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Thread: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

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    Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators | The Upshot Yahoo! News - Yahoo! News
    Kerfye Pierre's thanks for helping out victims of Haiti's earthquake? A $35,000 bill from T-Mobile. Pierre tells CNN that she racked up $35,000 while texting family and friends in Haiti with the news that she had just survived the devastating earthquake. T-Mobile offered to waive voice plans for Americans who were volunteering there after the crippling disaster, but Pierre said she didn't realize that the waiver didn't include text messages.
    The company has now reduced her bill to $5,000, but Pierre says she still can't pay that.
    This isn't the first- or last - story like this we've had.

    You know - you should KNOW WHAT YOUR CHARGES are before you USE your phone. It's not *their fault* - they didn't fraudulently present their selves to YOU.
    Constant customers use their ignorance to try to wheedle out of things that *they decide to do* and then paint their cellphone company (or bank, water, electric) as if they're the *bad guy.*
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Dear ****ing god. She said, "I would be OK to pay for it if everything was disclosed, and I knew upfront that, if I used this part of the service [data and texts], I would be charged," she told CNN. "But I did not know."

    She didn't know?

    "T-Mobile offered to waive voice plans for Americans who were volunteering there after the crippling disaster,"

    Is texting VOICE? I think not. This is not an example of a big bad company doing something sneaky. They waived costs for VOICE plans. She could have ****ing CALLED all of her friends/family and not paid for it. But no, she chose to text. Which is NOT "voice".

    Idiots like her are why we have warning labels like "do no use in shower" on hair dryers.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators | The Upshot Yahoo! News - Yahoo! News


    This isn't the first- or last - story like this we've had.

    You know - you should KNOW WHAT YOUR CHARGES are before you USE your phone. It's not *their fault* - they didn't fraudulently present their selves to YOU.
    Constant customers use their ignorance to try to wheedle out of things that *they decide to do* and then paint their cellphone company (or bank, water, electric) as if they're the *bad guy.*
    Actually, the cell phone companies ARE the bad guy. Yes, you should know what your charges are...but that's not always as easy as it sounds. They CONSTANTLY misrepresent their policies, conveniently forgetting to tell their customers about extra charges. I've never had T-Mobile, but I know it's that way with Verizon and AT&T and I'm assuming it's the same here. All four of the telecom companies are generally unconcerned about their customers, and often display questionable ethics. It seems to me that if one of them would start competing on the basis of customer service they could make a lot of money.

    Fun fact: The Better Business Bureau receives more complaints about the telecom industry than any other industry in the country.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-14-10 at 05:31 PM.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat View Post
    Dear ****ing god. She said, "I would be OK to pay for it if everything was disclosed, and I knew upfront that, if I used this part of the service [data and texts], I would be charged," she told CNN. "But I did not know."

    She didn't know?

    "T-Mobile offered to waive voice plans for Americans who were volunteering there after the crippling disaster,"

    Is texting VOICE? I think not. This is not an example of a big bad company doing something sneaky. They waived costs for VOICE plans. She could have ****ing CALLED all of her friends/family and not paid for it. But no, she chose to text. Which is NOT "voice".

    Idiots like her are why we have warning labels like "do no use in shower" on hair dryers.
    T-Mobile should just stop being dicks and wave the text plans anyway. Text messages are the biggest ripoff in the entire industry; they cost the telecom companies literally nothing to send. T-Mobile should have waived the charge when she first complained about it, for no other reason than to placate a pissed off customer. Now that the story has hit the media, they're almost certain to back down.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    T-Mobile should just stop being dicks and wave the text plans anyway. Text messages are the biggest ripoff in the entire industry; they cost the telecom companies literally nothing to send. T-Mobile should have waived the charge when she first complained about it, for no other reason than to placate a pissed off customer. Now that the story has hit the media, they're almost certain to back down.
    Yeah, they're "almost certain" to back down because they have an idiot for a customer who doesn't understand the difference between voice and text.

    As for it being a ripoff, apparently it's not since so many people text and are willing to pay for the service. If and when everyone stops using the service, then they might drop prices, but as long as we're all willing to pay these companies to provide us with a service we want, they are going to keep charging for it. As well they should. It's simply good business.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat View Post
    Yeah, they're "almost certain" to back down because they have an idiot for a customer who doesn't understand the difference between voice and text.
    Actually they're almost certain to back down for not reversing such an exorbitant charge from a frantic customer, when it cost them literally nothing. It might be different for a company that had to spend a lot of money on this customer for all of those services, but that isn't the case here. Furthermore, she was in Haiti helping poor people. How would that play in the media? I guess they'll find out now.

