By Alice-Azania Jarvis: T-Mobile's goodwill vanished in the ether

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The Independent Online

And so I spoke too soon. Not about Berlin – on which more later – but about T-Mobile. Remember my eulogy to their customer service? The column, a few weeks back, which recounted in great detail the kindness of a man in their customer service office who said that I could pay my extortionate bill – wrung up after accidentally leaving my mobile wireless on while on a work trip to Asia – in a series of interest-free instalments? Well he was, as it turns out, wrong. Utterly, completely wrong. He froze my direct debit all right – but he failed to do anything else. Instead of a note being put on my account, nothing happened. Well, nothing except my credit rating crashing through the floor.

And so it was on Monday that I got a call from a rather less nice man in customer service, aggressively announcing his intention to cut off my phone. That very evening. This, despite the fact that I had been given no notice whatsoever, and my delayed payments had – or so I was lead to believe – been sanctioned. It's not as though my actual phone service has been any good. Texts inexplicably stopped arriving a while ago. Internet access is patchy. And my voicemail is on the blink. (It also, I have discovered on looking at my phone bill, costs a fortune to check, so please – if you ever happen to call me – don't leave a message.)

I can't help but wonder whether T-Mobile's newly unhelpful approach might have something to do with the fact that I renewed my contract last week, and therefore am bound to them for another 18 months.

Or possibly not. Possibly, it is all a coincidence. Possibly, my sense of injustice in misplaced. After all, my attitude to the whole Monday encounter wasn't helped by the fact that it happened midway through a three-hour wait for a delayed train while returning from an interview in Cornwall. And, of course, it's all the worse for its proximity to my Berlin trip. I'd not been home 24 hours when the call arrived.

As I wrote last week, there was plenty to do on the cheap in Germany. Still, flights and accommodation aren't free. Combined with my new mega phone bill, it's an expense that leaves me feeling quite sick with anxiety. Until payday arrives, I shall be living in a permanent state of tension. In return for a holiday abroad, it's worth it. In return for an inflated phone bill and some poor customer service? Well, the less said on that the better.

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