Musings from Munkimatt

A flow of whatever tickles my fancy

How I was accused of credit card fraud, and what T-mobile could have done better.

I’m rubbish with credit/debit cards.

I lose them so often, it’s very rare that I will keep one for more than 4 months before I lose a wallet, the card, eat it, whatever. So back in February when yet another card mysteriously vanished during a night of epic drunkness I thought nothing of it and ordered a new one.

In the meanwhile I had a few bills to pay. Having given my mum the cash these were sorted, no problem. Low and behold though, I forgot the crucial mobile phone bill.

This dawned on me during a work day. Having a back pocket full of cash that I had withdrawn to get me few the next few cardless days, I came to an agreement with a colleague of mine that I will give him the cash, he will ring up and pay the bill. The deal was struck, the call was made, the bill was paid.

All sorted. Fast forward to last night.

Your beloved host here was sat comfortably on his sofa, messaging away on his 5800. Suddenly, everything drops out. No signal, nothing. Now, being a long time Nokia user, I’m aware that phones (and I shall use the technical terminology here) ‘fuck up’ every now and again so I gave it a battery pull and rebooted.

Oh deary me… “Sim registration failed.”

OK then, so sim out, blow in the hole (the magic cure to all phone related problems) all back together again and…”Sim registration failed.”

This was repeated a few time, with the same outcome. Trying to figure what was going on I popped in a Pay As You Go card I have lying around for emergencies. Oddly, it worked first time.

Don’t ask me why I did this, but I tried to ring my standard contract phone number.  ” The number you have called has not been recognised.”

Hmmm…now this I did not expect.

I tried to call T-mobile customer services but they were closed. Fair enough, it’s 11:30pm, we all need sleep. Perplexed, but not overly worried, off I went to bed, safe in the knowledge that this will all have been a big mistake. I’ll ring up in the morning, I’ll explain, they’ll apologise, I demand some freebies, they give it to me, everyone’s a winner.

Well…that’s how it went in my head….

This is what actually happened.

I rang up this morning. Explained that my phone had randomly died, if they could switch it back on that would be simply spiffing.

CS : “It’s been cancelled. Credit card fraud on this account.”

Now it’s fair to say that this wasn’t what I expected. What I also didn’t expect was the utterly unhelpful attitude of the chap I was speaking to. I shall include my favourite part of the conversation below.

Me : “Ok, so how do I resolve this?”

CS : “Well you need to speak to the bank who have put the claim in, they’ll contact us and we go from there.”

Me : “Great, so which bank is it?”

CS : “Can’t tell you that for legal reasons.”

Me : “Right…so you want me to contact the bank to resolve this…right?”

CS : “Yes.”

Me : “But you won’t tell me which bank to contact… right?”

CS : “Yes.”

Now I appreciate it was first thing in the morning and no one want to talk to a suspected fraudster before you’ve even had a coffee or a morning dump, but really? Could you have been any more awkward?

I couldn’t remember ever using another card to pay my bill so I rang my bank who had absolutely no idea what T-mobile were on about, so back I go to T-mobile in the desperate hope I get to speak to someone who has had a bit of caffeine this morning.

Thankfully, I got someone very helpful. Perhaps a little too helpful, she gave me a couple of hints as to exactly what was going on and sure enough, it relates back to the payment made in February.

She then told me he needs to get in touch with his card provider, who will then get in touch with T-mobile and WAYHEY!!! we’ll be rocking and a rolling and a calling and a texting before you even know it.

Just to make this a little more awkward, the chap who made the payment for me is out in France all week.

So I’ve spent my entire morning trying to get hold of him which I eventually did. After explaining, he’s contacted his wife who is a joint account holder on this and, yes, you guessed it, she’s seen the payment, didn’t know what it was and rang up to report fraudulent activity. “Not a problem,” he professes, “I’ll get on it. I’ll ring them right now from France, explain it all. Really sorry mate.”

At this point I’m elated! See, I have no other phone. I have no landline these days. I only have one contract. This Pay As You Go sim has no credit. My contract is cut off…I am cut off.

I ring back T-mobile to give them the good news, I’ve always believed that you should keep someone updated during a problem. Unfortunately, what I didn’t expect was to get someone who was blatantly in a worse mood than the first person I’ve spoken to. This was one of my many highlights of my interchange with quite possibly to worst customer service representative I’ve ever spoken to.

Me : (After explaining exactly what’s happened, what steps my colleague is taking, etc) “So after his credit company has informed yourselves that this was in error, what the procedure to get the phone reactivated?”

