T-Mobile Sends Google’s Bill To Regular Customer, $15,939.83


Monday’s can really stink. I knew Phandroid readers would get a laugh out of the following story so I saved it. See that? We’re always looking out for you – and so is Joe who sent the story in [Thanks dude!].

As you know, Google gave away Google Ion (HTC Sapphire) phones to all the participants of Google I/O 2009. I used that phone for the free 30 days that came with it, and right around that time, my other HTC phone’s touchscreen stopped working. So, being the android phan that I am, I decided to go ahead and get a new line of service with T-mobile and continue using my Ion. Just before this happened, I had logged in to the T-mobile website, and told them to send me a temporary password via SMS to my phone, so I could login. At that time, I saw that “my account” had “799” lines of service, and a balance of over $15,000. I wasn’t concerned, because I knew it was a Google account.

Well, today I open my mail to find a bill from T-mobile, addressed to “Google Promo Account”, but sent to MY address, and see:

> Total Balance Due: $15,939.83

I’m sure someone at Google is missing a $16k bill, and I’ll be happy to return it :) That is, of course, after I’ve had a chance to scan it and let everyone know that T-mobile can’t even manage to keep track of Google’s accounts … (It’s no wonder that, due to the above sequence of events, I’m still not the primary account holder of my own account with a whole “1” line of service).

Wow… that is pretty outrageous! But I questioned the story… afterall, what if this was a hoax from a rival wireless carrier hoping to spread negative and false press through blogosphere rumors? I asked Joe for pictorial proof and that is EXACTLY what he provided:



I’m not sure how the heck T-Mobile could make such a big blunder, but its nice to know that Google is indeed footing the bill for all these devs and not just getting a free pass. Kinda makes those Ion giveaways even more of a big deal, doesn’t it?

But the circus would continue.

And today I received a hefty package containing an 1850-page detailed bill ($17.15 in US Priority Mail postage).  Obviously I won’t be uploading this one.

Oh, and the price has now gone to $24k.  Now if only I could score the $9.22/mo pricetag they paid on each line of service, for my one line ;)

How do you get something like this resolved? Apparently T-Mobile’s own channels weren’t all that accomodating so why not talk to the head android himself?

I contacted Andy Rubin about this, and he’s working to get the mistake fixed.  After trying to contact T-Mobile several times, and reaching nothing but brick walls, it’s nice to know that Google’s Director of
Mobile Platforms will respond to my emails in 8 minutes flat.

Mistakes happen, but its kind of fun to read about these types of blunders and its comforting to know that Google is standing behind their products with the data plans they paid for and with executives responding directly to consumer comments. Sure, the magnitude of the comment surely had something to do with it, but still.

Hopefully this fun story helped make your Monday a little less painful!

[Thanks again, Joe!]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Oops? lol Wow, 15K bill is a serious bill. How does one rack-up 15k worth of mobile services anyhow? Sure makes that 30-day giveaway seem a lot more valuable.

    Good luck, Joe! I’m sure it will get resolved soon. I’m glad you got in touch with the right people.

  2. This makes me worried about their customer service. And I planned to sign up Wednesday.

  3. or maybe he changed the numbers from the letter then took a picture for you its easy to do if you have a scanner and a printer and a computer which everyone has. i think tmobile know where google they wont make a mistake like this because its there money. and google gave away 4000 phones and tmobile lines not 799 so this is a big lie.

  4. Lol.epic fail on t-mo’s part.

  5. You have to wonder why someone at Tmobile isn’t calling Google directly. In this type of relationship, there is probably a few customer service people dedicated to Google, along with an account manager.

    Remember Google nixed the holiday bonus and gave everyone a G1 instead?

    I can understand Tmobile feeling like they need to tread lightly with the relationship, but the egg is squarely on their face with the follow up in handling their post error.

    Once again Andy Rubin, the person, not the Google employee shows that he is not above any aspect of managing the process. We are all people and billing snafus happen, it’s the people like Andy who deserve our praise.

    I hope we hear part 2 or part 3 of this story.

  6. best story ever! good job Rob and Joe

  7. Joe and I were laughing about this last Thursday, yea, I couldn’t believe it…

  8. 8 minutes?! Mr. Rubin is incredible.

  9. Mormegil,

    While, as always YMMV, I have had EXCELLENT customer service with T-Mobile and have been their very pleased customer for about 9 years.

    Not that I haven’t heard other people’s less happy experiences with T-Mobile, but my experience with them is what keeps me here despite T-Mobile not always getting the phones I want.

  10. @james:
    That’s someone else who ran into a similar situation — at least as far as logging into the website while still on the free service — back when we were still waiting for the SMS from T-Mobile to be received. You can see in that screenshot, it shows “797” lines of service, and it’s a different account with a different balance. Apparently T-Mobile can only handle up to 800 lines on a single account, so they split the phones across multiple accounts.

  11. The bill is ONE agregated bill for ALL the ION devices given away… Clearly someone at T-Mobile corporate sales who manages Google dropped the ball and did NOT setup a direct corporate bill and processed it as standard billing with all the devices…

    We use T-Mobile for over 100 Blackberry and 20 or so Android devices; ALL go to one bill to our Accounting team; we never see a bill; Whoever at Google set this up should have made clear one bill to us; electronically – whoever setup the account for Google was either clueless or it was 5PM Friday and they wanted the quick way out.

    The fact that the name is “Google Promo Account” tells; you T-Mobile has no one to go after from a name point of view…

  12. I highly doubt this story.

  13. I have a $4,370 bill from T-Mobile for which they never provided me any documentation, or cause. I talked to a consumer advocate office and that took the collection pressure off briefly, and subsequently the bill was sent to collections and is now on my credit report.

    $4,370 bill???? Mine was just a personal line, not part of another company’s service. Anyone have an idea how to resolve this?

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