This morning, my Nexus One stopped receiving emails. When I tried to refresh my Exchange inbox on the phone, I got a “cannot connect” error. Powering down and rebooting did not help. Any attempt to browse the web would just bring up the page shown below.
I called the T-Mobile Customer Support number while at a restaurant waiting for my lunch to be served. I explained to the person that I had been able to use the data connection until this morning, but that I was no longer able to receive emails or browse the web. I asked him to please check if there was a problem with the data plan on my account.
He said, and I will try to use his exact words (for the hillarity factor):
You have a very old data plan that is grandfathered in. It does not work with the Nexus One.
He emphasized the word “grandfathered”, but clearly did not understand it’s meaning. I replied that my data plan has been working for years until this morning, and that there must be a problem with my account, not with the phone. After all, I was able to see the T-Mobile page I was being redirected to. He said
You have a very old data plan that is grandfathered in. It does not work with the Nexus One. You know, sometimes people have Blackberries and they are not able to connect.
We went through this a few more times, until I started to become impatient and raised my voice (enough so that people at neighboring tables started to look). To no avail. He said
I understand you are upset. After all, you are paying for this service ..
Apparently, T-Mobile is instructing their support personnel to point out to callers that they are paying for their service, so that they don’t have to say it. In the old days, you could impress a support person with a fact like that: You better get this fixed right away, because I am paying for it (meaning: I am paying you!, of course). Nowadays, they already know that. Bummer. My support guy must have mentioned at least 20 times during the call that I am paying for their service.
… and I will do everything I can to solve your problem.
Go right ahead, I said. Why does my data connection not work, I said.
Well, you see, since you are calling us from the phone, I can’t trouble-shoot it with you. You really need to call us from a different line.
I said, well, I can do that, but I know that there is no problem with the phone, it is with my account. Can you please check if there is a problem with my data plan? He said
I told you, but you are not listening to me. You have a very old data plan that is grandfathered in and that does not work.
I yelled ‘Bullsh*t’! You are trying to sell me a more expensive data plan. I am not interested in that. I want you to find out why I am not getting a connection right now.
You need to call us from a different phone. I cannot help you if you are calling from the phone that we need to trouble-shoot together.
I hung up.
Literally seconds after I had put the phone down, emails started to arrive with the characteristic “ding” sound. At first I thought that the support person knew all along what the problem was and turned my data connection back on as soon as I had hung up.
When I browsed to Google with my phone, though, I saw the following:
Why, so I ask myself, do companies like T-Mobile or Verizon not have a system in place that informs their first-line support staff of outages? I have literally spent hours on the phone with Verizon support troubleshooting non-existent issues with my Fios router, only to find out at the end of the call that the entire region had an outage (that lasted 36 hours, if you have to ask). How difficult can that possibly be? It would have spared the poor guy quite a bit of yelling today, as incompetent as he was. Please, T-Mobile or Verizon, if you read this, call pod at 617-661-0802. We really can help you.