Sprint: When All Else Fails Call The Consumerist Hotline

I was going insane the last two days. I had signed a renew contract for two years with Sprint in exchange for my first born a new Centro for each of the two lines on my acct. Lo and behold, the Centros arrive and I go to activate one while at work. Activation goes fine and the girl is more than helpful even though she has to do a couple of hoop jumps to get the phone working. I didn’t have time to activate the second one and decided to wait til that night at home. After being transferred to seven representatives, I asked for a supervisor and got Ben in the North Carolina call center who said he had found the problem and had submitted a ticket to get it taken care of and he would call back in three hours after the ticket was completed. You guessed it, no call back.

I called this morning and spoke with four rep’s before being transferred to a supervisor, whom I informed of the situation. She apologized again, and by this time, I’m sick of having people tell me that they’re sorry, I just want the problem fixed and the phone activated. She advises it will be 24-48 hours before they can do anything. I hung up on her and immediately called the media relations number.

I spoke with the receptionist and told him that I needed to speak to whomever would like to keep me from emailing all the details to the Consumerist blog and having it plastered on the internet and also advised that I didn’t think the Prez of the company would be happy with that happening. Miracles happened and axes came down. Did you know The Consumerist has its own monitor at Sprint? This is almost like having a personal assistant. Needless to say, I was transferred to executive customer service and the issue was resolved and my phone was activated in 15 minutes. Thank you, Consumerist, for being a voice with power for the people.

-Addison

As much as that makes us feel like awesome ninjas or something, we actually did know that Sprint has someone paying attention to the blog. They’ve set up a hotline especially for our readers and everyone can take advantage of it.

The Sprint Consumerist Hotline: (703-433-4401)

We always want to hear how the hotline worked for you, so be sure to drop us a note at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com if you use it!

(Photo:cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. BK88 says:

    There should be a new name for proven useless customer service, like idiot defense. If the customer can prove they aren’t an idiot, transfer them to someone who can actually solve an issue as easy as activation!

    The same goes for the customer. If the CSR cannot accurately describe a charge on a bill, then bam immediate esclation to level 2. (happened to me when my phone was stolen, the AT&T CSR said the “sent” was sending music, pics, etc to someone when it was really the code for internet browsing.)

  2. Mike_ says:

    Hey Sprint, why not treat all your customers like Consumerist readers? For every one of us that knows the hotline number, there are 100,000 more who get jerked around every time they call.

  3. Bay State Darren says:

    I asked for a supervisor and got Ben

    The editors here work as their CSRs? I guess it really is the Consumerist hotline. [What’s Meg’s extension number?]

  4. ogman says:

    @Mike_: Yeah, what he said!

  5. nursetim says:

    Not a good sign if he had so much trouble just activating the damn phones.

  6. alulim says:

    LOL, call me crazy but did you ever consider going to a store and explaining the situation? Seems to me like something didn’t go “perfect” and an American “flips” out…

  7. chili_dog says:

    Yet 1 more reason why CDMA handsets suck dead Yak ass.

  8. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @Mike_: but then it would just be regular CS with just a different number, and then outsourcing occurs and we end up at square one.

  9. camman68 says:

    @alulim: If you have ever been to a Sprint store – you would know that the CSR’s aren’t any better. I have a hybrid ic902 that is about 110 days old. The battery will only last for 4 hours. The store says that warranty issues are handled by Motorola. Motorola says they will replace the battery but I have to first purchase a new battery to prove that the problem isn’t the phone. They say my other option is to go to the Sprint store. The stroe says that warranty issues are handled by Motorola…….

  10. Beschizza says:

    The Hotline did not work for me. I was told by the lady answering the phone there that they would not do anything for me that would not be done by standard support. This was made clear to me up front, and I was repeatedly reminded of it as I continued with my call.

    (The problem was that I had moved home out of my “area” on an areawide plan, every call was 50 cents a minute, and Sprint wouldn’t change this unless I agreed to a new two-year contract. My choice was to give a free contract reset to sprint, massive $500 phone bills every month, or EFTs to get out)

  11. privatejoker75 says:

    I’ve had it with Sprint. About 6 months ago i signed up for paperless billpay to save $5 a month. Everything was fine for 2 months. Then i got my “email bill” 4 days after the bill was due. I called and got the late fee reversed.

