Who Has More Authority: Stores or Customer Service?

A complaint about a bad customer service experience with Sprint from Adam H. (which we will reproduced after the jump) got us to thinking: Do customer service employees who work in the ‘billing’ offices of phone companies like Sprint have more authority to fix payment issues than the person at your local carrier-owned phone retail store? We have a inclination that one needs to call into the service centers to get any sort of billing resolution, but wouldn’t it make sense for at least the managers at the retail operations to have the authority to fix errors, as well? Perhaps it is a trust issue—makes it too easy to tweak bills for friends when you can work with them face-to-face.