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Has My Cell Number Been Cloned? 561

Posted by Cliff
from the deductions-from-suspicious-information dept.
2bepissedoff asks: "According to my T-mobile phone bill, I have been receiving incoming calls from a 'NBR unavailable', since February, with talk time ranging from 1 minute to an hour. The strangest thing is, I have never received these calls (my phone doesn't ring and I haven't talked to the caller). I only started noticing them when my phone bill was charged over $40 more than my regular bill. Of course, I have a family plan (2 people only, 2 lines) and I talked to my partner. The answer: he too had not received any of these calls, especially over 300 minutes per month of them. We called up T-mobile twice and claim the possibility of phone cloning. Both representatives hung up on me, thinking I was trying to con them or something. Any advice to what this could be?"
I did a little investigation and I've noticed that some of the NBR minutes overlap with calls I actually make. For example:

'2/22 at 3:28 pm "NBR unavailable" 17mins usage.
2/22 at 3:44 pm "-(# I made)---" 3mins usage.

So if you add up the time 3:28pm + 17 mins = 3:45 pm. The time when I made my call was at 3:44 pm. This reoccurs several times. I still do not think this is enough evidence to convince T-mobile of Phone Cloning. So I am thinking of switching either my number or my service provider. "
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Has My Cell Number Been Cloned?

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  • by Beached (52204) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15589325) Homepage
    Have you seen all the spy movies. They are listening to your calls ;)
    • by TibbonZero (571809) <Tibbon AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:47PM (#15590939) Homepage Journal
      Ok, so the phone company acts as if they don't know what the numbers are? I call bullshit. Do you think the list that they turn over to the NSA/CIA/FBI has 'unknown caller' written all over it? Fuck no it doesnt. It probably gives the phone number, account holders name and address of every call, if not far more.

      I really really hate it when companies play stupid. I lost a cell phone a while ago and went to the store. I wanted them to stop service on that line while I got another phone, and asked them if any calls had been made from the phone in the hours since I lost it. They said that they couldn't get those records. Fuck that. Say an FBI agent went into the store and needed the same information due to "Terrorisim". The information would be instant. I also asked if there was any way to guess what city the phone was in and if it was moving. They flatly responded no. (I had lost my phone in some cab I had taken that day, and if i knew what city it was in i could have called that cab company). I know that this is possible since they have been tracking down "crimials and terrorists" by using triangulation on their cell phones.

      I was a paying customer standing there and being lied to. I had another problem on a land line. I was getting calls from a fax line about 10 times per night from an 'unknown' number. I called the phone company several times. They said that since it was unknown number they couldn't do anything about it. I asked if they could block that number from calling me. Nope, since it was unknown. Now what if I had called the police/fbi and said that they last number that called my fax had sent terrorist threats, or maybe that it was a person talking about their jihad. The number could have been found out within minutes.

      So on your company, I also call bullshit. I am sure your records that they are turning over to big brother are accurate, and the ones they had you are probably not. Now let me go pack my things. I am sure that for thinking too much i'll be picked up any time now by the thought police.

      • by SuperRob (31516) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:54PM (#15590995) Homepage
        Just one little problem with your hypotheses. You're going to a STORE for this information. If you want that data, you need to go past retail, past even customer service, and up the chain of command. The FBI would never start an investigation by requesting call records from a STORE.
      • by onepoint (301486) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:23PM (#15591231) Homepage Journal
        net time you loose your phone, call the service department and tell them you lost your phone. they will pleasantly give you the location ( within 1 block ), the last 20 phone calls, and send that phone a text message. I've done this 3 times and got my phone back 3 times. it's all in the manner that you speak to the reps. also it does not hurt to keep your GPS active ( that helps pinpoint the phone to 1 block ).

        Onepoint.
  • by Incongruity (70416) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15589326)
    without changing your SIM card, changing the # won't make a difference, I believe.

    Get a new account -- new SIM's for both you and your partner and do it sooner rather than later, for your sake =)

    • by Bob535 (639390) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:19AM (#15589657)
      I agree, working for a Cellular Company, the easiest way to fix this would be to call in and ask for them to replace your SIM card. No need for a new account, just ask them to send you out new SIMs. If this doesnt fix the problem, ask for a ticket to be filed and an engineer to call you back with the explaination. The agents dont know anything anyways.
    • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:38AM (#15589808)
      If its a GSM phone, I very much doubt any cloning has occured for the following reasons.

      BTW, I used to work for Logica, in the telecoms division, and have a LOT of knowledge of GSM systems, and how they work. I am also a T-Mobile (UK) customer.

      Remember these facts:

      - A GSM phone has a unique IMEI number.
      - Each GSM phone has a unique SIM card with a unique SIM number. This SIM number is attacted on a central computer to your account.
      - Although the SIM card does contain your number, it is many for informative, and not operational purposes.

      When you switch on your phone and it logs onto your network, it sends its IMEI number, and its SIM number to the network. The network then looks up the SIM number and associates it with a number. As it stands, only one SIM number can ever be associated with a phone number. When i tried getting a new SIM to replace my aging SIM, the old one was disconnected before the new SIM was issued, as it is simply not possible to associate a number with two SIMs. You can associate a SIM with two or more numbers, but not the other way round.

      If someone HAS cloned your SIM, and both phones are attached at the same time, the network would register a fault, as a SINGLE sim number is assiciated at two different locations. It woudl create a fault in the system which would prevent both yours and the clone SIM from working. This is actually one of the main reasons why Cellphones are not usable on Planes (even if it is prooven to be safe to the electronics). The phone woudl try to log onto multiple cells at the same time, causing a lot of strain on the network, or even malfunction.

      A SIM can only be "effectively" cloned if the original was never used afterwards. If both the Original SIM and the Clone was used at the same time, the network will try and continuesly switch between the two cells its registered to, unless both are on the same cell. if both are on the same cell, further issues would happen.

      I am not sayign that cloning is impossible, its just extremely unlikely.

      I woudl think the most likely causes of this situation are:
      - Are you *sure* your partner is not recieving the calls? Really sure?
      - Maybe, if you visited another country (or performed roaming) there might be some residual temporary numbers assigned to your phone.

      However, the way the records are kept, you shoudl find that its pretty easy for the phone company to determine what happend. Who made the phone call, what handset was in use, where the call was recieved.

