Today I went into a local T-mobile store, and signed up for the Military Discount One Plan. I had to provide my state issued driver's license, and let the store employees take a photocopy of it. They also ran a credit check to confirm my credit worthiness. When it was time to verify my military status, I filled in the requested information on T-mobile's military verification page, and uploaded a picture of my Honorable Discharge Certificate. This document has my maiden last name, because I wasn't married when I served in the military. It also has my SSN listed right after my name.
I received an email from SheerID Verification, the company that T-mobile uses to verify military eligibility, that my service couldn't be verified, because my proof of service document didn't have the same last name that I have now. When I called into Customer Service, I was ultimately transferred to the Solution Center, and the Representative told me that I have to provide a copy of my marriage certificate to verify my name. I find this to be discriminatory against people (traditionally women) who have changed their last names since the time they were discharged. It is also an invasion upon privacy of other parties, because the name of the spouse has to be revealed. If a woman was married more than once, and her name on a the most recent marriage certificate doesn't match the discharge papers, she would probably have to provide copies of any divorce decrees or death certificates of previous spouses. That could be especially cumbersome if a person has been married a few times. T-mobile is asking a person to divulge a lot of sensitive information to get a discount on their phone bill.
I understand the need to verify eligibility for discounts, but T-mobile already has other methods of verifying the name and eligibility of military veterans who have had a name change. T-mobile could easily add fields on their military verification page says some like, "Name during military service". In the store/on the phone, while running the credit check for a military discount plan, the T-mobile rep can ask if the person had credit under previous name used during their military service. If yes, then the previous name can be verified when running the credit inquiry, because credit reporting agencies maintain the list of previous names and aliases used on a social security number.
I just don't believe that it's appropriate that a company require so much private information when there are alternatives to verify a person's military service.