Help! T-Mobile wants to charge a $200 cancellation fee

By | December 5th, 2012

Question: I recently canceled my T-Mobile contract due to lack of coverage in my home neighborhood. I have tried to resolve the issue many times.

The first three or four customer support representatives told me that I was in an excellent service area and that the problem was T-Mobile’s and would be fixed within 72 hours. I called back after 72 hours and escalated the request to a manager, who told me that I was in a very low coverage area and that the only resolution to the problem would be for T-Mobile to build more towers. As you can imagine, this was very frustrating.

When I called to cancel my contract, I was assured by a customer service representative that I would not be charged the $200 early termination fee, since T-Mobile was not able to provide the coverage that they agreed to when I signed up for their service. I didn’t ask for the name or extension of the representative I spoke with who told me I wouldn’t be charged.

Now I’m being charged $200.

I called T-Mobile and asked to speak to the woman whose name was on the letter I received. I was told the person didn’t have a phone number and that I would need to continue to call the same customer support number but would most likely be unable to speak to that person.

I asked if I might be given the phone number of the corporate office so that I might seek resolution from a person with more authority to resolve this issue. I was told that there was no phone number for the corporate offices and that she could not give me an email address of anyone to contact.

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Seriously? A telecommunications company can’t connect you with anyone who will help and not just read a script? Help! — Bonnie Kangas, Prairie Village, Kan.

Answer: T-Mobile shouldn’t charge you for a service it can’t provide. Even though it doesn’t explicitly say so in its contract, it’s common sense: if T-Mobile can’t deliver a service it promised, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

(Note: I’m not a lawyer and have no expertise in contract law. But this much I do know — you didn’t get the service you signed up for, the contract isn’t worth the paper on which it’s printed.)

I’m actually troubled by the T-Mobile contract, because it tries to convince you that even if it doesn’t provide a consistent service, you’re still bound by it. It also waives your right to a jury trial and forces you to accept the ruling of an arbitrator, in case you have a dispute with it. In other words, this contract gives T-Mobile the right to do pretty much whatever it wants.

But even if its lawyers can argue that you still owe a $200 early termination fee for canceling phone service that doesn’t work, that doesn’t change the fact that a T-Mobile representative offered to waive the penalty.

The next time someone does that, get a name and extension, and ask that person to put it in writing. Had you done that, this would be an open-and-shut case.

The whole business about there not being anyone you can contact is nonsense. T-Mobile is in the communication business, and its executives can easily be found online. If your email through its website doesn’t yield results, try emailing the execs directly. They use two email naming conventions at T-Mobile: and

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I contacted T-Mobile on your behalf. Unfortunately, before this could be resolved, you received another bill from T-Mobile which suggested it might take the bill to a collection agency. Rather than risk that, and without first consulting with me, you paid the cancellation fee and dropped the matter.

This was not the resolution I was hoping for and I’m very disappointed.

Update: After I wrapped up this case, I heard from T-Mobile. Here’s what it told me:

After a comprehensive review of local T-Mobile coverage in her area, we have determined that she did, in fact, have good network coverage.

T-Mobile has respectfully declined her request to waive the early termination fee associated with her account.

Should T-Mobile have charged a cancellation fee?

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  • Did T-Mobile ever answer you, Chris? Just because something is paid doesn’t mean they can’t go back and issue a credit / refund.

  • I had a very similar issue with my wife’s cell phone plan (just after we married, before we merged our mobile service providers since she was still under contract) through AT&T. Her service had worked well, but there was a dead spot at our home, extending for about 300 feet in any direction. To get consistent reception, you literally had to walk halfway down the block. This was true for EVERY person who had AT&T and came to our home.

    We called to complain and were told that there was “Excellent” coverage from at least 8 cell towers. Escalated to call center manager, who finally transferred us to an actual tech support person who pinged the phone and verified that we were not getting reception. Tech person “put notes on the account” to indicate the problem, and opened a ticket.