CS : “We won’t do that. You’ll be billed for your remaining line rental.”

Me : “What? This has all been a mistake. His credit card company are going to get in touch to let you know. I obviously don’t expect you to switch it on right now, but from when you do receive the confirmation, what is the plan.”

CS : “Nothing. Also, you will not be allowed to ever use a card on this account again. You’ll have to find a different payment method.”

Ok, so my account is terminated apparently…I’ll get billed for all line rental…but I can’t use my card to pay my bills in future? That makes a load of sense, well done.

Later on in the conversation, I was told this;

CS : “You will have to appeal, it’ll take 14 days for them to reach a decision.”

Oh, so now I have a right of appeal against a contract that will be cancelled but I will have to pay future bills through another payment method!

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against T-mobile taking decisive action against fraudsters. I positively applaud it, especially considering I spent 3 years in mobile phone retail and have been involved in the arrest of various dodgy characters in the past. However, surely a little bit of common sense should come into play here?

Let’s look at my account. It’s registered to my address. This would be the same address that my card is registered to. This is relevant because you ask this question when you register your card for payment online. So, you know exactly where I live and that I specifically make payments around the same time each and every month from the same bank account. Surely, if I was such a master criminal that I decided to steal someones card and use it to pay my bill, I wouldn’t continue to use the same account, registered at the same address from that point onwards!!!

Surely when you got that call from whichever bank it was it would have been an idea to contact me, the account holder and ask the question. I understand you need to act quickly and decisively in these matters but a quick phone call to explain what’s happening and why, so then I could have contacted my colleague who could have instantly got in touch with his credit card company and this whole mess could have been avoided.

Lets look at my next issue. You were contacted by the credit card company yesterday and you cancelled my contract the same day. However, from the poor information I’ve been given so far, it seems that the credit card company can get in touch with your ID fraud department in order to confirm that this was a mistake. But my phone still won’t get switched back on? And if it does, it will take 14 days? Sorry, that is completely shocking. If you can switch it off same day, you should be able to switch it back on same day.

Lets look at your customer service employees. Rude, short, unhelpful, constantly spoke over me when all I wanted to do was understand what I can possibly do to resolve this. I can honestly say I felt like I was being treated like a criminal. Well thanks very much. We could also talk about the fact that the third one quite obviously didn’t know what to say and hence why she told me 3 different things.

Now I know I’m not the most valuable of customers T-mobile, I only spend £60-80 per month, but I expect a little more. A little more courtesy. A little more respect. After all, I’m your customer.

So here I am. No working phone. No support from customer services and not one solid, clear explanation of what I should do.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. well i would suggest u take the opportunity to move to a new network. get a sim only card month by month, FILE a DISPUTE with experience so that your credit reference agencies know your not just stiffing TMOBILE, they will of course send the entire thing to collections and ignore you forever. good luck

    Comment by andy | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. Have you tried forwrding this to Would give you a wider audience to pool from maybe. Other than that, have you considered dropping tmobile and switching?

    Comment by Andrew Tank | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. Yikes! Munkimatt this sounds like something that would happen to *me*. Sure hope it’s quickly sorted out to your satisfaction.

    Comment by The Crypticum Keeper | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. Man, that’s unreal. I thought we’d had trouble with telcos in the past (I was Alex Quinn for a long time and my business partner was Alex Leonard. His name is Donn Maguire. They never sorted it out – we switched providers due to their incompetence and poor signal).

    Unfortunately I’ve no advice other than ranting and raving as much as possible and consistently asking to be put on to a manager.

    Also, writing letters carries more impact, write a letter of complaint explaining everything and outlining your disapproval of the way some of the support staff dealt with the issue. Also, include the URL of this blog post stating that you are publicly complaining about this as well.

    Comment by Alex Leonard | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. You have my sympathies..

    Unfortunately the amount of credit-card fraud is so high nowadays that such stringent measures are taken that common sense sometimes seems to be an afterthought..

    I think you made the right step by blogging about it, making the matter more transparent simply by sharing your experience.

    Try sending a link of your blogpost over to them, perhaps other people in their organisation should know what happened to you.

    Best of luck!

    Comment by Digistar | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  6. I am involved in a customer service nightmare with T-Mobile. I’ve tried dealing with them to no avail. First I spoke with “Ralph” from the “office of the president.” I’ve also written to their media relations department, Robert Dotson, Brian Kirkpatrick, Susan Nokes and Hamid Akhavan, all of whom have ignored me. All I want is something fair and simple, yet the are they have dug their heels in and are being completely unreasonable—and have been quite deceptive to boot!

