-written post implies, T-Mobile's backing-down comes as a response to angry reactions from customers. For those who are tired of constantly being overcharged by cell companies via these kinds of surcharges and gimmicks, it's clear that there can be relief. And why stop here after getting T-Mobile to play a little more fairly? I work for the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, Put simply, Validas guards against frivolous and unnecessary charges that inflate your cell bill more than it should be for your usage. You can find out for free if can modify your plan to better suit your needs by going to the website.

For more info, check out Validas in the media, most recently on Fox News at .

Good luck to everyone reading on cutting your wireless costs.

Consumer Advocacy,

Oz Andrews said...

Thanks Benjamin. Your post was the first we heard of the retraction. The charge was not only a bad idea, it was poorly timed.

Dylan, I won't delete your self-promotion as long as readers get the message that mistakes and over-charges are common on their cellular bill and we should always watch them closely.