Monday, December 17, 2007

The Dual Personalities of Marianne Maestas

I just read this tweet from Bill Palmer:

new rule: all teams must have at least one running back named Adrian Peterson. so far only two teams in compliance. both on MNF tonight

Now, if someone were to come up to me and talk about "Adrian Peterson, the football player that's playing tonight," I would assume that there is only one Adrian Peterson. However, Bill points out that there are actually two of them.

I am forced to reach the same conclusion regarding Marianne Maestas from T-Mobile. It looks like there are two of them.

First, let's recap something that I previously posted. Specifically, I posted some text from a letter that was taken from BibleBoy's blog. Pay special attention to the second sentence of the second paragraph.

From: ExecutiveResponse@T-Mobile.com
Subject: T-Mobile and Twitter
Date: December 14, 2007 4:49:07 PM EST
To: -----@bibleboy.org
Return-Path:
Envelope-To: -----@bibleboy.org
Delivery-Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 16:49:27 -0500
Received: from mail by * with spam-scanned (Exim 4.54) id 1J3IP9-00065R-1n for -----@bibleboy.org; Fri, 14 Dec 2007 16:49:27 -0500
Received: from mail1.t-mobile.com ([206.29.162.142] helo=nxprdapirn02.t-mobile.com) by * with esmtps (TLSv1:AES256-SHA:256) (Exim 4.54) id 1J3IP8-00065O-PF for bob@bibleboy.org; Fri, 14 Dec 2007 16:49:11 -0500
Received: from ([10.1.1.66]) by nxprdapirn02.t-mobile.com with ESMTP id 5502347.80485432; Fri, 14 Dec 2007 13:49:07 -0800
Received: from NXPRDVSMBX02.t-mobile.com ([10.133.32.33]) by waprdmsims02.t-mobile.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830); Fri, 14 Dec 2007 13:49:07 -0800

Dear Mr. Mertz:

My name is Marianne Maestas and I am with the Executive Customer Relations department of T-Mobile. I am contacting you on behalf of Mr. Robert Dotson in regards to the email that you sent him yesterday evening.

In your email, you express concerns, as you are not able to use your service for Twitter. As you have been advised, Twitter is not an authorized third-party service provider, and therefore you are not able to utilize service from this provide any longer. You indicate your feeling that this is a violation of the Net Neutrality.

T-Mobile would like to bring to your attention that the Terms and Conditions of service, to which you agreed at activation, indicate "... some Services are not available on third-party networks or while roaming. We may impose credit, usage, or other limits to Service, cancel or suspend Service, or block certain types of calls, messages, or sessions (such as international, 900, or 976 calls) at our discretion." Therefore, T-Mobile is not in violation of any agreement by not providing service to Twitter. T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience, however please note that if you remain under contract and choose to cancel service, you will be responsible for the $200 early termination fee that would be assessed to the account at cancellation.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Customer Care at 800-937-8997. Thank you,

Marianne Maestas,
Executive Customer Relations Specialist,
Office of the President,


Now, let's compare that letter to a letter that was sent by the other Marianne Maestas. This letter appears in Mycro Smith's blog. Pay special attention to (in an odd example of parallelism) the second sentence of the second paragraph.

Dear Mr. Smith:

My name is Marianne Maestas and I am with the Executive Customer Relations department of T-Mobile. I am contacting you on behalf of Mr. Robert Dotson in regards to the email that you sent him over the weekend.

Twitter users are welcome to stay connected through T-Mobile service. Rumors that T-Mobile blocks the service are false. T-Mobile confirmed with Twitter that there was a technical issue between the two companies’ systems that temporarily prevented some customers from utilizing the service this past weekend. That issue has since been resolved and the companies are working to prevent such incidents from re-occurring.

Should you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Customer Care at 800-937-8997. Thank you.

Marianne Maestas,
Executive Customer Relations Specialist,
Office of the President,


OK, let's look at what the two Marianne Maestas say. Recap of MM number 1:

As you have been advised, Twitter is not an authorized third-party service provider, and therefore you are not able to utilize service from this provide any longer.

Here's the recap of MM number 2:

Rumors that T-Mobile blocks the service are false.

In essence, the second Marianne Maestas is condemning rumors - rumors that were started by the first Marianne Maestas. And the rumors were spread by at least two other people at T-Mobile:

One customer sent out an email to T-Mobile after their customer service representative told her “T-Mobile does not support third party message services and sometimes you may be able to use them because of a bug in your system…t-mobile system caught up with the bug and that you shouldn’t expect to be able to use the Twitter service any longer from T-Mobile.”

I couldn’t even get an answer from T-Mobile’s customer service department, because they had no idea what Twitter was and why it might have been blocked. In a lackluster attempt to answer my questions, the representative did a quick search engine search to see if she could find any further information. She then read me this quote, which is from an email that was supposedly sent out by Marianne Maestas, of the Executive Customer Relations department at T-Mobile:

"...Twitter is not an authorized third-party service provider, and therefore you are not able to utilize service from this provider any longer…. T-Mobile is not in violation of any agreement by not providing service to Twitter. T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience, however please note that if you remain under contract and choose to cancel service, you will be responsible for the $200 early termination fee that would be assessed to the account at cancellation."