      Finally I do not know the laws of the US, but here in the UK, the first point of call if you think your phone has been cloned or if your believe that a crime has been committed regarding your phone is the POLICE.

      In UK, if we recieve am abusive call, calling the phone company will not be any help. They will rightly ask you to contact the police first, and they will work with the police to resolve the matter.
      • In UK, if we recieve am abusive call, calling the phone company will not be any help. They will rightly ask you to contact the police first, and they will work with the police to resolve the matter.

        Actually, BT has a department that customers can call if they're receiving abusive calls that offers advice about how to deal with them, and actively encourages people to call them before the police. I suspect other phone companies handle it in a similar manner.
        • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:17PM (#15590081)
          Well, contacting the company they may be able to resolve the immeadiate problem of the bills, and issue a replacement SIM. The can only deal with abuse of the system, but not with a crime. Only the authorities can do that.

          Here is a good example of a call I did very recently with T-Mobile, and BT. I started recieving abusive calls on both my Mobile, and my landline, with an anonymous number. I reported to both companies, who noted down the call, and ensured that evidence will be kept. then they asked me to contact the police with my details to take it further. They were unable to tell me who was doing it, without police intervention. hey both offered to change my number if I wished.

          I contacted the police, and as part of the investigation, the POlice authorised a line monitor on both my lane line and my mobile, as well as records on the lines. I was then contacted by BT and T-Mobile seperately explaining how the line monitor works.

          in some cases, BT may be able to respond to certain abuses quicker directly, as they own the entire network, including the lines going into your house. But with regard to a crime (which is what cloning/makign abusive calls are) they refer you to the police as well.

          PS. I dont understand what part of my original post is "flamebait", as someone has modded it.
      • by 3247 (161794) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:45PM (#15590370) Homepage
        As it stands, only one SIM number can ever be associated with a phone number.
        Actually, O2 Germany offers this as a service. (Yes, you actually get two accounts - one per SIM - which just share the phone number.)

        It woudl create a fault in the system which would prevent both yours and the clone SIM from working. This is actually one of the main reasons why Cellphones are not usable on Planes (even if it is prooven to be safe to the electronics).
        No, GSM can handle this quite well. In towns with a high base station density, it is also possible that multiple cells are visible.
      • by wfberg (24378) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:17PM (#15591194)
        BTW, I used to work for Logica, in the telecoms division, and have a LOT of knowledge of GSM systems, and how they work.

        That's not really a good advertisement for Logica then.

        The IMEI has next to nothing to do with any sort of security function of GSM. It only identifies your handset, and some countries have a registry that they'll put your stolen phone's IMEI on so networks can prevent the handset's further use in that particular country among the operators that signed up to the registry, but IMEI is not checked against your subscription. In fact, that's one of the primary design tenets of GSM; subscription data is contained in the Subscriber Identity Module; the SIM.

        is simply not possible to associate a number with two SIMs. You can associate a SIM with two or more numbers, but not the other way round.
        This is false. Many operators offer dual SIM cards; both cards contain the same subscription data, and usually the last one activated is logged on to the network succesfully to receive incoming calls. Both can make outbound calls.

        If someone HAS cloned your SIM, and both phones are attached at the same time, the network would register a fault
        No, it works, though you will notice only one handset receiving calls. It's not registered as a fault (though it is registered).

        A SIM can only be "effectively" cloned if the original was never used afterwards. If both the Original SIM and the Clone was used at the same time, the network will try and continuesly switch between the two cells its registered to, unless both are on the same cell. if both are on the same cell, further issues would happen.
        Again, not true.

        In fact, if certain algorithms are used (IIRC, COMP-128) it's even possible to reconstruct the SIM's KI and clone it using information eavesdropped over-the-air (be afraid!).

        - Maybe, if you visited another country (or performed roaming) there might be some residual temporary numbers assigned to your phone.
        Which numbers would those be? The connection between your MSISDN and most-likely (or actual) away-network is always looked up via the home registry; the away-registry doesn't associate any temporary MSISDNs to your SIM, it doesn't need to. And if it did, and someone misdialed such a random number, how would they be supposed to get through to you? Their home registry simply won't accept entries for SIMs from your network.

        However, the way the records are kept, you shoudl find that its pretty easy for the phone company to determine what happend. Who made the phone call, what handset was in use, where the call was recieved.
        Spoken as some one who's never tried to get a phone company to look up something in their records. Good luck trying that. Yes, it's technically feasible, but that doesn't mean phone companies are organizationally capable of doing this.

        Finally I do not know the laws of the US, but here in the UK, the first point of call if you think your phone has been cloned or if your believe that a crime has been committed regarding your phone is the POLICE.
        No, first call the phone company to report fraud, so they can put restrictions in place (e.g. no international calls, no premium toll numbers) to prevent ongoing abuse and rising phone bills, and report and investigate at leisure.

        In UK, if we recieve am abusive call, calling the phone company will not be any help. They will rightly ask you to contact the police first, and they will work with the police to resolve the matter.
        Again, no; "British Telecom has its own unit, which deals with nuisance calls. If you have not already reported it to BT then contact them on 150. They will investigate first and if they can trace the calls, you will then be advised to make a formal police report to your local police station. [police.uk] Cable & Wireless and mobile phone companies require that it be reported to police before they will deal with it. Attend your
      • by DM9290 (797337) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:14PM (#15591703) Journal
        I also work at a telecom company (I will not identify which), and am involved with the development of logic for real time processing of phone calls. You put far too much faith in telecom systems checking for what may or may not be a nonsensical situations. It is far easier to simply process and complete a phone call, than to speculate on an infinite number of potentially contradictory situations which may arrise which might suggest foul-play.

        There is nothing implicitly wrong with completing 2 phone calls at the same time. And while there may be cases where it makes no sense, there are so many cases where it makes sense that generaly speaking it is easier to allow it than to presume there is a problem. A call appearing on a bill for a persons cell phone may not even involve a CELL call or a cloned SIM card at all. It could be a land line which the telco wrongly associated with the cell customers phone bill. There may be nothing wrong with the CELL network at all, but a mere data entry error in the billing system.

        We are first and foremost concerned with insuring that our customers (or any party which even appears to be a customer) are able to completing their phone calls. Failing to complete a good call is considered a much more serious error than erroneously ALLOWING the completion of a fraudulent call. The rule of thumb is.. when in doubt : complete the call. In fact, I would say that while our systems are 99.999% reliable, their ability to stop fraudulent phone calls is NOT 99.999%. Or at least I can say our testing and so forth in that regard has not been enough to make such a claim.

