6 Updated Confessions From A Current Sprint Sales Rep

It’s been several years since we received some good insider confessions from anyone at Sprint. So in the interest of keeping things up-to-date, a current employee of the wireless provider reached out to Consumerist to see if that original advice still holds true.

1. Get the Sprint Employee Referral Offer: This is a nice little friends-and-family type discount (see details here) that you can score just for knowing a Sprint employee. However, the Sprint rep tells us things have gotten a little more complicated since we wrote about this in 2007.

“This offer now requires the subscriber to have the last 3 numbers of the employee’s Corporate ID Number,” says the insider. “If you know a Sprint employee, you can ask them to retrieve this number by using Microsoft Outlook’s Address Book, finding the person, and clicking properties. This will show the desired Corporate ID Number.”

2. Play the Extended Service and Repair Program Game: Back in 2007, the former Sprint rep suggested a slightly sketchy way of replacing a lost or damaged phone cheaply — buy a broken one on eBay, activate it, and take it into the Sprint store to get it repaired or replaced on the spot under the ESRP.

But the new tipster has this to say about that: “This option does work, but you only get 3 repairs/replacements per line, so cancel the program on one line and put it on another. If you break a phone from a line that is not covered by the program, simply call in and ask them to “flip-flop” your phones and add TEP (Total Equipment Protection) they will gladly do it, then you can file your claim the next day.”

3. Buy your phone at the end of the month when the reps are desperate for commission on activations. The 2012 Sprint rep says this still holds true, but adds that your mileage may vary depending on what a particular sales rep needs to fill his or her quota.

“If they need new lines, they will throw offers to add new lines. If they need accessories, they will promote that offer,” says the current Sprinter. “You are bound to get some better deals at the end of the month, but it is always dependent on what the representative’s goals are.”

4. Cancel without an ETF by “moving” to the middle of the desert: The 2007 Sprint rep said one way to get out of a contract without an ETF was to first have your billing address changed to some place that isn’t covered by Sprint and then call to cancel because you can’t get service.

Five years later, the new rep says they have never actually had someone try to pull this on them — most likely because the white spots on the Sprint coverage map are fewer than they were in 2007.

“There are other things sales reps will try to do for you,” says the insider, “but I will always say anything is worth a try…”

5. Retention Specialists have power. Yes, agrees the new Sprint tipster, Retention Specialists do have the most power of the whole customer service area.

“The most important thing is to call customer care and threaten to cancel your line,” they explain. “The retention offers don’t come out as often anymore in retail stores, but there is always someone on staff in retentions on the phone.”

6. Get a big discount for working for a big company (or saying that you do): In 2007, our insider said you could get 7-28% off just by claiming you work for a company that does a lot of business with Sprint.

At the time, you didn’t even need to offer any sort of proof that you worked for one of these big businesses. But our new Sprint rep says this all changed recently.

“The customer must now send the paperwork and proof to a specialized department at corporate headquarters,” they explain. Regardless, the rep says you should try to find out if your company does business with Sprint because the corporate discount could save you a wad of cash.

Adds the rep:
“if you have any type of business yourself, you can always open the lines (or transfer them) under the business name (same plans available for business and family) and receive no activation or upgrade fees (now $36).

And one final tip from the new Sprint source:

It’s also a good idea to check out the offers online vs. in the store. If the offer is better online (usually waives certain fees) simply choose the “reserve in store” option and print it out and take it to the store to get the same offers in store.

Comments

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  1. Swins says:

    Yes lets tell people to lie and commit fraud to get better deals, then complain when companies charge more for service.

    Good going consumerist!

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      +1

      Consumerist should be more about helping people become more educated consumers, not learning which lies to use when to save a few bucks.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Of course Sprint NEVER tries to play games to earn a little extra cash. For instance, Sprint would never play games with the return policy of 15 days when they really mean 14 days or less because day 1 starts when you call them and order service even if you don’t have the phone. Sprint would never hang up on you and lose your paper work if you return a phone. Of course not. They will charge as much money as they can get away with. If the price goes up it’s because all carriers think they can get away with it. The price we end up paying has zero relationship to the costs of the phone carriers. 20 cents per text message? You think it costs phone carriers anything at all for that? Nope. But yet they charge it because people pay.

