Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

Summary: I thought T-Mobile was a friendly carrier, but now they are sneaking in services without my permission and looking to steal my money behind my back. They must have forgot I track this stuff closely and won't let them get away with it.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Telcos
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Last night my daughter told me she received a text notification about data on her phone so this morning I went and checked my T-Mobile account. I discovered that she apparently used 9 MB in one day (she has a phone with WiFi and thought that was her data connection method) for a cost of greater than $18. This new data service was not requested by me and I was not notified in any manner that they would be enabling it on my daughters' accounts. If my daughter would not have said anything about this apparent spam text message we may have seen a bill with hundreds of dollars in data charges next month and then I would have had a real fight on my hands. Be aware T-Mobile may be trying to bill you huge fees for this so check your online account status soon.

It turns out that T-Mobile started rolling this out on 15 September to all plans that have smartphones, including family plans where non-smartphones are included. It turns out my daughters' phones were just turned on, but T-Mobile should never allow this to happen without notifying the primary account holder who has authority and control over these phones. I called them up and they said they would block it on these three other non-smartphone lines, but the representative falsely told me it was always part of my plan. I told him I know what is on my plan and that he was wrong.

He said he wasn't going to credit me the $18 for the data used yesterday, but I will call back again and make sure someone credits it back since I did not authorize this change and the charge is ridiculous at $1.99 per MB. With the uncertainty surrounding T-Mobile and crap they pull like this, I am seriously considering leaving them after 9 years. I may give them a couple more months to see how things shake out, but I am not a happy customer at the moment.

Topics: Mobility, Telcos

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49 comments
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  • Am I the only one who found no news in this?

    This 'article' sounds more like a gripe over an charge that can easly be solved by reading the fine print on all those terms and conditions. Are you on anything less than the 2GB plan that allows unlimited without extra charges? Im a t-mobile user and not happy with them not having the iphone but signing up for service without fully knowing what plan you've signed up for isn't their fault. Be a smart shopper and lets go back to reporting real news. Keep the personal complaining on your own page.
    tester1979!
    • This is a blog, not just a news site. This is news too though.

      @tester1979! If you read the post you would see I have been a T-Mobile customer for over 9 years and did not just sign up for service. This is a MAJOR change in their policy that was not in the T&C when I signed up years ago. It's news because there may be many unsuspecting customers who are swindled out of money by T-Mobile changing add-on services without any explicit permission of the primary account holder.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Well, if it's a smartphone...

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller) Then it is required to have a data plan. The problem is, a lot of people get the phones, and don't get the data plan on it, and then TMO loses money. If that's what you are talking about, then yes, it has been that way for quite a long time. I've been on TMO since Voice Stream, and I was REQUIRED to have a data plan on the first smartphone I ever bought. Funny thing is, they didn't make me buy the plan when I bought the phone, so I used it for a month before I decided to call and ask about it. So I suspect that a lot of people are doing this intentionally to avoid the 25-30 a month data fees. I can understand why they would do this.
        waterhzrd
      • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        I agree with you completely Matthew. Last month T-Mobile sent my phone a text message stating that they were adding a data plan to my account, but not to worry, as I would only be charged if I used it. I own a HTC Mytouch phone and I just use Wi-Fi when I am at work or at home. I pay $65 a month for internet at my house and because I am not so obsessed with living on my phone like most Americans now who feel the need to take pictures of everything and post it on facebook, I simply do not need to dish out the extra $35 a month for internet on my phone.

        Well, to my surprise yesterday T-Mobile sent me a text saying I used over $10 of data this month. I was shocked, like I stated above, I don't use the internet unless I am connected to a Wi-Fi router. Some how while I am using Wi-Fi the phone must go back and forth and somehow use the 3G network as well. I immediately went on-line, checked my account and it said I used 8MB of data, which everyone knows is nothing, that is like emailing someone 3-4 pictures off your phone. The charge for 8MB? is $18. That is $2.25 per MB. Just at home this month, I have used 6502MB (roughly 6.3GB), that would cost $14,629.50.

        I tried to remove the add on feature of the data plan and guess what? There is no option to remove it. T-mobile did not even add it as an option on the add ons. When I clicked the hyperlink that had how much data I had, it just took me to my account information. Nothing, no where was there a place to remove this feature.

        So, I called T-Mobile, told the lady over the phone nicely that I did not want this data plan on my account and that I never asked for it and that there was no way to remove it on-line. She agreed, said she was sorry and that she would take $5.00 off the $18 that I supposedly owed from the 8mb that I used.

