Sarah had a rough month, after suffering a death in the family. She says as a result of that sad distraction, she went over 300 minutes on her Sprint plan minutes, and was then charged 45 cents per each of those minutes. Of course, when your bill is $100 more than usual, you’re going to see if you can bring it down.
Sarah explains that she understands that Sprint doesn’t care what the reason is for going over her minutes, but simply that she didn’t realize the overages until she received her bill. When she contacted Sprint, they told her that if only she had called earlier, she would’ve been able to save money. Too late now that the bill had arrived, however.
I chatted online with a CSR to explain our situation and see if they could help out since I am a long-time, loyal customer. She started by offering me a $20 credit. I politely asked if that was the best she could do. She offered me a $40 credit and said I was only getting that because they “value” me as a customer. She then explained that had I called before I got my bill, then they could have given me bundles of 100 minutes for $5 each.
Wait a minute… So I would only pay $15 if I called you BEFORE I got my bill? We were grieving. We had no time to think about something as trivial as our cell phone bill. Not to mention that I didn’t know this was an option. “Will you apply that retroactively to make it $15 versus $100?”
The customer service rep said, “No, we can’t do that. You had to call before the bill was produced. This is just for future information.”
Yes, some people do check their usage online before receiving their bill, but in this case, Sarah hadn’t. And surely, if calling 24 hours earlier would have saved her $85, there could be an exception now that the bill had arrived. Nope!
So, I asked to speak to her supervisor. He also said they cannot retroactively apply those charges and proceeded to offer me a $50 credit. If he could grant me a $50 credit, why couldn’t he grant me an $85 credit (which would leave me with the $15 payment I would have had if I had contacted them two days earlier)? He said that was the best he could do, and I should appreciate it, because they were already “bending over backwards” for me.
Then he suggested one more action I could take. He said I could appeal it with their billing team and if they agreed, then they would reimburse me for the charges. I agreed, and he filed a claim on my behalf.
The next morning, the billing person called to say that she was applying a $40 credit to my account. I said, “No, I was offered a $50 credit but am seeking an $85 credit.” I explained that I was unaware of the ability to call ahead to purchase bundled minutes. I also said it was unfair to put that expectation on the customer and to charge customers different prices based on who calls and who doesn’t. I also asked if I could automatically add that feature onto my plan, and she said no — I would have to call them every month if I wanted to add it. Given all the hoops, it’s obvious they don’t want their customers using this option.
She said she needed to speak to her supervisor and put me on hold for five minutes. When she came back, she said she would apply the $50 credit and that was “all they could do.”
Sarah says she ended up taking the $50 credit, and will take her business elsewhere. She admits it’s her fault for going over minutes, but thinks Sprint is wrong for not advertising the option to buy bundles of minutes before getting their bill to cover overages.
Some carriers do give you a heads up when you’re reaching limits — I’ve gotten text alerts saying “Hey, you’re over your text message allotment this month, time to remedy that” — so it’s not a stretch to warn your customers, Sprint.