T-Mobile USA has Horrible Customer Service

15 08 2011

I’ve always had nothing but good things to say about T-Mobile customer service.  I would call up and their representatives were always nice and helpful. 

That is until recently.  Fortunatly I haven’t had need of T-Mobile customer service very often, and was dismayed to learn that something has changed.

If you call tmobile from your phone (either their 877 number or by dialing 611) it doesn’t actually call anyone, but instead opens the t-mobile app which has links to things such as checking your minutes, viewing your bill, etc.  It then also has a link to dial support.  If you press the link, it will dial support, which is their new fancy automated system.

The system asks what you’re calling about.  It suggests you can say things like “check usage, pay bill,” etc.  If you ask for a representative it tells you that it needs to know what you’re calling about first.  No matter how many times you ask for a representative, it will not connect you.  And so you tell it what you want:

Me:  “android update”

T-Mobile:  “Just to be sure, you’re calling about hotspots, am I right?”

Me:  “no”

T-Mobile:  “My mistake.  Let’s try this again.  . .”

Me:  “software update”

T-Mobile:  “Just to make sure, you’re calling about downloads, correct?”

Me:  “kind of”

And finally it connects me to a person. 

I called a few weeks ago to get some information about different plans and their pricing, to see if there was a better deal out there for me and my rather unique phone usage situation (I need one line with text, voice and data, and one with just voice).  I explained to the representative what I wanted and no matter how many times I explained it, or in how many different ways, he just wasn’t understanding my simple question, which boiled down to, “are there any new plans which would keep the service i have now and lower my bill?”.  After offering me several more expensive plans, I finally gave up, thanked him for his time, and hung up.

And so now my phone, (G2X) didn’t receive the gingerbread update it was supposed to.  LG’s website has a way to manully update the phone, but this requires a Windows PC, and being a Linux user, means I can’t do it (easily).  So I decide to contact customer support.  I email them using an address I find after a google search and get this message in return:

Notice:  Important changes to our e-mail program starting Jan 10th:

You spoke and we listened!  Due to overwhelming feedback, our e-mail for Customer Care is transitioning to live chat support. We?ve found that you are more satisfied with chat, and get your issues resolved in less time with chat.

Starting Jan 10th, e-mail will no longer be available for support, but you can still chat live with one of our online specialists. You can also get online help from other customers in our Community Forums (http://forums.t-mobile.com), or use our self-service options in My T-Mobile (http://my.t-mobile.com).  As always, 24/7 support is still available by dialing 1-800-937-8997 or 611 from your T-Mobile phone.

Which means I can’t do it from my phone.  Okay, so I wait until I’m at a computer and I go to their live chat.  Here’s the screenshot:

Why suffer through the convenience of E-mail when you can have a chat service that you can’t access? 

Which lead me to call them again.  After going through the hoops of their automated service and establishing that yes, I actually had a legitimate question, I finally get through to someone.  This person seems both polite and competent.  She tells me that she needs to transfer me to another department.  I say okay, and she makes the transfer.  A few seconds later I am greeted with the sound of the call disconecting.

And so, I call back, go through the same rigamarool with the automated system and this time am successfully transfered to the ‘2nd level support’.  I explain the issue and am put on hold for 10 min. after which time he explains that the Gingerbread update for the G2X was pulled due to instability issues.  Which makes the communication from T-Mobile on their support forums rather confusing.

In any case, it is clear that T-Mobile wants to make it as hard as possible to actually contact support.  They make it easy to give you resources to solve your own problem, but if it is obvious that your problem is not one of their standard issues, then you’re shit out of luck until you have half an hour to spend on the phone.

Come on T-Mobile.  What happened?

Air Conditioning for your Freedom

20 06 2011

Gizmodo has a short article about the military’s use of air conditioning with tents.

“the Department of Defense spends $20 billion air conditioning tents and temporary structures for the military. That’s more than NASA’s entire $19 billion annual budget

The most interesting bits from this article however are actually the reader comments.  While some bemoan such blatant idiocy (air conditioning un-insulated structures) there are a surprising number of comments which rail against anyone questioning this use of money as unpatriotic and immoral.

stratocaster28 wrote, in response to one of these questioning comments: 

“In another time, you would have been branded a traitor for what you just wrote, and probably executed.
. . .
You’re a traitorous hypocrite accusing the very people who put their lives on the line so that you can have the right to the same air conditioning i’m sure YOU DO USE, with the peace and the economy to enjoy it in.
. . .
Don’t even try to justify what you wrote, you simply cannot.”
 grok666 wrote:
“you should kiss the ass of the next military member you see in thanks for helping to protect the country that makes your life so easy to bitch about the leadership without being hunted down and killed for your viewpoint.”
Lovely.  Don’t question authority you ungrateful little bastards, just bend over and take it if you don’t want to be called a traitor.  I’ll show you an inefficiency! 
It’s 2011 and we still have to deal with these morons?  really?

Recommended Reading: Sum; Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

24 05 2011

I just finished reading Sum; Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman.  I highly recommend this book of short stories.  Hit the link to read a few of the stories, you won’t be disappointed. 

New Shape Cats Love!

23 05 2011

This is what I feed my hedgehog.  He likes it.  I know that because he gets excited when I give it to him, and he eats it.  That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge as to how he feels about it.  But recently I noticed they had changed the shape of the food from what I remember as being roughly non-circular to circular.  My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed the bag advertised that it was in a “new shape cats love!”

Here’s the abstract of the study performed to validate this statement:

Cats were asked to express their cat food preferences. A list of cat foods of various sizes, shapes, and styles was provided. The cats’ responses were recorded and analyzed. Claude is a food driven feline and he said this study was important.

. . .

I realize that there probably was an actual study done to determine which shape cats find most appealing (which is disturbing enough as it is).  But if someone studied it than surely they must have been trying to solve a problem.  Were cats unhappy with the shapes we had been feeding them?  They’re one of the oldest domesticated animals – surely we must have been doing okay.  What need could have possibly warranted this study?  Have they simply been upset with the shapes of their foods up until now and just been too polite to mention it?

In any case, I suggest asking your cat (or hedgehog as the case may be) if they are satisfied with the shape of their current food, and if not, try switching to something round.  I hear cats love it.

Vote GOP

23 05 2011

Quote of the Day – Leo Tolstoy

17 01 2010

Patriotism … for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. … Patriotism is slavery.

Leo Tolstoy

Send Mohammed to the ICC

14 11 2009

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed should not be tried in American civil court.  He should not be tried in any form of tribunal or military court.  He should not be tried in the United States.  Any person currently held at Guantanamo bay should be sent to trial at the International Criminal Court.

One might be able to argue at the ICC that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed‘s actions constituted an act of aggression as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  If it is determined that his crimes fall outside the scope of the court we need to pressure the court to expand their charge.

As of yet the United States has not joined the member countries of the ICC.  If we are committed to the idea of providing fair trials than an International Court is perhaps the only way to go in cases like these.  The only reason to try him in New York is to make sure that he gets less than fair treatment and so that you can execute him.

What do you think?  Should we enlarge the scope of the ICC so that it can handle situations like these?