Consumers Speak (Update: Again): Sprint Cancels Previously Happy Customer

Update: Good lord, it’s our first dupe. We’re going to leave it up here for posterity’s sake, but our apologies. Got our email inboxes crossed.

Adam H. writes us with his troubles with Sprint in that most common of hassles: trying to take advantage of the once-yearly (or bi-yearly!) phone upgrade offer.

He writes:

I have a story about a near-miss shafting at the hands of Sprint Wireless customer service. I waited and waited for the 24 months to pass before Sprint would subsidize an upgrade in our phone handsets. The day finally came, and we went to the local Sprint Store. They had the handsets in stock, ready to go. Then we hit the first speed bump. The sales guy began ringing up the sale, and my wife and I stood there and waited for him to sell us the handset and activate it and all the rest of that. Twenty-five minutes later, he is just about done with the sale when –BSOD–. His computer froze and none of the sale had actually gone through. So we wait five more minutes for the computer to reboot and get back up, twenty-five more minutes for him to do all the stuff he did before and then we finally get to sign the receipt. Minor inconvenience? Or diabolical plot?

Before it gets better after the jump, it does get worse. Surprise!

I think it was a diabolical plot, because the very next day, our phones stop working. All I get is a recorded message from Sprint saying that my account is suspended for failure to pay and I need to connect to Customer Service immediately. So I connect to them and get put on hold for a while. When someone finally picked up, it was a service rep in India. She had a very thick accent and spoke very quietly. So I was not able to hear most of what she said and was unable to understand most of what I did hear. She said that my account was suspended because I had not paid a $150 cancellation fee to Sprint and that if I didn’t pay that, I couldn’t use my phone. Ignoring the absurdity of that statement, I calmly explained to her several times that I didn’t cancel my Sprint account, since I had just bought new handsets from them and was trying to use my wireless phone right then. I refused to pay the cancellation fee.

At this point, it clicked in my head that the computer freezing up at the store while I was buying my new handset may have erroneously caused their system to flag the account as canceled. I explained this to the CSR on the phone, but she seemed to be hell bent on getting that $150 cancellation fee out of me before she would let the account be reactivated. I was equally as adamant that I would not be paying $150 for canceling a service that I clearly had not canceled. Finally, I got fed up with her and asked to speak to her supervisor. She tried to persuade me one more time to just pay the $150 and be done with it, so I demanded to speak to her supervisor. After putting me on hold while she “tried to find one” for me, I finally got to speak to the supervisor. After going through the entire story with the supervisor (who had a far lighter accent and spoke much more clearly), she concluded that the cancellation fee “probably shouldn’t be there.” So after nearly half an hour on the phone with the first CSR and another fifteen with the supervisor, someone there at Sprint Customer Service realized that I probably shouldn’t be charged a cancellation fee for a service that I did not cancel. The supervisor deleted that fee and reinstated my account and wireless service. The cherry on top of it all was when the supervisor asked me if I was satisfied with the customer service I received from them that day. Incredulous, and not wanting to talk to any of them ever again, all I could do was say “Yeah, sure. Whatever.” And then the call was ended.

It makes me wonder how many people have just paid the fee, not knowing that there was a HUGE error on the service provider’s part, just to get the problem resolved and their service reinstated as quickly as possible. It really is a diabolical plan.


Edit Your Comment

  1. lgf says:

    This story sounds familiar. Wasn’t it posted earlier?

  2. Paul D says:

    At first I was all like “BSOD does not a diabolical plot make”.

    But now I’m all like “Eff Sprint!”


    PS: Wasn’t this very story posted earlier?

  3. The Comedian says:

    It is a repost, the original is here.

  4. Roxstar says:

    24 Hour Fitness did virtually the same thing to me. The guy setting up my membership couldn’t figure out the computer system. He ended up running it through 3 times. I verified right away that only 1 charge went through so I thought everything worked out.

    Then, a month later, the first auto deduction was taken from my checking accouunt. Again, no problems. But a week later, I got a letter in the mail saying that I owed them payment. I called, they looked it up, confirmed I was paid in full and told me to disregard the letter. But I got another one a few days later. And I got 2 more the next month. Finally, I noticed that each of the letters referenced 2 different account numbers. And both of those account numbers were different than the one I was paying each month. The idiot had opened 3 account for me without realizing it so while my real account showed paid in full, the other 2 were quite delinquent.

  5. tz says:

    I wasn’t a member when it was originally posted, but since I am now, here is my story:

    I have Verizon and am satisfied, but this was after trying to get Sprint to do something about my service. I was over 2 years and just wanted to change the month to month minutes since I wasn’t using them. The salesdrones said they couldn’t, I didn’t qualify for any of the free new phones or any other promos, but could get another 2 year contract. I went to several places (I was also looking for wireless broadband), and found Eric, now at the Southland Mall in Michigan, who would probably be working at Verizon’s equivalent of Apple’s genius bar if they had one. He knew all the phones, plans, etc. and was willing to wait while I decided on the sale, and even afterward would navigate through their system when something wasn’t right. He also knew about broadband and told me which deals were best. When I call their regular customer service they have been nice and efficient, but I think when he calls they pay even more attention. I also needed to exchange an accessory kit (I got more than one phone, and found out the fancy phone needed special stereo headphones) which he handled without any problems. He switched stores, but I will drive the extra distance, or just call him if I have something that needs special attention or so I will know I will get a correct answer.

    Even things like a duplicate receipt for a rebate, or a better number to Assurion (they managed to lose the damaged wireless card I sent via certified mail, then suddenly found I sent it in – this seems to happen a lot so when they had a postage due envelope without proof of delivery, I still paid for certified) he comes through.

    I later had to call Sprint to finish the final bill stuff, and the person I talked to there said they could have done a lot of things for me, but I told them that they didn’t tell their store personnel and that I don’t normally call their billing department to change plans. I went to several stores, some of these were Nextel stores, so they just had the classes to bring everyone up to date. I don’t know if others are the same, but when nearly any other service is about to expire I’m deluged with offers of huge discounts to stay. Sprint didn’t even send any notice I was past the contract time, but I was getting “Sprint Merges With Nextel – Get a free superphone – asterisk – not if you are already a customer” flyers in the mail.

    My suggestion? Find a real salesman who knows, believes in, and will stand behind his product, and will be willing to fix things for you (using whichever numbers they have access to). Sprint also now has EVDO wireless broadband service, but they don’t have Eric.

  6. Mechalith says:

    “The cherry on top of it all was when the supervisor asked me if I was satisfied with the customer service I received from them that day.”

    This is, I all but guarantee they are required to say that. The call coaching legend for almost every company I’ve done tech support work for has required the dreaded ‘SAT check’ at the end. The logic, at least for outsourced companies, is that they are rated as a company based on the after-contact surveys conducted to determine the level of customer satisfaction. By making a ham-handed attempt at forcing you to subconsciously associate the word ‘satisfied’ you’re more likely to click it when it comes up on the survey, whether you were or not.

    From the outside, knowing what I do about call centers, it was probably a chain of honest mistakes compounded by poor tools and policies. For instance, when the CSR went to ‘find a supervisor’ they were probably honestly trying to find one. Very rarely are the managers in a center readily available, and sometimes even present.