Sprint's Special Low Price For One Month Of Mobile Broadband: $14,062.27

Krystyl signed up for Sprint’s $59.99 unlimited Mobile Broadband plan and isn’t sure why she just received a bill for $14,062.27.

She writes:

My name is Krystyl. I recently signed up for Sprint, to utilize their wireless broadband card, where I can use the internet on my laptop virtually anywhere where there is a wireless signal. I signed up for the unlimited $59.99 plan, at which I had 30 days to keep or cancel the service. Within the first week of having the service, the card that was sent to me no longer worked. I called to cancel the service, and the gentlemen I spoke with told me that they didnt want to lose me as a customer, so they would drop my service for half the cost and send me a new card. I figured, why not, this is still within my 30 day trial. They sent me a new broadband card, and it the speeds it gave me were in a 14k modem speed, which is about a dial up connection speed or slower these days. I called Sprint for them to tell me to take the card to the store and do an instore return. The nearest store they sent me to that allowed returns was 25 minutes away from where I live. Once I got there, the store told me they could not return the package because the upc code was different than that they carry in the store. The next day I called sprint for them to tell me to give me a run around. After 2 hours on the phone, I finally told them I wanted to cancel the service. At which they did on December 10th.

I checked my mail today to recieve another bill from sprint, for $14,062.27.

Sprint’s website advertises two Mobile Broadband offers: an unlimited plan for $59, and a 40 MB plan for $39, with each additional KB costing $.001. The cheaper plan reassures subscribers: “(Maximum monthly charge $99.99 on the 40MB plan.)”

If Sprint’s customer service representatives say anything short of “Ha! Gotcha! Now let’s fix this,” then call Sprint’s nifty executive customer support hotline for Consumerist readers, at: (703) 433-4401.

Largest Sprint Bill Ever [YouTube]

Comments

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  1. faust1200 says:

    And the reason you need to promote your website at the end of this video is????

  2. trinkagen says:

    you probably will be able to get this fixed but if you read the small print it does say data usage without a package(when you cancel before 30 days you did not fulfill the month to have a plan) is 3cents per kb. it also says that usage is calculated on a per kilobyte basis and rounded up. Call and call and call again. Don’t scream and you probably can get it fixed but there is your explination

  3. podulator says:

    It’s a viral ad, she’s an actress, and it’s likely that a Sprint competitor is responsible. Especially the disclaimer “I didn’t make this up, it’s not fake, I’m just showing it to you as a joke”. That sort of awkward speech can only come from someone’s marketing department – no real person speaks like she did.

  4. jamar0303 says:

    (I’m assuming that Sprint’s charging her for “abuse” of their unlimited service)Seriously, why can’t the providers be upfront with their limits. Even here in friggin’ China I’m told what my plan limit is (BTW- I get 50MB/month for less than 1/4 what Sprint charges for 40MB/month – seriously, Sprint is a ripoff). If it’s not unlimited then tell the buyer what the limit is.

    Oh, and Sprint in general just seems to suck. THeir phones are decent enough, but their customer service is a dark abyss that I never want to go through again. T-Mobile does far better.

  5. deepsprint says:

    Her plan is misconfigured. The reason this stuff happens is that Sprint’s back end systems are complex and accounts are often set up by poorly trained employees and stuff gets broke. Way too often.

    She’s being charged 3 cents a kilobyte instead of the unlimited data a mobile broadband plan would normally have. It’s hell to get something like this fixed because adjustments are a metric expressed as a “cost per save” at Sprint Account Services and managers will do they can to avoid having to adjust this because they don’t want their cost-per-save going through the roof. She’s get transferred around as everyone is looking to dump this on someone else. But with the publicity I expect this one will get fixed quickly.

    Lesson to new Sprint CEO: Empower your managers to fix problems without worrying about their adjustment costs. Train your employees better and program something into your billing systems that flag unusually high bills for automatic review so these things get fixed before they show up on YouTube.

  6. weggles90 says:

    How can they say “Unlimited” for 59.99, or what ever they charge, and then when you use it charge more? Is that not false advertising?

  7. bsankr says:

    Too annoying to listen to the whole thing, sorry.

  8. Sir_Blingington says:

    Yeah, this couldn’t have happened to a more annoying person.

