Saturday, August 19, 2006

T-Mobile Text Message Rip-off Catches Up With Me

I'm not one to complain much, but this one really pissed me off: starting sometime this month, T-Mobile started charging for incoming text messages. Not only is that a rip-off, but the cost was doubled for both incoming and outgoing text messages - to $0.10/message. My latest bill had $12 in text messaging charges, 40% of which were unsolicited (not from friends). Gone are the 5-cent outgoing-only days.
What does this mean? If someone out there has a vendetta against you, they can make you bleed money by sending you an endless stream of text messages. I asked customer service about how to prevent this, and they said you'd have to use their no spamming feature available through their website. Two problems I see here:
(1) They would have already charged you 10 cents before you get the opportunity to anti-spam the source.
(2) For those that don't have regular internet access, it is an unsolicited cost until you get the opportunity to anti-spam the source.
(3) The responsibility is shifted totally to the user, without recourse. A waste of my time - having to identify where unwanted text messages come from, and time spent patching up my spam filter with these sources.

I haven't used their spam filter feature, but I asked for one of four solutions:
(1) No charges for incoming text messages, even if it means trippling costs for outgoing text messages. Answer = cannot be done!
(2) A means to remove text messaging services from my account. Answer = cannot be done! All plans inherently have this feature, and it cannot be disabled.
(3) A means to disable text messaging from my phone. Answer = cannot be done! All their phones support text messaging, and it cannot be disabled.
(4) Word on whether a solution was in the works to give users the option of disabling the feature as needed. Answer = none whatsoever! The service rep had the nerve to try and sell me a messaging plan, $6 additional each month.

Do you see where I'm going with this? It's ridiculous that a service is forced on you when you don't need it, and you must pay for it. I wonder whether other wireless providers do the same, but I think the practice is unfair. Sure they might have it in their agreement/contract somewhere, but I wonder whether a court of law would honor a contract that promises death if a condition is not met.
I feel freakin' combative about this that I'm willing to do something and see how far I can push for a change. I think it's a worthy cause, something more than a few people may appreciate. Of course the juicy details of whatever I do and the results will be right here ...


ambandenva2 said...


I understand the wireless rip-off. I too have been a victim of requirement. I have Verizon and when I want to have cool ringtones, it cost me money, and a lot of it, to listen to them. I wrote to Verizon about this, completely disgusted. The only response I got was basically, what can we tell you that is just how it is. Instead of the government tapping into our phone calls why don't they do their darn job and protect us from such money sucking atrocities. I feel your rage on this one 100%. I say go get um and the first place you go is the public utilities commission. I have found that when you write a letter to them, which I have done on a few occasions, the companies realize you mean business and stop messing with you... for awhile. :-)

Ms. Denva

Anonymous said...

Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile... They all charge for incoming and outgoing text messages. T-Mobile was the last one to convert to this scheme, and held out the longest with their free incoming texts... but the power of economics finally got to them. T-Mobile is no worse than any other big wireless company.