I read the reviews of different Pay As You Go plans before I got my mom, who was coming for a visit from abroad for about 2 months, a cell phone. I did notice that several people were claiming that T-mobile was "stealing" minutes but the majority of reviews were positive and my previous experience having a regular phone plan with T-mobile several years ago was good.
I got my mom a $50 card with 400 minutes thinking that this should be enough. The minutes were gone in less than a week. I was a bit surprised but I figured: ok, she talked on the phone a lot.
I went to the store to refill the minutes and the store clerk suggested that I get FlexPay My Faves plan, so she can call for free her favorite 5. I got 600 whenever minutes, free nights and weekends and Faves for $49.99 (plus taxes and surcharges, etc. - $66.71 all together). I figured that this should hold my mom.
A few days later (including a weekend), i checked the balance and to my shock saw that 143 whenever minutes have been used up. Plus there were 39 My faves "free minutes", all together: 182 minutes. Now, my phones has a registry and according to this registry there were 107 minutes used total. The majority of calls were to the Faves.
I called the customer service the first time around 11 pm ET. I have to echo others reviewers: it was the WORST customer service experience that I remember, even worse than Time Warner (and I hate those people with passion, but at least they are not trying to cheat you). For some bizarre reason, somebody at t-mobile came up with an idea that if you say the customer's name after every two words, that will somehow be pleasing to the customer - believe me, it is EXTREMELY annoying, especially when your complaint is not being addressed in any reasonable, making at least remote sense, way. By the time the customer service rep started telling me that my phone can not be used with My Faves (after their own store suggested this plan and set it up in the store), I lost patience and asked for a supervisor. The supervisor, of course, was "on another call." I was promised a call back within 30 minutes. I asked the rep what should I do if I don't receive this call. After assuring me that i WILL get a call, she said that I can call back and say that she is a liar.
As you can guess, I did NOT receive any calls within an hour. I called back and immediately asked for a supervisor, explaining briefly what happened. She rep asked me to give her 5 minutes to try to resolve my problem. I gave up, although it was already after midnight and I have to get up around 7 am. However, when she started reading my contract back to me, I almost lost it. Her supervisor was also "on another call." I told both reps that I will join other people online who talk about stolen minutes and customer service quality and will be writing to the BBB but I do need to get the problem resolved.
At 2 am (and I did explain to the first rep that i was on the East Coast), I received a call from the first rep's supervisor. She did make an attempt to explain what happened to my minutes: it was "due to engineering problems" that my minutes were not correctly credited to the Faves. Her explanation for more than 60 minutes discrepancy between the total number of minutes registered by my phone and T-mobile calculations was even worse - but at least she tried. She said that the calls are rounded up to the next minute (which would require at least 60 calls to accrue the extra 60 minutes. I didn't have any strength to fight at that point (around 2.30 am). She told me that 50 minutes would be credited back because they were supposed to be My Faves minutes and she gave me another 50 minutes for my pain and suffering(my words, not hers).
I couldn't deal with this issue anymore for a few days and I did get a land line, so my mom now makes most of her calls from that line.
Today I decided to review the minutes usage to make sure i actually got the credit and to make sure that nothing fishy is going on. The data I found on their site was for the first two days. I called customer service to find out if I can get this info some place else. I was told that i can NOT until the end of my billing cycle.
As I promised T-mobile, I AM spreading the word on the net. I will be writing to the BBB when I get more time and I am seriously considering writing to the DA to see if they can open an investigation into what appears to be blatant and brazen consumer fraud.