    • shanelee24 says:

      I know, right? Its this kind of bullshit that takes a lot away from this site. How can you get offended and outraged at a company for taking advantage of customers when you encourage customers to take advantage of companys? Its one thing to be savvy and know how to get a deal, its another thing entirely to lie and cheat. Shame on you Consumerist.

  2. redspeed says:

    Anyone wanting the SERO Plan – go to sprint.com/sero and use this info:

    russ.s.mcguire@sprint.com /// code 383

    Russ gave permission to use his email

    • Geekybiker says:

      Yes, he had this information publicly posted on his blog. Its the VP of sales from Sprint IIRC.

    • rdm says:

      This is *not* the original SERO plan that was $30. This is $54.99 which is a little different, and now it’s called “Everything Plus Referral Program.”

    • neilb says:

      I used this 1.5 years ago. It worked beautifully. Compared to advertised rates, you get:
      – a few more minutes a month
      – about $10 off on your lines
      – the (better) employee-referral representatives
      -no activation fees
      – limited on where you can purchase (not in store, only ship-to-door)
      – limited promotions (there is less margin so they limit the specials you are eligible for)

  3. yurei avalon says:

    Good luck getting Sprint to honor business and corporate discounts. They refuse to give me my 20% discount I am supposed to get through my employer due to a programming issue on their end. I’m stuck paying $15/mo more than I should be for the next 2 years… /sigh

    • Diabolos needs more socks says:

      Did you escalate it with your HR department? They should have more pull to get that fixed.

      • yurei avalon says:

        Oh yes, yes I did all the way up to my corporate over lords. They were unable to fix the issue. It is complicated by our being a subsidiary of a giant company and not the company itself, even though we are considered as being employees of that parent company and are allowed to use their discounts. The only way Sprint will give me the discount is if I have an email ending in the parent company’s domain, which they are unable to provide me as both companies use their own.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      Sprint totally nerfed that discount last year when they decided it now only applied to the base price for the plan. i.e. the discount does not apply to any add-ons or additional fees. My plan went up $30/month when they did that.

    • kidstechno says:

      I received a 20% discount through my former employer. When I was hired at the company I am at now, they also have a 20% discount so I never informed Sprint but my 20% discount keeps rollin rollin rollin’. That sucks about your situation, I’d suggest the HR suggestion.

  4. DariusC says:

    #4 Just move to Billings, Montana. No Sprint up here (no stores). Even better, there’s no Chase up here either (not a single location). Top it off the city has very low unemployment.

  5. BfloAnonChick says:

    It’s been almost a decade now, since I left Sprint. And the retention specialist was the rudest person I’d spoken with in all my time as their customer! It made me feel great about my decision, and I’ve never looked back.

    • apple420 says:

      Almost the same situation here. I canceled Sprint in 2005, and one of the things I remember most is how unpleasant that phone call was. I’ve been with AT&T since. I know lots of people speak poorly of AT&T, but I am happy with the service overall.

      • BfloAnonChick says:

        AT&T here, too! I’ve had no complaints, and I’m glad I switched!

      • newfenoix says:

        Left Sprint in 2007 after five years. With AT&T now and love them. I would not have Sprint again if they paid me and gave me free service!

        • smhatter says:

          That makes me feel better about being with AT&T. I thought the Sprint plan looked pretty appealing, but one of my friends said he had a few horrible experiences with them, and would never do business with them again (he never did say what happened). I pretty much wrote them off at that point, but was starting to look at them again. I guess I still shouldn’t.

          • PHRoG says:

            Well, from the other side of the fence, I’ve been with sprint for the past 5 years and I’ve been very happy with the value of the service.

            Point blank, I save a lot of money with Sprint and as such I’m a little tolerant because of it. If I run into any issues with the first representative, I immediately contact the executive customer service department (which can be found here on Consumerist) and they have yet to not resolve an issue in a timely manner.