    Several weeks went by, with no resolution. Every time we called to complain (on my phone, mind you), we got the same pattern–low level CSR said that everything was fine, escalate to manager who transferred us to tech, who verified the issue and “put notes” in the account. But still, no resolution. We began to ask about cancellation and ETFs and were assured that things would be fixed quickly, but if they weren’t, the demonstrated issues and tickets would be grounds to waive the ETF. This was said on multiple occasions.

    Ultimately, they could never explain the failure in coverage, so we attempted to cancel. Again, low-level CSR > Manager > Tech support…but this time forwarded to “retention services”, the people who you talk to when you want to cancel. Despite all the documented calls, notes on the account, and assurances throughout the customer service and tech support, there was no way to waive the ETF.

    See, they said, the contract doesn’t guarantee service in or around structures. (This kinda makes sense because they can’t guarantee that you don’t live in a faraday cage.) But the problem was also happening outside the home, on the street, away from buildings.

    See, they said, the contract doesn’t guarantee service at any specific address–just in your area. So long as you can make/receive calls at some point, you’re still getting the service. Nevermind that we used to get fine reception at home, and this was a major downgrade/change in coverage, particularly detrimental to our service.

    See, they said, the contract says that we can charge you an ETF regardless of the reason for cancellation, so long as you’re the one who initiates the cancellation. Nevermind that they were the ones who changed the terms of service by the change in service at our home.

    If we cancelled, they said, we’d be charged $200 in ETF, no exceptions. The contract basically covers every eventuality that you can think of, allowing them to charge their ETF no matter what.

    We cancelled anyway. Screw ’em. No sense paying for a service we can’t use.

    I ended up writing a letter to the BBB (an organization I typically consider to be only marginally better than Justin Bieber for resolving consumer disputes) detailing the timeline of events and the lack of satisfactory resolution. Lo and behold, I got a call the very next day from someone in AT&T’s corporate, waiving the ETF, crediting us for the payment made since the first call to complain about lack of service (since we hadn’t gotten reception), and thanking us for being clients (which we no longer were). The corporate gal really went above and beyond, even when the front line “customer service” staff refused to help.

    But I have absolutely no doubt that we would never have seen the happy ending unless we made the complaint public through some sort of watchdog, like Mr Elliott.

  • Also: “…owe a $200 early termination fee for canceling a phone that doesn’t work…”

    You don’t cancel a phone. You cancel a line of service. Presumably you get to keep the handset that you purchased (unless you’re on one of T-Mobile’s phone payment plans, which would probably throw a whole ‘nother wrinkle into the issue).

  • Rebecca O’Shaughnessy

    I have had TMobile for over 6 years. I get excellent service IF the rep is in the US. If not, I find they just read script that generally doesn’t even have anything to do with the reason for my call, talking so fast to get me off the phone that I honestly can’t understand them. So now I call during the day (much more likely not to get the Philippines) and just hang up and call back if I don’t get someone in the US. The live chat works well too, if that’s an option. Plus, you have it in writing.

  • Brian_in_Wien

    Pardon me for whining, O Chris, but is there a chance the pop-up ad will go away soon? I find it quite disruptive, since it activates when I get to about the second paragraph of each article. It is only my own humble opinion, but I think such things drive more people away than they retain.

  • backprop

    This is what happens when we tie mobile service to the device itself. I guess it’s primarily an American penchant for instant gratification; we want the iDevice now, and we don’t want to spend a paycheck on it. So we allow the phone company to wrangle us into a long contract in return for subsidizing the phone. Our hands are then tied when we get into issues like this.

    You didn’t do the OP a favor by posting the contract. You mentioned it doesn’t explicitly give the customer an “out,” and you’re right. But it does explicitly say: “Coverage maps only approximate our anticipated wireless coverage area outdoors; actual Service area, coverage and quality may vary and change without notice … You agree we are not liable for problems relating to Service availability or quality.

    And therein lies the problem. We should just be able to kick one carrier to the curb and use another one, but we can’t because we are indebted to them for subsidizing the phone.

  • If you have cookies enabled, you should only see that one time. Let me know if that doesn’t work.

  • Yes — I’m going to update the story with that information.

  • True. Fixed that.