I chuckled, as I had already read that over at GetSatisfaction and while, it had not been officially confirmed, I found it funny (and sad) that this T-Mobile representative decided to quote it to me in answer of my question, when she had no idea if it was a legitimate email from her boss. I recorded the phone call, but decided not to post it because I didn’t ask her permission before hand.


So we have two diametrically opposed messages from T-Mobile over the last few days: one stating that Twitter is not an authorized service, and the other stating that Twitter is an authorized service. There are several explanations for this discrepancy:

  • There are two Marianne Maestas, both of whom work in customer relations at T-Mobile, and they don't speak to each other, and one of them is lying.

  • One of the messages from Marianne Maestas is forged.

  • Due to extreme embarrassment, T-Mobile has decided to pretend that the first message never existed, and Twitter has decided to play along just to prevent the boat from being rocked.
Perhaps I will be able to answer this question myself, since I send an inquiry to T-Mobile via their website over the weekend. Here is the initial response that I received:

Delivered-To: xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.com
Received: by 10.90.94.6 with SMTP id r6cs82237agb;
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 09:15:41 -0800 (PST)
Received: by 10.35.10.13 with SMTP id n13mr5321464pyi.29.1197738940892;
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 09:15:40 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path:
Received: from nxprdapirn02.t-mobile.com (mail1.t-mobile.com [206.29.162.142])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id a2si13544195pyi.2007.12.15.09.15.40;
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 09:15:40 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 206.29.162.142 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of customercare@t-mobilesupport.com) client-ip=206.29.162.142;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=neutral (google.com: 206.29.162.142 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of customercare@t-mobilesupport.com) smtp.mail=customercare@t-mobilesupport.com
Received: from ([10.133.64.74])
by nxprdapirn02.t-mobile.com with ESMTP id 5502347.80636427;
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 09:15:15 -0800
Message-ID: <21222526.1197738930863.JavaMail.K_adm@NXPRDASKNA05>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 09:15:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Customer Care
To:
Subject: Thank you for contacting T-Mobile Customer Care! (KMM3944432I18242L0KM)
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
x-mailer: KANA Response 8.2.0.30.9

We appreciate this opportunity to work with you regarding your request.
We currently are responding to requests within 24 hours.

For your reference please refer to Case ID 1125931 if you have any
questions regarding this request.

Thank you
T-Mobile USA


As of a few minutes ago, I have not received a second message from T-Mobile.

Isn't it a pity, because at least Ron Ziegler (Nixon's former press secretary) would admit when a previous message from him no longer applied. Remember Ron Ziegler's famous quote?

This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.

Meanwhile, Dan Frommer has summarized where we stand at this point:

Things seem to be working again. But everyone loses here. Even though only a tiny subset of its users were shut out, Twitter again looks like a less-reliable service -- one that is prone to potential interference from the carriers that run the airwaves that its service rides on, and its technical partners like Ericsson. If performance is lousy, its users could be more likely to leave for a competitor. See: Friendster.

Bloggers and Tweeters didn't help by making a scene before they had solid facts.


I disagree with Frommer on the preceding sentence. When an e-mail, with headers, is published that comes from an official representative of the company, that for all intents and purposes appears to be a solid fact. T-Mobile's failure to put out an official statement to everyone just compounds the issue. But I do agree with Frommer's next sentence; I return to him.

Or by continuing to make a scene once solid facts were available. Late Sunday night, even after service was back up and the outage explained, people were still Tweeting about T-Mobile. "Tmobile has always been my friend but now that i found out that they were the cause of my twitter fiasco, i'm a little angry at them," Tweeter "milagrosfarias" writes. "Yesteray" asks: "T-Mobile is blocking Twitter. Beginning of the end?"

But the biggest loser here is T-Mobile -- even though the outage doesn't seem to be its fault. The carrier didn't lose any money because of the outage. It probably won't lose any customers. But Twitter users -- mostly early adopter, tech-types -- are probably less likely to recommend T-Mobile. As carriers battle to be the most "open," T-Mobile looks bad for no good reason. And that arrogant, impersonal customer service email sent before the carrier could figure out the problem is all over the Web to stay.


I believe that the original email is the culprit, and whoever authorized it should be fired.

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2 comments:

linuxchic said...

T-Mobile Media Relations sent me the following email (which is also posted at http://alternageek.com) when I asked why they were saying Twitter was blocked, but then calling it a rumor:

From: Media Relations MediaRelations@t-mobile.com
to Christa C linuxchic@alternageek.com
date Dec 17, 2007 7:15 PM
mailed-by t-mobile.com

Christa,

The initial information provided was misinformed. T-Mobile and Twitter confirmed the technical systems issue as the cause and resolved as quickly as possible so our customers could continue to connect using the
service.

T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Manager, Public Relations

Ontario Emperor said...

linuxchic,

Bblboy54 directed me to the email that you received, and in fact it's the subject of a post that I'm currently editing (yes, I actually edit my posts at times). Suffice it to say that Media Relations appears to have a clue, while the corporate folks don't.