What does "balance of remaining payments" on phone mean?

pdq3

    Switched the family of 6 over to T-Mobile about 14 months ago. We owned all of our existing phones at the time, but I got a new iPhone 6s when we switched over. From what I was told at the time (both over the phone with TM and at the local store) I _thought_ I was going to get a recurring monthly credit of $7 offsetting a 24 month "lease" payment of $27 (plus fees that made it around $29). IIRC I also had to pay sales tax up front.

     

    Recently I noticed the credit had gone away on my bill. The folks at the local TM couldn't tell me why, so I called TM support and they said the credit was only for 14 months. I don't remember hearing that when I signed up, but I did get a number of different stories from different folks at the time (there were a number of different promotions) and I may be misremembering.

     

    Anyway, my current bill says that the "balance of remaining payments" on my phone is $108. I always intended to purchase my iPhone eventually, and so I asked the TM guy on the phone whether I could now, and how much it would be. He told me a number well over $200 (maybe $260?)

     

    So what, if anything, does that "balance of remaining payments" mean?

      All replies

      • tmo_mike_c

        Based on what you're saying pdq3, it sounds like the balance of remaining payments would be what's owed on the phone before it's paid off. It's a little more challenging for us to know why you were told over $200 when you called. You can try running this by a care specialist if you Contact Us. For example, you if you have FB or Twitter, you can have a T-Force specialist revisit this for you and give you more info about exactly what's owed on the phone.

          • pdq3

            thanks, Mike, I will do that. It's been a little frustrating getting different numbers from different people. I'll follow your link and see what they say.

              • tmo_chris

                Hey pdq3,

                 

                Just wanted to check in with you to see if you were able to get your questions answered?

                  • pdq3

                    I guess so. I talked to the folks at 611 again, and they said the "balance of remaining payments" (now $81 per the recent bill, or $57, per the TM rep on the phone) is the amount I still needed to pay in lease payments until I could turn the phone back in to them...and have nothing. No phone, no credits toward a new phone, nothing. If I wanted to _buy_ the phone, I had to make up the difference between the amount I had paid in so far (not including fees) and the full original purchase price of the phone. This is still over $200. This is all in addition to my regular plan payments.

                     

                    In retrospect, I should have bought the iPhone outright at the beginning, since with the fees tacked on to the lease payments, it comes to around $29+ a month x 24 months = $700, and as I mentioned, I had to pay sales tax (for a lease?) at the beginning, IIRC. I was also automatically signed up for a (~10/mo?) "protection plan" that I didn't want or know about, but I did eventually manage to get off that after a few months. I also did get $7 a month credits for awhile, before they unexpectedly went away, amounting to a total of $98 off, so that's something. But it's not the deal I thought I was getting when I signed up.

                     

                    Eh, it's complicated, and like I said, I got a variety of different numbers told to me when I originally signed up. For someone like me who wants to own their phone outright and just buy cell phone service, it's probably not worth the aggravation doing things the way I did.

                      • tmo_chris

                        Hey pdq3,

                         

                        I am glad that you were able to get the answers you needed. I do apologize that this was not explained to you better though. With Leases, you do not have to pay the taxes up front like you would with our 24 month installment plan so the taxes are added to your monthly lease payments as well as the final buy out price. As for the monthly credits, it sounds like you purchased the phone under one of our promotions and you should have received these credits for the entire 18 month lease. If these credits stopped and you didn't make any changed to your account that would have unqualified you for the promotion, I would recommend that you check with customer care again to see if they can find out why these credits stopped.

                          • pdq3

                            Chris,

                             

                            Thanks- you've been very helpful, moreso than the TM folks on the phone or in my local TM shop. I am pretty sure I did have to pay sales tax on the full price of the phone when I got it - I'd have to check my credit card statements from back then. And I did think I was going to get the $7 a month credit for 18 (if not 24 months), but after 2 tries, the TM folks on the phone disagree (and the local folks couldn't figure it out). I think they _did_ grant me two more months of the credit just to be nice.

                             

                            In general, I've had a pretty good experience with TM. Their international coverage has been pretty amazing when on vacation. Their local coverage could be better (we need a signal booster here at home to make calls in a suburb of Minneapolis/St Paul). And it seems like (as with several carriers I've had experience with), they'll tell you just about anything to get you to sign up, and then you have to push back (sometimes repeatedly) when the deal doesn't turn out to be what they said.

                             

                            I'll probably just bite the bullet and buy the phone now, since I'm not only paying full-price monthly payments now but also the fees they tack on to that payment. Then I'll be able to take my service whereever I want. I'll probably stay with TM - like I said, they've done fairly well, and their service pricing is very good. It's just the shenanigans they (all) play with the phone subsidies that can be aggravating, you know?

                              • tmo_marissa

                                Hi pdq3.  I have to say, while we absolutely hope you'll stay and are happy to read you've found assistance here in Support and that you've found value in our service pricing, the "say anything to get your business" impression isn't one we want you to have.  Thank you for all of this feedback.  We hope everything's been going well (and absent of "shenanigans") since this last post.  Please let us know if you have any more questions or concerns!

                                 

                                - Marissa

                                  • pdq3

                                    Well, to be fair, the "say anything to get your business" part referred to local cell carrier shops, and I wouldn't single out TM in that regard- that seems to just be the nature of the cell phone (not necessarily cell carrier) business.

                                     

                                    For instance, I didn't learn until later that one of the "T Mobile" branded stores in the local mall wasn't actually owned by TM. They generally do a good job, but occasionally...

                                     

                                    One true story: I was waiting for a salesperson at this "T Mobile" store back when I was first getting my phone. A teenaged girl and her non-tech savvy parents came in and I overheard her say to the salesperson she thought she might a new phone. Why? Because her phone told her it couldn't take a picture anymore because it was out of storage space.

                                     

                                    "Riiiight- what you want then is" . And it worked- he made the sale! Which is his job, I suppose.

                                     

                                    Anyway, as I said, I'm pretty happy with TM - right this minute I'm rocking the hour of free GoGo wifi on a flight! - but sometimes the front-line "T-M" people you just have to take with a grain of salt, you know?

                                     

                                    Sent from my iPhone

                                      • pdq3

                                        Aw- the text formatter ruined the punch line. After the teenager says her phone is full, the salesman said (paraphrasing) "Riiight. What you want then is this" and led her over to a new $700 phone. And as I said, it worked.

                                         

                                        Anyway, that's some of the shenanigans you can expect in any cell phone store, I think.

                                         

                                        BTW, I bought out the iPhone (for two hundred and change). Thanks for your help and info.