    Then the next month i didn’t get an email but never noticed. Month 2 came along and i thought to myself “i haven’t paid Sprint for a while”. So i called and got another late fee reversed and verified that they have my correct email address. Later that night i got a phone call from Sprint saying my phone was being shut off due to non-payment.

    All in all they’re a joke. I’m going back to Cingular. I never had a dropped call with my freebie Cingular phone. I paid $200 for a Sprint phone and I have calls dropped more often than not.

  12. savvy999 says:

    My contract with Sprint– with whom I have been a customer for 4 years– is up in exactly FIVE days.

    After the birth of my children, it may become one of the happiest days of my life.

    Sprint monitor reading this: will you join me in having a drink to celebrate? Call me next Friday on my new Verizon phone, we’ll meet up.

  13. privatejoker75 says:

    @savvy999: I hear that. I’m anxiously awaiting February 22, 2008.

  14. dirty foreigner says:

    Not to be a douche, but didn’t the person end up emailing Consumerist about their problems anyway? Even if it is a success story, it still makes Sprint look incompetent, which they wanted to avoid.

  15. elf6c says:

    I am the Sprint customer with no issues. No dropped calls, phone still works 3 years later. Got a decent deal through their “big company discount” deal. I am currently out of contract, which explains Sprint’s strenuous efforts to get me to buy a new phone (and contract). I do need a new phone (old one is really beat up, cracked outer display ect).

    Still, none of the Sprint phones are very exciting. The music phones suck. The data phones are too big.

    The only phone I am interested in is the iPhone (all my music is in iTunes). And they don’t sell those. I do like the lower price, but the required service and going back to AT&T worry me.

    Your thoughts?

  16. rjflyn says:

    We have 3 Sprint phones right now 2 in contract one recently out, the base cost is not bad but its the extras that add up even with the so called discount from my employment. And I fancy myself a phone whore, @ELF6C I only with Sprint phones used SIMS too. I’m going GSM went those other 2 go out.

    R

  17. dale3h says:

    I just called the hotline to provide them with positive feedback for doing what is needed. I explained that I am not with Sprint, and I do not have a complaint, but I like what his company is doing by publicly providing a higher hotline directly to the executive office, that does NOT have recordings.

    He thanked me, saying that, “We need positive feedback like this, so thank you for taking your time to call in to provide us with just that. I will be sure to pass it along to the right hands.”

    But soon, that hotline will turn into just another CSR line due to high call volume.

    I’m sorry, but I like to give positive feedback where it is needed. When I have a very good experience with a CSR at any given company, if they’ve been more than helpful and it’s taken a bit of their time, I will usually ask to speak to their supervisor and provide the supervisor with intricate details about my great experience with his/her team member.

    If you ask me, it’s just not fair this day in age for only the difficult and uneducated CSRs to get reported, since that is, what, most of them?

  18. North Antara says:

    @dirty foreigner: But they ARE incompetent.

  19. LTS! says:

    I’m not a Sprint customer, once my contract is up with Verizon in 2 months I was going to shop around. Now I think I will just stay non-contract because I am really curious to see what becomes of the open Verizon network. I think I would encourage anyone who is close to switching to avoid locking in at the moment as the possibility (not PROBABILITY) is there for some interesting advances.

  20. savvy999 says:

    @privatejoker75: You will probably be covered under Sprint’s new prorated-ETF policy

    [consumerist.com]

  21. Cowboys_fan says:

    @Beschizza: I’m pretty sure moving out of your area allows you to cancel without ETF. Either way, they will cancel you if you make too many roaming calls.

  22. privatejoker75 says:

    @savvy999: i saw that and might actually see what they charge for canceling 2 months early on a 24 month contract

  23. chili_dog says:

    Don;t want a contract. T-mobile Flex Pay. Just like a regular post paid contract. But no contract. Only draw back is that you have to pay full price for the phones.

  24. Bryan Price says:

    My stepson’s Sprint account has been on military suspension since he’s been moved to Germany. After three years of carrying a credit balance, they randomly started the service again. He’s still in Germany. I got them called, really wanting them to just cancel the damn phone, got one CSR to turn the account off (who knows where the phone or the SIM card are today) but had to go to retentions (I’m guessing) to work out the credit. Which I got, and put the damn phone on hold for another two years. They say activation is automatic after two years. Of course, I remember putting it on hold the first time, and they said they wouldn’t turn it on until he told them to.

    I’m happy, no more bills, no more phone calls. Hopefully after two years, he’ll be back in the states.