        I said sternly to her that I have been with t-mobile for 8 years and that I am her customer. I gave her two options.

        1. ) You can remove the $18 dollar charge and take off this data thing off my account so I do not get any-more of these fees and I will renew my contract for two more years, or option 2.

        2.) You can require me to pay the $18 and keep the data service on my account and I will cancel my account, as my contract expired 3 months ago and you can lose a 8 year customer over a 18 dollar charge. Would T-mobile like to lose a customer over $18 dollars? What option would you like.

        She said because you been a customer with us for such a long, long time (She said long twice), that she would credit me $20 and would remove this feature.

        I was shocked, she actually gave me what I wanted, plus a even extra $2.

        Many times it seems that huge corporations with millions of customers take for granted their customers. They think that people need them, that we are indebted to use their service, when simply this is not the case. T-Mobile makes almost $3k from me every two years, because my wife and I have a family plan with them.

        I'll probably switch to their unlimited call, text, web for the $100 a month for two phones. I'd like to switch to AT&T and get the iPhone 4G S, but cannot see myself having to spend $195 a month for two phones.

        When I lived in Shanghai, I used ChinaMobile. There one would just buy refill stickers (like refill cards, only much smaller with a scratch off strip) to add money to your account. $15 would last a person 2 months.

        With internet speeds being as fast as they are, text messages costing phone companies nothing, (around 1 cent per 100,000 sms) and so many phone towers, the cost of phone plans should be very low, but they actually cost more now, then they did in the past. However, you do get more minutes or unlimited minutes.

        A text message is about 0.13671875 Kbytes or 1/4000th of a 4MB mp3 song. Back in 2008, phone companies were charging people anywhere from 5 cents to 30 cents to send/receive SMS/MMS texts. If you texted someone a 4MB MP3 song, that could cost you $5,991.88 back then. Just alone, the texting service is a $100+ billion dollar a year industry.
        kanos
    • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

      So let me get this straight. The editor can't complain about t-mobile charging him for data without his knowledge, which t-mobile has complete control over, but you can complain about t-mobile not having the iphone, something t-mobile has no control over. How about you leave the news reporting to the editor and keep your dumb iphone whining to yourself. I hope t-mobile never gets the iphone. Why would I want their network to be bogged down just like what is happening to sprint right now since they got the iphone. T-mobile wants the iphone more than you do and has made it very clear to apple that they want it. What more do you want from them ?
      ltgisabeachbum
    • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

      @tester1979! That wasn't a serious comment was it? Are you for real? This is a case of data 'slamming' if I ever heard of one. Who in their right mind would agree to pay $1.99/MB ever?
      malcolm@...
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    When changes to a plan are made, it should be Opt-In. It is obvious that T-mobile was making a change and that they were/are hoping to get a few folks hooked on using wireless data plans (as opposed to Wifi). They know a certain percentage will just use and and then pay for it. They also know the MAJORITY of folks want to be notified. It is easier to ask foregiveness that ask permission. No wonder the Consumer Protection agencies and FCC have such a backlog of issues against companies.
    jkohut
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    Miller is spot on. This happened to me two weeks ago - daughter scenario and all. Not only that, but I asked them drop it only to find out they added a data plan across the board - all five lines. They've been, frankly, incredible to be with, and I, too, have been with them for many years. It is not in character, at all, and it makes me think either 1. there is some kind of system-wide malfunction, or 2. they are, indeed, changing policies. If anything like this happens again I am jumping. No hesitation.
    Lucky2BHere
    • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

      @Lucky2BHere I agree with you and the blogger, this is bullcrap. I, like the whiny tester1979! would like an iPhone, but I love T-Mobile too much to jump ship. Over the course of many years I have been a member of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint (and a few defunct or absorbed carriers like Cingular and a local carrier). I jumped ship because of bogus billing practices, hidden charges, lying about charges (quoting one price and billing another) and refusal to match services (like free in-service calling). I've been with T-Mobile for over 5 years, and it is the ONLY company that hasn't ripped me off. That is why this incident with the blogger has me very upset. <br><br>Out of all the carriers I've been with T-Mobile was the only one that quoted me a price that MATCHED the bill (or was close). They were the only one that was willing - in an easy and friendly way - to match services (when they were able) and deal with incidences where billing was bogus (like the time my wife [who uses very little internet] got billed for 72 gigabytes in one month). T-Mobile has restructured my plan two times in 5 years, each time lowering my cost. <br><br>I say all this because if T-Mobile is making this policy (and it isn't just some stupid decision they will quickly rescind) I would want to jump too. "No hesitation". However, Lucky2BHere, where do we go? What carrier is better than T-Mobile in terms of pricing and (until this point) honesty and integrity? Seriously, where would I go? Has AT&T mended their ways, or are they still throttling iPhone traffic and blocking users who use "too much" data? AT&T used to charge me $40-$70 a month to "dial the network" to check for texts. Is Sprint's network better now, and available in the little towns I travel to (where it wasn't before)? Has Verizon stopped quoting one price and billing double (like they did me)? Where exactly would I go? Is there any cell provider that doesn't suck, in some way?
      • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

