TIM Prepaid Mobile Internet Warning

As mentioned previously, I have had some problems with my Telecom Italia Mobile prepaid mobile phone account. It ran out of money, I put in €50 and was told my account was still at €0.

My assumption was that the payment had somehow failed.

I spent hours on the Internet and on the phone to figure out what had happened. In the end I had to go to a TIM service point to get help. The fellow there weren’t very helpful. I just had to call 119 to get help, but I had spent hours there the day before. Then he did the call and got me an operator, or rather an operatrix.

“Your account is empty” she told me. “I’ve just put in €50”. “Yes, but you still have to put in at least another €110 to use your phone”.

According to TIM I have run up a deficit on my prepaid account by using the Internet. I find it rather weird that I can make a deficit on a prepaid account, and frankly, it seems to be TIMs problem if they have delivered services I haven’t requested. I don’t see how I can have obligations beyond the amount I have prepaid.

The agreement on a prepaid account is exactly that I pay in advance, and TIM stops the services as soon as my account reaches €0. That way both parties are sure there will be no unpaid balance, no debts incurred and no money to collect afterwards. I’ve used TIM’s services on that assumption, that once the money was gone my connection would be shut down. That gave me a safety that expenses would run out of hand. TIM, on the other hand, has broken the agreement by not stopping their services as the money ran out, and I don’t believe they can hold me accountable for whatever they believe they have provided in excess of my payment.

The account ran into deficit because I had used the Internet on a “€20 for 100Mb traffic” deal, but that deal ran out without any warning whatsoever, and TIM then switched me over to their default “€6 per Mb” tariff. That ate the credit on my account in a split second, but they didn’t terminate my access as they should have. They just let me go on, until my account was over €156 in the red. According to TIM my “€20 for 100Mb” (€0.2/Mb) deal has in fact become a “€176 for 126Mb” (€1.4/Mb) deal, which is quite a difference.

Let this be a warning if you intend to use mobile Internet in Italy with TIM. You might not get the deal you bargain for, due to their slightly less than honest and transparent business methods.

TIM has lost a customer for good here.


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