  25. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    @alulim: I have to agree with you.

    I had a phone whos screen had died last week. I walked in (there was a 20 minute wait… its the holidays after all), talked to the CSR, he took the phone and handed it back to the repair people and told me to check back in 30-45 minutes (this was around 6:30pm).

    I came back about 20 minutes later, knowing I would have to wait and checked back in for pick up. Only about 10 minutes went by, and I was called to come up.

    I went to the CSR (a different one) and she said that the screen itself was bad, but they had it in stock and went ahead and replaced it. She looked at my info on her screen and said “Well, you have the insurance, so youre all set.” She handed me the phone and off I went, with a fully functional phone, in probably less time than many of these people claim to be waiting on hold on the phone.

    I think with the millions of people with phones, youre going to have a lot of poor customer service stories with every carrier, but they probably dont amount to an appreciable percentage overall. I know that isnt any consolation when YOU are the one with the problem, but I think its something to think about. In fact, one of the providers that people always seem to say is top notch was a nightmare for me to deal with… so go figure.

  26. gregr209 says:

    I had Sprint play the same I’ll call you back game with me when my son’s phone was stolen. The Sprint rep said, “I’ll call you back in 5 minutes” and of course NO CALL back was made. Sprint’s customer service is so bad right now I really don’t know how much lower it can go.

    Someone on here posted “why can’t Sprint treat all their customers like people from Consumerist” and I agree…come on Sprint get your act together! Enough is enough!

  27. twoply says:

    I’ve had my problems with Sprint in the past, but I’m going to stick up for them this time. I found out about a plan called Sprint SERO ([wiki.howardforums.com]). I signed up for a new contract recently and I couldn’t be happier. For $30 a month (plus taxes) I get:
    -500 anytime/unlimited night & weekend minutes
    -7PM Nights!
    -Unlimited text messages (including picture and video messages)
    -Unlimited data usage (on the super-fast EVDO network)
    -No roaming charges in the US (This allows me to switch my phone to roaming to get better service in certain areas)

    The only thing I would like to see from them is more variety in phones. You can’t beat the plan though.

    I’m also very impressed with Sprint in taking the lead in pro-rating ETFs and allowing plan changes without extending the contract (although it is only in the first 6 months). They know about their customer service reputation and things like the Consumerist Hotline are evidence that they ARE trying to fix it.

  28. musiqlover says:

    It is so funny sometimes to see American Consumers talk out of their butt. Instead of being so lazy, you should have dragged your butt down to a store. I own two Sprint stores (I am an independent dealer) and it is so amazing how consumers actually think that they are going to get a better deal by calling the carriers directly or by going on line. Believe me, the deals are not better. The only time that a phone is cheaper on line or via tele-sales than it is in the store, is due to the fact that it is inventory that Sprint is trying to get rid of. In other words, phones that Sprint does not want anymore because there is something better in their line-up now. In addition, there is a huge difference between going to a Corporate store and going to a dealer. 1.)The best store to go to is a Dealer Owned AND Operated store (why because that owner-operator knows exactly what his/her margins are and so often times he/she can and will do more haggling with the customer). 2.) Dealer Owned and Operated stores want customers NOT JUST sales. When I treat a customer right, they will come to me over and over again. The better I treat them the more business they will give me over the course of time. 3.) Corporate store reps are there for one reason and one reason only, they MUST make a quota, and no matter what it takes, they will try to attain that quota (and yes they will lie, steal, and cheat to meet their quota). 4.)Buy a phone from a Corporate Store, Telesales, Web-Site, and run into the problem that the customer on this post did and you will most likely WASTE HOURS & HOURS trying to undue it (go to a dealer that has been selling for more than 2 years and we know all the short cuts to get stuff done). I have been selling Sprint for more than 10 years and in all that time I have never spoken to the same Customer service rep more than once, and I call customer care an average of about 5 times/day. What does that tell you, dealers have more invested in taking care of their customers than 99.99 percent of all direct Sprint employees. Want to see why it is better to buy from a dealer: go into a Sprint Corporate store and hypothetically write down the name of every Sprint sales person that works in that store, then go back in 4-6 months and I guarantee you that 90% of those people will no longer be employed at Sprint. Carriers will hire just about anyone that has a heart beat and can pass a drug test. THEY DON’T CARE. They only want bodies in their stores. They put them out on the sales floor and only the strongest survive and even the best sales reps quit after a short while because the more they sell the higher their quota gets. It is a self defeating program. The more they do, the harder it is to make money, month over month. In addition, I have a relative that is a Customer Service representative at Verizon, and she will tell you point blank, their job is not to help customers, their job is to GET THEM THE HELL OFF OF THE PHONE. “Customer Service” is a misnomer. Customer service reps get bonuses based on the number of calls they handle per hour. The only way to get their number of “calls handled” up is to cut the call time down per call. The only way to do that is to tell you whatever it takes (sometimes within reason, but often not, as displayed by the post “we will call you back in three hours”). CALL BACKS NEVER, EVER, EVER take place. When you hear that, it is the kiss of death for your call, cuz that means some supervisor is watching the rep over their shoulder and telling them to get the hell off of the phone. Supervisor’s also get paid for having the team with the shortest call time and the most calls handled per hour by their team. Anyone with a conscience cannot stomach being a call center Customer Care Representative.