        So... does my code care if you complete 65 phone calls at the same time? no. For all I know you have a service which allows you to complete 65 phone calls at the same time. And if such a service doesn't exist right today, for all I know someone will dream it up next week. It is not for me to speculate.

        As a hypothetical:
        If the same phone line initiated a call from 2 seperate switches simultaneously, there would be no information passed between the 2 switches to detect such an impossible situation. The difficulty of trying to insure such a check was functioning in real time exceeds the benefit.

        In fact... even if we could detect such situations in real time, I would be loath to presume that it was in fact wrong. What if those 2 switches are load sharing? What if Switch A, initiated Call #1, and then experienced a problem causing calls to be routed to Switch B? I would need to think of every possible situation to insure I didn't accidentally break functionality that ought to work.

        We design telephone systems to work when there are serious failures all over the network. We don't want to be the one responsible to not completing that phone call that results in someone dying or whatever.

        You can pretty much assume telephone networks (to the extent that they would BLOCK a phone call which looks funny) are not bullet proof.

        If some technician tells you they are, that technician doesn't know what he's talking about.

        I would be amazed that a customer support person actually hung up on a customer who wanted to know about the possibility of cloning a SIM card.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15589327) Journal
    Both representatives hung up on me, thinking I was trying to con them or something. Any advice to what this could be?
    Here's some advice: Don't take that shit.

    You're a human being. But more importantly, you're a paying customer. Call them up, get the guy's name. Inform him that if he hangs up, you'll contact his supervisor. Then ask him what zip code these calls were made from, they should be able to figure that out. Verify that it's something reasonable.

    If they won't believe you and you can convince them you're not making the calls, try calling the number and letting your phone ring. See if anyone picks up.

    If that doesn't work, simply demand they change your number for you.

    If they refuse to do that, be sure to inform them where you're taking your business.

    Personally, I'd be pretty damned pissed if anyone ever hung up on me when I was simply inquiring as to why they were charging me money. In fact, I know right where I'd file [bbb.org] that complaint.

    If I had a credit card associated with the account, I'd call my credit card company and dispute the charge. You explain to the credit card company that they hung up on you twice. What the operator will do is put you on hold while they contact T-Mobile. The operator should introduce you to the T-Mobile rep and try to resolve the issue. If T-Mobile has a call from a credit card company, I'm certain they'll be a bit more understanding when they're looking at the possibility of having to chase down a stopped payment.
    • by barzok (26681) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:45AM (#15589447)
      Don't bother with the BBB. Your time is better spent moving up the T-Mobile chain of command. The BBB has no teeth and won't help your case against them.

      I filed a claim with the BBB a couple years ago and all I did was fill out paperwork (well, web forms). I was never interviewed by the BBB, never called by the BBB, and they never (to my knowledge) contacted the company I filed the claim against to work with them as my advocate. I have no evidence that they did anything at all.

      The hours I spent documenting & compiling everything for the BBB, everything I sent them, may as well have been pitched into a black hole.
      • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:41AM (#15589826) Homepage Journal
        The BBB is a national organization but their local operations have a bizarre amount of autonomy.

        I got a settlement from a car dealer after just a couple of phone calls after contacting my own local BBB branch. Some of them do work like they're supposed to.
      • by mutterc (828335) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:27PM (#15590176)
        Not very many people know quite what the BBB's powers are:
        • Stats collection, as others have noticed. Anyone can get a report on a company and find out how many complaints (and, more importantly, unresolved complaints) have been filed.
        • If the company is a BBB member, then all complaints must get resolved (note that this doesn't mean resolved in the customer's favor), or the company's membership gets dropped. BBB provides arbitration to facilitate this.
        That's pretty much it.

        A selection of things they can't do:

        • Force any company to do anything. They can terminate a member's membership (and keep them from using the BBB logo, etc.) but that's it. They have no authority at all over non-members.
        • Know about every company. (E.g. I can go into business without notifying anybody except licensing boards and taxing authorities; I certainly don't need the BBB's permission).
        • Tell you some company is legit, non-legit, a scam or not, etc. You have to make up your own mind after reading the report. (Think of the slander lawsuits, even from scamsters!) There are exceptions for blantantly illegal things like foreign lotteries, fake cashier's check scams, etc.
        • Give customers legal advice (the legal industry would rather they didn't, and BBB CSR's would rather not be liable for practicing law without a license). They'll certainly refer you to the AG, postal inspectors, etc. if you want help putting the legal smackdown on a scamster. If you just want to know whether something a company did was legal, gotta ask a real lawyer.
    • Then ask him what zip code these calls were made from, they should be able to figure that out. Verify that it's something reasonable.

      Wife and I were having some problems keeping track of phone calls after our son was born (which is understandable...) We use Verizon, and their website when you log in will list all placed and received calls including numbers, locations, durations. We didn't even have to call a service rep.
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOsPAm.optonline.net> on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:05AM (#15589569) Journal

      Here's some advice: Don't take that shit.

      That's the best advice you'll get. You pay them to provide you with mobile phone service and in return they promise to provide that service. The onus is on them; if someone is illegally using your phone number and wracking up hundreds or thousands of dollars in calls you did not make, they have a vested interest in determining if this is true and putting a stop to it. The easiest way for them to do that is freeze yor account and issue you a new phone number. I have T-Mobile and managed to lose my phone in France; I called them immediately and they were able to freeze my account that instant, preventing anyone from making calls and I was able to get a replacement as soon as I got back.

      Try calling again -- keep calling until you get someone to listen. Try to cut right to the heart of the matter -- tell them you think someone is making calls using your number. A CSR should be able to pull up your current calling records and verify what you're terlling them easily enough.

      As an aside, why is it possible for calls from the same number to be going on simultaneously? Wouldn't there be something to prevent that, unless you were using a three-way calling option?

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:56AM (#15589917) Homepage
      The fact that this guy/gal is saying the T-Mobile reps hung up is what makes me skeptical of this whole story.

      I know you almost never hear a statement like this about any company -- which is why I'm going to come out and say it -- but I've actually been nothing but satisfied with the customer service at T-Mobile. I've had to call numerous times, for various reasons, and the rep on the phone has invariably been extremely courteous.