  • john4868

    I’m not a big fan of T-Mobile, they opted not to follow through on promises made by a salesperson in writing and wanted to charge me an ETF, but I have to agree with them here. There are holes in the coverage of my current carrier. They happen with any cell service and its a function of the service. If you don’t want to be bound by a contract, purchase an unlocked phone and then shop for month to month service.

  • Raven_Altosk

    T-mobile needs to spend less money on lame commericals and more on actually making their product and service worth something.

  • Alan Gore

    Why doesn’t every cell contract have a 30-day initial trial period? If yo canceled within this period, you would pay for the month but not be charged an ETF.

  • BillCCC

    I voted yes. While the contract might be troubling the OP did sign the contract of her own free will. Unfortunately a promise made on the phone does not count for anything unless you either get it in writing or have the conversation recorded.

    Being told that people who work at a telecommunications company do not have a phone number is a little strange.

  • technomage1

    We have a “dead spot” where I work that only 1 company’s coverage actually works in. All the carriers maps show that the area is covered and they all claim it’s covered, but no one who has those carriers can send or receive calls. The companies refuse to believe it no matter how many people call them and state the coverage doesn’t work or the signal is poor.

    We just tell people who move into the area to go with the 1 company that works if they want cell coverage at work.

  • EdB

    I was a bit conflicted with this story when I first read it and was ready to vote no. After some thought, I had more questions about the situation. How long after the OP got the service did the problem start happening? Were they still living in the same location when the originally got the service? This information is important in determining if the ETF should be waived.

    While I don’t have T-Mobile, I did try a mobile hotspot service. That service came with a either a 14 or 30 day trial period where I could cancel and owe nothing. I know Sprint offers a 14 day period where you can return the phone and cancel with no ETF and I believe the other carriers also have something similar. If the OP had had the server for some time before she started experiencing the problem, and it was because T-Mobile shut down some towers, then I feel a waiver of the ETF would be justified. If on the other hand, they did not report it in that period, then they missed the opportunity and the ETF is justified.

    If the OP had moved from the original location to a new one that had this problem, then the ETF should not be waived. It was the OP’s choice to move and the carrier should not be responsible for problems that occur because of the change.

    I had a similar problem with coverage with Sprint. They have a device called Airave that can supply a mini cell tower in your house that uses your internet connection to supplement coverage. I received one of these units for free with the monthly fee waived because of the poor reception in the area. I also know they do this for a lot of people with coverage problems.

  • john4868

    Because the phone that they bought for you is worth a lot less at the end of 30 days… You can do this if you purchase the phone unlocked. At that point you don’t have to sign a contract.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Because so many of these contracts are tied to providing the customer with a brand new device. Let’s say you got a new Samsung Galaxy SE with all the bells and whistles on it, but decided after 30 days that you weren’t satisfied with the wireless service. When you terminate the service, you either have to return the now-used device or pay the couple of hundred dollars for said device that it would have cost you if you’d bought it off the shelf without a contract.

    So, you decide the cheaper option is the return the device. But what incentive do you have to return the device in good condition? Would the next customer along accept a now-used device? I sure wouldn’t. Would you?

    Want a contract you can cancel after 30 days? Buy your own phone outright, then contract for service.

  • Andrew F

    I voted yes, and here is why. All cell service providers give you a grace period when you can return the equipment and cancel the contract. The period is rather short (a week or two), but that should be sufficient to figure out that the phone doesn’t work at a location that’s very important to you.

    The cancellation fee is there because we the American consumers can’t count our money. We want the latest and greatest handset for free. The phone company gives it to us, then (over)charges for it throughout the life of the contract. Obviously, if we want out early, that handset still has to be paid for.

    The good thing about T-Mobile (unlike AT&T) is that they let you unlock the phone once you’ve been with them for 3 months. In the OP’s situation, I would’ve demanded the unlock code and resold the phone on eBay. That would’ve offset the termination fee, at least partially. The other option would be to keep the unlocked phone and sign up for a prepaid service with a provider who uses the AT&T network.

  • bd

    We tried t-mobile when it first came out and had this same issue and we were able to terminate the service within the grace period. I never even tried customer service.

