Weather Updates

T-Mobile lets client off hook



Updated: October 18, 2012 6:23AM

Dear Fixer: I have had a T-Mobile account for the past 10 years, and up until recently my service has been fine. I moved on July 1, and for some reason I get no service in my new apartment. I live in a two-flat building five blocks from Wrigley Field and I do not understand why I get no signal.

I went into a T-Mobile store and spoke with an associate. She suggested changing the SIM card, which did not work. Then she suggested a total reset on my phone. After assuring me that she was going to back up all my personal information, I gave the go-ahead and she promptly lost all my personal information and my calendar, the most important information in my phone. I left the store feeling dizzy and panicked, because I work from home as a free-lance makeup artist and this person just “lost” all my appointments and related information, which is not good for business, especially brides!

Luckily, I later recovered the info online. But the phone was still not working at home. I called customer service, and was told they could send me a replacement phone. I paid $5 for this phone, which arrived the next day. However, that failed as well, and I still had to pay for it.

I then went to another T-Mobile store and was told I could get a signal booster to put in my home to get better reception. I called customer service again, and they told me I am “ ineligible” because I don’t live in a single-family home. They said if I tried to call 911, it would send a signal all over the place and emergency response would not know where to go. Well, if I needed to call 911 now, that call would never go through anyway.

This has been a problem for more than two months. All I want is to be released from my contract with no penalties. I work from home and I am losing money every day I go without service.

I was given the address to customer relations in Albuquerque, N.M., and told to write a letter and they would get back to me in three business days. Wrong. I called again and the rep said I actually had to email my complaint to another address and she was “sorry.”

I have three lines I pay for every month. My contract states that I pay for the service, and T-Mobile provides the service. I have a data plan on my phone so I can tether my laptop to it and use the Internet. For two months, I have been unable to use either and I am still being charged. No discounts or fixing the problem, just more excuses. I was even told I was not getting a signal because of the materials my building is made of. Really? My roommate is walking around talking on her phone with no problems.

On one of my many calls to customer service, I was told they had “downgraded” the service in my area. How is this fair?

They want $200 a line for me to cancel early. As far as I’m concerned they’ve gotten enough money from me. I am beyond frustrated.

Heather Hughes, Chicago

Dear Heather: You weren’t kidding. Just getting you on the phone to talk about your problem was a real pain. You couldn’t receive The Fixer’s calls, and only later when you left the apartment did you find that you had voicemails. Then you had to leave again every time you wanted to try to call us back. No wonder you’re beyond frustrated!

We pleaded your case with T-Mobile and got much better reception. They agreed to make a one-time exception to their policy and let you out of your contract with no extra fees. They said that as a long-time customer, you are always welcome to come back.

Helpful website

Debt-laden graduates ­— or anyone who’s burdened by a lot of debt — should check out

This site has great tips about how to pay down your loans (and your credit card debt, mortgages, etc.) as efficiently as possible. They’ve also got a free online tool that will help you plan your payments and visualize your progress.

And they do a great job of explaining student loans for people who want their info in plain English. Check it out!

Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.