    Their customer service people are idiots for not just reversing the charge in the first place. I've received some questionable charges from Verizon before, and usually they've been pretty decent about removing them when I complained even if it was probably my fault (although sometimes I had to escalate it from the CSR to the supervisor...apparently they aren't big on employee empowerment). Blaming the customer is not usually a good business strategy, especially in an industry like telecom where the plans are quite complex, most customers don't bother to read the fine print, and there is little brand loyalty.

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat
    As for it being a ripoff, apparently it's not since so many people text and are willing to pay for the service. If and when everyone stops using the service, then they might drop prices, but as long as we're all willing to pay these companies to provide us with a service we want, they are going to keep charging for it. As well they should. It's simply good business.
    Yeah, while your whole Adam Smith routine is fine if you're talking about economic policy (in most cases), that isn't what we're talking about here. I didn't say they shouldn't charge for it; of course they are going to milk their customers for every dime they can. Doesn't change the fact that it's a ripoff for consumers.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-14-10 at 05:52 PM.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Their customer service people are idiots for not just reversing the charge in the first place. I've received some questionable charges from Verizon before, and usually they've been pretty decent about removing them when I complained even if it was probably my fault (although sometimes I had to escalate it from the CSR to the supervisor...apparently they aren't big on employee empowerment). Blaming the customer is not usually a good business strategy, especially in an industry like telecom where the plans are quite complex, most customers don't bother to read the fine print, and there is little brand loyalty.
    And they dropped the charges from 35,000 to 5000.

    Yeah, while your whole Adam Smith routine is fine if you're talking about economic policy (in most cases), it's a horrible business strategy. I didn't say they shouldn't charge for it; of course they are going to milk their customers for every dime they can. Doesn't change the fact that it's a ripoff.
    It's not a ripoff as long as people willingly pay for it. A service is worth as much as someone is willing to pay.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat View Post
    And they dropped the charges from 35,000 to 5000.
    Doesn't change the fact that they're still charging her a huge amount (much more than she expected) for something that literally costs them nothing. I could understand them not backing down if it was in an industry where providing a service costs the company a lot of money...but that isn't the case here.

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat
    It's not a ripoff as long as people willingly pay for it. A service is worth as much as someone is willing to pay.
    Again, if you want to do the Adam Smith routine when talking about economic policy, that's one thing. But I'm talking about corporate strategy. What's are some great ways to piss off your customer base? 1) Charging them huge, unexpected amounts for services that cost the provider nothing. 2) Refusing to back down when the customer frantically calls customer service. 3) Doing it when the customer has been helping out in Haiti.

    Yep, that's bound to piss people off. And I don't think a few boilerplate quotes from Adam Smith are going to make their customers less angry.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-14-10 at 05:59 PM.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Doesn't change the fact that they're still charging her a huge amount (much more than she expected) for something that literally costs them nothing. I could understand them not backing down if it was in an industry where providing a service costs the company a lot of money...but that isn't the case here.



    Again, if you want to do the Adam Smith routine when talking about economic policy, that's one thing. But I'm talking about corporate strategy. What's are some great ways to piss off your customer base? 1) Charging them huge, unexpected amounts for services that cost the provider nothing. 2) Refusing to back down when the customer frantically calls customer service. 3) Doing it when the customer has been helping out in Haiti.

    Yep, that's bound to piss people off. And I don't think a few boilerplate quotes from Adam Smith are going to make their customers less angry.
    I have no idea who Adam Smith is and why you keep bringing him up or what he even remotely has to do with the facts I've stated.

    You said all companies shouldn't be charging for much for texting because it was a ripoff because it didn't cost them much. I'm saying that it's not a ripoff as long as people want the service and are willing to pay for it. I don't know what Adam Smith has to do with that fact. And, I don't know what "economic policy" has to do with that fact since I'm not even remotely referencing economic policy. I'm talking about businesses.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat View Post
    I have no idea who Adam Smith is and why you keep bringing him up or what he even remotely has to do with the facts I've stated.
    That's not surprising.

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat
    You said all companies shouldn't be charging for much for texting because it was a ripoff because it didn't cost them much. I'm saying that it's not a ripoff as long as people want the service and are willing to pay for it. I don't know what Adam Smith has to do with that fact. And, I don't know what "economic policy" has to do with that fact since I'm not even remotely referencing economic policy. I'm talking about businesses.
    Right. And from a business perspective, what do you think is a better business strategy?

    A) Educating your customers about the economics of text messaging, and explaining to a frantic customer who volunteered in Haiti (and now, to the media as well) why the whole mess is all her fault.
    B) Just reversing the damn charge, since it didn't cost the company anything in the first place.
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