Google Voice Costs $700 to a T-Mobile Customer

by Allan Harris on September 23, 2011

When you think of making long distance calls from your Smartphone, Google Voice comes to mind. A low cost solution to long distance calls can do justice to your wallet in this hard economy. Installed as an application on Smartphones, Google Voice has proved that the technology is not all perfect.

With a calling rate of 0.02 cents per minute, a T-Mobile customer, Sophie, was billed $700 for a month. She nearly got a heart attack from the bill. Google Voice had processed the rate at a much higher rate over the network. Google Voice failed to work properly.

Google Voice Failure

As a simple mechanism, when you place a call through Google Voice, the calls are directed by the phone company to the Google service. A notification is played each time to ensure that Google Voice is being used to place calls. Sophie, an innocent in this technological failure, is now left in the middle while Google and T-Mobile point fingers at each other.

Sophie’s version

According to a loyal T-Mobile customer, Sophie, she started using GoogleVoice on her phone when the technology was first introduced. She used Google Voice to call a few French business numbers for many months. Recently, when she started calling, the calls were being handled by T-Mobile instead of Google Voice applicationThe company blames Sophie for changing the phone or Google settings, but she swears she didn’t change anything. Every time she used to place a call using Google Voice, a message played that the service is being used for a charge of 0.02 cents per minute.
After the call had ended, Google Voice didn’t show any call history related to the call and didn’t bill either. It was T-Mobile that billed Sophie a three figure sum. When Sophie tried contacting the Google Voice service, she found no direct link except for an online forum. Sophie immediately contacted T-Mobile to let them know of the situation.

T-Mobile and Google Voice version

T-Mobile refused to take notice of Sophie’s notification and replied that she had used T-Mobile service as the calls were made directly from the phone. In addition, they said that any problems with the Google Voice application must be taken up with the company, as T-Mobile has nothing to do with it.

Google Voice service replied to Sophie’s dilemma saying that if Google Voice is not showing any call logs, then she has not made any international calls through it. The company cannot help you out with the situation as the calls have been correctly placed using T-Mobile service. Then they gave here a long list of steps to follow if placing calls through Google Voice.

The Verdict

The matter is still in process but it seems that Sophie will eventually have to pay $700 to T-Mobile. Bad luck for Google Voice, as they just lost a customer.

Similar Failures

When you search the internet, you will find many users of Google Voice report a similar problem like Sophie’s. Although the cases may be in minority, they do highlight the fact that Google Voice is a failure not just because of its technology but because of its customer service.

Next time, make sure that you are correctly using Google Voice to place international calls or you may end up paying a hefty portion of your income to phone operators. Technology, especially in Smartphones, can fail any time as proved by Google Voice.

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Ben September 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Nice misleading title. There’s a bright future in spin journalism for you.

JC September 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

As long as the bright future doesn’t require formatting things properly or aesthetics…what a dog’s breakfast. Very hard to read.

Anyway, Sophie’s story wasn’t all that widely reported because she was in the wrong. This link from the Google support forums reveals what went wrong:

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