  9. stevebmd says:

    I now have (a little) more sympathy for the account support people at Sprint’s call center. Can you imagine listening to this cr*p all day? And she’s probably on the lower end of the annoyance scale.

  10. jaredharley says:

    JustinTV was the same place that “300 page iPhone bill” video came from.

  11. jaredharley says:

    @podulator: I agree – JustinTV is where that 300 page iPhone bill video came from back in August.

  12. ephill says:

    she signed up for the 59.99 broadband service – BUT she canceled the service. when you sign up for a contract, you agree to pay for the service – if you cancel you pay per use in this case per kb. people need to read EVERYTHING before they complain. you signed up, used their service, and agreed to the change. i think she should be stuck with it.

  13. bertram says:

    there was a 30 day trial though. She cancelled within the month after she started the service. Sprint is just incompetent like the rest of the big companies. This kind of technology has not even peaked its existence in this nation yet. If you do know a lot about how this technology works, educate your peers so situations like this could be prevented.

  14. jbalsle says:

    On Think Progress someone asked me if people in general were inherently ‘good’. I think EPHill just added to my ammunition of why I think people are not inherently good. The contract likely stated a cancellation fee of around $200 for early termination of their service. The service also did not work as advertised. So, EPHill, being the kind of person he is, decides that this woman should owe 14k for the pleasure of poor service she did not want.

    Nice work there, EPHill. I’m glad there are pro-consumer groups out there…

  15. WTRickman says:

    If my math is not erroneous – at 3 cents per kilobyte, it would only take about 460 megabytes of download to get to 14 thousand some-odd dollars….

  16. Trauma_Hound says:

    @ephill: I think you should have to pay 5 cents a kb for your internet service.

  17. DrGirlfriend says:

    @jbalsle: I think most of it is that some people get off on being the hardass.

  18. coren says:

    @WTRickman: Sounds right to me.

    I’m going just by the article, not watching the video…but they charge you for ending your trial period early? She already paid for the trial it seems (or would be billed 60 bucks at the end, either way), and had an option to end it after 30 days.

    Ending it early somehow incurs a fee, even though you’re paying for the whole month? Am I getting this right?

  19. Nighthawke says:

    Two different providers offer EVDO broadband service: Sprint and verizon. What has probably happened here is that she accidentally got connected to the verizon tower in roam mode. Then the roam data rates for both providers kick in.

    *sighs* Best shot to prevent this from happening is to LOCK out the card’s roam feature in the connection manager. I’m sorry the occurred to her, and hope that Sprint will see the light and clear up this goof.

  20. Parting says:

    Since when 40MB = UNLIMITED ??????????

    40MB is NOTHING!!! It’s couple of You Tube videos or 400 web pages.

    What a ripoff.

  21. Parting says:

    Seriously, here in Quebec, Canada, Telus (similar to Verizon in US) offers unlimited plan 70$/30 days or 60$/300 MB .

    I can understand where ”unlimited” means couple of Gb, but 40 Mb? That’s false advertisement.

  22. coren says:

    @chouchou: I thought the article said that the unlimited plan cost 20 more than the 40mb plan?

  23. t0fu says:

    Those aircards suck. They claim they are ‘mobile broadband’ but in reality they connect on average about 100kbps

    They consider anything above 56k to be broadband, but don’t expect to see DSL or Cable speeds.

  24. Balisong says:

    I quit reading at “Krystyl.” Ok, not really. But why is she writing if she hasn’t even contacted Sprint about this bill yet? Or did I miss something?

  25. shades_of_blue says:

    Cell phone plans piss me off, I think all internet usage plans should be unlimited. Or at least have the lowest monthly usage set to 1GB, not this 5MB 40MB bullsh*t. It’s far too easy to go beyond those ridiculously small size limitations. With more TV stations going digital and Youtube being more frequently used I’m surprised these unrealistic bills do not happen more often.

    The FCC or some other government entity should stick their noses up the asses of all cellular phone companies, for this type of scam. 450+MB = 14grand WTF?!?!

    Also, this naive girl should have asked what type of early cancellation fees or additional charges would be had for canceling during her grace period.

  26. ceriphim says:

    I couldn’t watch more than 20 seconds of it. Far, far too annoying.

