Sprint Will Cancel Service For CDMA Customers Who Roamed 50%+

Sprint will cancel the accounts of CDMA customers who “excessively” use roaming, starting March 15, 2007, according to a company document provided by an internal Sprint source.

Starting February 26, 2007, CDMA customers who roamed more than 50% during either November and December, or December and January (we’re not quite sure which, sorry!) will receive a mailed notice that their service will be canceled.

Graciously, Sprint won’t charge these customers an early termination fee.

For some customers, the cancellation will come as welcome release from Sprint. For others, it will be an annoyance and inconvenience.

So what of Sprint’s promises of “free roaming” or “roaming included?” Sorry folks, the all-you-can-eat buffet has a three-plate limit.

A source inside Sprint says,

The true irony is that during the summer when we stopped waiving ETFs for moving to an area outside of Sprint coverage, we would instruct specialists to offer a roaming package as a solution for no coverage… And now we are coming back and saying, “But roaming-included plans do not allow for the customer to live outside of Sprint coverage”

Full copy of the Sprint internal document announcing the change, inside…


Sprint Enforces Terms and Conditions for Excessive Roamers
Communication to customers for excessive roaming which violates Terms and Conditions of Roaming Included Service Plans

Summary: Communication to customers for excessive roaming which violates Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of Roaming Included Service Plans and results in Sprint’s enforcement of T&Cs through termination of service.
Specialists: All CDMA
Customers: CDMA customers identified with excessive roaming use.
Effective Date: 2/5/07
Details:

• Mail date of customer notification: 2/26/07
• Cancellation of customer account: end of bill cycle on or after 3/15/07
• CDMA customers were identified with excessive roaming usage which violates T&Cs specific to Roaming Included Service Plans.

Identified customers were notified by letter of the following:

    • Level of roaming usage is not permitted by the terms of the Roaming Included Service Plans
    • As a result, Sprint wireless service (and any other lines of service associated with the same Roaming Included Service Plan) will be terminated at the end of the next billing cycle that ends on or after 3/1507.
    • Impacted customers will not be charged an Early Termination Fee (ETF)
    • Impacted customers may be eligible for the Sprint Phone Buyback Program

Requirements:
• Customers identified with excessive roaming use

    • Over 50% for 2 or more consecutive months.

• Customers who received notification of their excessive roaming use will be impacted.

Actions:
• Confirm information within the Customer Notification Letter
• Do not attempt to save these customers.
• Do not transfer these customers to Account Services to save.
• Do not re-activate the cancelled account for these customers.
• Do not establish a new account for these customers.
• Direct these customers to information on the Sprint Phone Buyback Program at http://www.sprintbuyback.com
• If customer’s final invoice is not correctly pro-rated.

    • Follow standard procedures to properly final their account

Suggested Scripting:

‘Mr/Ms Customer, I do apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. This is a final decision by Sprint and I have been given no ability to reverse the actions outlined in the letter you received. I can tell you that Sprint offers a program to buy back eligible phones and you can learn more about that at http://www.sprintbuyback.com. Again, I apologize that I cannot assist you any further at this time.’

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. ph7 says:

    On the other hand, an easy way to get out of your Sprint contract – just hit a roaming zone and rack of 12 hours of non-prime roaming time.

  2. NeoteriX says:

    Jesus Consumerist… With all the stories about Verizon, Sprint, etc. Where does one turn to for an actually respectable cell phone company?

    I’ve been using Sprint for the past several years, but it seems like they’ve been getting pretty desperate to pinch costs… Where should I jump ship to?

  3. shoegazer says:

    Just go for a prepaid cell phone if all the billing and contract war stories scare you. It costs slightly more and you’ll have to cough up your own phone, but it seems to me prepaid users have a lot less hassle with reloads and customer service.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    Does anyone have a copy of the Sprint contract? I’m curious to know how they’d go about doing this (legally). Things like this aren’t friendly for us road warriors who practically live on the road. It’s not the end-user’s fault that the cell co’s don’t have towers where they plan on using the phone. Even within your “home” coverage area, there’s plenty of tower sharing/roaming going on.

  5. mikesfree says:

    So if you want out and dont want to pay an ETF, you should use your phone to roam. That is easy.

  6. thejokell says:

    This has been part of the Sprint contract (and every other provider’s contract) for years. Why is it all of a sudden news???

  7. I’m not sure I understand why its news either. Cingular does this as well. Its a simple business decision. These telcos are in it to make money. When they have to pay roaming fees on 50% or more of your calls, chances are that they aren’t making money.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    Because now they’re actually going to act upon it.

  9. Chairman-Meow says:

    I’ll have some of that brown goo with a touch of the white goo on top. I think i’ll skip seconds on the lumpy yellow goo for now.

    And yes, I am speaking about Sprint/Nextel service in case you are wondering.

  10. Ass_Cobra says:

    Shoegazer has got it correct.

    Not to sound like Gwyneth Paltro, but the Euros are way ahead of us in this respect. Their model is generally buy your own equipment and either flexible contracts or prepaid. It’s loads cheaper. I don’t know if given how compact Europe is geographically it’s cheaper to run a cell provider there, but they seem to have that shit cracked while we’re flailing around over here.

  11. br549 says:

    Rowdy, that’s not really their model. And it isn’t loads cheaper. You’re lucky if its cheaper at all.

    Orange UK? 20 cents a minute to other Orange mobiles, 70 cents a minute if you call “cross net” (roaming), 40 cents a minute to a fixed line and non-Orange mobiles, 20 cents per text! And don’t forget, incoming calls aren’t free, the caller pays, so if you call within Orange, it’s 20 cents a minute to the caller, 20 cents a minute to the callee.

    Maybe I’ll just pay $60/month for 325 anytime minutes and 300 evening and weekend minutes (and 150 text messages). Note if you call a landline, its 25 cents a minute, even for “free” minutes. And 25 cents each time you answer your phone! Don’t forget 70 cents a minute roaming fees.

    On Orange, a Sony-Ericsson W810i is free with a monthly contract but its $300 on pay-as-you go. So they subsidize equipment too.

    The reason people say cell phone service is so much cheaper in Europe is because their landline service is so expensive in Europe that it makes cell phone calls seem cheap.

    In reality, in general you’re getting a pretty good deal in the US on cell phone calls.

  12. Beckie says:

    Cingular does the same thing. We need something to protect the consumer against these rip off cell phone companies. My advise is read your contract very well and be sure to keep a copy of it. Cingular sucks just like all the others.