    It’s common sense that if you don’t get good coverage in your house on day 1 you never will. No amount of complaining will get a tower built. We have had this issue with every cell provider we’ve had. We’re just in a dead zone. We usually get phone calls but data coverage is iffy.

  • Wayne Dayton

    T-Mobile is absolutely the worst carrier in the US. I bought a phone from their kiosk in Phoenix Metro Center mall 1.5yrs ago. The agent said we had insurance and we paid for it…then when phone was stolen by the usual Michigan street hoods one encounters in Detroit, they tried to say they shouldn’t have sold insurance on a pay-as-go plan so only wanted to refund the insurance package charged, not the phone. I wrote to their CEO who didn’t have the courtesy to respond, and the woman who did call, supposedly from Executive Offices, was extremely rude and spoke in a condescending tone. The sooner they go bankrupt and their employees lose their pensions, the better.

  • disqus_9tI4X0lMyX

    I agree with a number of comments on here whereby Americans are hamstrung and tied because of their contracts. I took my (then new) iphone (4S) to Thailand, got it unlocked about 2 months ago, will never be tied to a phone company again! Mind you, over here you are not strung by a contract, you can have a post paid account and if you don’t like it, you pay your final bill for that month, no termination fees (because no contract) and you find another company that you are happy with! Much better. Vote with your feet and get those American companies to get up with the times. Shocking business practices.

  • emanon256

    Every time I have started new phone service, they have given me 30 days to return the phone and cancel the contract. Was this not the case with T-Mobile? Or did the OP move to an area where the phone didn’t work?

    There could be many reasons for a phone to not work even in an area with good coverage. I am at a new west cost client these days and my phone doesn’t work inside at all, but I get full bars if I go outside. Also don’t the phone companies sell boosters you can put inside? My dad has one because his phone doesn’t work in his house.

    When I moved once, I had T-Mobile and they had no service at all in my new location. I called and they said they didn’t even have antennas in the area, it wasn’t just a dead zone. I had to pay $200 to cancel my contract. I read it and it seemed fare enough to me, I chose to move, its not like they stopped providing service. I then tried Sprint and canceled within 30 days because there was very poor signal, then I switched to Cingular and had a great signal. I am curious if the OP just signed up for service and it didn’t work, if that the case she should not pay the fee. Also if she had service and then it stopped, I would think she shouldn’t. But if she moved or got the phone and wanted beyond 30 days, then I think it is her responsibility.

  • emanon256

    I have several friends who pay for the unlocked phones and then go month to month to avoid a contract. I still think I get a better deal keeping the phone for two years. But you have a very good point, that’s what locks us in.

  • emanon256

    I thought they all did that.

  • EdB

    If you switched to Cingular, that was sometime ago since AT&T (SBC bought AT&T and changed their name the AT&T) bought them in 2007 or so. Also, Sprint has changed to 14 days now. I think they were the last major carrier with the 30 day period.

  • emanon256

    Be careful when selling your phone on eBay, I did that with my old phone and almost got scammed. The seller paid me through PayPal, the payment cleared, PayPal said it was a verified buyer and that I qualified for seller protection, and I shipped the phone. The day after I shipped it, PayPal reversed the transaction and said the sellers bank claimed the charge was unauthorized. I asked about the seller protection and they said its only valid if the buyer disputes the transaction through PayPal and PayPal still has the money, they said since the sellers bank reversed it, PayPal no longer has the money, and I am no longer protected.

    I goggled the address and it turned out to be a hotel. I called the hotel and explained the situation and they agreed to refuse delivery of my package and left a note at the desk telling anyone working to refuse delivery. They told me this guest checked in a few days ago and was getting about 20-30 packages a day. I was lucky I sent it signature required, otherwise it would have just been dropped off and I would have never gotten it back.

    A co-worker told me he read about a scam like this. Someone checks into a hotel, opens a bank account, makes a few legit transactions on eBay and PayPal. Then buys hundreds of high priced items all at once that they are already selling on eBay themselves from another account. When PayPal withdraws thousands of dollars all at once they tell the bank their account was hacked, and then the back cancels it all. Meanwhile they already have the items. They then ship them to whoever won their auctions and get the money through a separate account, and then leave the area. My question is, how do they sleep at night?

