The competition for customers in the wireless industry is brutal, to say the least. It seems every few months one of the major carriers is re-working their pricing structure to try and pull customers away from the other carriers. Wireless carrier contracts are starting to fall by the wayside, subsidized phones are becoming more rare, and unlimited plans aren’t really unlimited. T-Mobile has been one of the carriers pushing the industry with some bold pricing structures that are attracting more and more customers. But if one man is to be believed, you should read the fine print and be careful the wool isn’t being pulled over your eyes.
Steve “Mookie” Kong had been a fan of T-Mobile, as many have become over the years, until he signed up for T-Mobile One and received his first AutoPay bill. T-Mobile One pricing claims you will pay $35 per line (4 lines) with AutoPay activated. T-Mobile does mention in fine print the terms “via bill credit” which isn’t exactly explaining the entire pricing and billing upfront. If you look at T-Mobile One it appears you will be billed exactly $35 a month but as Kong explains, the actual billing structure is different. Here is his breakdown.
- First line is $75/mo. Then if have Autopay on, you get a $5/mo credit.
- Second line is $55/mo. A $5/mo credit is applied if Autopay is on.
- Third line is $25/mo. A $5/mo credit is applied if Autopay is on.
- Fourth line is $25/mo. A $5/mo credit is applied for Autopay. Then a $20/mo credit is applied to make the line free.
What I was told was that on my next bill, I would see the new price and that it would be based on the formula outlined above. I waited until my next billing cycle to start to see things change. To my surprise, I logged in today and saw that I was billed for $160/mo!
T-Mobile informed Kong that the promotional pricing and credits could take up to two months to start showing up on his bills, leaving him to pay for a plan he didn’t sign up for. After much time with T-Mobile customer support, Kong was finally able to get some credit applied to his account but Kong’s takeaway here is this: be careful for what you sign up for and read the fine print.
Bottom line is: If you’re going to change over to a promotional plan from T-Mobile, you’d better watch your bill carefully. Especially since T-Mobile is now starting to base pricing and promotions on having Autopay turned on. My guess is that they are banking on people not looking at their bills because the bills are automatically being paid.
What T-Mobile is doing isn’t illegal by any means, some might consider it sneaky but it’s definitely not illegal. Consumers just need to be vigilant and read important fine print and terms and conditions because that’s where companies can catch you legally. There’s no law requiring any company to boldly tell you how their pricing structure or how the plans work. Marketing the portions that lure customers in is what companies do, they want you to buy or use their service and they’ll shine up the good bits and tuck the other bits away. Reading the fine print is a pain in the rear but it could save you a lot of headache in the long run.
What do you think of T-Mobile One? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.Source: Steve “Mookie” Kong