When you contract with a company for a service, it’s expected that the monthly charges will be correct.
But when the price of the bill bounces with unexpected changes every month, it sure can be confusing. And exasperating.
That’s what happened to Michael Butchon of Hamilton, who switched cell service for his family of four to T-Mobile in November 2021.
“I have not had one correct bill to date,” Butchon said.
Over the course of six months, Butchon, of Hamilton, returned to the store at least three times and had countless phone calls with customer service, he said.
“Each time I was assured that the problem would be corrected in the next bill and I would be credited the overpay,” he said, noting his account is set to autopay from his bank account. “Well each time I spoke with someone, my next bill actually goes higher and nothing gets resolved.”
His first visit to the T-Mobile store in Hamilton was on Nov. 17.
The salesman quoted him a family plan of $140 per month for four lines with unlimited text, data and calling services.
He would also get four new phones. He traded in three iPhone X models for three new iPhone 12 models, all free. He also had an older Samsung Galaxy that he traded in for a new Galaxy S20FE for $8 per month.
As an extra, the account qualified for Netflix service at $5.33 per month, for a total bill of $153.33 per month. The salesman broke down the charges in writing before Butchon left the store.
But when his first autopay payment was taken from his bank account, it was for $182.57.
He called customer service.
“I explained I was quoted the $140 plan and the representative told me he saw where the mistake was made, and he would correct my account,” Butchon said. “He said next month’s bill would be correct and I would be refunded the overpayment.”
The next bill was for $140.47. Butchon said he figured the problem was fixed.
But no. The next month’s bill was $182.87.
This time, Butchon went back to the store — he has nothing but good things to say about the salesman and the manager — and they said it sometimes took time for billing changes to be reflected in the system. Give it another month, Butchon said he was told.
So he did. But this time, the bill went up even higher, to $300.36.
Back to the store.
“(The manager) pulled up my account and said I was now being charged $200 a month for the family plan and now they were charging me for two phones on the billing cycle,” Butchon said. “Somehow the plan now said I didn’t receive the four new phones for free but they were listed as buy one, get one free.”
The manager made the changes and said to give it two billing cycles to take effect.
Some kind of change did take effect, but not the correct one. The next two bills were for $243.20.
As this was going on, Butchon said he read a March Bamboozled column about a T-Mobile customer with a similar billing problem.
He shared his story, but said he wanted to wait another month before asking for help, hoping the billing issue would be resolved. But when it didn’t happen, he reached out again.
“I am at my wits’ end and after reading your original article, I feel I am in a bait-and-switch that T-Mobile is operating,” he said, and he asked Bamboozled to help.
GETTING A FIX
When Butchon first contacted us in March, we were reviewing other T-Mobile billing complaints that came in after our story ran.
We sent T-Mobile information about those customers, and in most cases, the company fixed the problems, our readers said.
The number of complaints shown billing disputes are not uncommon.
Indeed, the Better Business Bureau received 15,731 complaints about T-Mobile in the last three years and 6,352 complaints in the last 12 months. T-Mobile had more than 108 million customers across the country through the end of 2021, so the number of complaints is not surprising.
When Butchon said he needed the review, we asked T-Mobile to take a look at the account.
Within a couple of days, he received a call from the company.
“She stated she saw the problems I was having and how each employee was trying to make the corrections to my account,” he said. “For some reason, however — she couldn’t explain — the system was overriding the changes.”
The representative said she made the changes manually and he should see the corrections on his June bill, he said he was told.
“She also voided my May billing and refunded the amount to credit me for the past overbilling,” Butchon said, noting the representative was very apologetic and said to contact her directly if the bill was not correct.
We asked T-Mobile to explain what happened with the bills, especially given that we’ve seen so many similar complaints in recent months, but it offered no further explanation.
“We are happy we were able to solve Mr. Butchon’s billing concerns,” the spokeswoman said. “For privacy reasons I’m unable to share any more details around customer issues.”
Butchon’s account should be correct going forward, we believe.
“I’m really hoping this will be it now,” Butchon said.
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Karin Price Mueller may be reached at KPriceMueller@NJAAdvanceMedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @KPMueller.