Gizmodo Editor Joel Johnson has posted a lengthy piece that is equal parts thorough review of the T-Mobile Sidekick II, and a fiery rant about T-Mobile customer service.
In short, he loves the Sidekick II for what it is (a great wireless messaging device), but laments its shortcomings, the main one being lack of software expandability. I had both monochrome and color versions of the original Sidekick for over a year, and that’s the reason I eventually jumped ship to a Pocket PC Phone Edition. The Sidekick is great for what it is, but will never be anything more.
The second part of Joel’s article details his exasperating experiences with T-Mobile customer service. All I can say, Joel, is that I can relate. I have literally pages and pages of documentation and notes I took while on the 22 (yes, 22 – I went back and counted) calls I made while I had my Sidekick. The issues ranged from T-Mobile’s inability to switch phone numbers between the two lines on my account, to the web-based Desktop Interface not working for a couple of months, to being unable to make a GPRS data connection.
Here’s a quote that I think captures Joel’s frustrations:
… I called T-Mobile again, not twenty minutes after hanging up with Patty the first time. Long story longer? There was (sic) no notes from Patty about giving me a credit. She lied to me. The refund – the one she calculated the taxes for – was a lie. She even made notes on my account indicating that she’d tried to placate me, but ultimately I was inconsolable.
So I lost it.
I worked customer service for AT&T for almost two years. Despite my daily vitriol here, I am the sweetest cupcake of a customer you will ever find to customer service reps – especially those that work for the phone company. You can put me on hold, ask me to wait while you figure out what’s wrong, call me back, whatever. I’m a prancing pony of politeness.
I lost it bad.
My overall experience with T-Mobile has been hit and miss. If I call them with a simple issue, I usually get great service. However, if I go to them with anything slightly compicated (i.e., anything to do with GPRS), it’s like Russian Roulette whether it’s going to take ten calls to get the issue resolved.
In the end, Joel decides to jump ship and leave T-Mobile. The thought has crossed my mind on several occasions, too. Why haven’t I done it? There’s nowhere else for me to go. I’m hooked on wireless data gadgets like my Smartphone, and cheap unlimited wireless data access, and right now, the only place I can get both of those is on T-Mobile. AT&T offers some nice devices, but their GPRS rates are highway robbery. Verizon and Sprint have nice, fast wireless networks, but you’re out of luck if you want a wide selection of phones/devices.
So, through it all, I stick with T-Mobile. Do they deserve it? On the whole, I’d say the good has outweighed the bad, so yes, they deserve me as a customer. Do some customer service reps deserve to be slapped around once in a while? I’d say yes to that, too.