Lied to and billed for a phone that I was offered for free

  • 6 April 2022
  • 7 replies


I have been a good reliable Tmobil customer for over 4 years. I have multiple lines on my plan and I’ve never missed a payment.

I ordered and paid for a new phone just before Xmas 2021. The phone was never delivered. I called to ask where my phone was and was told they couldn’t find the phone and had to investigate. A rep was supposed to call me back. By the second week of Jan. the issue still wasn’t resolved and I did not receive a phone yet. Tmobil was still unable to give me a clear answer on what happened or when I’d receive my phone. I was upset and called back on Jan. 7th to close my account. 

The operator was distressed and said she could not lose me as a customer. She asked if a free phone would get me to stay. I agreed and signed the paperwork for a new phone. I received the phone within 1-2 days and all was well until I got my next bill and saw that I was being billed for the phone. 

I called customer support several more times trying to resolve the issue. By early March my frustration level was through the roof. I’ve made so many calls and wasted so much of my time. I called to cancel my account and was told that if I left, I would still owe for the balance on the phone. I said I’d send it back but the rep said too much time has passed. 

I asked to speak with a supervisor. I was given to James rep# 9991310431 who insinuated that all along this was just a scheme I hatched to demand a phone. That whatever happened between me and the service rep on Jan. 7th was my fault and that I agreed to pay for a new phone. I asked him to listen to the recorded call, he said he did and that I agreed to buy a phone. I know that’s not true so I asked James to let me listen, he said that wasn’t possible. I asked if somebody else at Tmobil could listen to the call. He said he was the highest level of authority I would be able to reach and that nobody else at Tmobil would bother to waste their time listening to that call. 

I asked James for the number to customer relations, he said that Tmobil (a giant phone company) doesn’t have a phone at customer relations and that I’d have to write them a letter. If I want to speak with somebody else, I will have to wait 72 hours for somebody to call me back. 

This all seems crazy to me. I’m a working father of three children with a life, I don’t have time for all this and I’m not just going to be bullied into paying $1000 for a phone I was told would be free. I want my money back and I want to take my families business elsewhere. I can’t believe that there’s no way to contact anyone at Tmobil with the authority to assist a very displeased customer besides James, who has insulted me multiple times now. 

If you are reading this and you are on the fence about using Tmobil as a carrier, this will be your reality if you ever need customer service. I don’t recollect ever calling for help with anything else in all my time with this company.  The one time I need help due to unusual circumstances that were no fault of mine, I’ve been lied to, scammed, hassled, bullied, insulted, stressed and have had hours and hours of my time wasted. 

7 replies


The biggest mistake I made was switching my service to T-Mobile via phone. Every mistake made and every lie told, has been via phone. I suggest strongly that you visit your local T-Mobile store and try to speak with the manager on duty there, or try to schedule a time to meet with them. There might be something they can do to get the ball rolling for you because where I'm located at least, they know how incompetent the phone reps are. I feel your frustration 100%!! 

Sun's Java for cell phones was supposed to let developers write a single ... What was billed as an oasis for developers has turned into ...Hardee breakfast menu


The biggest mistake I made was switching my service to T-Mobile via phone. Every mistake made and every lie told, has been via phone. I suggest strongly that you visit your local T-Mobile store and try to speak with the manager on duty there, or try to schedule a time to meet with them. There might be something they can do to get the ball rolling for you because where I'm located at least, they know how incompetent the phone reps are. I feel your frustration 100%!! 

I did.. I went to a store and spoke with a very nice and helpful manager. Unfortunately he was unable to assist me with this issue. That’s the problem, this is a colossal failure of customer service. My phone isn’t broken, my service is fine.. my problem seems to be a bit outside of normal complaints and thus nobody has the procedure or authority to solve my issue. I’m trapped in a continuous vortex of being bounced from service rep to service rep with zero results.   


UPDATE 4/18/2022

 James rep# 9991310431 wins… he made notes on my account saying that I agreed to purchase the phone I was promised would be free in January. I spoke to several other representatives trying to correct this issue with no luck. I can’t waste anymore time.

In the eyes of T-mobile I lied about all of this and there’s no chance of them giving me the benefit of the doubt!! So I just paid off the free phone ($1000) and I’m leaving for AT&T.. F%*K YOU T-Mobile 

I’m not a difficult customer. I have never complained and I’ve never left any sort of feedback like this on the internet before. I have no other card to play, T-Mobil scammed me (for no reason) and this was the only course of action I can take is to try and let the public know what happened to me. 

I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you with a $1000 phone.  This just happened to me as well, but with a much cheaper phone.  I am also a long-time customer with 3+ years of service and a total of 8 lines (some voice/cell phone lines, some internet).  I went to my local T-Mobile store last week (a third party) and wanted to add a line to my account.  I brought in an old phone I intended to use, but they said “why don’t you just get one of the free phones we are offering, it’ll be 5G, etc).  So I agreed.

As it turned out, they could not add the line there at the store because I have an older plan.  They would’ve had to switch me to a new plan (which I absolutely didn’t want to do) and then get customer service at T-Mobile to switch it back.  I was too nervous about losing my current plan, so I said I would just call T-Mobile directly to get it set up.  They said the phone would be free directly through T-Mobile as well.  
I called T-Mobile’s customer service and got a very helpful rep located in the Philippines. She offered me the same exact phone that I was offered at the store and said that after promotional credits it would be $99.  I said to her “why was that same exact phone offered for free at the store?”  So she said, “Let me check...” and then said “Okay, I can apply a promotion for you that will make the phone free.”  She walked me through the pricing, explaining that a $4.17 charge would appear on my bill every month for 24 months for this phone, but that she would apply a $99 credit to offset the fees.  She asked if I wanted the charge to appear for $4.00 monthly or if I wanted the $99 in a lump sum.  I told her I wanted the lump sum, to which she said okay.  I heard her typing notes in the entire time as we discussed all of this.

