Sprint Asks for $25 to Help Parents Track Lost Child

Make no mistake: We think that Sprint refusing to help freaked out parents locate their carjacked baby is awful. Whether Sprint’s policy states that customers need to pay a $25 fee to subpoena the information or not, an exception should probably have been made. (Sprint has stated that emergency procedure was not followed.)

But we can’t help but feel a little empathy for the CSR who took that call from distressed parents, who had to make an on-the-spot decision whether to break form and give out the information or to stick to protocol to protect customer information from a scammer.

What’s the right answer in a situation like this? We certainly don’t want our location information given out to anyone who can reasonably emulate hysterics, but the traditional subpoena process already established between phone companies and the police is obviously too slow.

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  1. Velociraptor says:

    I call BS.

    Having owned a cell phone store, and worked with the cell phone CSR’s extensively, that’s bogus. There are plenty of controls in place to ID the person on the phone with the CSR as legitimate to access the account info–i.e. the person on the phone is the one paying the bills!

    By the logic of the CSR, then the phone can’t be turned off if reported lost or stolen.

    There are also ways to give multiple people access to the account even if it’s in a single person’s name. My account is set up this way so my SO can pay the bill if I happen to be travelling.

    =V=

  2. Smoking Pope says:

    Hey, for an extra $5.00, you can have Sprint come over to your house and kick your dog too.

  3. SteveW says:

    I agree with Velo, there are multiple ways to ID someone to a reasonable degree, besides if nothing else the CSR could likely have gotten a manager to OK it.

    I wouldn’t doubt that this sort of thing is exactly what the CSR should have done per Sprints emergency procedures.

    Sadly, sounds a lot like general CSR apathy to me.

  4. airship says:

    I don’t know if this is so much apathy on the CSR’s part as much as it is a training issue. Odds are that the CSR had it beat into his brain that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES could he provide a service unless it was paid for, without any emphasis on emergency procedures, which were probably glossed over, if covered in training at all. More likely they were hidden in fine print in the back of a binder on a high shelf in the back of a storage room.

  5. SteveW says:

    With a sign stating “Beware of Leopard”

    True, but it is likely that CSRs manager would have known the procedures. Besides there are just certain cases that you have to at least ask for some input on.

  6. Plaid Rabbit says:

    Hey, wow. Beat up on the CSR. Have any of you blaming the CSR right now ever *done* phone customer service?

    I do. I do it for a bank, and believe me, the problem is a training issue, as airship said. However, as much as most of us with a cynical outlook towards corporations would like to think that it’s greed, it’s not. It’s worry about liability – both for the company, and the individual who wants to keep their job.

    People who break the law often do not keep anything sacred, as I have experienced with my own ears working in a call center for the last 5 years. Knowing this, put yourself in the possition of the CSR: If you worked a 9-5 everday, dealing with this information, and had rent and a car payment that depended on you having that job, and *then* was given a quick-think situation in which you had to either go with your gut or follow the rules, you tend to think how the company tells you to think. At minimum, they can’t fire you for following the rules.

    Having said that, I also agree that the proper method to handle something like this would be to immediately get it to a supervisor who can make a decision like that.

    But blaming this on a low-level shit digger for being apathetic? Oh, come on. Don’t call foul on some poor shmuck for thinking how the company tells them to.

  7. whytee says:

    This sounds like Sprint-style CSR apathy. Sprint has the worst customer service I have ever encountered. If the company wasn’t so adept at getting suckers to sign contracts, it would have no customers. That said, as soon as my contract runs out, i will be running far far away from Sprint.

  8. Sprint does suck, but as the victim of identity theft, I appereciate the added controls.
    The CSR should have asked their manager and not gone along with a form reply, as it sounds like they did.
    That OR when clients receive their cel phone contract they should be told the process of divulging the GPS info.

  9. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    From the story, I can’t really tell how big of a part the $25 plays in it. It sounds like Sprint would have been happy to accomodate if the family comes up with $25. If that’s the case (someone correct me if I’m wrong) it seems a little bit crazy that the family wouldn’t just pony up and worry about the $25 once they have Jr. back.

  10. mrscolex says:

    Good point Rowdy, can you imagine the parents:

    Sprint rep: Sir, I’m sorry but you have to pay 25$ to get that information

    Husband: This is an outrage! *yells to wife* Junior’s gonna have to wait sweety, sprint wants 25 dollars.