Sprint's Company Policy Is To Rip You Off

Sprint has been charging a TortDeform blogger’s family $6 a month in local Texas taxes for the past three and half years, but the problem is the family hasn’t lived in the Lone Star State for three and half years. In addition, Sprint has also been charging local Nevada taxes where they now live. When the family asked for a refund, Sprint said they would refund only the last three months, because of “policy.” The blogger’s dad is an attorney, and plans on taking the issue to court. Oops, looks like Sprint picked the wrong partner to tango with.

Sprint: “It’s our policy” to break the law [Tort Deform]

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  1. DMDDallas says:

    Court? Don’t you mean mandatory binding arbitration?

  2. chipslave says:

    so they didn’t notice that for the last 3.5 years they were paying taxes they didn’t need to?

    You would think that a lawyer would go over his bills with a fine tooth comb.

  3. @DMDDallas: Since it’s a tax issue, it’s probably the state which will go after them.

  4. i had the same problem with verizion. i have a texas cell phone # but now i live in kentucky. i’m keeping my texas number.

    so i had to change my “primary place of use (ppu)” which is different than your mailing address. so now i only pay the correct kentucky tax on my cell bill. and it’s much cheaper than texas!

  5. BugMeNot2 says:

    did you try the consumerist hotline? or the retention department? i guarantee they will do a simple $250 credit to save the four lines.

    typical lawyer though, getting erect talking about going to court and what not. and you have to admit, you are an absolute fool if you dont look at your bills for 3 years.

  6. headon says:

    It took three years to finally look at a bill! They should be allowed to charge you a stupidity tax.

  7. LorneReams says:

    Considering until recently phones have had a tax to fund the Spanish-American war and no one noticed, I think I can cut him some slack on not knowing that he was being charged an unnecessary tax. As soon as he brought it up, it should have been credited. He makes a good point about underpaying. If someone (say the water department which actually has a similar case around me locally) undercharged you for services and then tried to recoup their money, could you say it’s your policy not to only pay the last three months?

  8. Odwalla says:

    @chipslave: Lawyer != Accountant

  9. Odwalla says:

    @LorneReams: It’s not that no one noticed. It’s that Congress didn’t act to repeal the law. People have known about the S/A War tax forever. I remember first hearing about it in the 80s.

  10. slowinthefastlane says:

    I was both a Sprint wireless and long distance customer for almost 8 years. I had a bundle deal where I would get a discount on long distance because I was a wireless customer. Never had any problems with the service or reception. That is, until last year. I had been out of contact for about 3 years. They kept calling and text’ing me at all hours of the day, trying to get me to agree to a new contact and get a new phone. I did not want a new phone (the expensive Treo that I had bought was still working well), nor did I want a new contract (they had raised the fees and data plan rates). I told them clearly that if they continue to call me, I would drop service. So, I dropped service. Rather than the $120/month (between the long distance and wireless), Sprint is now getting $0/month from me.

  11. forever_knight says:

    @LorneReams: if the Spanish-American war tax was the only b.s. tax or “fee” on my phone bill, i wouldn’t be contemplating turning it off. as it is now, the service i pay for is $15 and the taxes and “fees” are $15.

    voip is the future.

  12. @chipslave: Yes. After an 80-hour week, that’s EXACTLY what a lawyer feels like going home to do. :P

    (Also, we’re not all the same kind of lawyers! I may know what to do for a consumer fraud case but I haven’t the foggiest how to start defending a federal criminal prosecution … and my federal defense attorney friend has to call me when she has problems with her CC company because she doesn’t have the foggiest notion about how to cope with them.)

  13. BrianH says:

    I have something similar in the works with Sprint right now. I am waiting for a call back. It will be their only chance the resolve this.

    If they even think about screwing me, I will take a flamethrower to the place. They have no idea what I will inflict on them. Everything from Executive services to a complaint with the FCC (others have said this, but please let me restate it here – the FCC takes every complaint seriously) to the Better Business Bureau to blogs and the local news.

    I hate this scummy diseased organization and I need to eradicate it from my life ASAP.

    (For any of you who can’t read the subtlety in this post, I am not a Sprint fan.)

  14. GOKOR says:

    Sprint used to harass my brother on a weekly basis to pay his Sprint bill that was payed at the beginning of the month, and would actually disconnect his service because “he wasn’t paying his bill.” It’s no wonder everyone hates them, they’re run and operated by scumbags and retards who offer pathetic quality.

