Sprint Encourages Its Retail Stores To Lie

If you’re a current Sprint customer, watch out when you buy a new phone in a retail store. The store may try to trick you into signing up for a new contract, and Sprint, Inc, says it’s totally cool.

Here’s what one rep happened to tell reader Drew:

“Sprint allows the Sprint Store managers to set policies where they can insist on changing your plan when customers want to buy particular phones. The do that because they get a cash reward every time they get someone to change their plan.”

If you’d rather not extend the amount of time, you can call ahead and check out what a store’s policy is. Or you can upgrade your phone directly with Sprint by calling customer service.

Or you can revert to your old plan after using the phone for a month. Just be sure to mark your calendar. Obviously, Sprint is banking on people forgetting.

(Let’s see if the Sprint comments bizatch has anything to say about this one.)

Drew’s full story on how Sprint retail shook him down, inside.

Drew writes:

    “All the Sprint talk lately has forced me to spill my guts. I got this piece of advice straight from the horse’s mouth when I was on the phone with Sprint PCS customer service.

    Months ago, I had decided to replace my clunky old phone with something snazzy and new. I got a tip from someone testing a new Windows Mobile phone that it was a great phone and was going to hit store shelves in a few days. I figured the wisest place for me to buy a new Sprint phone was at the nearest Sprint Store. After all the testing, questioning, and button poking at the store, I had decided to take the plunge with the new phone. As they were ringing me up, they told me “You are also getting a free trial of this snazzy new phone plan. It’s completely free for the first month, and if you don’t like it, you can switch back to your old plan.”

    I knew something was up. “Thanks, but I’m happy with my current plan.” They told me that it was not an option. “We can not sell you that phone without a revised plan. It’s Sprint policy. You have to try the new plan with that phone, at least for the free 1 month trial. Then you can switch back if you don’t like it. Otherwise, we can’t sell you the phone.” So it’s policy. It’s required for me to get the new phone. I conceded in the interest of getting my grubby hands on the new techno-toy.

    A few months later, I was still with the service plan. I was on the phone with Sprint customer service, arguing a phone bill that exceeded $400 and I was telling this same story once I heard that my old plan “was no longer being offered.”. I heard a deep sigh over the phone followed by “I really shouldn’t tell you this…” I swear those were his exact words. He was feeling my pain! He wanted to come clean!

    “You were tricked into getting the new plan. Sprint allows the Sprint Store managers to set policies where they can insist on changing your plan when customers want to buy particular phones. The do that because they get a cash reward every time they get someone to change their plan.”

    “So I didn’t need to get a new plan with that phone?”


    “And I got screwed only because I was at a Sprint Store?”


    The lesson I learned is that Sprint customers thinking of getting a new phone should do so anywhere but at a Sprint Store.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. KesCaesar says:

    If you could go back in time, Drew, would you order online/over the phone, or would you drop Sprint altogether?

  2. d0x says:

    I just dropped Sprint and I would tell everyone to do the same. Here are some reasons why…

    Their phones suck, their phones are over priced, their calling plans suck and are overpriced, their coverage is HORRIBLE and their customer support is even worse and forget about tech support if your issue isnt in their little book its basicly a crapshoot.

    Sprint refused to cancel my girlfriends calling plan when she asked them too, they charged her for an extra 2 months, a phone activation fee, and the contract termination fee. She gave in and paid the bill, things like that should never happen to anyone.

  3. Trae says:

    Well, as a person who used to sell cellphones (and did so for various companies) their phones aren’t overpriced — just unsubsidized by activation fees. It’s a lot cheaper in other circumstances…

    …of course, for service, they blow arse. Of course, the secret is that *all* cellphone carriers blow arse somehow…

  4. snazz says:

    i do all my interactions with Sprint customer service via email. ive never had a problem with them. its much less hostile and upsetting. im not going to lose my cool through email and scream at someone. pepper the email with a few nice comments and i think they generally do what i ask. the responses come within an hour or two (even late at night). sometimes it takes a correspondence or two, but ive always been very happy.

    i think their service is great. $30 a month gets me unlimited weekends and nights (starting at 7pm). after being a customer for 2 years, i agreed to extend my contract by another 2 years and got 15% off my bill for that.

    i get great coverage in and around new york city, especially indoors where my friends tell me their company (verizon) doesnt. and i cant say that my travels around the northeast USA has resulted in poor coverage.

    however, i did fall victim to above ploy as well. the sprint store in the flat iron building made me change my plan and accept a free month of Vision service when i tried to ‘upgrade’ to a new phone. i never used the new service and cancelled after a week. i changed my plan back a few months later when i realized they had something cheaper (and more minutes)

  5. BSW says:

    Here’s another thing that Sprint won’t tell you: it is Sprint Company policy that one CSR does not have to honor any deals or offers made by another CSR even if the offer is noted in your customer record. Therefore, if one CSR offers you a deal that you like, you’d better take it because unless you get that same CSR back, you’ll likely not get the deal later. This happened to us and it took weeks to get the deal that a retention specialist offered us when we called back the next day.

  6. Boston Kevin says:

    I am a huge fan of Sprint, been a customer for about six years. Whenever I need a new phone, though, I look on eBay. I recently purchased a Treo 700 and saved over $200.

  7. Triteon says:

    OK, I’ve been a Sprint customer for about 8 years now and have felt the lows Dox talked about (except the coverage issue, which I’ve always felt was great) as well as the good side of Sprint.
    That said, I’d rather drive a nail through my hand than have to deal with Sprint Customer Service, either in person or over the phone. Given a choice go online first, via email second, the nail, over the phone, another nail, then to the Sprint store. My worst visit? Waiting 45 minutes to talk to them about the wireless internet card they offered, only to find out they had (have?) no information on that service in the stores.

  8. mamablue says:

    I too have had my bad moments with Sprint. I recently called because my phone was not ringing when a call came in. Before I did anything after waiting endlessly for a person to speak to me. I only had one question which was would my contract be renewed if I activated my old phone. I was told NO about 7 times (I wanted to make sure I was hearing right)So I went on and activated my old phone, with my same calling plan, phone number and all. Just a different phone. At the beginning of the billing cycle, there it was. I was pounded with a 2 year contract rewal. I have called over 10 times for this matter to be taken care of, but it is yet to be solved. Everytime I call, I get the same thing, “I have taken care of it, your contract will expire on 1/14/07”. When I call again the following month, it is up to 1/14/09. They really do SUK (with capital letters)

  9. synergy says:

    I’ve been with Sprint since May 2000 and have had little to no problems with them. I get signal where others don’t and I really REALLY rarely get dropped calls.

    Their phones can be pricey, though. I’ve never tried getting a phone elsewhere and then getting it activated. How could I do that?

  10. rbok says:

    I have had Sprint for almost 6 years (just about to renew another contract and get another phone. I currently have a pocket pc with them and I can’t rave enough about the broadband coverage, the customer care when issues come up (which is VERY rare), and the cost of my plan for what I get. I have a co-worker that has the same phone with Ver… and her pays 30 dollars more a month for the same type of service with less anytime minutes.

    The only complaint that I do have is that the one time I had an issue with my bill, I went to a local store and they told me to call Customer Care (*2). No problem right, I call and am on the phone for 45 minutes with the CSR. When I got my next bill, the minutes used where taken from my anytime minutes. When I called to complain about this, they gave me my next month’s service free (my base package with no additional fees).

    So as you read here, from someone who has had Sprint for a long time, I have little to complain about. Maybe if some of you were nicer on the phone or in person to the CSR’s then you would experience the same back to you…eber heard of the “Golden Rule”?