            I’m on a family plan, 3 lines, 1500 anytime, unlimited data and text for under $140/month. I don’t have one of those discounted-to-hell plans either, only a 20% corp discount.

            Every time my contract is up I compare services and no one can beat them in price and everything works as it should, so I can’t complain about the actual service either.

      • newfenoix says:

        Left Sprint in 2007 after five years. With AT&T now and love them. I would not have Sprint again if they paid me and gave me free service!

    • IWanaGoFishing says:

      You must have pretty boring life if you remember a customer service experience from a decade ago…just saying…

  6. Raanne says:

    I still get an 18% discount on my sprint from working for a large university 8 years ago. Since I still have the same plan & phone number I still get the discount.

    Also agreed on the retention specialists. When i moved, my area was supposed to get great coverage, but it was actually very spotty. (Just in the house / right outside – not sure why). But they gave me a free Airrave, plus I get the 18% discount off the monthly service for it. (monthly service is only $5)

    Whenever my contract is up I always price check other cell companies, but I’ve never found anyone who came close to Sprint, and I’ve had good luck with them fixing any errors they found on my part. $136 for 2 unlimited data plans + airrave service.

    • tkmluv says:

      How old is your Airave? The new 3G ones they started giving out last year have no monthly charge and are free to get. If you have the old one, I would call and ask to get it replaced. The new ones also provide a larger coverage area then the old Airaves.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      You’re getting screwed on the Airrave. No one I know has ever paid anything for it. Complain enough and they will give you free Airrave/free service.

  7. RubiksDude says:

    Anyone know if you can do the Employee Referral in-store? I’d like to take advantage of this with the new early upgrade program they just started.

    • neilb says:

      No. They will lie to you in-store to the contrary.
      Don’t believe the store employees. I had a huge mess because I believed the store manager when he said I could do this. I was on the phone with corporate for hours and hours to clean it up. It was absolutely not worth the trouble. It is probably worse now than it was a year and a half ago.

  8. Woden says:

    ” and receive no activation or upgrade fees (now $36).”

    The activation fee has actually been $36 for a number of years with Sprint, so this is nothing new. In fact I can’t remember a time that I’ve had a cell phone through them that the activation fee wasn’t $36, so its been 4-5 years now that they’ve had that.

  9. INDBRD says:

    option number 2 is flat out false from the TEP perspective. Asurion will check the call details after the phone was placed on the line and see it was not used. This will ‘void’ the replacement warranty as they cannot prove the phone has ever worked.

  10. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Chance to brag. I’ve had Sprint since 1999, but my relationship with them only got better within the last 6 or 7 years. Currently, I pay $28 tax included, for 500mins, unlimited text & internet, mediocre GPS included. My only setback is that I’m still on a WM phone, & can’t get to an Android phone without being charge an extra $40. Pure rubbish imho ! All & all I’m happy. The idea of purchasing a $300 iphone to cradle & hold like if it was a newborn, deathly afraid of dropping it or Gawd forbid, losing it….it quiver in fear. Plus, what is up with $100+ bills ?!? Ay Dios Mio !

    • rmorin says:

      Perhaps I’m mistaken, but does anyone pay for GPS anymore?

      I know that I can disable data and still use GPS.

  11. anime_runs_my_life says:

    #5 only works if they care. They called me when the contract on my husband’s number was up to see if I’d renew (his number, the entire bill is in my name though). I told them that I was considering going to another carrier when the contract for my number came due in a couple of months. I was pretty much told well, good luck. No attempt to try to keep me, not attempt to waive the ridiculous – and I mean this in all sincerity since the phones we are definitely dumbphones – ETF fee. Not to mention, my phone bill is ridiculously high for what I’m getting. I can get twice as many minutes and other features for less than what I’m paying now, and that doesn’t include the corporate discounts I can get through my work.

    So if they don’t want to bother to keep a 10+ year customer, why should I bother to make an attempt to be saved?