      I think I can count one occasion where the person I spoke to didn't really seem to understand what was going on and I ended the call without getting much satisfaction. I called back later with the same problem, spoke to someone else, and got the problem resolved. All the other times I was escalated to the level of support that could help me with my problem with no fuss, quickly and politely. I've even been handed off for second-level support to RIM for my Blackberry when it was necessary; nobody even gave me the slightest hard time. And they always, always thank me for my business -- sometimes the dumb little things count.

      Another time I noticed an instant messaging charge on my bill that seemed out of place (I get unlimited SMS). Instead of getting mad, I just wrote up a quick e-mail on their Web site stating plainly that I thought the charge was erroneous and I'd like it reversed (please). A few days later I got an e-mail back saying, sure enough, they decided it was a mistaken charge, were reversing it, and were giving me 20 free anytime minutes also. No problem.

      So I'm extremely skeptical about this whole story. T-Mobile hasn't been winning J.D. Power customer support awards for nothing. For two different reps to actually hang up on somebody tells me that either A.) somebody called up, screaming and yelling irrationally and refusing to take any kind of due process to address the issue; or B.) somebody's making up a story for some reason.

      (Of course, it could be possible that the submitter is talking about T-Mobile in Europe, which I can't speak to.)
      • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:08PM (#15590003) Homepage
        I dunno. I've gotten excellent customer service from t-mobile in the UK but any time I've interacted with their people in the US I've wanted to strangle someone afterwards.
      • by Johnboi Waltune (462501) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:32PM (#15590230)
        I've had very bad experiences with T-Mobile. Last week I called to INQUIRE about their prepaid plan, and a couple days later, I found they had switched me over to it without my permission. After three calls, I managed to get them to switch back to my old plan. However, my mobile email no longer works, and the CSR I spoke to told me I never had mobile email for the past 2 years. She actually claimed I had imagined sending and receiving all those emails from my phone. Another CSR believed me, and claimed he could fix the problem, but he was unable to.

        So... after 5 years with T-Mobile, I am ditching them due to the morons I spoke to. The only other GSM game in town seems to be Cingular. They have mobile email, but it's only MSN, Yahoo, AOL, etc.
      • or C.) The criminal mastermind using his phone is also monitoring his calls and disconnected him when he started talking to the T-mobile rep about what was happening.
    • Late last year and early this year I did a nine-month stint at Radio Shack, dealing a lot with both Sprint and Cingular customer service (oddly I almost never had to call Verizon for anything, their activation system worked like a charm for me), and yeah, cell phone companies hang up on everyone, even people selling phones for them. There's always a few bad apples, just call back and ask to go straight to a supervisor, make sure to get everyone's name that you talk to just in case.

      And at the same time, reme
  • by GonzoTech (613147) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:30AM (#15589333)
    .. With Verizon Wireless. They wouldn't help me resolve the issue over tech support forums, or through phone call tech support. Know how I got it fixed?

    I showed up at a Verizon Wireless sales center, yelling and complaining (trust me, I can throw quite the tantrum,) until a manager finally got in touch with someone to fix the issue.

    I got three months of free service for the trouble.. and since I've had perfect phone bills.

    Never underestimate the power of being an ass when you're not treated fairly..

    • Remind me not to go through the Drive Thru at a fast food joint with you!

      =)

    • I've received very similar results by being polite but firm.

      Never overestimate the power of being an ass. There's usually a better way.
      • by doughrama (172715) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:13PM (#15590627)
        Seriously, being an ass doesn't always get you what you want. In my previous life where I did tech support for an ISP, I would only offer the bare minimum (at best) of help for the assholes that called in. However, if you were pleasant I'd bend over backwards doing everything I could (including bending/breaking policy) for you. In fact I became so aware of my attitude and actions towards the different types of customers I had to deal with that I decided to try being overly nice to see if it was easy to get my way. turns out, it *almost* always works... And sometimes it's super fun! And sometimes the people you talk to are just dicks and nothing is gonna work.

        My favorite CSR story happened a long time ago when I had a dial-up account... I didn't pay the bill for three months and they shut off the account. So I called up Earthlink (I think) to pay the bill in full and get the account turned back on. I was unemployed at the time so money was tight. In any case I talked to the tech support guy, being very nice and polite the entire time. For whatever reason he was apparently having a bad day and decided that he was going to take it out on me. I kept my composure, and just rebuffed his attitude towards me by continuing to be nice. As I was getting the billing straightened out, he told me that they had a $40 (I think) reconnect fee. Having been in the dial-up ISP business previously (not with this ISP though,) I was totally confident that waiving the re-connect fee was entirely up to the CSR. Keep in mind, this CSR had had an attitude with me this entire time up to this point. So I asked him "Would you please waive the reconnect fee?" You could hear the devilish joy in his voice as he prepared to smack me down "What is the reason that your reconnect fee should be waived?" He was sooo excited when he asked me that because he knew I didn't have a good reason, I simply didn't pay the bill and he was more than ready to tell me no. So rather than get pissed, like I wanted to (it was like he was taunting me,) I decided to go for it and say the stupidest thing ever. "Because I'm a nice guy." There was a rather long pause as his attitude shifted from an evil glee to astonishment. He said, with an extremely condescending tone, "You want me to waive the reconnect fee because you're a nice guy?" I almost burst out laughing, having suddenly realized the ridiculousness of my request. I paused for half a moment and simply said "Yes." I judged the situation slightly wrong though, turns out this CSR didn't have full discretion over the reconnect fee like I had at my old job. My response wasn't on his script so he couldn't say yes or no - he had to get permission from his supervisor. This was like the greatest revenge ever, considering his treatment towards me. With an irritated, but confident tone he said "I'll have to go talk to my supervisor about this, please hold." and off he went. I sat on my end just reveling in the whole mess, I was ruining this guy day by simply being nice and polite, and the harder he tried to ruin my day the worse his was getting. A couple minutes goes by he gets back on the phone. Totally indignant, he proceeds to tell me "We're going to go ahead and reconnect the account, along with waiving the fee. We are ONLY GOING TO DO THIS, THIS ONCE. WE WILL NEVER WAIVE THE FEE FOR YOU AGAIN!" The volume and authority in his voice went way up in the last bit, he finally got his little opportunity to inflict what pain he could on me. I said "ok, thanks." And that was it.

