T-Mobile puts the greed in green

Written by Ron on August 28th, 2009

Starting in September, T-Mobile will add a $1.50 per month charge to get paper bills, and be able to mail in payments. Of course this is all being played as “green” when we we all know it is simple greed.  Sure, it costs to print and mail invoices and to process payments that are mailed in.  That is called “cost of doing business.” Since phone companies are already well known for passing along any and every charge and fee imaginable as well as some that are hard to imagine, I guess this should not really come as a surprise. What goes along with this paperless billing is also the requirement to either pay online via credit/debit card or via electronic funds transfer from a bank or credit union account. If you insist on paying with cash, check or money order, you will have to take it to a T-Mobile store as they will not accept payments mailed in.

The galling part of this is that the only way I found out about it was by routinely checking my minutes of usage on their web site. Wonder how long I would have gone otherwise? I already know that I have to carefully dissect every piece of paper included with credit card bills to make sure one of them is not a carefully veiled notice that my interest rate is doubling next month and that I agree to accept it if I use my card even one more time. Can’t wait to see the next T-Mobile bill and see how this new green fee is communicated, if at all.

The terms that you must agree to are fun too (see below and link).  So it is now my responsibility to set a date on my calendar to check for billing, since they can’t be bothered with sending a no-charge SMS to make sure I got it. #12 is a hoot too. Sure good to know that T-Mobile’s system is right on the bleeding edge of Internet browsers. I guess I should not plan to use it with Safari or Chrome or Firefox or  even a very old version of IE6. Wonder why the iPhone went to AT&T? Guess accessing your account and paying from any mobile browser would be completely out of the question.

(Terms) By agreeing to receive my Bill electronically I agree to the following:

Paperless Billing. I may view my paperless T-Mobile Bill for wireless services (Bill) online by accessing my account at www.t-mobile.com/mytmobile. I may also determine how much I owe by dialing #BAL# on my T-Mobile phone or by calling Customer Care.
1. Payment. I will pay my Bill (including any late fees) timely, whether or not I receive a Bill notice or am able to access my paperless Bill.
2. Not receiving a Bill notice. T-Mobile will attempt to send me a Bill notice to my current e-mail address in T-Mobile’s records. It is my sole responsibility to contact T-Mobile directly if I do not receive my Bill notice. I agree to hold T-Mobile harmless for any delay or failure to deliver notice.

—snip—

12. System compatibility and blocking. The ability to receive Bill notices is system and Internet Service Provider dependent. To accurately view your paperless Bill, your system must be running either Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, Netscape Navigator 6.1 or higher, or AOL 5.0 or higher. Some ISPs may block e-mail from senders who are not on a “contacts” list, so I may not receive my notification unless I specifically add T-Mobile to my contacts or “people I know.”  — (bold emphasis added by aRdent)

T_MobilePaperFee

Even with this, T-Mobile is still cheaper for the voice service that we use, so switching to AT&T is not an option. I would not even consider changing to one of the CDMA carriers (Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular), regardless of rate difference. The CDMA system and their devices are just too limited and delicate. There are many good reasons why the rest of the world uses GSM for cellular.

 

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