Cracks are beginning to appear in my relationship with cellular telephone service T-Mobile. When my bill shot up from the usual $45 or so to a panic-inducing $125.75, I contacted customer service and noted a bunch of calls that I couldn’t have made (and yet, inevitably, had). The young schmuck at the T-Mobile call center -- the kind of young schmuck that makes one actually yearn for such work to be offshored to India -- told me: Someone else had been probably been using my service; that I should set up a security code; and I should increase my minutes for only $19.99 a month.
That was the extent of the solicitude. After the conversation went on a bit and it became obvious T-Mobile help was limited to, “Too bad, pay up, would you like to increase your minutes for only $19.99 a month?” I said goodbye and hung up abruptly.
The schmuck actually called me back. He noted that our conversation had ended somewhat abruptly and wondered if I would like to increase my minutes for only $19.99 a month.
I told him I’d hung up on him and that hounding me with a service I’d told him I didn’t want didn’t endear the company to me -- in fact, it was the kind of thing that made me want to switch services. He reminded me that there was a fee involved in that sort of thing. I told him I would obviously wait until the end of my contract.
Then he asked me, in that case, “Would you like to increase your minutes for only $19.99 a month?”
For the love of god.
Also, there was the strange case of lack of signal in the hinterlands known as Southie. Not very reassuring, especially since everyone else seemed to have signal there.
And the absurd interface on my Motorola cellular phone that sends me a little text message every time I get a voice mail, and each little text message must be deleted, which can take between five and eight steps. Or how about calling someone to leave an urgent message? Urgency means nothing to the people at T-Mobile and Motorola. Because this, too, can take several steps.
Except that when I tried it just now, it took only one step (push 4).
On the plus side, by the way, T-Mobile makes it very easy to take your cell phone overseas with consistent service, a benefit of being the offspring of Deutsche Telekom. But that doesn’t make up for employing a customer service schmuck with the patter of a salesman and the persistence of the Terminator.