    • shanelee24 says:

      Why would they waive the ETF if you were open about wanting to leave? That is not something I would expect from any company. And the dumbphones you are talking about are still about 250 to 300 on average, but you don’t pay anywhere close to that with a contract. Unreasonable expectations will always lead to disappointment.

  12. Extended-Warranty says:

    I can only wonder why these greedy corporations have so many “unfriendly policies”.

    Great journalism. Let’s continue to watch the world burn to save on something we really didn’t even need in the first place.

  13. slolee says:

    I tried to get out of my ETF with AT&T [not Sprint] when I was legitimately moving to Turkey. They needed proof of my move which included mailing or faxing from Turkey a bill with my current Turkish address on it.

    Once they had my new address, they could check to see if they had coverage in the area. Also, I couldn’t email them my bill. Snail mail or fax. From a foreign country.

    My guess is, they’ve had enough people trying to pull this that is makes it extremely irritating for people legitimately moving out of coverage.

  14. homehome says:

    # 2, do that at your own risk. They can see when you first put it on and trying that more often or not will leave you looking stupid.

    # 4 is debatable and depends on who you get on the line, because if move to an area where it is known that does not have service, then you will have to fight to get the right rep to help. Many reps would just say you knew that when you moved there and tough luck.

    #5 is very true, when you’re yelling at the front line, it will get you no where. That’s true for almost every company, which is why I don’t understand why ppl still do it. Plus make sure it’s clear you will cancel, because I know that if you don’t specificly request it they cannot transfer you, period.

    #6, they’re starting to crack down big on this. I’ve seen ppl who lied and got there’s taken away with no warning and because they lied they had no recourse, but this door is still open. But do at your own risk and know that if they catch you, they don’t have to warn you because you committed fraud.

  15. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Sprint just sent notice that it is changing the way it applies corporate discounts. After Feb 2012, it will only discount the primary line on a family/share plan. Additional phones/lines are regular priced. for a two-phone family, this is about $4-$5 more a month. And according to a retention rep at Sprint, this IS a material change in contract and you can get out with no ETF.

    • TheRealMaxey says:

      Where do I find info about this change? This would affect me in a huge way with five phones and an Airave on my plan.

      • Sir Winston Thriller says:

        If you are receiving a discount because you work or worked for a company with an agreement with Sprint, you should have received a card in the mail about the change. I don’t know if this applies to Everything Plus Referral.

  16. Shappie says:

    Yuppers, my bill went up $5 a month. still pretty cheap IMO. Two lines, 1500 minutes and unlimited everything for $130.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Go To Walmart and get Family Mobile for $45 + $25 each additional phone. I have 4 lines and my bill is always $139. Unlimited calling, texts and data. OK sprint beat that and I’ll come running back.

  17. AllanG54 says:

    My wife is with Sprint for ten years and I joined her plan. We’ve upgraded two or three times in the last eight years and she has always called in and had the activation fee waived. Hell, they’re losing customers like crazy, their churn rate is much higher than anyone else’s. And, their stock is less than $3 a share. I think they’ll do just about anything to keep you.

    • newfenoix says:

      Not Sprint, they just don’t care.

      • Knyte says:

        Yep. When I left Sprint 4 years ago, the only thing they said to me was “You’ll be back, we’re the best. See ya in two years.”

        I have never looked back. I’m with T-Mobile & happy.

    • homehome says:

      Not really, because sometimes it costs more to keep a customer than to get rid of them. They can see whether you’re making them money or not. It’s not just about subscribers, it’s about profit as well. Your wife more than likely makes them more money than they lose, that’s why they do that for you. They don’t just go around waiving fees just to do it.

  18. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I appreciate the sales rep updating the tips, but like some others have said here, nothing will convince me that I should give Sprint another try. I endured Sprint “service” for a few years until about 2005, I realized even prepaid services were better to deal with than Sprint.

  19. IWanaGoFishing says:

    I’ve had Sprint for about 12 years now. I pay about $50/mo for unlimited 4g data, unlimited roaming data, unlimited sms and mms, 500 min talk time, free mobile-to-mobile, free roaming, nights and weekends start at 7, and insurance.

