T-Mobile has some amazing deals, especially for prepaid wireless customers. One of those, which it’s understandably quiet about, is its “$30 per month unlimited web and text” plan, which has the first 5 GB at “up to 4G speeds.”
The problem? You have to either buy a new phone at Wal-Mart or activate your phone online to get that rate. And people who try to do that have been running into a bizarre error reported by T-Mobile support forum user “cbsmith,” where the sign-up form simply does not work. Once you get to a certain part you can’t get past, because it tells you “No auto pay calendar date selected. The following field is requried: Auto Pay amount,” but that field doesn’t actually exist.
T-Mobile forum user “ruke47” looked at the website’s code, and found that it’s “floundering around like mad looking for elements that don’t exist.” It tries to load a calendar to let you select when to automatically refill your service, but the calendar doesn’t exist on T-Mobile’s servers for it to load.
Other forum users suggest that this problem may only occur if you’re trying to port an existing number to T-Mobile’s network.
Is T-Mobile going to fix this soon?
Cbsmith reported this problem on April 30, 2013. I encountered it almost a year later. If I were waiting on T-Mobile to fix it, I would not hold my breath.
How do I fix it, then?
Two T-Mobile support forum users posted separate ways of fixing it.
Method 1: Call T-Mobile support
The first method was posted by forum user “aland_1,” who called T-Mobile support and gave a detailed account of just how that worked. They were directed to call “the standard activation number” at 1-877-778-2106, where they skipped the part about porting a number (since they already selected that option on the website) and then tried to register their SIM card three times before being connected with a live support representative.
In aland_1’s words, “they should be able to facilitate things from there.”
Method 2: Rewrite T-Mobile’s website
This method was proposed by forum user “dieselmachine ,” and it seemed to work for them and several other people. You use your web browser’s development tools to view the web page’s source code, and change it so that it works.
Isn’t that hacking?
No, because it doesn’t actually change anything on T-Mobile’s servers.
See, the web page is like a form they handed you to fill out. And it has some hidden fields you can’t see … including one that says you want to sign up for automatic renewal, which causes the error. If you have the right tools, you can uncheck that field before sending the form to T-Mobile.
Where do I get those tools?
Download this if you’re on Internet Explorer (desktop version only). If you’re on Chrome or Firefox, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect Element.”
Okay … now what?
Find a search box in the weird-looking console that just covered half of your browser window, and type in “autorefill” without the quotes. Hit enter, and skip through search results by clicking the arrows until you see a line with things like input type=”hidden” and value=”autorefill” on it.
Double click on the part there that says “autorefill” and delete it, so it says value=”” instead. After that, fill out the form as normal and click “continue” on the website!
Your mileage may vary
That method didn’t work for me … but it was because T-Mobile’s website was “unavailable” at the time. Unfortunately.