    My 19 year old daughter has not has good luck with her T-Mobile phones. She had a Razr which gave her problems on many occasions. She eventually switched to a Wing—the source of her current, ongoing problem.

    My daughter has gone through several Wings. In the beginning, they were replaced with refurbished units. She dropped one and paid the insurance claim out of her own pocket. Her current Wing (a new unit), which she received a few months back, started to give an error message saying it was out of memory, repeatedly froze, etc. It finally stopped working altogether. Research on Google shows that this is common problem with this phone. The tech at a T-Mobile store said that there was nothing they could do and suggested she go to Wal-Mart and get a pre-paid phone until she got a new Wing!

    I tried reaching Ralph from the “Office of the President” (877) 290-6323 x-341-8022, several times. After leaving many messages, Ralph finally called me back. He said, “If the account number isn’t left, I won’t return the call.” To me, that is NOT customer service. All he would have to do is to look up my daughter’s records OR call me back! Finally, Ralph got back to me, then my daughter. Initially, Ralph told my daughter that he would exchange her Wing for any other T-Mobile phone. She was pleased to hear this. My daughter went to a T-Mobile store again and tried out different phones. Because of her needs and the shape of her fingers, etc., she settled on the G1.

    When my daughter called Ralph back and told him the phone she wanted, he told her that she could have any phone EXCEPT THAT ONE! I’m sure you can imagine her disappointment—and outrage. He offered to give her a Sidekick 2008 (quite old) or a Dash (even older—and one she doesn’t like). These are not even close to being in the class as a G1 or a Wing. He said that she could get the G1, but she’d have to pay for it—and offered her a “discounted” price of $179.99. I then spoke with him and expressed my disappointment and how it was insulting that even though she had a flawed, lemon of a phone, she’d have to pay even MORE money for a different one—one that was also close to a year old technology-wise. I asked for his supervisor to call me.

    Jennifer Martinez (877) 290-6323 x-8011 called me the next day. She basically reiterated the same offer, making it sound like we were getting some amazing deal, saying that “retail” price on the phone was $399.99. This was absolute deception, of course, as hardly anyone ever pays the “suggested retail price,” and, the T-Mobile website offers the very same price of $179.99 to ANY new customer!

    I declined Ms. Martinez’s offer and told her that I would be contacting other people. She said that “I could feel free to do so, but they would tell me the same thing.” Now, I understand empowering employees, but when they come off as sounding like even the owner or CEO can’t or won’t do anything they won’t do, it just sounds ridiculous.

    Apparently, my letters trickled back to Ralph, who called me and clearly indicated that he was authorized to speak on behalf of all of the executives that I had written to.

    Among the many absurd things that he said, he told me that he could not (or…WOULD not) contact my daughter when I called him the first time, since I didn’t’ leave her cell number, since there were others with her name in their system. I told him flat out that as far as I knew, there are NO other people with my daughter’s name in the world! I again wrote to T-Mobile asking for some type of proof of this. The fact is, Ralph refused to be proactive and just make a simple phone call to me. He tried to cover his tracks with this ridiculous statement. Ralph also told me that the $179.99 was a huge discount—the only thing that that my daughter qualified for. It seems that T-Mobile is more is more interested in getting new customers than keeping the ones that they have.

    This situation has been going on for over a month. My family has had an account with T-Mobile for many years. We’ve paid T-Mobile thousands of dollars through the years. My daughter’s Razr and now her Wing have given her problems. I’ve tried to resolve this fairly, yet they refuse to budge over $200—and an old phone—one that’s already being updated!

    I appreciate the chance to share this information with your readers and let them know that the vows of great customer service by Susan Nokes and her team are nothing but lip service.

    Comment by Marc Kruskol | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  7. […] I would like to start by thanking people for the response and attention that was drawn to my previous post regarding my fall out with T-mobile. While there wasn’t a huge amount of comments on the post itself  I recieved a great deal of […]

    Pingback by Update on me, the suspected fraudster, and T-mobile « Musings from Munkimatt | June 18, 2009 | Reply

  8. i can believe im going through similar situatuation right sent several emails to t-mobile, fraud department, etc. im so fking angry. Been a customer for over 15years. if id know they treat customers like this? i wouldnt have pay most of my bills which is averagely £100 every week. nd they decide to lock me off for £43 fraudulent payment i did not do. F.. T-mobile. i hope they go bankcrupt

    Comment by femi | September 9, 2009 | Reply

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