My son, Ryan, a student at Southern Utah State University, said he was interested in getting a new cell phone. He’d visited the TMobile website and found that per usual, TMobile (like all cellular companies) treats its new customers better than its existing customers. The phone he wanted was $70 if you are a new customer, and $180 if you are an existing customer. He asked if I thought we could get a better price.
Since I’ve been a customer of TMobile for more than 8 years — which I assume is close to a world record — I thought I’d give it a whirl. Ryan and I got on the phone to talk with the friendly customer service people of TMobile. We asked about the deepest discount on the phone and after trying the upgrade status of all 5 phones on our account, the representative determined that $180 was the best possible price. We’ve recently run through a spat of lost phones, and just didn’t have any upgrades available. He told us that one of our lines would qualify for the $70 rate in three months.
That’s when I turned on the loyal customer script:
“So, Greg, do the records in front of you show you how long I’ve been a TMobile customer?”
“Yes, they do. You have certainly been with us for a long time. Let me check on one other thing. Will you hold please?”
After a considerable pause, Greg was back, and he reported:
“I’ve researched your account and see that you have a deposit with us. Were you aware of that?”
“Really! It must have been there for a LONG time!” I said.
“Well yes”, said Greg, “We have your deposit of $500 from 1996.”
I’m breathless. “So, Greg, are you as surprised as I am? Wouldn’t your company normally refund a security deposit before the passing of eight years?”
“Well yes, this is certainly unusual. I think that I can request a refund of this deposit.”
I was amazed. Amazed that they held it for 8 years. Amazed that I had forgotten about a $500 deposit. Greg reported that he had indeed received approval to refund the deposit. And then, like a good salesperson, he asked if I might want to buy the upgrade phone for $180. While I was amused at his tenacity, and thankful for his good work, I said, “No. I don’t think the two events are related.”
Ryan bought the phone on eBay for $50.
I look forward to seeing the check. How much interest should I expect on a deposit that has been with them since 1996?