  15. deepsprint says:

    Sprint managers have to account for their adjustments in the form of the total amount of credit given divided by the number of calls taken. If the adjustment per call gets over a certain threshold it turns red on the fancy spreadsheet they send out and that means “slow it down”. And there is no way to automate the process of calculating how much this customer has been over-charged over the last 24 months. So the manager is looking at the prospect of 30 to 40 minutes of pulling up the archives of 24 bills and going through them with a calculator when Sprint expects the average call length to be under 10 minutes.

    Despite all the rhetoric about “Resolving The Customer’s Issue In One Call” the cost and time constraints on Sprint account managers give them strong disincentive to do more than offer that customer a token credit and hustle him or her off the phone quickly.

  16. llcooljabe says:

    that’s ok, after all the tortdeform blog is a spreader of lies and halftruths, anyway!

  17. AmandaG says:

    I’m having the exact same problem with ATT. They charged me Washington state taxes for 2 years after I moved to Oregon (which has no sales tax). They say they won’t refund any of the charges. I have the added wrinkle that I received an employee discount on my cell phone bill as the employee of a Washington organization. When we moved, we asked ATT if we could still receive the discount, as my husband was still an employee there via telecommuting. They said no problem. Now they claim my husband needed to be the primary account holder, so we ‘technically’ shouldn’t have gotten the discount. The customer service reps say the discount ‘takes care of’ the wrongly charged taxes. I’m so mad about this all and I have no idea what to do about it. Anyone have any recommendations?

  18. MPHinPgh says:

    @llcooljabe:

    “that’s ok, after all the tortdeform blog is a spreader of lies and halftruths, anyway!”

    I take that you write for that particular blog?

  19. Cowboys_fan says:

    @pepe the king prawn: It sounds to me what happened to you is the same that happened to OP, though the details are unclear. Its easy to say you don’t live in texas but the article is not clear where they do live, Nevada I assume. Its definately not inconceivable to have a 4 person family plan living in multiple states. Unfortunately the article is not clear enough to offer much advice, IMO.

  20. Jim says:

    I had exactly the same issue last year. It took me 8 months to get it fixed, during which they tried various ways to resolve it:

    1. They taxed me in Oklahoma instead of Indiana because it was cheaper for me (it wasn’t).

    2. They insisted, shouting at me even, that I was paying less money on bills where I was taxed for two states, than I would be with either state alone.

    3. They called my parents home because “it was the only number on my account” and told my dad that I would be charged both because it was “the law”.

    4. And finally, a member of the famed Executive Customer Service Team called me back (the same one that talked to dad), and let me pick which state I wanted to be taxed in. When I said “Nevada” he laughed and said I couldn’t because I didn’t live there, I had to pick Oklahoma or Indiana. When I said I didn’t live in one of those two states either, he hung up on me.

    Awesome company.

  21. llcooljabe says:

    @MPHinPgh:

    Nah, I don’t write for them, but work in an industry that is often the target of that blog. Let’s just say that the studies and statistics that they use to support their points are [un]intentionally deceiving, and are routinely debunked and discredited by impartial sources.

    It’s the trial lawyers’ lobby’s mouthpiece.

  22. Ariel.Sanders says:

    @BrianH: you are so going to get in trouble for the flame thrower, lol. Glad I pay by bill pay.

  23. rhombopteryx says:

    @DMDDallas:

    Exactly! The article says “Texas” taxes – I’d be willing to bet 5x the value of this post that Texas law on phone disputes is

    “If the contract says arbitration, then arbitration it is. If you try and sue anyway, well, Texas is a hangin’ state.”

    Stupid lawyer, telephone disputes are for arbitration…

  24. mac-phisto says:

    @forever_knight: you should consider pre-paid. virgin has a plan that’s only requires refilling $20/every 3 months (or you could buy a $90/year card). their time is faily reasonable for a prepaid (~10 cents/minute). there’s also that net 10 service. no b.s. taxes & much more reasonable for people that only use the cell for emergencies.

  25. felixgolden says:

    I just noticed this as well, having just recently moved for the second time in approx. 2 years. I am getting charged tax in 2 states and three counties. My bill went up nearly $18 a month in taxes and fees in the last two months. It seems everytime I moved, they added the tax for the local mailing address and never removed it when that address was no longer valid. I spent about an hour on the phone with a CSR who was useless as usual trying to figure out the price creep in my ling-time plan. She nearly switched my plan, which would have lowered my base, but ultimately cost more when the services I now have included would have to be added on seperately.

  26. Parting says:

    Didn’t they check their bills?

