T-Mobile Tuesdays Pizza Roulette: Do You Feel Lucky?

By Jonathan Spira on 17 June 2016
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When T-Mobile unveiled its new T-Mobile Tuesdays customer rewards program, it sounded too good to be true: the mobile operator would give its customers free Dominos pizzas, movies, Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi, and Wendy’s Frostys. And, in part, it was.

Last week, the self-proclaimed “Uncarrier” failed to deliver what it had promised when its servers were overloaded by the demand. While some reported getting their free pizzas, posting photographic evidence on Twitter, many more tweeted that they were unable to take advantage of the offer.

“Still seeing huge #TMobileTuesdays app volume, but we’re making good! You won’t lose anything and we’ll make this right ASAP,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere posted on Twitter.

In the name of science, we decided free pizza was a good thing and fired up the app, called T-Mobile Tuesdays, last Tuesday. We didn’t get very far.

Thanks to our parent company Accura’s contract with T-Mobile, everyone who was in the office that day tried to order a pizza. Our experiences were not terribly different from what other users reported on Twitter.

“Not impressed with this app at all! How did you not realize there would be overload! #nolovefromTmobile,” one presumably hungry and unhappy customer tweeted.

There was only one thing to do: call T-Mobile’s tech support. As absurd as it sounds, free pizza was now part of what T-Mobile includes with our account, so we filed a trouble ticket and were promised a resolution within 72 hours, although it was unclear as to what that would entail. After the initial text messages when speaking with tech support, we never received any additional responses (although in general T-Mobile customer support has been simply amazing to deal with when it comes to actual problems that don’t involve pizza pies or their absence).

The following Tuesday we tried again. At first, it seemed at least one of us would succeed. The app worked, opened a browser and put the correct coupon code into the Dominos website. All we had to do was choose the two free toppings, drive over, and claim our pizza. The bill showed a cost of $0.00 and the Dominos pizza tracker told us it would be ready in 40 minutes. Off we went only to encounter a crowd of unhappy customers at the local Dominos. All had successfully ordered free pizzas but the manager claimed he had hit the 100 pie limit (this is a published limit, but another FBT staffer had received an error message telling him to call the store when his order didn’t go through). We, of course, had a confirmed pizza order with a bill showing no cost as per the promotion. The manager simply decided not to bake the pizzas that were shown at no charge and was telling customers this as they arrived. “I already had to decline 50 orders, and I expect at least 50 more to show up,” he said pointing to the throng of hungry T-Mobile customers. A few opted to pay for their pizza pies (for which they had to wait since none were prepared) but most just left, unsurprisingly upset. The manager also told me that the scene was similar at other Dominos stores.

I was glad I was not that manager but it didn’t look good for Magenta.

Very unsatisfied, we called tech support on our way back to the office. The pleasant but somewhat puzzled rep suggested we simply go to Wendy’s and get a Frosty, and her manager offered to reinitialize the coupon so it could be used again. When we asked whether this would override the 100-pizza limit our store had already reached, the manager had no answer.

Finally, the manager offered to credit our account for the cost of two pizza pies and apologized for the confusion and disappointment.

The underlying goal of the T-Mobile Tuesdays program is laudable. Unlike traditional customer loyalty programs, where customers have to sign up, earn points, and then redeem them to get gifts or benefits, they simply have to download the app and order their pizza pies and movies. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, for the many who went without, the promotion was merely a bust.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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