What I did find very concerning is that the rep sent me an email with a contract that I had to electronically sign.  When I opened that document, it did not show any of the pricing or discounts that I had agreed to.  I told her this and she said “that’s because I cannot apply the promotions until I call you back to activate the line.  Those prices will all come down once we activate the line and I apply the promotions.”  While I was still pretty uncomfortable with that explanation, what else could I do?  The only thing I knew I had working in my favor was that the call was being recorded, so it could be referenced if anything went awry, though I had no reason to expect that it would.  I’ve had great service from T-Mobile up to this point.  So I accepted that and signed the contract.  Before we hung up, she said she was sending a text as her “personal guarantee”.  It didn’t really make any sense because it was just a generic T-Mobile that she added her name to at the end.  There was no “guarantee” of anything and I had no way to contact her back directly.  

Before hanging up, however, she also scheduled a time with me to call back and activate my new phone.  I adjusted my schedule to make sure I was available for the call.  The call never came.  Finally, after waiting 45 minutes, I called T-Mobile myself.  I explained that I was calling to activate the line and that a promotion was to be applied so that the $99 phone would be free over 24 months. They looked up my account and said that there was a credit being applied to my account monthly for approximately $15.  I explained to the rep that I certainly wasn’t complaining, but that that didn’t make sense because the phone was only $4.17 a month.  So she looked it up and said “No, the retail price of this phone is $450, so that monthly credit will come out to $351 over 24 months, making the phone $99.”

I then explained once again that the phone is supposed to be free after all credits are applied.  It should not be $99, and that I never would have purchased the phone if I was being charged for it.  I had a working phone I intended to use, and ONLY got this phone because it was free.  She checked the notes on my account, which turned out to be incredibly vague and made no mention of the free phone.  She then said they do not have the authority or ability to give away phones for free and that I would have to pay $99 for the phone.  I told her that in that case, I will return the phone.  She said that would be fine and that I can return it to a store (I doubt I’ll be able to return it to the “authorized retailer” in my town, but we will see).

I did mention to her that they should have a recording of the call, and can listen to what the rep told me and what I agreed to.  She explained that T-Mobile has so many call centers worldwide that even though the calls are recorded, they’d never be able to find it.  I said to her, “I understand that, but then what’s the point of recording the calls?”  I told her that if they have a rep lying to customers to get them to sign up for things, they need to make the effort to find these recordings.  

I realize this is only $99.  I also realize that I am still able to return the phone (thank goodness).  But I am so frustrated at how much of my time has been wasted on this, I’m frustrated with being lied to by what I thought was a stand up company.  I’m frustrated because the entire reason I was making this switch was to eliminate the land line that Xfinity is charging me $56 a month for, and I was eager to get my landline number ported so I can cancel my Xfinity service.  I waited all week for this call from T-Mobile that never came, and now I’m still without a phone/service for this line that I’m paying for with T-Mobile, PLUS I am still stuck paying for the Xfinity line until this is all sorted out.  I had been SO HAPPY with T-Mobile up to this point.  Truly had zero complaints and recommended many others to check them out.  It’s a shame that they seem to have no quality control or integrity when it comes to what their reps are telling people.  Fine if you’re going to outsource customer service worldwide, but have some quality control in place.  Have a way to monitor these reps, a way to listen to the recorded calls when a customer is claiming they’ve been lied to.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my experience.  Again, nowhere near as bad as the person who was stuck with a $1000 phone, but just thought I should mention my experience as I’m sure we cannot be the only two people this happened to, and it looks like it happened to both of us within a few months.

Other than this horrendous experience, I really do still love T-Mobile.  I would just suggest doing business at a T-Mobile store and getting things in writing.  I know that’s not always feasible (like in my case, even the store was telling me to just call and go through customer service), but just a suggestion. 

I wanted to come back and update my reply since I was able to get this situation resolved.  The morning after I typed my experience above, I got an automated text message survey asking about my experience.  I was very honest in the survey, giving low ratings and a full explanation as to what went on.  Later that morning, I missed a 1-800 call but didn’t answer because I was out with a friend.  I received another call from that number an hour later, but again did not answer since I was still out.  When I got home and listened to the VM, I learned it was T-Mobile calling to discuss my survey and wanting to help resolve my issues.  Unfortunately, the number they left for me to call back was just the general customer service number, so I opted to wait and to a T-Mobile store instead.

 I went to my local T-Mobile store (they are an “authorized retailer” as opposed to a corporate store, and as I expected, they were unable to provide any assistance.  Despite the T-Mobile rep on the phone telling me I could return the phone to the store, the store associate said they could not accept the return and that the only thing I could really do is call in to customer service again.

I had planned to visit a corporate store the next day but decided to call customer support one more time since it was too late to go to the store that evening.  I called customer service, explained that I was returning their call about my survey.  The rep asked for a rundown of what was going on.  She checked the notes on my account, and just like the original poster above, she found no notes confirming that the rep told me the phone would be free after the promotion was applied.  The rep then explained that while they do have other phones that would be free, the once I received would be $99.  She then put me on hold to speak with her supervisor and see what else could be done.  A few minutes later she came back on the line and said that rather than put me through the hassle of exchanging the phone, she was going to apply a credit to my account.  She said it would have to be a lump sum and it would just go towards my current bill (as it couldn’t be applied to the monthly fees for the phone), but that was totally fine with me.  That’s all I wanted from the start.  

So all in all, it was a whole lot more complicated than it should’ve been and took way more time than it should have, but T-Mobile did resolve the issue and stand behind what I was originally promised by one of their reps.