        @dallasdeckard@...
        iPhones work just fine on T-Mobile.
        .DeusExMachina.
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    Same thing happened to me. They tried to charge us for data usage on my wife's phone. Only problem is she uses an old school RAZR. We were able to get the charge removed. In the last four months we have had nothing but trouble and escalation with our bill. Def. not the t-mobile I am used to.
    Landshark9025
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    Your article prompted me to check my account today. Although my phone has not been used for two weeks, and the sim card has been removed, my pay-by-the-day plan was hit with three $3 charges! If someone even sends you a text message, you pay $3 even if your phone is off. T-mobile claims you "pay by the day, and only when you use your phone", but this claim is misleading at best and, to use your word, tantamount to 'stealing'. It took an hour to get these charges reversed. This is no longer a customer-friendly provider.
    mcfraud
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    Folks, You CAN avoid any possibility of these issues. Simply change to a Prepaid Plan. You purchase minutes, You use what you have purchased. There can't be any alterations and sneaky charges added, unknown to you.
    An added benefit is that with Teenage users, (maybe ALL Users), this creates an incentive for the teenager to use their allocated assets (read minutes) wisely.
    sreiss@...
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I've been with T-Mobile six years and I too am disappointed in what T-Mobile has become. It seems as if they are taking marketing lessons from AT&T. I received a notice on August 29th that they would be implementing this pay-per-use data plan automatically. I was very appalled at the $1.99/MB, rounded up, pricing as that is just plain gouging. Hopefully some states' AG's will start looking into this practice. I myself am looking to drop T-Mobile soon as I now have an iPhone 4S on Sprint courtesy of my company and having this T-Mobile line is making less and less sense. Were they the "old" T-Mobile of 2005 I might stick with them out of loyalty but this current company is just becoming more and more pathetic.
    Zzznorch
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I recently had the same experience - I received a text from T-Mobile announcing that I had signed up for the new $1.99 data plan. When I called T-Mobile, they were unable to explain how that had been activated for my account. Glad I read this piece, because it made me doublecheck my account - they had turned off the option for four of the five phones, and missed one entirely.

    This came a few months after they had signed me up for handset insurance without my authorization. (I'm also in agreement with the commenters who have noticed a recent downturn in T-Mobile's customer service.)
    Oblio88
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I had the same exact thing happen, I'm glad to see an article on this. I was not happy, the representative I talked to flat out told me that I turned it on one way or another and that she would not waive the charges accrued, about $25 in my case before I caught it. I'll be jumping ship when my contract is up if this continues. I've been with them too long to be treated like that.
    jhalford@...
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I am really glad I read this article. I had three lines that they "rolled" this out to. The usage is less than 0.001 MB on each line but the friendly customer service rep reminded me that they will be rounding up to 1 MB per line. Let's see $5.97 for 0.003 MBs. Seems fair to me! Thanks T-Mobile. This is how you take care of a loyal customer for over 8 years ! That loyalty is waning. This and the lack of support (updates) for my Vibrant could be the last straw.
    tunage2000
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I am really glad I read this article. I had three lines that they "rolled" this out to. The usage is less than 0.001 MB on each line but the friendly customer service rep reminded me that they will be rounding up to 1 MB per line. Let's see $5.97 for 0.003 MBs. Seems fair to me! Thanks T-Mobile. This is how you take care of a loyal customer for over 8 years? That loyalty is waning. This and the lack of support (updates) for my Vibrant could be the last straw.
    tunage2000
  • Not on my T-Mobile plan

    It's not like I need to have yet another reason to be angry with them but I just checked our family bill, there were no extra charges for data from any of our 3 lines.
    balsover
  • RE: Warning: T-Mobile adding pay per use data without your permission

    I am in the market for a personal mobile phone and your comments have convinced me T-Mobile is not the carrier for me (nor is Sprint for their terrible customer service rap.) Looks like I'm down to AT&T or Verizon. Argh!
    backerly