Report: T-Mobile’s aggressive sales practices lead to tons of fraudulent account charges


T-Mobile has built up an image of being the carrier everyone loves by offering great deals, perks, and vastly improving their services, but they may have inadvertently turned many folks off in their warpath.

A labor coalition called Calling Out T-Mobile is pointing out some questionable business strategies which could be leading to some illegal practices. According to them, T-Mobile sets unrealistic sales quotas for things such as account additions (like T-Mobile JUMP insurance) or more lines.

The Problem: Unrealistic Expectations

Anyone who has worked retail knows where this is going. These quotas are positioned as “targets” and “goals,” but if they’re not consistently met then it could cost an employee their job. This could lead to employees using underhanded tactics to meet quotas just so they don’t lose their jobs.

As a former employee of several major retailers, I can attest to how unrealistic these quotas can be. Management sets an arbitrary number for however many credit cards or magazine subscriptions or pre-orders to secure.

The problem becomes immediately apparent: you can’t force customers to opt for any of this stuff. The most you can do is ask and state your case, and if you’re really pressed to hit those numbers by the end of any given month or period, you can be super annoying and practically beg them to sign up (which will turn the customer off anyway, believe you me). But if at the end of the day they don’t want it, then they don’t want it.

Thankfully, none of the places I worked for were particularly harsh in doling out punishments for failing to meet these quotas, so I never felt compelled to resort to underhanded tactics to gain these numbers.

Is T-Mobile doing anything wrong?

In the case of T-Mobile, the company’s employees, in some cases, may be doing things such as adding insurance to a new account at the point-of-sale and removing the option a few days later in order to satisfy their quota. Employees might see it as harmless overall, but there are cases where customers have noticed the unwanted account changes and have submitted complaints to the FTC.

In a 5-state survey, more than 55.7% of respondents said they had unwanted charges and services. Phone insurance dominated this demographic by 43.5%, while unlimited data plans came in second at 27.7%.

They’ve submitted so many complaints, in fact, that T-Mobile has, by far, the most FTC consumer complaints per million subscribers between 2013 (the year Un-Carrier began) and now.

Before you grab your pitchforks, it’s worth clarifying that T-Mobile isn’t purposely encouraging employees to trump accounts up with excessive features for the sake of padding their pocketbooks. This is not a case of corporate corruption or anything of the sort.

Rather, it’s an issue of workplace stress brought on by corporate greed and ignorance. We won’t even single out T-Mobile in that regard as they’re not the first and won’t be the last company to encroach those lines.

But if T-Mobile wants to avoid going down an ethics path dark enough to hurt any company, they’ll likely need to look into a mirror and see what it is they could be doing better. Change to Win — the group supporting Calling Out T-Mobile — has some ideas of their own:

• giving workers a meaningful voice in setting metrics or eliminate sales goals based on compensation;
• enforce a “no discipline” policy for employees who raise concerns on goal metrics;
• align customer service goals with customers’ best interest;
• improve the pay for employees;
• reward staff for long-term customer retention;
• audit and investigate how fraudulent enrollments are tracked;
• publicly report how many opened lines are not in service and how many fraudulent enrollment complaints are received.

All of this would go a very long way toward improving things, but it would likely take some direct pressure from the FTC to get that going.

With that said, if you find yourself on either end of this issue — either as an employee of T-Mobile or as a customer who was the victim of these circumstances — keep sending in those complaints and voicing your concerns. In the meantime, we’re going to reach out to T-Mobile to see if they have anything to say about these allegations.

[via Consumerist]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

The BLU Life Max has a 3700mAh battery and only costs $119

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