  29. fasdy says:

    @elf6c: I’m a Sprint customer and I too have never had any problems with them whatsoever, and I’ve been with them for over 6 years (same contract and same service since then, with unlimited texts and unlimited web). I’ve been wanting to upgrade my phone, but I’m holding out for the Google phones to come out. Sprint’s part of Google’s OHA, so they’ll be getting some Google phones late next year when they come out.

    I absolutely hate Sprint’s phone selections, they never have anything spectacular and that’s pretty much my only complaint about them. Well, that and their online store is insanely slow and buggy when I try to look at their current line.

  30. Cowboys_fan says:

    @musiqlover: Though I cannot really argue about Sprint, I can argue about your CSR theories. I was a T-Mobile CSR and it was NOT my job to get you off the phone. My job was to resolve your issues. A major part of my bonus was call quality(which in no way includes call time) and the customer service index(3rd party calls you back for survey on satisfaction of customer service offered). Call time played a small role in my bonus, but doing a good job for every customer was far more rewarding, both personally and financially. When I said I would call you back, I would. Call-Backs are handled normally by a different phone code thus does not hurt statistics. Call time is a measure based on inbound calls, unless they do outbound work as well. Also Supervisors do get team bonuses but again, quality and CSI were far more important then cph.
    Also, today I work as a tech rep for a dsl provider and I assure you, call time is meaningless there too. The worst thing that can happen to me is if I don’t resolve your issue(when I should have been able to) and you have to call back.
    My point is just b/c Sprint sucks, does not make it true for every other company.
    Admittedly there were plenty of calls where I want you off the phone, but that’s b/c I don’t like you. This is reserved for the total idiots and the screamers!

  31. chili_dog says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Thats why I, as a Sprint Dealer too, use T-mobile for my personal and corporate cell needs.

    And also why when calling Tmo customer care dosen;t result in the agent hanging up on you. BTW, the agents in business support will hang up on the dealers as well.

    Proving once again that CDMA products suck dead yak ass.

  32. Jenna says:

    Sprint is awful. Once I was comparison-shopping for a new cell phone, and I called Sprint because I was moderately interested in a phone I found online but wanted to ask some questions that weren’t answered on the website.

    The customer service woman answered my questions, but I wasn’t ready to make a purchase and I told her as much. Two days later I went on a two-week holiday.

    When I came back, I found a box from Sprint sitting on my porch. Inside was the cell phone I hadn’t ordered, and a bill (I fell for the old “Give me your ZIP code and address so I can see if there are any deals we can give you in your area…”). I’m sure the woman was not quite meeting her sales quota, and just figured if she sent me the phone I might just like it enough to use it and forget about the dodgy customer-ambush sales tactic.

    I called back and they sent me a return box and label, which arrived a few days later.

    I sent the phone back, unactivated and untouched.

    A few weeks later, the bills for my service plan start arriving, along with reminder notices about the bill for the phone. I have documented proof of the phone’s return, and every time I call customer service and explain the situation, they pretend to be willing to fix it — they say they’ll get on it and call me back within 48 hours. Then the following month I get another bill. After dozens of hour-long calls being thrown from the Finance Department to the Billing Department to Customer Service and back, a grand total of some $500 is finally sent to a collection agency. I am tearing out my hair.

    It turns out that because I’d been on holiday when the phone arrived, it had been in my possession for more than 14 days — so even though it had been sent to me in error, and never made or received a call, because it sat around for two weeks, I was being held liable. When the 200th rep I’d spoken to dropped this little piece of knowledge in his nastiest, most I-don’t-believe-you voice, I wanted to scream.