  • smartascii

    The fact of the matter is that the business/customer relationship has become one where you, as the customer, are a source of profit – and that’s all. Having worked in a call center as tech support for a major cell phone carrier, I know that this is their mentality. I also know that it’s because every time they try to do right by a customer, that information is disseminated on the Internet and other customers use it to try to get the carrier to give them freebies. If the policy is that customers who can’t get service are entitled to a free ETF waiver, then all of a sudden everyone who has any kind of beef with the carrier calls in and claims to have no service and demands a free ETF waiver. Also, every customer who wants to migrate to another carrier with a newer, snazzier device ALSO calls in and claims to have no service and demands a free ETF waiver. Etc. Carriers understandably respond to this by closing these loopholes.
    Unfortunately, this means that if you get your phones on contract so that the device is cheaper and you want the carrier to let you go, you have to cost them more money than they make off of you. Now, I’m not saying this is ethical or right, but one way to do that (if you have free roaming) is to roam all the time and use all the voice and data you can on the roaming partner’s network. Your carrier has to pay the other carrier for this roaming, and I guarantee you that it’s more than you pay in a month. There are apps for smartphones that force them to roam, and I can practically guarantee you that if all your usage is on a roaming network, your carrier will contact you within a few months and advise you to take your account elsewhere, no ETF required.

  • EdB

    For those suggesting the use of an unlocked phone to get out of being put on a contract, be aware, they still might try putting you on one. I was putting an unlocked phone on my Sprint Family plan last year. I got all the way through the process when the operator summarized what they had done. One of the things she mentioned and moved over real quick was that I was agreeing to a 2 year contract. I stopped her and asked about it and she said all new lines had to have a contract. I informed her I have added unlocked phones in the past with no contract and she said it has always been Sprint’s policy to require the contract. The system had changed and while in the past, they could over ride the contract, they couldn’t anymore. I argued that they were not subsidizing the phone and how the recent legal action over ETF the carriers were able to justify them only because of the subsidizing, this was not the case. It wasn’t until I told them to immediately cancel my 3 other lines which were already off contract, that they were able to add the phone without a contract.

    So if you are going to add an unlocked phone, I would suggest making sure you ask them very plainly if you are being put on a contract. I would also suggest recording the call and tell the operator you are recording it and then ask the question. We all know how these operators will say what ever you want to hear just to get you off the phone.

  • emanon256

    Yes, it did change to AT&T within a month of my going with Cingular. However we just (a few months ago) added my mom to our plan and were given a 30 day grace period with AT&T and she canceled as the phone was too complicated for her. She then got service with T-Mobile, and canceled within 30 days as well because the volume would not get loud enough on the phone. We are still trying to find her a decent pone, but at least AT&T and T-Mobile are still giving 30 days to cancel.

  • DeVon Thomas

    When you buy a new phone or start service, you usually get 2 weeks to 1 month to try it out…and if you don’t like it..that is your opportunity to return it and void that contract. If you aren’t receiving a signal in your home, there is no phone call that can be made to the carrier to resolve that.

  • EdB

    AT&T changed to 14 days Oct 7, 2012. However, someone pointed out to me that California requires a 30 day period. I need to look into that later.

  • emanon256

    I am telling my Mom they did that because she could not make up her mind :)

  • LeeAnneClark

    The same way as scammers in Nigeria who convince elderly widows that they’ve won the UK Microsoft Lottery and all they have to do is send in every bit of money they’ve got in “fees” in order to get their millions. Not all humans have a conscience.

  • Andrew F

    Well, thanks for sharing your account, but so far, knock on wood, I have been quite lucky with selling and buying on eBay. I had my share of bad transactions, but nothing major, and they weren’t really scams. Just like in everyday life, the vast majority of people out there are good and honest. The chance that you’ll be scammed certainly exists, but it is low enough for me.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thanks for the heads up. Good for you in calling their bluff and getting your unlocked phone added without a contract.

  • backprop

    Good advice. For the record, I’d never buy an unlocked phone from a carrier.

