Sprint Responds To Your Request To Block All Internet Services By Signing You Up For A Data Package

Chelsea noticed several mistaken charges on her Sprint bill for internet access, along with a late fee even though she was enrolled in automatic bill pay. Sprint quickly reversed the erroneous fees and suggested that she block access to the internet. Chelsea replied that this would be perfectly acceptable, so long as it was a free service. In response, Sprint signed her up for a $15 per month data plan.

Chelsea writes:

I’ve had Sprint service for seven years because I receive a state employee discount, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing. Luckily when I renewed my plan in May, I was paired with a sales manager who seemed both friendly and efficient. Going through my first bill I noticed four incorrect charges, including mysterious internet usage and a late fee, despite the fact I’ve been on automatic payments for years. I emailed Sprint about these charges and promptly received a long and apologetic response from someone named Steffi. She credited all of the charges and informed me of a way to block internet access altogether. This all was great, so I wanted to express some gratitude:

Thank you for responding so quickly. I really appreciate your help with this invoice. If there’s no charge in preventing internet access, I would like that to be applied.

You know, there’s a lot of Sprint hatred out there, but I’ve never had a huge problem with anyone. Seeing weird charges on my bill had me worried, but I’m happy to see Sprint sticking to their word to provide good customer service.

Thanks again.

Soon after that email, I received this reply:

Thank you for contacting Sprint.

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to write

regarding the excellent service you received. Our goal is to serve you

with world-class customer service, and feedback from customers like you

is a great source of motivation in our endeavor to achieve that goal.

I have added Sprint Vision Pack for $15.00 on the account effective June

20, 2008.

Now you can enjoy:

  • Unlimited Web/Data Access on Handset
  • Unlimited Picture Mail and Video Mail
  • Multimedia – Sprint TV Channel 1

Have a nice day!

Sincerely,

Peter P.

Sprint

……Wha-? I re-read my email to make sure I didn’t somehow authorize this, but no, I mentioned preventing internet access. What a fool I was, doting on Sprint before the job was done. Instead of calming down and being rational, I replied with a crazy email rife with superfluous exclamation marks and all caps. I pointed out that’s the exact opposite of what I asked for and asked if anyone even read my email.

The response email from Gloria D. wasn’t nice and certainly lacking any apology. But Vision has been removed, so oh well. A toast to Sprint and another glorious two years.

(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Comments

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  1. turtledude558 says:

    wow, at least they took it off before you could be charged.

  2. RedSonSuperDave says:

    I love the incongruity between the first and second paragraphs. It’s like a Consumerist reader wrote a parody of an email conversation, but IT’S REAL.

    “Our goal is to provide you with the kind of customer service you have come to know and expect from us. Therefore we’re signing you up for something that’s the complete opposite of what you asked for and is in direct contradiction to the promises of our sales associate.”

    This is what happens when you give automated reply bots the power to sign people up for services. At least I [i]hope[/i] “Peter P” is a bot, because the alternative is that he’s functionally illiterate.

  3. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Fix the comments. I just replied to this post after seeing only Turtledude’s comment, and the front page of the Consumerist shows two replies to the post, but I only see one, even after clearing my cache.

  4. henrygates says:

    The unordered service was removed, but did she ever get the internet blocking that she wanted?

  5. consumersaur says:

    In before “how is this news” cries.

  6. Joe S Chmo says:

    Why is email customer service always so lacking? You would think they have time to read your email and respond with facts but this kind of thing happens all the time in my experience.

    In regards to Sprint I always had to call them to reverse things that should have been free and have not had this problem in 3 years with Voicestream/Tmobile. With Sprint I was always on hold for 20 + minutes too. It looks like you have to call and cross your fingers for the proper resolution.

  7. legwork says:

    The Bayesian answer suck-bot strikes again.

    Email to front-line support is best kept short.

  8. timmus says:

    Thank you for contacting Sprint‘s subcontracted customer service in Bangalore. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to write regarding the excellent service you received otherwise I’d be shining shoes at the Rajendra Nagar bus stop. Our goal is to serve you with world-class customer service, and feedback from customers like you is a great source of motivation in our endeavor to achieve that goal and truly I’m just trying to see if I can peg the Wankometer.

    I have added Sprint Vision Pack for $15.00 on the account effective June 20, 2008 so that we can continue to inflate our sales numbers and earn another contract with Sprint next year.

    Have a nice day although it’s actually evening here.

    Sincerely,
    Peter P. (Priyaranjan Patel)

    Hyderabad IT Global LLC, contracting for Sprint

  9. TechnoDestructo says:

    When was the last time you heard about someone complaining about a cell phone company’s network?

    And yet that’s all they focus on in their commercials.

  10. B says:

    Using an auto-answer bot for customer support is one thing, but using it to sign customers up for services is amazingly evil.

