Telecom Deserves to be Hated

by Dave Michels

The most unpopular company in America in 2014 is Time Warner Cable – actually cable companies, airlines, and cellular companies make consistent appearances on these various lists.

Fantastic article in New Yorker: Why Airlines Want to make you Suffer.

But at least the airlines know they are providing terrible service. It’s their new business model: capture the customer with low prices and deliver intolerable services and then upsell things like air. The telecom companies don’t really upsell, nor really even manage to maintain customers. It’s a zero sum industry based on churn.

What really gets me is how loyal so many become to these terrible companies. Airlines and mobile carriers in particular.

I’ve been “loyal” to T-Mobile for years, but only because they offered a reasonable price for the service. I believe T-Mobile to be a terrible company, though I continue to pay them every month. We have a mutual relationship where we tolerate each other.

T-Mobile and AT&T were recently found guilty of overcharging their customers. The FCC negotiated settlements with both of them to reimburse customers over a practice known as mobile cramming. Basically, the companies did something that was bad and a violation of the public trust. So, they have agreed to pay penalties and refund their customers victims. That is bad enough, and should prompt a re-evaluation of the business relationship by the customer. Though don’t bother, because the other providers are guilty of other or even worse crimes. This should be the end of the story. Crime and punishment. But it isn’t. To get that big fat check requires some effort from the customer victim.

Although T-Mobile has the information on who they overcharged, and are even willing to provide it, the customer must still ask for it and file a claim.

Here are the instructions from the T-Mobile site (I added the underlining):

To help you make a Refund Claim for specific Unauthorized Premium Text Message charges, you can request free of charge an Account Summary showing Premium Text Message charges (and credits, if any) charged to your T-Mobile account from July 2010 through the last date that these charges appeared on your bill.

If you decide to file a claim, you may use the Account Summary to support your Refund Claim. To request an Account Summary, you must submit an Account Summary Request Form by April 30, 2015.

For your convenience, there are several ways to get an Account Summary:
  1. Login or register to request an Account Summary online.
  2. Download or print the Account Summary Request Form and email it to
    [email protected] or mail it to:

    Premium Text Message Refund Program
    P.O. Box 35126
    Seattle, WA 98124-5126

  3. Call toll free 1 (855) 382-6403 and request that an Account Summary Request Form be mailed to you.

 What to expect after submission

After submission your information is validated.

  1. If your information is validated, the Account Summary will be provided to you in the method you requested: by email, mail or online.
  2. If your information is not validated, you will receive a notification letter letting you know how to successfully complete your Account Summary request.
  3. You can review the status of your Account Summary with your registration number and password.

 Using your Account Summary to file a claim

If you wish to file your claim online using your Account Summary:

  1. Login;
  2. Enter your registration number and password;
  3. Review the online Account Summary and mark the charges that you did not authorize; and
  4. Click Submit to complete the claim filing process.

Not only does the process require a manual request, but also involves USPS. These companies thieves deserve no loyalty.