T-Mobile is Hurting Chronic Illness Patients; CEO Could Care Less
T-Mobile has recently decided to move along with the decision to remove the five dollar per line autopay discount from users who pay via credit card, apple pay, and Google Pay for the phone bills. For those with chronic illnesses, this is devistating. Let's dive into the problems with doing something like this and continuing to chose to be tone deaf to those begging for this not to happen.
Those who have chronic illnesses are largely just barely, if at all, making ends meet financially. You have families struggling to chose between eating and medications. You have people rationing medications because they can't afford to get all their prescriptions or pay for their treatments. Some of these treatments require cell phones. Having a family remain safe in a modern world requires cell phones. Cell phones contain apps and the ability for people to track their health. The service that comes with this does too.
In a recent patient support group, out of 50 patients present, 35 of them were affected by this change happening. People were in tears and terrified. Why? Because they require the connectivity the company offers them with the ability to keep their family connected together, and to be able to live their lives safely, efficiently, and as healthy as possible. For them, their payment dates don't line up correctly. They have to use credit to make their phone payments so that they have the services they need to work, to attend and find treatments, to track their health conditions, and so much more. Some have watches and connected devices they purchased to be able to help themselves. The only way they were ever able to gain access to these services was because of T-Mobile. Now they're stuck. They have payments due, and with this upcoming change they have no choice but to either cancel service (which they can't do because the company sold them new items before this became a reality advertising to them that well because of the autopay discount you're only really paying X amount per month now, so they were totally mislead.).
Multiple people shared the same sentiments. They had inquired if there would ever be something that these per line discounts would be taken away. They were told no, never. T mobile will always have these discounts no matter how you pay.
But meanwhile, that wasn't the case. They were lied to unknowingly by employees who were mislead to believe this too.
Now I am sitting in a support group with over 20 patients devistated, hurting, afraid. And they all tried contacting T-Mobile and all got the same responses that brushed them off.
The CEO had even said that it's only a smaller number of users who pay by credit anyways so it's not a big deal. You know who that small amount of customers is? It's us. It's those of us with chronic illnesses who missed a day of work this week because of a flare up and are now missing pay because FMLA doesn't Gurantee you any form of pay. It's us who have every last penny budgeted with nothing left over because of the rising costs of groceries and medications, it's us who have multiple lines because we have families, and it's us who are stuck when these payments don't align having to decide if we're going to have our medications or not because our phones double as a medium for us to access treatments and apps that are prescribed as part of our treatments. 5 dollars a line may not seem like alot, but in reality it's a ton for us.
The most disheartening and truly awful part of this is that the CEO could care less. He makes excuses about it and brushes it off, acting like it's totally no big deal. But for us it's a huge deal. For us we don't have the luxury of just simply changing how we pay. For us we don't have the luxury to be able to give up that 5 dollars a line. It's really not much to ask to just leave this the way it is. It's really not. I've been in on earnings calls. I've seen the margins of profit. Anyone can. And they're not hurting by any means. Yet the CEO thinks it's ok to just hurt people like this and not give a single care in the world. His words are empty. Actions are what speak, especially from CEOs. The most basic way to invest in your customers is to not do this. The company constantly touts all these charitable initiatives they participate in. But when their own customers are in great need, it's apparently just too much to ask for them to do the right thing.
To the CEO Mike Sievert, when you have chronic illnesses changes like this can be life or death, housing or no housing, medications or no medications. You don't have to budget to your last penny. You're lucky. You get sick and it doesn't matter to your wallet. But for us? It's like smacking the medications out of our hands. There's nothing left in the wallets. It's so harmful beyond belief. I've never seen people so upset over a change for a phone plan. But they are and it's for good reason. Don't write this off. Don't write them, us, off. I'm begging you. Patients are begging you. Just please listen. I don't understand why you don't seem to care and why you seem to just be plugging your ears and saying, but it's only a small amount of users. There's a reason Mike. It's us. It's those of us with chronic illnesses. It's those of us with rare diseases. We're that small group and it's killing us. Just please stop. You have that power. Exercise it before it's too late. You can't say nobody ever said anything because they have. You just are choosing not to listen. We're begging you to listen. Did you learn nothing from the pandemic we all just went through together?
(Note: it's not as simply as just switching phone plans for people. The company openly has advertised to us for years oh it's only this much a month with autopay and autopay has always meant it's only so much with autopay and it doesn't matter how you pay. They would present it in stores by saying things like "so you're really only paying this much a month.". They mislead people into believing that this was their monthly rates and then lead them to believe they wouldn't be paying more for it. They lead them to believe the price with autopay was the full on price of the plan alot of times. Now people are stuck. They're basically screwed over and the company could care less. They have balances due on devices that have to be paid off to switch networks. Or to switch to a prepaid option, etc. But prepaid options aren't doable for a lot of people. They just aren't. The cost ends up far too much and the service is lackluster at best leaving them vulnerable if something happens medically.)
Normally I wouldn't write about this here, but the sheer number of times in support groups this has come up lately is beyond alarming.