        Had I gotten all pissy and demanded I speak to a supervisor I for sure would've been shutdown down one way or another, by being nice I got to have a lot of fun and get my way.
    • Sad, but true (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blueZ3 (744446) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:53AM (#15589901) Homepage
      It's very annoying, but it seems like the only way to get problems resolved anymore is to act like a jerk.

      I've had a couple of experiences where being reasonable and polite got me nowhere with customer service, but when I got frustrated at the end of the conversation (after being told several times "there's nothing we can do") and basically gave them and their manager hell over the problem, it got resolved ("OK sir, we'll send out a replacement right away").

      The most frustrating thing about this (to me) is that I don't want to have to be an ass to get a problem fixed. In fact, I go out of my way to do business with companies that fix the problem the first time when I come and politely ask for assistance. I don't recall this being the case in my younger years, but that may be more a result of my memory than an actual decline in customer service.
      • Re:Sad, but true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Negadecimal (78403)
        It's very annoying, but it seems like the only way to get problems resolved anymore is to act like a jerk.

        Problem is, the bad customer service epidemic is now conditioning people to pull the "jerk" card before they really need to.

        For example, my company prides itself in customer service, to the extent that we have never not replaced a broken product, even when well outside of our posted warranty period. Nonetheless, we get daily calls where people begin rudely insisting that they're going to get what they w
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:02PM (#15589948)
      I work for one of the top 5 American cell phone providers specifically in the department that maintains the billing system. This is the suite of systems that go from switch records to taxed and formatted bills to be sent off to the printing houses (as well as roamer records to be shipped off to other providers, records for partners, etc.)

      Let me tell you something you may not realize -- all of these systems have bugs. Some of them are horrible bugs. Bugs like ringtones getting double-taxed or calls getting billed when you ring a number but don't get an answer with absolutely no way to tell the difference between a legit call and a call that didn't answer.

      Some of these bugs are due to flaws within the billing system. Some are bugs in the switch data (the absolute worst kind because there's no good way to filter the data when good and bad records are all marked up the same). Some are tables screw ups that lead to entire bills getting mangled. Some of these bugs get caught by the bill checking department and others may go for months without being noticed until a customer complains.

      "Number unavailable" calls are most likely from records that were sent to the billing system with no other party number populated (or populated with some default "we don't know what this is" value). Our system simply replaces the other number with your own number and keeps going. Other providers probably cover for it in some other way as well.

      What you have may in fact be legit phone calls that had mangled or incomplete switch records or records from the inter-carrier clearinghouse. Alternately, you may have junk data that you don't deserve to be billed for. It's all up how your company handles such complaints on what to do with about it. I know that my company frequently requests us to go find how many customers were affected and by how much so that we can either strip records from the bills and rerun them or go back and credit the customers proactively. We always try to err on the side of underbilling rather than overbilling customers because it's better to lose some money up front and give customers a pleasant surprise rather than after a nasty lawsuit with all the bad publicity.

      However, if T-Mobile hangs up on you, that just isn't right. Call them up and simply say that you'd like to dispute the charges and have their billing team investigate where the records came from. That'll probably lead to a bug report being filed somewhere in their bureaucracy and a fix for you and others having the same problem. If they give you crap, then switch providers. It's not like there aren't multiple GSM service providers in the US now.
  • by gellenburg (61212) <george@ellenburg.org> on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#15589341) Homepage Journal
    Why make it more complicated than it needs to be?

    Just dispute those calls with T-Mobile and let them figure it out.

    If your bill was over by $40 go back and tell them you didn't receive this call, you didn't receive that call, didn't make that call, etc.

    They have the data to know when and where the calls were received based on the cell towers that the phone was received from.

    Keep escalating the issue dude.

    Call back and immediately ask to speak with a supervisor.

    Get names.

    Record the dates and time you called and who you spoke with.

    Keep escalating up the chain of command if you have to.

    If that doesn't work, file a formal complaint with the FCC and your State's Public Service Commission. That'll definitely get their attention.

    Good luck!
    • Instead of just "Record the dates..." you might also try the "record the call" and post it to the web thing that worked so well against AOL. [slashdot.org]
    • They have the data to know when and where the calls were received based on the cell towers that the phone was received from.
      He mentioned that there is overlap, but only (in this example) by one minute. I would look for a more obvious instance, and on the same number, because this one could be explained by loose rounding to the next minute.


      Also, aren't bills with multiple numbers broken down by call to/from each phone? Mine is, I believe.

    • Get names.

      Excellent advice. I'd like to add that this one bit of advice is the most powerful thing you can do. Every time you talk to customer service, the very first thing you do is get the name of the person you're talking to. The whole name, first and last. Make sure you understand it. If they mumble, ask them to repeat it until you understand it. It doesn't hurt to ask them to confirm the spelling if you have any doubt about it. I usually write it down while I'm talking, if it is convenient.

  • 1. Have you considered going into a T-Mobile store so they can't "hang up on you"?

    2. I don't understand why they *would* "hang up on you", since you seem to have fairly reasonable records that you're receiving calls you didn't receive, and indeed, overlapping onto calls that you've made. Why would they think you're running a scam when you're asking questions about calls you didn't place on your bill?

    3. Are you SURE your partner isn't really receiving these calls? I.e., have you been with him at known times
    • Re:Suggestions (Score:3, Informative)

      by bcattwoo (737354)
      3. Are you SURE your partner isn't really receiving these calls? I.e., have you been with him at known times when these alleged calls have come in?

      I didn't get this part of the story. On my "Family Plan" bill from Verizon there are completely separate sections for each phone showing the calls made to and from that particular phone. I would assume that T-mobile indicates which phone the calls are being made to or from on its bill as well. No need to question the partner if the calls are being charged to

  • by rizzo (21697) <don@nOspaM.seiler.us> on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:32AM (#15589350) Homepage Journal
    Did you really need to "Ask Slashdot" about this? If T-Mobile's CSRs hung up on you, then you march down to the nearest store and let loose on the first salesperson you see. You *should* have gotten the names of those CSRs (I always make a point of writing down the person's name when I call any kind of support) to give to whoever it is that finally *does* take your complaint. Either they or their manager should be fired.