  11. GC says:

    As someone who works with outsourcers based in other regions in the world, this really really really doesn’t surprise me.

  12. dragon:ONE says:

    Why is it Sprint can block data, yet with AT&T, it includes all text messaging? Can someone elaborate on that for me?

  13. macmizzle says:

    Welcome to the beloved world I like to call Sprint hell. Take a number and wait in line. I’m number 149234905324082… :)

    On a slightly more serious note, I have to check my Sprint bill monthly to ensure they haven’t tacked on some crazy “fee” that shouldn’t be on there. I’ve had them disable Internet access on both of the phones on the account and they STILL charge me for Internet access fees. What’s worse is that this happens monthly and I generally have to talk with 2 CSRs to get any problems fixed.

    Anyway, I have less than 6 months left in my contract, so I don’t have to endure it much longer.

  14. dragonfire1481 says:

    @Dakota Courtois: As a former Sprint employee, we used separate blocks for text messaging and data. Not sure why other carriers could not use the same approach.

    “If there’s no charge in preventing internet access, I would like that to be applied.”

    I think this line here is what made them add the data plan. The point is correct, but the wording isn’t clear enough. It should have read: “Sincere there is no charge to block online access on the phone, I would like that done immediately”

    The original line asked for the same thing, but Sprint obviously did not interpret it correctly.

    And btw, last I heard the online reps ARE in fact overseas.

  15. Ein2015 says:

    Last time I was a sprint customer was about… 6 years ago.

    My latest contract (with Verizon) is running up now in a couple of months… who should I go with next?

    Feel free to send me recommendations: my screen name here @ gmail.com! :D

  16. ByeBye says:

    This happens way too much with all cell phone companies. I see this at least 3 times a day in tech at ATT. You know what we do? We promptly fix it, submit a high level adjustment, and within 72 hours they adjustment goes through. Sounds to me that A) the OP had no patience or B) the CSR was a complete idiot. I’m leaning towards B.

  17. kaizoku80 says:

    @dragonfire1481:

    From my experience the majority of the eCare (aka email) reps are overseas, while most of the Click2Chat reps are in Canada. Needless to say, I use chat to solve small problems.

    I’ve still only had one problem with Sprint since I signed up for SERO when a shady rep put me back in contract without my permission, but a quick call to Executive Services got that fixed in under 5 minutes, and they gave me a $10 credit for the inconvenience.

  18. dewsipper says:

    My favorite Sprintism has always been listing the “2 Way SMS Blocking – CDMA SOC 2 Way SMS Blocking” right above several dollars charges for text messages we supposedly sent/received. It’s a monthyly ritual… at least for another four months.

  19. Pro-Pain says:

    Today is the LAST day of my Sprint contract. Tomorrow morning I’m a free agent. Sweet.

  20. milk says:

    @henrygates: (OP) I’m not sure. It’s off, so I’m leaving it at that for now. I have to go to a store in person next week anyway, so I’m going to check then.

  21. milk says:

    @timmus: I lol’d

  22. darksunfox says:

    I am not blaming the OP at all, but working in IT, I have to caution you – if you want something done right (and right away), CALL! Bots, overseas contractors, etc. are all behind email inquiries and will be for the foreseeable future, there is no opportunity for follow-up or active listening, and you can’t escalate an issue to a superior. Don’t trust email – I know it seems safe because it’s in writing, but it will just cause more headaches and you’ll end up making the same call you wanted to avoid.

  23. highmodulus says:

    Ah Sprint, the Washington Generals of the Telecom Giants. They should hire the same rep defender/viral marketers Verizon got. That way they could “improve” without actually improving.

  24. Geekybiker says:

    If you’re going sprint, do yourself a favor and google “sero”.

  25. dragonfire1481 says:

    @dewsipper: We were told repeatedly by our supervisors that text message blocking doesn’t always stop anything and the occasional messages will still get through.

    That doesn’t mean you should have to fight to get credit for those that do.

  26. johnva says:

    @Manator Will Show You the Promised Land!: Yep. AT&T has added services like this to my account before against my explicit instructions, as well. It happened when I had interaction with a sales employee, so my guess is that they are paid partly on commission or something and choose to use fraud to pad their paycheck. Of course, when I called and complained, the rep admitted that nothing would happen to the sales agent who did that despite the fact that they knew who it was (they said there was no “system in place” to discipline them). So I have to conclude that the cell phone companies intentionally tolerate some level of this since they share in the profit.

  27. ShortydClown says:

    For those of us that do not text, Sprint has an unusual plan. They send you marketing information – by text – and then charge you $0.20 for each one. I have been trying to get them to stop this for seven months and just get gum service. I now have a lady in Corporate that I call each month to review my account and reduce it by the $0.46 for the month. Beware, if you pay by the message then you are probably getting extra messages generated by Sprint to boost their revenue.