    It took a full month of calling a couple times a week from the time it had been forwarded to collection for the debt to be resolved.

    Earlier this week I found myself in the new cellphone market once more. I hesitatingly started typing “Sprint” into my browser search engine; then I stopped. Even though this all happened three years ago, Sprint has lost me for life. And I’ll tell anyone I can about the infinite number of mean, condescending, lazy, and clueless customer service reps they employ. They made a mistake and refused to fix it for months. I hope the bastards burn in hell.

  33. jaredbares says:

    I utilized the Consumerist line this weekend because I had been haggling with some CSR online and wasn’t getting anywhere, excuses about my account not being available because of billing software changes, etc.

    I left them a message, it being the weekend, and they just called me back. I was trying to get my number changed to the lowest possible plan without extending my contract since I have a phone through work.

    The corporate lady called me, set everything up for me in less than five minutes.

    Thanks Consumerist.

  34. Razta says:

    @elf6c: Get a palm centro off ebay. No contract extension.

    My business has 21 sprint lines. I have looked to switch to verizon, but the cost was too much. We just have a good deal with Sprint and the service works fine.

    ATT and tmobile are out of the question because I know thier data speeds are slower than sprints.

  35. gil0531ash says:

    Good luck to anyone dealing with Sprint!! I just got off the phone with an actual human being, (imagine that at Sprint!) and it was only because I called the Consumerist number provided. Our contract is supposed to expire in January, and this weekend we were told that it was extended until 09/25/2009. The girl at the Sprint store insisted that I must have signed another contract, because Sprint could never make a mistake like that. The people that work in my local Sprint store know me by my first name because I have been in there so many times complaining about my service. I have had a contract with Sprint for two years, and didn’t start receiving an actual paper bill until this past September. My bill was always wrong online as well, and my total would change hundreds of dollars within a matter of hours. However, every time I called to verify my address so that they could actually send me a bill, I was told to just pay the bill and trust that it was right….. it never was. Regardless, my contract ends in January, and I cannot be happier. I’m not holding my breath though, because I’m sure there will be problems come January.

    Good luck to all of you who will still have to deal with Sprint!

  36. Ben Popken says:

    a

  37. MTXR says:

    I have had a problem now for 6 months with a billing problem. I paid sprint and they say i didn’t. I send faxes and such and they still say i didn’t. They have cut my service off. Now i am sending the legal team. RELEASE THE HOUNDS!

    I wonder how fast they are going to fix this problem now?

  38. NOLLID78 says:

    After finishing a contract with then Cingular wireless, I decided to give Sprint a try. They were offering free Motorola Razors and no connection fees. How could I go wrong? Don’t fall for the shiny objects they dangle in your face! I too have been entangled in a struggle with Sprint, which has been ongoing for six months now. The plan I signed up for was the 1400 minute plan, which was supposed to be about $99.00 a month. I was a bit surprised when my first month’s bill arrived with a total of $455.00. When I called Sprint’s ace team of customer support “specialists” I was directed to the Sprint store from which I purchased the plan. When I went to the store they explained that their hands were tied and that I should take up my problems with customer support over the phone. Circle jerk after cicle jerk, this went on for a week. Every time I talked to someone they told me that this was part of my contract and I was responsible for the bill. The contract that I was given by the store was completely illegible, so I couldn’t tell just exactly what I had signed up for. I called Sprint once again, and asked for a readable copy of my contract. I was informed that they could not give me a copy of MY contract, so I asked to speak to a supervisor, that was also denied. I got tired of the run-a-round and got a lawyer. We sent back the phones, a copy of what was supposed to be my contract, and a letter explaining that I no longer had a contract with Sprint. Due to the contract’s illegible print,it was null and void. A month later I received a new bill for, this time, $849.00.After two more months the fine people at Sprint finally figured out what I had sent and called me back to settle the account. I was told that the whole thing could be settled for $149.00, at which time I happily declined to make any payment to a contract which was void from the beginning…. we’ll see how it goes.

  39. camman68 says:

    @alulim:

    Going to a Sprint store probably wouldn’t have helped. I bought a new hybrid from Sprint and they could not get it activated. No one knew why. I finally gave up on the CSR’s and drove to a store in Dallas (which is also a repair center). They were able to check the phone to make sure it wasn’t faulty but they were unable to activate it. They said this had to be done over the phone.