  27. ephill says:

    @JBALSLE

    She agreed to it when she activated her service. OR she should have been told. When you buy something, read all of the terms and conditions you agree to. You agree to pay for pay-per-use if you cancel. People need to ask what they’re getting into.

  28. BugMeNot2 says:

    agreed that this is viral marketing and fake.

  29. 7j6cei says:

    UM.. this is total crap… even at .30 cents per min, it adds up to about 781 hours on-line, or about 32 days straight WITH NO DOWN TIME.

    TOTAL CRAP STORY, TOTAL CRAP VIDEO!

    I would shure love for her to post a copy of her bill online to prove her claim.

  30. Namilia says:

    Agree that this is fake. Retraction coming in 3..2..1..

  31. coss3n says:

    If it were really viral marketing, wouldn’t they have hired someone who spoke coherently? I can’t understand a single word out of her mouth.

  32. Copper says:

    @7j6cei: Not impossible, not an easy feat, but definitely possible by most people.

    Assuming she was getting 14kb speeds at all times, to rack up a $14,000 bill at $.001 per kb, it would take about 9 hours per day of internet usage, which really isn’t that unthinkable. I know I spend an average of 8 hours per day online now that I’m a full time student with a part time job.

  33. Copper says:

    @Copper: P.S. If she left her computer on while downloading a video, song, etc. it could easily add up without her actually being on the computer.

  34. bobbiac says:

    Typo!

    @Copper: Unlimited broadband means no extra fees within acceptable bandwidth constraints (see: no mass torrenting, downloading at ISDN rates 24 hours a day for a few weeks in a row)

  35. bobbiac says:

    Also .. Isnt this the person that got the 700 page iphone bill?

  36. Roknine says:

    @bobbiac: No, that was Justine: [tastyblogsnack.com]

  37. Copper says:

    @bobbiac: This was in response to a comment made…that the customer might have been charged either a $.03/kb fee since she terminated the contract, which was just one explanation for why the bill would be so huge…

  38. jsemtp says:

    she’s faking it all, why did she say so many times that it is real, and not fake, give me a scanner and i can print a bill to say anything

  39. goodkitty says:

    What I noticed was how the ‘amount paid’ section has room in it for a million digit. Wow. So somewhere, there are enough people cutting a check for phone service over $1m every month that Sprint has special forms for it. If I (as Sprint) had call center customers racking up that kind of a charge I’d feel weird just sending them a bill and hoping it gets paid.

    @jbalsle: I think people are inherently good, the overwhelming majority of the time. However when you put groups of people together then suddenly people feel justified in being wicked or feel compelled to follow the party line (even if they know it’s wrong). Check out the famous Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram’s shock study. The same thing comes into play with crowd psychology when nobody will help a person in danger if there are other people around who may do so first. I guess the bottom line is people, while inherently good, simply do what they’re told, so one bad apple really does ruin the whole barrel.

  40. Zombietime says:

    Is she in any porn videos? I’d watch those otherwise who cares.

  41. Balisong says:

    @coss3n: If this were really viral marketing, wouldn’t they have hired someone with a real name instead of Ms. Mxyzptlk here?

  42. razdigital says:

    data rates are insane, that’s why I got a wifi phone, and I have one of those cheap linksys routers which can plug into any open ethernet port. Free wifi everywhere you go. Allows me to chat how ever much I want vist what ever site I want and make skype calls.

  43. MrEvil says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if she racked that up roaming. Data roaming is TERRIBLY expensive. Which is why I have my PUSH e-mail set to check once a day and data roaming turned OFF on my MotoQ.

    However, I have to say that Clearwire’s new PC Card is alot more expensive than Sprint’s aircard service. Clearwire will either lease you the card for $7/mo OR you buy it for $230. Then if you want a plan with no contract it’s $80/mo, $60/mo with 2 year contract. I ended up snagging a Sprint Internal aircard for my Dell off eBay for $65 and can get an unlimited data plan from Sprint for $50/mo through my employer’s discount.

  44. korbeau says:

    I find this interesting since I am having similar issue w/ sprint. Althought my bill is not 14000$ I was charged 200$ for the month of Nov. and then 240 for the month of december.