  27. gurpreetsidhu says:

    Sprint renewed my contract on 4 cell phones with out my permission or my knowledge. On my inquiry sprint wont even give me evidence or return document of my approval of resigning the contract. customer service takes 40 min to get to the right person and missleading about the direction to the courts. finally i am planing to go to the attorney general public commissionor. I ve been there customer for 5 years and due to family cercumstances i wanted to finish my contract and no one is willing to listen.

  28. jbird40 says:

    Sprint is sending me to collections in 7 days because I will not pay a bill that is illegitimate. My contract expired 11/11/07, and I sent them a notice in 9/07 that I didnt intend to re-join a contract in November. They took to billing me for 12/07-1/08! They say that somehow they now have a right to bill me monthly. I sent a nasty note back on the collections intent today, saying I had no intention of paying. Obviously they are desperate to hold customers if they are bleeding out as quickly!

  29. aaronk says:

    Sprint did this to me when I moved counties. I didn’t notice for almost a year since it was only $2 or so per month. Sprint was collecting taxes for both the old and the new counties. They refused to credit for overcollection. Sprint said the double taxation was required since my phone was programmed in another zip code or area code. HUH??? Then magically a month or so later, the current bill reflected taxes in ONLY the new county. I can understand why sprint lost over 100K customers last quarter!

  30. Id_LQQK says:

    I had a similar Sprint Experience. I moved from Virginia to Illinois. They charged me taxes in both states for over 2 years. They said they had to because I had a Illinois address and a VA phone #. (We saw no need to change the phone number).
    This must be a common over tax billing thing with Sprint. Maybe a class action suit is in order. There have to be several people living or working in a state that is different from the location of their cellphone number. Come on this is a cellphone… It’s meant to be portable!
    When I cut Sprint loose (after 9 years of loyalty), this was just one of the many reasons I sited to the retention representative. I did not port my number either.

  31. Id_LQQK says:

    @aaronk: Good for you… they never did correct my over taxation.
    I guess I was one of those 100k customers they lost last quarter. Glad to see I was noticed by someone.

  32. Id_LQQK says:

    @jbird40: If I understand your post correctly… You said you did not want to “re-join a contract in November”. However, unless you told them you were canceling service as of the end of November (or your contract), they would just put you on month to month billing with no contract.
    I am assuming you did not use your phone (Sprint Service) in the months they are trying to collect for either. That would be the only way you would have some sort of argument to legitimize your claim. Essentially, they should not charge you for a service you did not want or use.

  33. rwalford79 says:

    I know for a fact each company charges whatever they want to charge.

    My T-Mobile bill of taxes for a California based, San Jose Silicon Valley WEST Number, is a little over $8. Now my Helio (Sprint network) is $12 for the SAME phone area, same zip code.

    Tell me there isnt something fishy. I also noticed MORE TAX CATEGORIES then T-Mobile.

  34. alvarotobias says:

    Wow! thanks for posting this sprint “policy” ripoff scam. I checked through my sprint bill and sure enough there it was:
    +
    Taxes and fees Sprint is required to collect from customers on behalf of the government.
    Georgia State-Sales Tax $3.70
    Georgia State-Sales Tax $0.04
    Gwinnett County-911 Taxes $1.00
    Gwinnett County-Sales Tax $0.02
    Henry County-911 Taxes $1.50
    Henry County-Sales Tax $2.78
    +
    I lived in Gwinnett county about 3 years ago, while my house was being built. Once the build was completed I moved to Henry county where I reside now.
    I keep 2 cellphones in the house because I don’t have a lan line. I carry one, and one stays at the house all the time. According to Sprint CS the 2nd phone still had my Gwinnett address, while my primary had the Henry address, yet I only get one bill at my Henry address.
    Ok, I know it’s not a lot of cash on a monthly bases, but I probably gave up about 40bucks in the past 3 years.

  35. Jim says:

    I found some documents regarding my fight with Sprint over this. The member of the Executive Customer Service Team I spoke to (who later ended up calling my dad and being useless) stated that “one should never be taxed for two states on the same bill, and the tax is based on the Physical address”. His name was Billy Newton, and he worked in Paul Selah’s office.

    So, your one and only tax should be based on where you live, not where your bill is sent or where your phone number is. Although Billy finally just told me to pick a state and hung up on me, so I guess this definitive answer is not so definitive.

  36. jeandelli says:

    i just realized that i have the same problem. I have been charged taxes for two states for the past two years even though I only live in one and my sprint account has had the one address all along. I called sprint and was told it was my responsibility to review my statements each month with a fine comb.