T-Mobile Deploys Link Condoms and Dumbs Down with Phone Only Customer Support

t-mobile logo tmobile

T-mobile is now using some type of ridiculous “spam guard” service for text messages that we are receiving on our phone.

Links are now about three times longer than a normal URL.

They include these ugly, unreadable codes that raise all types of privacy and security issues.

All the while, T-Mobile remains oblivious. Perhaps even misguided in thinking that these so called “link condoms” are going to be well received as the solution to the spam problem on the T-Mobile network.

Well, T-Mobile: Link condoms are impactful and are certainly not celebrated by users in our company! Not only that, but we do not appreciate the way in which you rolled this out.

In total silence with no notice or lead time of the change…

t-mobile text message spam guard linkprotect cudasvc

This started with our T-mobile business lines about two or three days ago. And continues to the present time.

At first, we thought our phones were hacked.

But all phones at the same time? Unlikely.

Then we thought T-Mobile was hacked again. Not too far fetched given T-Mobile’s recent troubles.

Anyway, T-Mobile started implementing this spam guard service without notifying us of a change to our account.

We spent hours trying to track down the issue.

The linkprotect.cudasvc.com domain name is registered to Barracuda Networks and having URL links rewritten like this means a privacy issue caused by T-Mobile’s short-sighted decision.

Domain Name: cudasvc.com
Registry Domain ID: 1597775951_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.corporatedomains.com
Registrar URL: www.cscprotectsbrands.com
Updated Date: 2017-05-13T05:04:22Z
Creation Date: 2010-05-17T22:53:55Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-05-17T22:53:55Z
Registrar: CSC CORPORATE DOMAINS, INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 299
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: domainabuse@cscglobal.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8887802723
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Barracuda Hostmaster
Registrant Organization: Barracuda Networks Inc.
Registrant Street: 3175 Winchester Blvd
Registrant City: Campbell
Registrant State/Province: CA
Registrant Postal Code: 95008
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4083425405
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +1.4083421061
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: hostmaster@barracuda.com
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Barracuda Hostmaster
Admin Organization: Barracuda Networks Inc.
Admin Street: 3175 Winchester Blvd
Admin City: Campbell
Admin State/Province: CA
Admin Postal Code: 95008
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.4083425405
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax: +1.4083421061
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: hostmaster@barracuda.com
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: Barracuda Hostmaster
Tech Organization: Barracuda Networks Inc.
Tech Street: 3175 Winchester Blvd
Tech City: Campbell
Tech State/Province: CA
Tech Postal Code: 95008
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.4083425405
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +1.4083421061
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email: hostmaster@barracuda.com
Name Server: a3.verisigndns.com
Name Server: a2.verisigndns.com
Name Server: a1.verisigndns.com
DNSSEC: unsigned

So what this means is that T-mobile through a third party (Barrcuda Networks i.e. linkprotect.cudasvc.com) is now tracking your links.

Now when you click a link, a third party database is checked and a record of your text message links are created.

That is T-Mobile taking liberties with your data, not disclosing the practice and not offering a way to opt out!

So much for T-Mobile’s privacy policy.

Good luck T-Mobile defending yourselves against any wisenheimers who want to file a complaint with the government or lawsuit in the courts for alleged privacy and/or security incursions by T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is really opening up a can of worms with respect to the implications to privacy and the possibility of hacking and sharing of customer data with undisclosed third parties.

Seriously T-Mobile, where is the update to your privacy policy??

Where is the notice of the changes to your privacy practices related to users who are impacted by this “helpful” link condom service?

We called T-mobile late last night, but the outsourced support was clueless about the issue. And somewhat annoying. So we just hung up and thought that we would try again during normal business hours.

We looked for a way to report the issue to T-mobile on their website. And while the website says you can send a message, their preferred option is to call T-Mobile.

The only other option we could find was to help T-mobile generate free content on their website “community”. Which is basically a self-service tech support forum where amateurs and other clueless people with nothing better to do can sit around chatting, giving bad advice and waste time. The community website is very corny and goofy looking. A wannabe social media website that is highly regimented and difficult to navigate.

So we reluctantly called this morning and spoke with one gentleman that was quite pleasant. However he was not aware of the issue. And very politely offered to call us back after researching it on his end. He wanted to schedule a time to follow up call.

As nice as he was and as good as he was at his job, who has time for that?

We just wanted a way to report the issue and go on about our business while T-Mobile rethinks their unprofessional product release of harmful features that were not expected, requested or desired.

We find it quite presumptuous of T-mobile to think they have a right to keep us on the phone and help them report/fix their own problem.

We have no problem opening a trouble ticket, but according to the second rep we spoke to in the morning (she was extremely polite and professional as well) this is no longer possible.

Not only is T-Mobile using a “link condom” on our received text messages, T-Mobile has erected an impenetrable wall between their customers and T-Mobile tech support.

And the whole time, T-Mobile is expecting its customers to endure being placed on hold, transferred and called back. All because the customer was trying to help them with their business.

A fine reward, indeed.

Which is a business model that is so 90s.

After many years as a T-Mobile customer, it may be time for greener pastures.

Making it harder for customers to report problems is not a company that fits into our business model.

And expecting customers to endure long support sessions on the phone. Well, T-Mobile, we have our own business to run.

T-Mobile created the problem and T-Mobile should take all the time they want to fix it.

We don’t.

And we shouldn’t have to invest any more time than reporting the issue.

Otherwise we are victimized twice.

We did not expect much from outsourced T-Mobile customer support. So no further comment on that interaction.

However, we wanted to emphasize again that the two customer service reps we spoke with (during business hours) are five star. And we know that they are doing their job and were trained as true professionals.

Our complaint was the manner in which this spam guard, “link condom” feature was released.

We are also complaining about our inability to open a help desk or trouble ticket that allows us to send information to T-Mobile without all the hassle of trying to explain a technical issue and wait endlessly on the phone.

A press release, recently implemented T-Mobile’s Scam block is described as an act of benevolence for customers and a way to secure the T-Mobile network and guaranteeing our “safety”: https://newsroom.t-mobile.com/news-and-blogs/scam-block.htm.

Well no.

Just no.

Implementing this globally without notice or a way to opt out is beyond comprehension.

UPDATE:

While we were writing this blog post, we received two unwanted calls from T-Mobile reps trying to induce us into investing even more time in helping T-Mobile to further diagnose and report the problem.

sorry charlie

Sorry, Charlie.

We have already done that after investing many hours root causing the issue on our end. Which ends up being T-Mobile being irresponsible in pushing out a change without fully assessing impacts.

Just hurl and wait for what happens.

Hey we are learning here right?

Who cares if we affect and confuse customers!

We can get them on the phone for free to pick their brains.

Sorry.

My invoice to you for my wasted time is in mail.

I will expect payment in 30 days.

Yeah, right!

We spent a number of hours confirming the issue, but there is no longer a way to easily report technical issues like we can with other companies. With T-Mobile we used to be able to create trouble tickets without having to explain technical issues to customer support.

And besides, wouldn’t T-Mobile want to have the issue explained by the customer (in their own words)? Instead of being colored by someone that works at T-mobile customer support or T-Mobile technical support?

In our business, hearing directly from the customers (i.e. “the horse’s mouth”) with a written record in their own words is pure gold.

Seems that this new approach to dumb down customer support is a veiled cost reduction plan by T-Mobile. We think that this is going to backfire. And we believe that there is still a wireless provider that we can find who understands the value of listening to their customers and providing as many ways to report problems as possible…

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