First, pjas09, I'm so glad you're okay. This was a horrific thing to have experienced for anyone -- travelling or not -- and I can't begin to imagine what you're feeling or how you're processing everything. I hope you're all taking it as easy as possible.
It sounds like we could have done a better job of explaining Stateside International Services when adding it to your pay in advance plan. There are many countries with free landline and mobile calls, and then many more with free landlines and heavily discounted mobile-to-mobile rates. Australia falls into the latter category -- calls to landlines and texting are included, but mobile-to-mobile calls do have a $.07/minute charge (reduced from the standard $3.00/minute rate). With a Pay In Advance plan, you'd need to have funds available on the account for that $.07/minute to deduct from.
This was the worst possible time to learn this the hard way, and I'm so sorry. We should have checked which country you planned on calling most during your stay, and then reviewed rates with you, so that you could have chosen to add funds to cover mobile calls. I can see how in that moment sending a text would take more time than simply dialing a number, and I'm sure your aim was to reach your family as quickly as possible. I wish we could go back and change the way this played out for you. Thank you for sharing this experience here -- we'll make sure the feedback is passed that reviewing these details when adding the service is a must.
Ty for the reply but not good enough ... would never have got t mobile if it was explained correctly as I wanted calls to Australian mobiles & $15 was wasted on calls I will not use as 80% of people in Australia use there mobiles, especially older parents.