    I can’t complain about coverage either. My phone automatically roams to Verizon and other companies for free. It also accepts prepaid simcards for international use (yes, this actually works, I tried it).

    I don’t understand all the hate for Sprint. Flat out, it’s the best deal out there.

    • razremytuxbuddy says:

      I pay $50/month to T-Mobile for unlimited everything, except that there is a limit on 4G that never causes me a problem. No contract, tremendous coverage area, and I can of course switch out my sim card when I go overseas. It is a far better deal than Sprint.

    • Sir Winston Thriller says:

      I’ve had Cingular/ATT, Verizon, and now Sprint. Despite occasional glitches, Sprint has the best service and reliability of the three. This isn’t scientific, and probably unfair to compare Verizon of 1999 to Sprint of 2012, but I’ve been very pleased.

  20. RayanneGraff says:

    I had Sprint for about 5 years, and I will never go back unless I have literally NO other choice. I had 3 lines on my account, and I had gotten a job at Radio Shack which qualified me for an employee plan. I was supposed to be switched to a plan that cost about $20 a month for each line, but instead they put me on a separate, $200 plan for each line. I got a $600 bill the next month and no amount of pleading & reasoning would get them to fix it. There were blatantly obvious errors on their end, and I escalated the issue as high as it could go, even calling a senior manager that I knew personally, but everyone I spoke to said the charges were valid and that the amount owed was correct. I let them cut me off and I went to T-Mobile. Been happy ever since.

  21. incident_man says:

    Left Sprint and switched to US Cellular. Yes my plan at US Cellular costs a little bit more, but their service (and data speeds) are so much better. I’d never go back to Sprint.

  22. webweazel says:

    We had Sprint a few years ago. When we moved to a different state and went to one of the stores to get the phone number changed to a local number, the Sprint salesdude said he could do it, but ONLY if we signed a NEW two-year contract. We laughed right in his face and walked out. Called up customer service from the car in the parking lot and got it changed in 5 minutes. WITHOUT any mention of a new contract or any other bullshit. Huh, imagine that.
    I can’t believe people actually fall for some of the garbage they spew at the stores?

  23. Dallas_shopper says:

    I have service with Sprint.

    Once my contract is up, I will have service with someone else. Eagerly awaiting June 2013.

  24. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I would like for a Sprint employee to confess to us how they are rewarded for flooding message boards like this one with glowing comments about Sprint. I see it here, and in our local newspapers where Sprint has corporate offices. Whenever there is an article about Sprint, the posers come out. I have no doubt that they have Sprint phone service, but aside from that they don’t identify their affiliation; they just make unequivocally positive comments about how no other company measures up to Sprint. The posts are obvious, but so common that there must be an established Sprint incentive that is based on quantity of these posts, rather than on quality, results or ethics.

  25. GrandizerGo says:

    I know that option 2 does not work. I replaced a daughters phone on my plan and Sprint would not cover it on TEP no matter what. It was not brought from them they said, they had no idea of the condition or the quality of the phone.
    Not a problem though as you could buy 2.5 phones from Amazon / eBay for the price of the identical phone from Sprint. She ended up with the Red Razr which at the time was a special phone in support of breast cancer I think…

    When she was eligible for an upgrade we replaced it for a new phone brought from Sprint.

  26. doctorc4 says:

    Here is something interesting about #6, the 7-28% off:

    It is only applicable on items over $30.
    Extra Line: $20
    Cool Phone Tax: $10
    Total for extra line: $30

    Since neither line item is over $30, they will not discount extra lines.

    Learned that the hard way.

  27. KLF says:

    Just so you all know: if you call in to Sprint customer service and are asking for what they consider to be a ‘valid fee’ (activation/upgrade, late, reconnection, etc) they WILL NOT waive it.

    Always check for promotions for upgrade/activation fees, and ALWAYS read the terms and conditions. Some of the promotions may take up to 3 billing cycles to get credited back.

    Sprint is not necessarily getting ‘mean’ or anything, they are merely not just handing out credits to everyone who calls in and says, “hi, I want a credit.”