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Old 02-09-2010, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default T-mobile int'l charges

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So I just got off a chat with T-Mobile customer service.

We travel to Madagascar to visit relatives every few years for the last 10 or so years.

There is a new charge that is not documented anywhere on their site (and not that the rep could provide to me).

If you receive a voicemail while you are roaming internationally, you are charged 1 minute (possibly more due to some of the charges on my bill) for receiving it. It's not to light up the VM icon on your phone, it's for "voicemail deposit". We raked up $148 in these charges and didn't pick up the phone once.

The rep quoted their terms and conditions to say we are responsible for international charges. I agree with that statement, I know it's $3.49 per minute out there--that's why we don't answer the phone much! It does not state anywhere that there is a charge to receive a voicemail.

I've never experienced these charges before in our years of travelling internationally (including European, Asian and African destination), so it must be some new thing to make more money.

The rep recommended leaving our phones off while travelling. That's not that helpful as you can't receive or make calls when your phone is off. Who knows if you'd still get charged for getting a voicemail with your phone off either.

Hope this helps someone else not get charged for this bogus fee.

-m
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your phone is recieving a message while in another country, of course there are roaming charges. You should turn your phone off while travelling. Or add a roaming package.


Or if your planning on using your phone while in another country, at least let others know that you would prefer they not leave voicemails due to the fact you are in another country, maybe through a voicemail message.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not disputing international call prices, I know it's $3.49 per minute.

My phone isn't receiving anything, my voicemail box at T-Mobile's server is. I'm not answering the phone or making an outgoing call.

Besides, my phone uses Google Voice and never hits T-Mobile's voicemail. Why did I get charged for those?

And why in 10 years of roaming internationally have I never received these charges before?

This is bogus.

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Last edited by invisik : 02-09-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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T-Mobile recently changed their charging policies. And I agree with noodle, why do you have your phone on the entire time? If you turn off your phone, you cant receive voicemails. Actually, you don't even need to do that. If you are using a Blackberry, you can simply turn off the radio signal and still use all the rest of the smartphone features such as the memo pad and such if you rely on those, like me.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Why do I need my phone on the entire time.... uh, same reason why I leave it on all the time when I'm at home.. if someone needs to reach me my phone is on and handy. Am I missing a point somewhere?

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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They have always done this.

What actually happens is that when you don't answer, the call is forwarded back to the T-Mobile USA voicemail number +1-805-xxx-xxxx, thus resulting in at least a one minute international call charge.

The only way to get around these charges is to never turn your phone on outside the USA so that it never registers with the foreign network, but this would defeat the purpose of having a GSM phone.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisik View Post
Why do I need my phone on the entire time.... uh, same reason why I leave it on all the time when I'm at home.. if someone needs to reach me my phone is on and handy. Am I missing a point somewhere?

-m
...which is why your voicemails are going to your phone. That's your decision to leave it on. Yes, you are missing the point
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Get a local pre-paid SIM card and turn on call forwarding from your normal number to the pre-paid one. You won't have data but you'll get all your calls and avoid those crazy charges.

Or just do what Noodle22 said and use T-Mobile's international roaming.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc/dc View Post
They have always done this.
+1. When I enabled int'l roaming the first time I took my phone out of the country (years ago), I was warned that I'd be charged for every missed call.

Not saying it's not lousy, but it's not new.
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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These international roaming plans can still be expensive. Less then just sucking up the roaming charges without a plan, but still painful. And they can be complicated. There is no uniform format from one carrier to the next, reps often give conflicting/incorrect information (big shock, huh?), and there are often minimum time periods for which you must keep the international plan active on your account. With AT&T it was 6 months! Kinda defeats the purpose of adding it for a 2-week trip.

For these reasons, when I travel I often put a pre-paid SIM in my BB (so I have all my calendar/contacts info) and do the call forwarding thing. My BB functions as a "dumb phone" only - no data. I keep a laptop for email either in my hotel room or with me when traveling.

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Old 02-14-2010, 05:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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everyone has been doing this for years....since day 1.

If you don't answer a call, it goes to voicemail. On the technical side, you get a missed call, it gets forward to your voicemail (which is a voicemail center number) that ANSWERS the call. Hence voicemail.


See it has having two numbers. If you main line don't pick up, the 2nd one automatically picks it up. It's why you get charged.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BallHawk3 View Post
everyone has been doing this for years....since day 1.

If you don't answer a call, it goes to voicemail. On the technical side, you get a missed call, it gets forward to your voicemail (which is a voicemail center number) that ANSWERS the call. Hence voicemail.


See it has having two numbers. If you main line don't pick up, the 2nd one automatically picks it up. It's why you get charged.
Echo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc/dc View Post
They have always done this.

What actually happens is that when you don't answer, the call is forwarded back to the T-Mobile USA voicemail number +1-805-xxx-xxxx, thus resulting in at least a one minute international call charge.

The only way to get around these charges is to never turn your phone on outside the USA so that it never registers with the foreign network, but this would defeat the purpose of having a GSM phone.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc/dc View Post
Echo?
no, i just don't feel like sitting and reading every response in the thread.
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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the other solution is to keep your phone on, but change the forwarding options from "conditional forwarding" to "Forward all calls" and then forward all your calls to VM or Google Voice or whatever solution you wish to use. Nothing will ring through to your phone...they will all go straight to VM, and therefore, will never be bounced from the US to your phone and then back, thus eliminating the roaming charge. You will get a VM waiting indication if you have a message and then, you can retrieve your messages when you wish. If you have a UMA enabled BB, you can connect though a WIFI signal and make your calls for no charge whatsoever. I travel between the US and China 6-8 time per year, and this is my solution. I have never been charged a roaming fee using this method.
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