Saturday, February 16, 2013

LOFT LIFE: That sounds like Anita

Funny how some things you think are going to be bad experiences can turn out to be life lessons that improve you.Our great T-Mobile saga, which I have to tell you became a source of great irritation and another big corp, impersonal bureaucracy disappointment, turned out better than expected for a couple of reasons. But, first the saga:We had been T-Mobile customers for more than five years. Thought that might mean something. Wrong.  Family Cell Phone Plans
When their reps repeatedly made our upcoming upgrade date sound more like bad news, more fees, and not the devices we really wanted, we made a decision. But, we first confirmed, in the store, and over the phone, that our contract expiration date was September, 2012. 
We waited until October, 2012, and spent the extra month researching phones, and companies. We did this in our usual super analytical style. We visited both AT&T and Verizon stores, cornered a knowledgeable salesperson, and asked away at our many questions.

When we found out that Verizon would soon be switching their platform to the one AT&T uses, that made our final decision for us. We didn’t need to go through that transition with them, so opted for the company that had already established that platform.  

Then we had to choose phones. We were excited. We seriously considered the Androids, but after much prayer, thought and comparison, we decided to jump into the new world full bore and get the iPhone 5’s. We were elated, we were giddy. This was a big step for old folks. Now we had better phones than our children--for once. We could now sync with our Macs, our iPads, and we could Face Time, and access the iCloud (once we figured out how to to that), and many other amazing feats of modern America, modern Globe.
We merrily used our new devices, and even whittled down our monthly bill to only double what our T-Mobile one had been. (See changing my reality post).
Then we got the bill from T-Mobile--in November, informing us that we had broken our contract and owed them almost $800. Our elation burst like the proverbial hot air balloon snapping in mid-air and falling to the ground.
We did NOT AGREE that 2013 was the end of our contract. That was big news, and so we went to war. I immediately went in to my heretofore really friendly T-Mobile store and found them less than friendly--almost hostile. They couldn’t access my account, so they said. They suggested I call customer service. I did it right there. It ended badly. They couldn’t help either. They insisted our contract had been extended two years from August, 2011. I insisted I had no knowledge of that. They insisted I had to now work with their contracts department.
My son-in-law suggested eHow’s recommendation of certified letters to the company explaining my dilemma. I certified all my mail to them after that.
                               How to Win a Complaint Dispute With T-Mobile
                                   By Alexander Cequea, eHow Contributor

I also went online to read about T-Mobile contracts department. Amazing how many published letters of complaint were posted that sounded exactly like what I was planning to write.
In my utter frustration, on one of my trips to Costco, I stopped at the customer service desk for an unrelated question and found myself talking to Anita, who was kind, listened, even though she had nothing to do with this, and said, “Why don’t you work with the Attorney General’s office.”

I would have never thought of that. I went home, drafted my letter to the AG, and copied it into my email to T-Mobile’s contracts department.

To shorten the story, I eventually, after another email and two certified letters, received confirmation that, amazingly, yes, I was right, and now if I would please pay the final bill of $211, we could part ways. They credited the other $576.

So I returned to thank Anita, but couldn’t remember her name, and she wasn’t in that day. I told the customer service person there that I wanted to thank the kind person who cared about my problem, even though I did not get my phone at Costco. I said I didn’t remember who it was. After explaining how much she listened and helped, the rep said, “Oh, that sounds like Anita."

You know, that stopped me short. Imagine being the kind of person people can identify just by the description that you listen and are kind and helpful. Not only did she save me almost $600 with her wise suggestion, but she taught me an important life lesson.

I want to be like her. I want to listen better, be kind, be helpful, even when it isn’t my problem.
Thank you again, Anita. Bless you.