Saturday, December 15, 2007

The T-Mobile Twitter SMS Block Fallout Continues

Followup to my four previous posts on the topic.

Yes, I'm wordy.

Here's Jon Ray's take on the T-Mobile/Twitter matter:

I couldn’t...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....

Anyhow, I’m curious to see where this leads and how T-Mobile is going to compensate its loyal customers (6 years) for this HUGE inconvenience. I’ve been looking long and hard at the iPhone, perhaps this is enough reason for me to take the plunge and switch to AT&T. Are you having issues with your T-Mobile phone accessing Twitter? How has your customer service experience differed from mine? Has anyone from T-Mobile contacted you with further information?

Stowe Boyd had plenty to say about T-Mobile's SMS block. Here's how he closed his post.

T-Mobile: Whatever rights you think you have, you are abusing them. You are clueless. You will have to back down from this stupid policy before it becomes a public relations disaster. But you will never ever, no matter what actions you take now, get a nickel of my money, ever again.

Well, if you count Dick Costolo's rumination about whether he should cancel his newly-acquired T-Mobile service, that's three customers that T-Mobile has alienated in the last few hours.

In fairness to the wonderful Marianne Maestas, she is only following orders from on high (in this case, Robert Dotson), although her customer relations skills leave a lot to be desired. Here's a story from 2005 with Maestas' name attached to it:

Marianne Maestas with T-Mobile USA Inc.'s executive customer relations in Albuquerque, N.M., said that the company's records indicate that on Jan. 8 you processed a handset upgrade at a T-Mobile retail location and received a substantial discount on the purchased equipment. As part of the handset upgrade, you were required to enter into a new annual contract with T-Mobile. Therefore, when you canceled your cell phone service on April 29, by transferring your number to another carrier, you were charged the $200 early termination fee. Maestas said the company maintains that the final bill of $200 is therefore valid and owed.

But, in this case Maestas caved, rather than have a nasty note appear in the St. Petersburg Times:

Nevertheless, as a courtesy to you and in an effort to amicably resolve this matter, T-Mobile has agreed to process a credit of $200 to the account for the valid early termination fee, leaving a zero balance.

Perhaps if enough people contact people in the technology sections at their local newspapers, T-Mobile may see the error of its ways. Newspapers seem to get their attention.

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