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Thursday, 20 September 2012

iPhone 5 Farce

On the eve of the iPhone launch and needing a new phone, anyone would think that T-Mobile didn't want me to part with my hard earned cash. So, here's the chain of events.

Still having the iPhone 3GS without backlight, I'm pretty keen to upgrade to the iPhone 5. I've been out of contract - awaiting the iPhone 5 launch - for several months. So I tweeted @tmobileuk who helpfully sent me the iPhone 5 upgrade option link. So a good start!

I then assumed that the (extortionate!) deals mentioned surely must be for new customers. Not deals for someone with 15 years of loyal custom.

How wrong I was.

So T-Mobile do not reward loyalty it seems.

So having spoken to 5 different people a few nights ago, being passed from pillar to post, and having to give my password about 4 times, I got pretty much nowhere.

A helpful Scottish manager, Joe, called me back, but reiterated the point that I had to pay the device fee of £219. I have historically received £100-£150 towards the device. This doesn't apply to the iPhone 5.

So, why would an innovative forward-thinking company think that a customer would want an archaic device on which they could apply a discount?! A bit of an insult, no?!

Having resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't get a better deal, and I'd only be £160 better off over 2-years if I bought the device outright, I thought I'd bite the bullet and upgrade online.

Simple right?!


I always get all my online deliveries sent to work. As it's convenient for me. You know, being the paying customer and all! T-Mobile won't allow this.

So keeping positive, I thought well, I'll select the "deliver to store" option.

It's not an option.

So STILL trying to keep positive, I thought I'd call them AGAIN to arrange this option.

It's NOT an option!

The option was "change your home address to be your work address, then we can deliver to your work address."

My response: "Oh! So in your quest for security (and the need to submit your inside leg measurement online for security reasons!) and only delivering to the billing address, you're advising me to commit fraud by changing my address, where my card is NOT ACTUALLY REGISTERED!"

Their response: "Well....errrr....yeah."

THEEEN, the phone went dead from Jovial Geordie Neil! So, I thought, oh he'll ring me back, we just got cut off.

I'm still waiting!

He did tell me I had £300 for being a loyal customer that I can do absolutely nothing with. Great.

So here we are. On the eve of the iPhone 5 launch, without the ability to upgrade.

So T-Mobile, I want to know how you're going to sort this mess out!

Yours impatiently


  1. Never ever continue to speak to the same person if they say no, put down the phone and start again. I've never ever paid for a phone with TMobile regardless of the price, I didn't even realise people did that unless they were on pay as you go.

    Realistically with demand so high they are not going to offer you the best deal so you can tell them you are leaving or wait when you'll have more power to make a difference.

  2. Hey babe, I'm also a long standing loyal cust and have had to pay the premium - It's the same for all the operators (held to ransome by Apple) yet we all go nuts at our operators - i have written to Apple and suggest you do the same cause as it stands Apple just sit back and watch the mess THEY are causing!!!

  3. Well, as someone who has worked in the industry for 6 years, I wouldn't touch T-Mobile with a barge pole. Vodafone's MD said it best when they announced they'd be calling themselves "Everything Everywhere", his response was "Well yeah, because they'll be all over the shop". And they are.

    The most horrendous screw up I ever saw was when they screwed up a transfer for a 140 handset corporate client which meant that they could only receive incoming calls on their old T-Mobile sims, but to make a call they had to use their new Vodafone sims. The client had that for two weeks and they dragged their heels every step of the way to fix it. Then offered something like £1,000 in compensation. It didn't even break down to a a month's line rental per number, which is sort of the bare minimum we'd expect.

    Price-wise, they are cheaper but there's a reason for that. They shaft you on the customer service. Historically they also did a lot of contracts cost neutral or cost negative just to increase their base. I expect your last contract was before the Everything Everywhere takeover and now that they are linked in with Orange, they have to do better.

    Both your Anon commenters above have good points. With any new iPhone, demand plays a massive part. All the networks lose about 25% of their customers every year so if they lose you, they'll pick up someone else and at the moment there are lots of other people desperate to get the phones. Stock will be on allocation and so handsets will be thin on the ground for at least the first month. As a consumer, you're in a very weak position for twisting their arm unfortunately.

    Anon #2 was also spot on when saying that Apple dictate what pricing handsets can be sold at. They are extremely strict on what they do and don't allow (for example, you have to pass accreditation to be allowed to sell them and if you do something they don't like, they will stop you from being able to sell the devices in a heartbeat).

    My advice would be to check what your coverage on O2 and Vodafone is like and go with one of them. Their pricing is similar, coverage should be about the same and the service is a lot better. Both have some good all inclusive tariffs, have a look at "On and On" on O2 and "Red" on Vodafone. The tariff price varies and the lower you take the tariff, the more you have to contribute towards the handset cost.

    T-Mobile should give you your PAC code over the phone and it will be valid for 30 days, so as long as you transfer over to the other network before it expires you'll be fine.

    If they mess you about, report them to OFCOM. to be honest, I'd report them anyway for the suggestion of fraudulently changing the address info.

    Hope that helps - if you need any other advice, you can always shout and I'll help if I can.



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