Calling T-Mobile customer support is free. Or at least, they won’t charge you for the call. However, it does cost a lot of time, and they say time is money, so it’s not completely free. Especially as you have to go through about four or five levels of button-pressing, choosing between tons of almost similar topics (God forbid they’d have to ask you any questions once you get through to their outsourced, probably under-paid, telephone support person).
It took me a long time, and several tries before I managed to get through to an option that sounded vaguely correct, allowing me to talk to a support person. She was a bit slow, spoke with an accent I struggled to understand, didn’t seem to understand what I was saying and after a couple of minutes she (accidentally?) hung up. I had already spent too much time making the call, so I wasn’t going through the many steps again.
I couldn’t even remember how I got to the right line, so I went back to my desk hoping they would call me back. A few minutes later I received a text saying they had tried to call me but couldn’t get through, but asked if I could call them back. I tried replying to the text saying that it was an obvious lie and asked them to actually call me, but of course you can’t reply to those texts.
At this point I was very close to giving up and throwing my SIM in the Thames, but then I remembered what all the EE adverts had promised when T-Mobile and Orange had fused: “You can now get help in twice as many places”. And working near Oxford Street I didn’t have far to go to find an EE shop. I went to the nearest one, and was very surprised at what the shop assistant told me. Because this was actually a former Orange shop, they couldn’t help me, as I’m a T-Mobile customer! So this actually leaves me with fewer places to get help, as they closed some of the T-Mobile shops, and I can’t tell which ones they are without entering and asking… Helpful indeed!
The shop assistant told me to continue down Oxford Street to the next EE shop, where he said they could help me. And this is how they did that: the assistant picked up the store phone, dialled up support, went through the unbelievably many key-press stages and gave the phone to me… Remind me how going to the shop helped me again?
It might be my imagination, but I think I talked to the same person as when I called the support line myself. I slowly and carefully explained my situation to her, and it seemed like she understood it this time, or at least she didn’t hang up on me. However, she explained that the reason I couldn’t make calls abroad is that I was a “new customer” and they therefore couldn’t trust me with that privilege.
I complained about this, saying that I wasn’t a new customer, that in fact I had been with them for years, and I had managed perfectly fine with the international calls service before. However, she replied that I was now on a contract that was completely separate from pay-as-you-go, and therefore I was a new, unknown and untrusted customer.
It almost seemed that I was punished for committing to pay them a fixed amount every month, even one that was more than what I was paying on average on PAYG. After some time arguing with her, we agreed that the best option for me (that they would allow) was to be reverted back to PAYG. Of course, she couldn’t do this for me and had to transfer me to someone else, so back on hold I went…