    And, once you get this issue resolved, leave T-Mobile.
    • I had a problem with AT&T (Cingular) for a while. I was unable to send or receive text messages. So, I called. They had me reboot the phone, try to send a text message, and try to receive a text message. I was unemployed, so I found this amusing for the first couple of weeks -- calling every day, sometimes several times a day. They don't talk to eachother. Every time I called, it was like it was a new problem. Eventually, the CSRs told me to take it to the Cingular store, which I did. The guy behind th
    • No. He shoudl contact the POLICE. I dont know how you do things in US. But in UK, thats the first point of call to ANY fraudulant or criminal use of a phone system.
  • The question is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:34AM (#15589370) Homepage Journal
    I still do not think this is enough evidence to convince T-mobile of Phone Cloning. So I am thinking of switching either my number or my service provider.

    You ask the question, "Has my cell number been cloned?" I ask the more pressing question... "Has your brain turned to mush?" DUH, if you're getting calls that you're not getting, then there's a problem.

    You say "Both representatives hung up on me, thinking I was trying to con them or something." I say, you need to adjust your message to give them the facts -- customer support reps are only human. If you ramble on with your life story, or rant and rave, or interject useless details, then you might get hung up on. But T-Mobile gave me good service when I had them (I only dropped them because they didn't have good service in the middle of nowhere, where I live). If you call and say "Here are the calls that I neither made nor received. Please remove them from my bill and block me from ever recieving calls from the associated numbers." I can't imagine they'd refuse.

    There's also the distinct possibility that the owner of the second line isn't being straight with you. I'm reminded of a poem I read on the bus [dart.org]:

    By the time you swear you're his,
    Shivering and sighing,
    And he vows his passion is
    Infinite, undying -
    Lady, make a note of this:
    One of you is lying.

    -Dorothy Parker, Unfortunate Coincidence
  • physically go to one of the tmobile stores and talk to them. bring your phone bill and show them what you just explained to us. it's hard for a physical person to hang up on you (and comment that two support ppls had hung up on you!)
  • Overlap (Score:5, Informative)

    by RomulusNR (29439) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:44AM (#15589430) Homepage
    Most GSM phones can handle two calls at once (a la call waiting/etc.), so overlapping times doesn't prove cloning.

    The only theoretical way I am aware of to clone a GSM phone is to copy the SIM or have a SIM with the same subscriber number.

    A simple fix would be to get a new SIM card. You can get your existing number transferred over to the new card. If its a card clone, then a new card will solve the problem.

    Dunno why the customer service kept hanging up on you (was it really a hangup or a dropped call?), considering they supposedly have the best customer service in the business.
  • or.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagicM (85041) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:46AM (#15589450)
    Or your partner is cheating on you, did receive those calls, and is lying to you about it.

    (Just saying. It happens all the time.)
  • We called up T-mobile twice and claim the possibility of phone cloning. Both representatives hung up on me, thinking I was trying to con them or something. Any advice to what this could be?

    I suggest you call them and tell them that you did not make the calls in question (contest the calls). It's not your job to figure out what is going on, only to point out that a problem exists. Your mobile provider probably has some internal mechanism designed to investigate and resolve these matters (and the poor saps
  • Okay.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thebdj (768618) on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:53AM (#15589493) Journal
    First off, your 17 minutes example is poor. The call could have ended at 3:44 and still be listed as 17 minutes, remember cell companies traditionally round you up to the nearest minute. If you had more then a possible 1 minute overlap example that would be different. Second, how well do you trust this "partner"? If they would presumably be on the hook for the overages if it was their fault, then they have motivation to lie same goes for if the calls are coming from someone they don't want you to know about...though I do not know what type of relationship you and this "partner" have.

    Next, either go to a B&M location and bitch to someone in person, have bills in hand, or send a letter/e-mail to customer service. The letter and/or e-mail are ignorable, but at least someone should attempt to read it. IF you actually show up at a location you are pretty much non-ignorable. Be sure to express anger, but do not do anything too stupid. IF worse comes to worse, threaten legal action against the location, the employees and T-mobile (always casts wide nets, threatening individuals works because they don't want to lose their money...loyalty to their business is probably minimal.

    So make sure to verify that neither you nor your partner received the calls...then go make a stink in person.
  • Call Waiting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jhon (241832) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @10:58AM (#15589520) Homepage Journal
    So if you add up the time 3:28pm + 17 mins = 3:45 pm. The time when I made my call was at 3:44 pm. This reoccurs several times.
    This can occur if your plan has call waiting or 3 way calling. I speak from the experience of an elder monitoring the cell phone usage of teenagers (who should NEVER EVER EVER have cell phones in my opinion).

    If you've got T-Mobile, the bill should break down WHICH phone is receiving the call (either yours or your partners). If it's happening on your partner's bill, I would suggest it's more likely that your partner is lying to you than the phone was cloned (just statistically speaking -- nothing against your partner).

    Another possibility is that the entry on your bill is "bogus". The result of a computer glitch and you'll need T-Mobiles help to resolve the problem.
    • Re:Call Waiting (Score:2, Insightful)

      by adinu79 (860333)
      One question, I'm not familiar with the American way of billing phone calls. Are your GSM companies also billing the people receiving the calls? In Europe, AFAIK, they are only billing the people making the calls and that's it.
  • The Problem is.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Grantisimo (716941)
    The problem is that t-mobile does not acknowledge that cloning exists on their network. I used to work in T-mobile customer care. We got calls about this at least once a week. Most were just paranoia. The answer was always the same; "It is impossible to clone a SIM." Not much that you can do against that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:05AM (#15589568)
    Don't look for zebras when all you have are horses, or, always look for the simplest answer.

    It sounds like your boyfriend is cheating on you and is telling his new boyfriend to use number blocking (*67). Then when you ask him about it, he denies everything.
  • Assuming for the moment that everything you state is true, that neither you nor your partner are receiving these calls, to me it seems like a billing error and here's why. Have you ever had a friend call you to tell you that a call they made to your phone number was answered by a strange person? Do you receive many calls from people who are expecting somebody else (particularly the same somebody else) instead?

    If neither of these things happen, than it's pretty unlikely that somebody is using your numbe
  • A few things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:16AM (#15589645) Homepage Journal

    I'm a big fan of T-Mobile, one of the only quality mobile networks in the US (even if they're restricted to the crappy 1900MHz band), so I'm disappointed you apparently are getting bad customer service from them.