    I have been in a battle with sprint over these charges for almost 3 months now. What happend was I have a treo 700p and on my plan I am supposed to have UNLIMITED internet usage w/ the “vision power plan” somehow that vision powerplan as well as my unlimted text plan *which i pay 15$ a month extra for* was removed from my plan after a major update they did w/ their online account management site. *I would like to know if this sort of unauthorized change would opt me out of my 2year agreement*

    But after both of those services were removed from my plan i was charged .03 a KB for internet usuage which capped out at 75$ for me. and then 50$ in texts in Nov and 45$ in texts for december.. I do a lot of text messaging and they charged me .20c a text…. I have as of today I ahve been re-imbursed for only 45$ worth of texts. And I am still fighting for the remainder of the money.. Sprint Sucks go w/ verizon or any other service.

  45. codiemarie says:

    As a human being, I feel bad for this girl. As a Sprint Nextel retail employee, I must say that I deal with billing issues every day on the job. Yes, Sprint messes up. No it’s not a perfect operation. But I will also say that for as many mistakes Sprint has made, they are always there to fix them. Believe me, I know. Obviously her plan was not set up properly, in which case Sprint will back date her plan. Obviosly she only got 14k because she was outside of Sprints digital service area (I can draw this conclusion because she was told to go to store that was 25 minutes away from her house, and it might not have even been an actual corporate store!). If she went to an actual corporate store such as the one I work for, there would have been no problem returning the device as long s it didn’t come from a third party vendor such as RadioShack, Best Buy, ect.
    I assume her plan rolled to 3 cents p.k.d. and that is why her bill was so high. Customer Service WILL fix that! They are not as evil as she makes them out to be, (although I have delt with some pretty bad ones, in which case you hang up and call back, and like the comment below, be nice! do not scream at them!)

  46. MTXR says:

    Talk to your attorney general. Things might actually get done this way.

  47. doox says:

    I have sprint, they messed up my account immediately after signing up with them also. Took me about 10 hours on the phone over the course of a couple weeks for them to finally get their heads out of their butts and fix the problem. Plus the coverage here for sprint is awful, regret ever signing up with this service.

  48. Scortch says:

    Very annoying person. I feel sorry for the customer service people taking her calls.

    Yet another JustinTV fake?

    **IF** it is true, read your contract next time.

  49. Machete_Bear says:

    But guyz, it wuz 4 her viewerz roFlxLol!!1

  50. Clones123 says:

    @goodkitty – I hadn’t noticed before but my Sprint invoices -DO- have enough blank spaces in the “Amount Paid” section for a million digit. Yikes!

    As a Sprint customer myself, I find this story to be completely credible. The foibles and missteps by Sprint Customer Service as described closely parallel those that I have encountered myself in the 10 weeks that I have been a Sprint customer. Sprint’s network (missed calls, dropped calls, poor signal) and customer service (continual screw ups, 10 different CSR’s give you 10 different answers, any support call involves multiple transfers) are stunningly bad. Sprint does however have SERO plans with unlimited data and texting for as little as $30 a month which, for me, is worth the aggravation to get my accounts settled in. After what I figure to be 3 months of B.S., I’ll be set for 2 years on an unbeatable plan that I’d never otherwise be able to afford. For me, somewhat unreliable service at a very low price is better than reliable service that I can’t afford to buy.

  51. spaz-a-lot says:

    This is absoulutely insane and not the first time companies have done this. Point in fact my phone company sent me a bill once I believe for 500 dollars in long distance calls turns out it was from the previous owner of the phone not to mention haflf the harrassing calls I got for the previous owner including one from a sheriffs department saying that this person was being giving a final warning to surrender. It took me three months to clear this up. I pitty you Krystal because I can see this taking you forever to fix and as usual it is the companies mistake but you won’t here them say that!

  52. AlphaTeam says:

    Yeah, I’ve had these ridiculous bills before. It was also for data and it was a a laptop card from the old At&T (Blue). After one month of use, I was charged around $2k for downloading too much. Yeah, except I have unlimited bandwidth which was on my account. They said I had to pay it anyways, but I would be credited the amount. What a pack of lies. I didn’t think twice before I bought it, so I ended up having them credit be $83 a month for service. How long does it take for all that to run out? 2 years.

    After canceling my service, they finally sent me a check for the lump sum.

  53. Xapa says:

    what a nightmare!

    [ihatesprint.wordpress.com]