Oh, T-Mobile. You wooed us with the AutoPay discounts. The premise is pretty simple. Set up AutoPay. Pay your bills on time, regardless of the method of payment. Get $5 discount a line if a line is set up with AutoPay.
I signed on to a family plan with a AutoPay savings of $30/month. You’re happy with growing base of customers. Customers are happy with the savings. A win-win.
And now, there is word (multiple online sources) that you’re planning to end the AutoPay discounts (as early as May), if the AutoPay is not linked to a debit/banking account. To be fair, I initially discovered a short blurb on the payment page of this change possibly taking in effect, starting sometime in May – which is what led me to research some more.
The source quoted that this change is to “continue providing customers with the best value in wireless“. “Majority of our customers use their bank account or debit card for AutoPay and will continue to get a discount on top of an already great rate plan value.” Really, T-Mobile? I wish you didn’t say that. I’d rather you’d be upfront and say “we’re making this move to save on credit card processing fees”.
It’s not for my benefit. I was fine with the AutoPay savings and how I’ve been paying my bills for years.
No Confidence in Customer Data Handling
I was at a T-Mobile store the other day for a separate transaction, and inquired about this upcoming change while I was there. The T-Mobile rep confirmed that it’s happening in May. Late May. It appears. But she doesn’t have the dates either. She added that it’s better for my protection. Is that a marketing spin for this change?
“It’s more secure to use debit cards”, she says. I raised my eyebrows. It’s not her fault, but she lost a lot of credibility right then and there.
Here’s the crux of my problem with you, T-Mobile:
I really don’t trust the way you handle your customers data, given the numerous data breaches over the year.
If you can’t handle my basic data right, what makes you think I want to entrust you with more sensitive data? I certainly think that banking/debit card is more sensitive data than credit cards numbers.
Lest we forget, just earlier this year, I received notice from T-Mobile that some of the customers may have been compromised. “No passwords, payment card information, social security numbers, government ID numbers or other financial account information were compromised.”
“Some basic customer information (nearly all of which is the type widely available in marketing databases or directories) was obtained, including name, billing address, email, phone number, date of birth, account number, and information such as the number of lines on the account and service plan features.”
Granted, no financial information this time, but talk about setting a bar. And it’s not their first rodeo, either. Compromising customer information on more than one occasion doesn’t create a lot warm fuzzies, either.
Instead of getting the news officially and directly, I had to read a vague blurb on the account payment page that this change “may” be happening starting in May. Online “sources” confirmed this change.
So, when exactly is this change happening? Are credit payments still allowed? Are there more details?
Granted, it is true that you can change the terms and conditions. While you’re not “technically” removing the promised incentives, you’re in fact forcing customers to use very specific payment methods in order to be able to “continue” to be eligible for the discount.
That is a change from what people originally signed up for.
If this change is still scheduled to take effect in May….not communicating this change to your customers clearly and directly, is not a good move at all, T-Mobile.
Not a good move at all.