T-Mobile’s Billing System Is [Still] Rubbish

What the hell is with T-Mobile UK’s billing system?

I thought we’d sorted out all the rubbish, I really did.

Do you know how I fixed the problems I was having ALL last year? Every single month, no sodding payment mechanism apart from a direct-from-my-bank-transfer would work. Nothing. I tried adding direct debits. I tried getting to bill my card every month. I even spoke to customer services who, after a good 30 minutes of thumb twiddling, suggested I ‘just wait and see’. Or get another bank account.

Seriously, that was the suggestion.

Since I already had another account with T-Mobile — which works perfectly fine — their system couldn’t handle the same bank details on a different account. No sireeee.

So every sodding month I have been logging in and arsing about with their dire, dire system. If it’s not entirely switched off after midnight for ‘servicing’, it’s spewing bollocks messages at me about my BAN account IDs or something.

I fixed this by taking out another contract.

Genius idea.

Well, I had to get a G1.

The added THAT to the existing account. And they took my direct debit details.

All is good.

Everything went through fine in December.

At least I thought it did.

Same with January.

Turns out it didn’t.

Turns out the direct debit was never actually set-up.

And they’ve been taking the monthly payments out of the 250 quid balance I mistakenly paid after entirely misunderstanding the idiot instructions on the site. I was -100 quid in DEBT to them. At least that’s what I thought.

Only, -100 means, of course, that I’m in credit. But the WARNING WARNING messages all over the account convinced me to stick another 150 quid on.

After doing so I then noticed the billing system was telling me I was -250 in DEBT.

Oh come on.

So despite taking out a NEW contract and giving my direct debit details to the chap in store — the chap who, sensibly, WOULD NOT let me open another account with these details — the direct debit never actually ‘worked’.

Which is why T-Mobile have been chasing me. They’ve been phoning my mother at all times trying to get me. I haven’t updated my ‘home line’ number.

At no point did I get a text from them.

Or an email.

No. I just switched on my G1 and tried to make a call to check if my account was stuffed. That’s the best way of checking things.

It is.

110 quid and it’s now going to be unlocked.

And every sodding month I need to remember to login manually and make a sodding payment. Meanwhile as far as their system and the credit reference agencies are concerned, I’m about as bankable as a 3 year old with a million quid mortgage on a house now valued at 58k.

You’d think this stuff was easy. You’d think the company would be keen to get me on to direct debit so that I forget about the bills and they get their money like clockwork.

Surely it’s not my problem? Surely it’s not incumbent upon me to have to set a diary entry — to be ultra organised and make sure I track my spending on my T-Mobile account every day and arrange to transfer full payment once a month?

I’m the one that’s saying, ‘within reason, bill me’. I’m the one that’s saying TAKE the cash. PLEASE.

Despite the rant, I do enjoy this. I enjoy it because I’m frequently in meetings where smart consultants in exceedingly sharp suits and very sharpened pencils tell me that operators have ‘evolved through the billing paradigm’ and that ‘having resolved the billing challenges of the 1990s, operators are now seeking ways in which to diversify their revenue pattern’. It’s at that point that I thoroughly, THOROUGHLY enjoy putting up my hand and and pointing out that, no they haven’t. No they haven’t got past it. No they haven’t sorted out their billing systems.

The sharp suit will smile. Cough a bit. Look at his other suits for comfort, shuffle some papers and try and challenge my interruption. And it’s that that point that I typically explode into a puff of annoyance. The human equivalent of a T-Rex snarl from Jurassic Park and vent forth my direct and recent experiences.

Yes, I do walk into these things. Yes, I can’t be bothered to spend 40 minutes on the phone again to T-Mobile billing. And yes, every time I write about my T-Mobile billing issues (usually once or twice a month), we get around a 5% uplift in traffic on that issue and a gentle avalanche of ‘me too’ emails and DMs via Twitter.

So in a round-about way, it does suit my purpose.

Until T-Mobile employ one of those James Whatley sort of chaps to reach out, stick some virtual arms around me, ask for my direct debit details *just once* and sort out the internal billing rubbish on my behalf, we’ll keep up with the once-a-month T-Mobile-Billing-Is-Shite cheer.

Annnd relax.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

8 replies on “T-Mobile’s Billing System Is [Still] Rubbish”

I abandoned T-Mobile aeons ago. I got a little sick of being unable to get a signal indoors inless I dangled myself out of a window.

I abandoned T-Mobile aeons ago. I got a little sick of being unable to get a signal indoors inless I dangled myself out of a window.

Ahh, T-Mobile billing. About 15 months ago they cocked up my half price web'n'walk for life, and after many phone calls I got through to a billing expert who sorted out loyalty discounts to generate the expected tariff.

This expired on my January 2009 bill.

I rang. I was cut off by UK call centre guy when on hold.

I rang again, I got the Indian call centre. I got cut off waiting for UK call centre.

I rang a week later (after calming down) and after 40 minutes with a fairly amiable guy, was told to E-MAIL or WRITE A LETTER. They are a phone company, but they don't want me to ring them to sort out billing issues.

So I e-mailed them, pointed out that even with the half price they only just beat other operators by a few quid, and they had one last chance to not hand over the PAC code. They rang back. They restored the discount. However, they said it would probably do the same thing, and revert to a full price plan in December 2009.

I suspect I'll have moved to Vodafone or Virgin by then. I'm waiting for the DX900 dual SIM phone, then one SIM can hold my 5Gb monthly Three data SIM (£7.50 pcm), and the other a calls only 30 day rolling call plan SIM (£15 pcm) which will give me more minutes and free texts (T-Mobile is 40Mb data, 200 minutes £16.50 pcm with discount).

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