    I do recommend being careful about how you word it, when you talk about "phone cloning" and stuff then you're getting ahead of yourself. Let's address that first though:

    Phone cloning is possible with GSM, but improbable, someone would be going to great lengths, buying equipment worth thousands of dollars, just to save a few dollars to make outgoing calls (the cloned cell is going to be unusable for incoming calls, after all.) While mobile phone cloning was a great business in the mid-nineties, that was when it was easier (plenty of analog phones, which could be cloned just be reflashing a second phone), and when mobile phones weren't exactly accessable to a sizable portion of the population.

    Today, you can pretty much anonymously buy a prepaid mobile phone from any store, with a wide variety of minimum costs, generally of less than $10 a month from at least two major brands (T-Mobile and Cingular.) There aren't many people who'd want to clone phones, with the risks associated and the costs of doing the cloning to begin with, and the limitations on receiving calls, given the circumstances.

    Your example isn't that convincing either as such circumstances would occur during call waiting or conference calling. I use both regularly, so my bill is full of these things.

    The two most realistic circumstances are that there's a software error on T-Mobile's side, or that you're simply mistaken (possibly in terms of receiving the calls, or possibly in terms of how you're interpreting the bill.) Stop talking in terms of "My phone has been cloned!" and tell them that you and your partner believe these calls to be non-existant. Explain that they appear on your side of the bill, under your number, and you know you didn't receive them. Ask them to investigate.

  • by silasthehobbit (626391) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:22AM (#15589687)
    Oh dear God!

    My phone bill would be hundreds of pounds a month - rather than the £15-£20 it normally is - if this happened in the UK. Over here, we get charged for making calls from our mobiles (cell phones), but the person calling my mobile is the one who gets charged for ringing me - I don't get charged for that unless I'm in a different country.

    How come American consumers haven't risen up and complained about this? It seems a bit of a rip off to me.

    --
    silas
    • I was about to say the same thing. This looks like a scam to me - kind of like a Joe Job in the spamming world. Someone's out to hurt someone else intentionally. Then again, if the US had a sensible system where you only pay to make calls, this could never happen...

      Bob
      • Incoming calls don't cost me money, but when I am not careful and send a text message to a 4-digit number I could subscribe myself to continuous incoming text messages that cost me money.

        In fact, some people already had the problem of sudden paid text messages without knowingly subscribing to such a service, and without information on how to unsubscribe.

        The providers, who very well know how to invoice these services, suddenly hide behind bullshit "we do not know" and "we cannot tell" arguments when you try
    • My provider gives free nights and weekends (which is when I primarily use the phone, seeing as I'm gainfully employed) and 500 free minutes during business hours. So it really isn't that bad for ~$35 a month. I've never gone over. My wife, who talks all the time, has only gone over once (and been billed for individual minutes). We've had Verizon for 4 years now...

    • American cell phone plans come with a largeish (600 - 1500) number of prepaid minutes attached to the plan... so, I pay $40 a month, but the first 1000 minutes of calling (in either direction) don't cost me anything more. Also, there are cheap add-ons to allow, or some plans even include, features such as free calls after 7:30pm or free calls on weekends or free calls to family members. (I can get both free nights and free weekends for another $10 a month, for example.)

      So, put these things together and for
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#15590023)
      The total telecom costs are more competitive and come out less expensive in a system like ours (North America - mobile party pays for incoming and terminating calls; no landline to mobile termination fees).

      In the UK (and most other countries), the landline-to-mobile rate is fixed at a high price. The mobile companies have no strong incentive to lower their termination fees, because they're not charging "their" customers - it's the other schmucks (landline customers) who get the shaft (customers they want to steal away from landline!). Of course there could be some limited competition on the landline side to get the "lowest" mobile termination fees, but in the end the landline carriers still have to negotiate that with the mobile provider. How much would 1000 minutes cost from landline to mobile in the UK? £36.10 - £215.40, depending on the carrier and time-of-day? [bt.com]

      In the North American system, the entire minute bucket of incoming and outgoing minutes is negotiated between the mobile provider and their direct customer. Therefore, there is significant competition between carriers to provide the lowest total price. In other words, when you select a carrier here, you are negotiating the price on both sides. Over there, you are only negotiating the outgoing side of the equation (for the most part). How much would 1000 minutes (either direction) cost in the US? $40 (or free on nights/weekends)? [t-mobile.com]

      In the future, it seems like unlimited wireless is a distinct possibility (it already exists in my market!). In North America, that means that there will be no mobile-related charges whatsoever for incoming or outgoing. Do you think that foreign carriers will let go of mobile termination fees even if/when outgoing calls become free (unlimited)? In my case, I could pay $70/month and nobody would pay any per-minute fees to or from my phone!

    • Because whether the caller or the callee pays the extra cost for the mobile call is pretty much irrelevant and works out even in the end.

      Why do you have to pay extra for calling someone on their mobile phone instead of on their land line? Seems a bit of a rip off to me.
      • Why do you have to pay extra for calling someone on their mobile phone instead of on their land line?
        you are the person who decided the matter was important enough not to wait until the person was back in touch with a landline, the callee on the other hand has little choice but to pick up if its someone they even vaugely recognise (or no caller id). so you should bear the cost of using mobile communication.

  • by Kagato (116051) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:26AM (#15589728)
    Simple writing a formal letter of dispute under as defined by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Send said letter to the billing dispute address (usually on the back of your statement.) Indicate the calls you do not beleive you made, and the adjustment you beleive you deserve. If T-Mobile does not reply, IN WRITING, to your dispute they automatically lose the right to collect $50 or the disputed fee. Which ever is less. Make sure to send in Payment for the portion you do beleive you owe. I suggest spending the extra couple bucks to get delivery confirmation.

    If they do not comply, file a formal complaint with the FTC and your state AG office.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    hate to tell ya, but i used to work in a t-mobile call center, and it is not possible to hang up, they are not using phones to talk to you they are using a computer terminal that has T-mobile's proprietary software on it and well, there IS NOT a hang up button.
  • by kiscica (89316) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:37AM (#15589797) Homepage
    I had a similar problem with AT&T Wireless a long time ago (ca. 1998), when they first introduced their "one-rate" service (no extra charges for long distance or roaming, a major innovation back then). For about three months, every single call I made or received appeared twice on my bill: once listed under the actual time I made or received it, and once listed precisely three hours later. That is, for every 17-minute call at 8:53, say, there'd be a corresponding 17-minute call at 11:53. I immediately recognized that this had to have something to do with the fact that I was using a phone with a New York number in California (three-hour time difference). The net result was close to a thousand dollars in overage charges -- while I was careful to keep all my usage under the 1500 minutes per month included in my plan, I was getting charged for more like 3000 minutes at a ridiculous overage rate of 25 cents a minute.