  • EdB

    Rule 3(f) states that you have 30 days to cancel the contract. This is for California only.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Glad I saw this. I’m looking for a wireless data service for my laptop. I will not be getting it from T-Mobile.

  • Cybrsk8r

    It’s not “strange”. It’s called “lying”.

  • Wait–how can *I* win the UK Microsoft Lottery?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Can’t win unless you play . . .

  • Statistically speaking, you can’t win if you do play either!

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Very true, very true!

  • Brian_in_Wien

    You were right – thanks!

  • lorcha

    All of the major carriers give you a trial period, during which you can cancel for any reason and receive a full refund. This would be the time when you test the phone out at home, at work, and anywhere else you want it to function.

    The article doesn’t say you moved, so I’m going to assume that you failed to make use of the trial period. Oops.

  • Joe Farrell

    How about coming up with one answer and sticking to it? Its pretty simple – send a local service manager out to her front door and see what the service is at that point. Looking at a computer generated map is simply not a reasonable way of determining signal coverage given reflections, absorptions and terrain.

    It is entirely unreasonable to assume that one will have cell service inside a structure with unknown numbers of walls and the type of construction . . .

  • Joe Farrell

    The real question is what if you don’t get a new phone . . . thus the company is not subsidizing your new phone – why don’t they have cheaper rates for the people who have Jurassic phones?

  • jim6555

    I used to be a T-Mobile dealer and am quite familiar with this type of problem. First, as others have pointed out, all wireless carriers provide a trial period during which you have the right to cancel the contract and get a full refund of any monies paid. The phone MUST be returned in like-new condition to the selling location during the required time period. You must return the original box, all accessories that were included in the box along with all manuals and packing materials. If you nave cut the UPC code from the box to get a rebate, you may not be able to get a refund on the phone. Wait until you are sure that you like the phone before you mutilate the box.

    For the first 14 (or 30) days, treat the phone as if it still belongs to the carrier and you will be able to completely void your transaction if you are not satisfied with you phone or the service at your home, work or other places from which you frequently make calls.

  • Laffincat

    Seriously? You had 14 days from the date YOU read and signed any contract to determine whether service worked in the area you needed. 30 days in California. If service did not meet your needs, you could have returned the phone, gotten your money back and the contract voided. Why didn’t you do that? Additionally, all carriers can provide you with a repeater for your home if there is coverage outside but not inside the home. More importantly, you got the benefit of a heavily subsidized phone that you don’t have to return. Who pays for that loss? A data phone wholesale cost to the carrier is over $500 for most handsets. The Samsung Galaxy 3 is $582 wholesale. Additionally, T-Mobile is a carrier who offers lower rate plans with NO CONTRACT if you pay for the phone without subsidy and have been offering this for at least 2 years now. Sounds like you did not do the responsible thing by returning a phone within the 14 day return period which caused you all of this grief. T-Mobile is the only carrier holding rates lower for everyone, but they have to be able to make money. Meanwhile, you can sell your smartphone on eBay for enough to cover a $200 disconnect fee. What in the world are you complaining for?

  • kermiejrock

    i’ve had t-mobile for over 10 years. when i lived in hawaii growing up ive never had a problem with them until we were stationed out in norfolk virginia the service sucks and when my husband deployed they are suppose to put a hold on the phone so we don’t have to pay for his phone because its not being used until he gets back from deployment (which it states in the contract) when he came home we got his phone turned back on and we had to speak to 3 different people the first lady put us on the unlimited family plan contract for 2 years. and when we got our first bill it was two separate bills saying we weren’t even on a family plan and that the lady closed our last account and reopened a new one instead of just renewing it like i’ve always done for 10 years.. and then 2nd guy (whom we spoke with on the phone) switched his 2g which had nothing to do with anything we called for WITHOUT permission from us which restarted the2 year contract for the 2nd time now.. and then when we went into fix ALL of the issues we were having we now have a 3rd do-over which started the 2 year contract over again. so now were pretty much screwed over with t-mobile and had to pay 400 extra dollars for no reason because THEY kept messing up and to cancel the contract with them we now have to pay another 400 dollars t-mobile sucks! were now going to switch to verizon and hopefully get better luck with them.

