* Just a disclaimer – the end of the story is that T-Mobile did (finally) do what was promised. My husband and I both have our phones sorted out, and everybody we talked to sounded like they were smiling. *
“For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; through hard times and good times, through switching phone plans and other various kinds of chronic illness…”
We got married two months ago today (yay!) and had I known what trying to switch phones would be like, I would have included the above statement in our vows.
It all began fairly innocently. We go into our local T-Mobile store, we get our new accounts set up, my husband bought a new phone and I kept mine. Nice. We were in there long enough to become part of the furniture. The sales people on the floor were discussing whether it was a good idea for the first one to meet up with a third employee for margaritas and tacos later, with the subtext of talking about music business for afters. Beyond the fact that both parties were apparently in committed relationships, this seemed like an obvious ploy of the margarita-providing employee. It did to me anyways. Since it seemed that my husband and I were somehow part of this conversation, I joined in and pointed out that no music would probably be discussed. She decided to decline the margaritas.
The one loose end was that I wanted to keep my old number. My old number belonged to an account that had been cancelled a week prior, so it was going to take about twenty four hours to get my number back.
The next day, the plot thickened. My number still wasn’t back to normal. I called that fateful number: 611 (or the Customer Care Hotline).
Phone Ambassador #1 was way on top of it. She understood what I needed and assured me my number would be back to normal in no time. Weirdly, the request put in by the store associate the day before hadn’t stuck. Or hadn’t been properly filed. So I was going to wait another 24 hours.
Alright. Sounded like progress to me. So it was much to my surprise when, a couple hours later, I got a text from…ME! My old number! Except it was clear from the content that I was not in fact texting myself. No, that would have been too simple. What had instead happened was that my husband’s number had been replaced with my old number.
So I called T-Mobile back and explained our situation again in its growing entirety. This phone ambassador was nice, too, and also helpful. She admitted that the problem was on their end, because the notes were very clear. They said it was high time we pulled the old SIM switch (still not quite sure what that is) and everything would be hunky dory by morning. Or 24 hours. Whichever came first.
By this time, I was done talking to customer care. Between the continued re-explaining of our situation to that annoyingly long wait period, I felt that I had done enough for the furthering of my situation and was glad that it was all gonna be okay. I decided it was time to go back to bed and re-start the day from a better, less phone-less place.
My husband gave me a call a couple hours later, wanting to clarify that he would be able to keep his old number, not just get the number I currently had on my phone. Being his work number, this was fairly crucial. So I re-dialed and commenced what would be my last interaction with customer care for that day. But not ours. Not by a long shot.
So I was talking to one more phone ambassador. She somehow understood what I was trying to explain, even though the story was even more confusing than ever before. (It was like a soup in a crock pot, slowly accumulating body and flavor.) But the twist this time was that now she was going to conference in a third party – and this one appeared to be in Mexico.
I am still not sure who it was, but she sounded very far away and I thought I could hear herds of people rushing around. (Could’ve just been the connection, but I was imagining one of those news broadcasts that’s coming to you straight from the ground, and all the crowds are waving and singing at the camera, much to the reporter’s consternation.)
So I explained my sad tale once again. Unfortunately for all of us, since we had decided to make my husband the primary account holder, and I had not been paying attention to any of our account’s details after the first hour of standing in the store, I didn’t have any of the right information. The far-away third party lady said she could send a temporary PIN to the primary account holder’s phone number (which, ironically, was my old one). Except I thought she said she was gonna send me a fee, as retribution for being so ill informed of my own account. I almost started crying a bit and felt like I had a new understanding of the world’s suffering.
Anyways, long story short, we had to cut the far-away lady from our call because we weren’t getting anywhere. So then the T-Mobile person said she was going to try to get a temporary PIN sent to me, and I waited a bit to the tunes of 80s muzak. When the veil of muzak lifted, I was talking to someone entirely different. Someone European. Which is great, I like Europe. Except that it seemed like I was now no longer on my way to receiving a temporary PIN to give to the far-away phone-genie in Mexico, but simply to tell my story yet again, but this time with European sympathies and cannoli.
I decided I wasn’t getting anywhere, what with being the lowly secondary account holder and all. (This position, by the way, is kind of like being the minority race in the room. You have no power and they’ll misspell your name when you cross through Ellis Island.) So I texted my husband to take over whenever he had the chance. He did. And they said they’d help him. And we decided to just go on in to the store later that day, just to find someone we could physically hunt down if all of this was for nothing.
We found the taco-margarita lady from the day before! And it appeared that the third employee they’d been talking about was second chair today. It was hard not to ask them how the margaritas and music went. (They clearly hadn’t saved us any tacos.) Anyways. We explained the situation, and their idea was to switch our SIM cards. But I pointed out that if a number switch was already in process, we might make things worse by switching SIM cards. So…that was that. We had found our strangle victims. We got what we came for.
So. We went home. About an hour later, I * finally * had my old number back. My husband *finally* had the number I just had on my phone. Wait. What?
The wrong number switch. A different wrong number switch.
Suffice it to say that it took another two phone calls, one that night and one this morning, to finally get the result we were wanting. I was a bit wound up in my mind. I was thinking that maybe it was time for my inner litigious whiner to come out and see the sun and demand a brand new iPhone for both of us and all of our future children. But then I thought about how many more hours of conversation I’d have to have with friendly ambassadors on the other end of the 611 line, and how I am a secondary account holder anyway. My whole goal had become to not have to talk to anymore phone ambassadors for awhile. Maybe this is their whole protection against litigation. Just a really complicated series of customer service conversations.
That said, thank you T-Mobile for the excellent coverage, reasonable pricing and T-Mobile Tuesdays. Just next time, save us a couple tacos.