Should we help Dacia Bertrand with her T-Mobile bill?
The company has done nothing wrong, technically. Bertrand and her husband have been loyal T-Mobile customers for the last decade. But last summer, her husband lost his job as an IT manager, and in order to make ends meet, she launched a photography business.
“Since last June, it’s been anxiety and stress,” she explains. “He had two short-term contract jobs, and we have gotten behind in bills but are staying afloat in addition to raising two daughters, ages 8 and 11.”
I know what you’re thinking. That’s at least two cards in the Elliott deck of misfortune. Stay with me, friends.
I know what it’s like to be in debt. I know what it feels like to not have enough money for groceries. Sometimes, the truth isn’t a sympathy card. It’s just … the truth.
“To T-Mobile’s credit, they have been working with me with a series of payment arrangements,” Bertrand explains. “But about a week and half ago, my service was suspended. The bill has mushroomed to $1,700 (prior to this year it hasn’t been more than $250).”
Whoah. Did she just say $1,700? Yes, she did.
T-Mobile reps kept insisting that I had to pay the past due balance of $1,200 because I was 122 days behind, or something like that. Some of those arrangements I did not meet by the deadline but nonetheless paid.
After pleading profusely with various customer service people and many phone calls, I was connected to a lady who was nice enough to allow me to make a $500 payment and restore service. I was then to make a $300 payment by a certain date which I missed by a day or two. So, my service was suspended again.
Here’s the main problem. Now they are telling me that all options are off the table and I need to come up with $1,200 minimum, which I do not have. I asked them if I could make a $300 payment and if I can pay every week in increments until I get to that $1,200. Now that’s like $800 in a span of 2 weeks. They said no.
But I’m thinking, wouldn’t T-Mobile want to work with a valued customer who is willing to fork over an indefinite revenue stream over an indefinite period of time or see that valued customer leave T-Mobile and then having to go through the process of sending this debt off to collections and not receiving any more money from this valued customer?
Bertrand wants T-Mobile to allow her to make a $300 or $350 payment now, restore her services and then allow her to make incremental payments of $250 to $300 on a weekly or biweekly basis until the $1,200 is paid off and under 60 days.
That sounds reasonable.
If both Bertrand and T-Mobile agree that she owes the wireless carrier $1,200, then I’m sure she would also agree that no matter what happens, she’ll repay the debt. Collection agencies are messy. You don’t want to go there.
Here’s my question: Should we advocate for Bertrand to get one last chance from T-Mobile, or should we allow the wireless carrier to throw the book in her face?
If we jump in and help, it could set a precedent for future late-billing cases. I personally believe Bertrand is doing everything she can to pay her wireless bill on time. I’m deeply concerned that T-Mobile is charging her so much for her phone. With bills like that, you’re almost better off without a phone.
Then again, isn’t helping her the right thing to do? Isn’t that what we were put on Earth to do — help people like her?
It’s a hard decision. I welcome your comments.