  • Crixus

    What about those who pay for the unlocked phones and still get put on a t-mobile contract?

  • Kelly Meacham

    I voted NO. When the T-Maybe and ATT merger was announced…our service went down hill. Dropped calls, text messages that never were delivered, etc. We moved o Verizon, and were socked with over 600 dollars in “early termination fees”. I spoke with T-Maybe reps about waiving this fee, and was told to contact customer service via the mail. Never got a reply, but did continue getting bills that increased every month. Bottom line is…T-Maybe lowered the total bill…but gave me three different end balances. Set up a payment plan with them on January 25, 2013 to satisfy the balance…..February 7 I rec’d a letter where they turned it over to a collection agency. I called T-Maybe about this and was told to “ignore” the letter from the collection agency, that it hadn’t been turned over to an outside collection agency. If it hadn’t…then what am I doing with a letter from an outside agency. T-Maybe has very poor customer service, and can’t seem to keep up with what each of their 4 reps I have spoken with has told me.

  • Fuji

    t mobile is shit

  • aniket_md

    While I generally am not a fan of instant gratification, I completely and totally disagree with your assessment here because the cell service in the US is ridiculously expensive. In emerging economies, it costs peanuts. In the US, you literally spend an arm and a leg (minimum $150 for 2 phones if you want to use the 3G/4G features and text messaging). They *better* subsidize those phones because otherwise, people simply won’t be able to afford both the phone and the monthly plan. In fact, they *want* to subsidize the phone because the real money is in the expensive plan you will buy as a result.

    The ETF is just an insult to the injury and is nothing but a threat to charge even more money as a retention mechanism. The cell phone company simply milks an average customer and they want to retain them by any means possible. Once you accept the fact that ETF serves as a retention mechanism, it becomes crystal clear how to fight it: Threaten legal action.

    I just moved into a new house and lo and behold…no reception from TMobile. They proceeded like sheep to charge me the ETF. I was *assured* they could do nothing and some division that doesn’t take phone calls had made a final call and decided to charge me. I simply started filling an online form to seek a lawyer to dispute, and I told the rep on the phone that I couldn’t be more *happier* because now I could go in the court and seek thousands of dollars in reparation for the harassment and mental anguish they caused. I was immediately transferred to a *superior* who respectfully cancelled everything, and even took off last month’s fee as a *courtesy* and let me walk.

    Fight ETF no matter what phone you have bought. If you do not get the same consistency in service, you are not bound. After paying close to $1500 per year (this is the minimum for 2 phones in a family plan for TMobile) for the ridiculously expensive plan, the least you can do is save yourself the embarrassment known as the ETF.

  • aniket_md

    You wasted your $200. Read my story up somewhere in a reply.

  • aniket_md

    Only if you *really* get no service and can prove it, they must cancel the ETF. It is their problem to verify I don’t have a service…not mine.

    And not moving to a new location because you have a cell phone plan? Seriously? Businesses don’t work that way. I bought a new house. Am I going to hold off my purchase until my cell phone contract is over? Think.

    If you get no service, you don’t pay for it. Period. If you can prove you get no service, there is nothing in the world that will make you pay for the ETF. Know your rights as a consumer and stop being a corporate sheep.

  • EdB

    If you choose to move into an area with no service, the carrier is well within the agreement to charge that ETF. It wasn’t the carrier’s choice to move so why should they be on the financial hook for your choice?

    If coverage in your area is terminated so you lose service because od the carrier’s action, then you have a right to cancel without the ETF.

  • Grant Ritchie

    This is a nine-month-old thread, so you may not get much feedback, but I had to give you an “Attaboy.” Fight the bastards! You may not always win, but, by God, you can leave ’em with a few bruises.

  • backprop

    Sorry, I had to laugh at this: “In the US, you literally spend an arm and a leg”


    But, I think you’re backwards. Why is cell service a *figurative* arm and a leg? Because you’re paying – and paying extra – to finance your phone. The proof is in the pudding – even in friggin’ Norway, cell service is fair because they don’t subsidize and finance the phone.

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