    The first month the problem showed up I thought it would be a quick fix -- obviously no rational human being could think that I was studiously duplicating every single one of my hundreds of calls exactly three hours apart.

    Silly me.

    I went through eight months of hell trying to get an AT&T representative to acknowledge there was a problem. I must have made at least 100 calls, sent numerous faxes and letters, and spoken to at least 20 different "supervisors" -- they kept "disappearing," forcing me to start telling the story all over again each time I called.

    To a man/woman, they all kept insisting that if the calls appeared on my bill, I had to have made them (since we all know computerized billing systems never have bugs). Until the very end I never got a single one of them to admit that there just MIGHT be a problem if every single one of my hundreds of calls appeared precisely twice, 3 hours apart, on each bill. No, I simply had to have made those calls, there was no other explanation.

    Naturally were flatly unwilling to refund the overage charges which, as I mentioned, reached almost $1000 by the third bill. (I didn't cancel the service because I was dependent on it - it was my only phone line, there was no number portability back then, no other service offered "free" roaming/LD which I needed as a New Yorker stuck in California). They did agree to let me pay only the non-disputed charge until the dispute process was over, but soon started sending me dunning letters anyway.

    The problem stopped happening after the third month, but I spent most of the rest of the year trying to get them to reverse the excess charges. It was hell, no other word for it. It wasn't the prospect of having to pay a thousand dollars that scared and angered me, it was the simple fact that a large and respected (!) company like AT&T obviously had a policy for its customer support people that went "no matter how obvious it is that the customer is right, you must insist that he is wrong." I don't see how any rational person could fail to recognize that what happened was a massive computer billing error, but as I mentioned before, I never got *anyone* to admit it. By the end, my conversations with them were so psychologically draining that I was starting to wonder if it really could be my mistake somehow.

    The very end of the saga -- eight months later - was that I finally managed to talk to a manager who agreed there was a problem, told me that many others had experienced it, and canceled all the excess charges, just like that. So, basically, they'd known all along that there was a problem. and just kept stonewalling in the hopes that I'd break down and pay them.

    That experience marked the end of my innocence about big, respectable business. In a very real sense, I "grew up" over those 8 months.
    • by Trojan35 (910785) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:11PM (#15590029)
      I was billed for 350 text messages in the span of 2 minutes. I called and told her I didn't do that and wanted the $35 refunded. She said "it's in the system." I pointed out that it was physically impossible for anyone to send that many text messages in 2 minutes and that I had used text messaging 0 times in the year i'd been with Cingular. Her response? "Computers don't make mistakes."

      Maybe I was a little harsh: "You're an idiot. I'm cancelling my account not because of Cingular's service or this charge, but because you ma'am, are an idiot." The cancellation rep tried to convince me to stay and generously offered to cut the charges in half... "I shouldn't have to negotiate how much I pay you for your mistake. How about you refund the full amount and then pay me $100 in consulting fees for the hour I've spent identifying bugs in your system?" Then came the offer of a full refund, and I still cancelled.
  • I used to work in the cell phone business, and here is an easy way to have them check for cloning. Speak with technical support, and have them check which towers you are pulling service from when these calls occur. If you make a call at 3:28pm connected to a tower in Los Angeles, and then 15 minutes later it says you are connected to a tower in San Diego; that is proof enough something weird is happening. Just highlight all these questionable calls on your bill, then ask to have the calls just before and
  • Does your phone keep a record of the last X days/weeks worth of calls? I've got my Treo set to keep it's phone log for the last three-four months, and it records everything... calls made, recieved, and missed. Perhaps presenting them with a copy of your log from each phone (Might be difficult, as I don't know of an easy way to export it) would help your case.
  • by mosch (204) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:44AM (#15589847) Homepage
    I had some problems where they sold me a phone with a $100 rebate that didn't exist in their system.

    I got resolution by:
    a) Writing a letter to the president of customer service (Sorry, I don't seem to have the name and address on this computer.)
    b) Complaining to the BBB

    They wound up crediting my account with the $100 rebate twice, once for each method of complaint. I didn't stop them, because I figured it was just compensation for the absurd amount of time it took to get it all sorted.

    I got better efforts out of customer service by walking into a local T-Mobile store, where I'd purchased the phone, and asking the sales representatives to assist me with my issue, but those efforts got no results.
  • Be less "helpful" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:00PM (#15589936) Homepage
    We called up T-mobile twice and claim the possibility of phone cloning. Both representatives hung up on me, thinking I was trying to con them or something.
    The problem is that you're trying to supply a conclusive diagnosis to the T-mobile rep when you actually ahve no freakin' idea why those charges are appearing. Quit trying to offer them an explanation up front. That sounds like a con. Just give them the symptoms-- i.e. calls/charges on the bill that aren't yours-- and let them figure out what's happening.
  • To sum up (Score:3, Informative)

    by goldcd (587052) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#15590022) Homepage
    It's virtually impossible to close a GSM phone - and surely if somebody had, they'd have been making obscenely expensive outgoing calls on it. Two possibilities:
    T-Mobile have cocked up - they can easily check the calls and get more information about them to confirm if this is the case.
    Your partner is lying/mistaken about receiving calls. If I had a suspicious mind, I'd just 'borrow' his phone and check the call log on the handset - see if one of the mysterious calls appears there.
  • by popo (107611) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:31PM (#15590219) Homepage

    I had a similar problem involving T-Mobile "T-Zones". While idle, my phone
    was apparently contacting T-Zones. In fact, once in a while I'd 'catch' it
    making an (autonomous) one minute T-Zones connection (because the phone
    would light up).

    Since I wasn't a T-Zones subscriber, T-Mobile billed me for each and every
    connection, even though the connections were happening 'automatically'.

    For the first few months I didn't notice it because I was on the road and
    running up massive phone bills anyway, but by the time I realized what was
    going on, I was $5,000 in the hole. It took months of phone calls to customer
    service for them to even acknowlege that there was a problem. I even made a
    short video of my phone 'turning itself on and connecting to T-Zones'.

    I will say, that T-Mobile ended up being great, and clearing my bill of
    all the charges, but only after 50 or so calls to CS.

    Total nightmare.

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