Sprint Does Everything Possible To Drive Longtime Customer Away

G. has been a longtime loyal Sprint wireless customer. Thirteen years, to be exact. She recently signed a new contract, and then a series of things happened in quick succession that make having service with Sprint darn near unacceptable. There’s a broken phone, service that doesn’t work in the house after a move, promised 4G service that hasn’t showed up yet, and a promised rebate that never materialized.

I just don’t know how to unravel all the problems that I am having
with my Sprint phone and account. All of a sudden here is a lot going
on at once and I need some advice. Maybe The Consumerist community
will have some suggestions as to what the best plan of attack would be
for me here.

I have been a loyal sprint customer for many years (about 13) and am
considered a “Premier member” which actually means close to nothing
service-wise, I just add that fact here for a touch of irony..

Sometime in late Januay I upgraded my phone to the Samsung Epic 4g,
which subsequently re-upped my contract for another 2 years. I’m
sitting here a couple months into this ordeal wondering if I’m better
off just bailing and paying the ETF (which would be about $200),
Other than the fact that it’s costly, I have no other reservations
about doing so.

First off, when I went into the local Sprint store, they basically
gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse. $100 mail in rebate off the phone
it’s self (which they assured me that they would fully take care of
and mail for me, I did not need to do anything). They also told me
that they would completely waive the new phone activation fee and gave
me some free accessories to offset the extra $10/mo “premium data
charges” that they have started charging people BEFORE the 4g service
is available in my area. When I asked as to the availability of said
4g service, they told me that it would be active “by second quarter”.
Well April is approaching it’s conclusion, and you know what? I have
no 4G connectivity. So, I’m stuck continuing to pay $10/mo for a
service that they told me would be available but isn’t.

My first phone lasted 4 hours before it broke. I took it back and was
issued a new one. They again also told me that I would not be charged
for activation, but when I received my bill I had been double-billed
for the activations. Sprint online chat happily and quickly took care
of this…but for the record every single time I have ever upgraded
with sprint they have padded the transaction with bogus charges that
I’ve had to call them out on and have them remove.

Ok, now back to the rebate. Sprint has no record of the store ever
sending my rebate in. I got this new phone in the middle of the
purchase of my first home, and did not follow through in a timely
fashion. The window for said rebate has come and gone. I have not
contacted the store, I’m still too angry…..That was how they got me
to buy the phone, promising a number of times that they would take
care of the rebate so that I didn’t need to remember to follow
through.

After I moved (in early Feb.), my phone’s reception started to go
awry. I have trouble hearing most calls and drop about half outside
the home. Inside the home, I drop most calls and have a lot of
trouble with reception.

A couple weeks ago Sprint upgraded me to Android 2.2…..this upgrade
caused my phone to have a lot of software bugs. It always displays
horizontally and will not correct it’s self if I shake it, the touch
screen is often unresponsive and sometimes the display re-arranges
it’s self on it’s own. Applications move from one part of the screen
to another (like my calendar icon was at the top, but now it’s at the
bottom of the screen and I did not move it manually)…..

Can I get out of my contract because of the lack of reception inside
my home since I just moved? I feel like I’ve been fast-talked and
taken advantage of and forgotten about….I paid a high premium for
this phone and got cheated out of my ($100!!!) rebate, and then had
to police my own bill when they failed to honor their promises. I pay
for equipment protection so I could probably just get a replacement
phone, but honestly I’d rather bail, port my number and switch to my
family’s verizon plan.

In a just and logical world, the lack of service would be enough to get G. out of her contract without an early termination fee. In the world in which we actually live, there is the Sprint Consumerist hotline.