Sprint Hikes Prices By Dumping Discounts

If you’re proud of how much money you’re saving on your Sprint family or share plan because of all the mad discounts you’re getting, get ready for a price hike. After August 27th, Sprint is getting rid of all add-a-phone discounts.

Affected users are getting this message on the back of their bills:

Discount Policy Change Notice
Effective 8/27/10, discounts will no longer apply to the monthly recurring charge for Add-a-Phone lines beyond the first two lines on family or share plans. The primary and second lines will continue to receive discounts.

So if you had an employee/member discount, like for working for UPS, being a member of the armed forces, having Allstate Insurance, being in a certain credit union, or otherwise, and you had a family/share plan with multiple lines, it’s only going to apply to the first phone line after Aug 27. (The notice says “primary and second” but that’s a red herring as the discounts never got any discounts in the first place).

You might be able to make lemonade from these lemons, though. One reader said he cited this change as a materially adverse change of contract and was able to escape his Sprint service without paying an early termination fee.

NVP Discount Policy Change Effective 8/1/2010 [Sprint Users]

Comments

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  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    While I like the idea of escaping cell phone contracts, this really isn’t a “material” change per the nominal use of the word. Material is supposed to mean “significant”. Even if the discount was 20%, that’s a $2 per month increase? If you’re bill was $50 (laughably low if you have more than 2 lines) that’s a 4% increase.

    Not really material in the real meaning of the word.

    Has anyone realized that its just a matter of time before these contracts are amended to define what “material” means, at least in the financial sense?

    • mvillafana says:

      TuxthePenguin,

      ANY amount that raises your bill, however nominal, technically qualifies as “materially adverse”.

      Btw, if the bill is going up $2/monthly, you’re talking about $24/year for the 2 year contract, and that’s BEFORE taxes. That’s not nominal.

      Trust me, this is material adverse.

    • coren says:

      I think it is already defined in the contract what constitutes a materially adverse change

    • Geekybiker says:

      Only you can be the judge of materially adverse. Quite simply it is anything that would have prevented you from signing the contract in the first place. Putting any limits in there would be asking the companies to continually change the contract to the limits of the law without giving up the ETF.

    • trmentry says:

      The only reason I went with another 2 year contract when shopping for new phones, was that they gave me a discount on the plan and 3rd line. now that is going away, they are breaching the agreement they have with me that got me to sign.

    • SWBLOOPERS says:

      I used to receive a 27% discount on my Sprint phone. Yes, I WOULD call that a “materially adverse change of contract.”

    • SWBLOOPERS says:

      I used to receive a 27% discount on my Sprint phone. Yes, I WOULD call that a “materially adverse change of contract.”

  2. Marlin says:

    ATT has always been like this. My wife uses her IBM discount and only gets it on her line.

    Sounds like sprint is just trying to keep up with the same fees as ATT/Verzion

  3. coren says:

    (The notice says “primary and second” but that’s a red herring as the discounts never got any discounts in the first place).

    Maybe it’s just too early but I can’t parse this.

    And yeah, this is definitely materially adverse, and I really wonder how it is that Sprint (or any other company) can willy nilly change the terms of contracts that people have already signed. Not allow new signups to take advantage, yes. Change them midstream…not so much.

    • milk says:

      I emailed basic customer support, and their response was, “As far as your Early Termination fee it is currently $190 and now e[sic] will not be waiving Early Termination fees.” I’ve yet to try harder. It’s probably not worth $2/month (I have a single line & they now only discount the minutes, not my texts), but I want to see if I can get anywhere with it.

  4. GearheadGeek says:

    I don’t think it’s correct to snark that the discount doesn’t apply to the 2nd line on a family plan. In fact the only specific charges you’d get for the 2nd line on one of Sprint’s newer plans is if you have insurance on the phone on that line, or if you have a Evo on that line and pay the $10/month “cool phone tax.” All the other charges are rolled up in the family plan, and you only start to rack up other per-line charges when you add lines beyond 2… hence “The primary and second lines will continue to receive discounts.”

  5. GearheadGeek says:

    I don’t think it’s correct to snark that the discount doesn’t apply to the 2nd line on a family plan. In fact the only specific charges you’d get for the 2nd line on one of Sprint’s newer plans is if you have insurance on the phone on that line, or if you have a Evo on that line and pay the $10/month “cool phone tax.” All the other charges are rolled up in the family plan, and you only start to rack up other per-line charges when you add lines beyond 2… hence “The primary and second lines will continue to receive discounts.”

  6. vastrightwing says:

    I’m hanging on to my voice only family plan and dumb phones for dear life. The shrink ray will have a hard time working unless they can redefine how long a minute is. They could potentially raise “regulatory” fees I guess.

  7. Raanne says:

    “The notice says “primary and second” but that’s a red herring as the discounts never got any discounts in the first place”

    This doesn’t make any sense. The family plan rate is for two lines. If you get a discount on the family plan, then you are getting a discount on the first and second line.

  8. Vermifuge says:

    These discounts are the one thing that has kept me from switching to AT&T where i could be using an iphone and not my Palm Pre.

  9. tbax929 says:

    I called Sprint to check on this, and it only affects you if you had an old “Add a Line” plan. If you’re using one of the “Everything” plans, nothing is changing.

  10. Tarsus says:

    @tbax929: I have an Everything plan with 3 lines, they let the 3rd line off with no ETF. Account Services stated that this was their courtesy, even though the employee discounts aren’t a part of the contract.

  11. JonBoy470 says:

    Sadly, Sprint, like all the other cell phone companies, is trying to get customers off the now sweetheart plans they signed up for 13 thousand years ago. Though, in fairness, it seems to not be unique to Sprint to try to railroad subscribers into the text messaging and data plans. Sadly, they do still seem to be the cheapest amongst the major cell phone players.