Sprint Holds Money Hostage: "It's Only 32 Dollars"

Sprint has held $31.49 of Bronwen’s money hostage since January, after taking two weeks to ship a phone that never received service. Though we haven’t run a telecom, perhaps Sprint should provide a working phone before messing up the bill. Pillage before you burn, right? Bronwen signed up for service on January 5th and received a bill, but no phone, on January 13th. The bill included a service charge through February.

I called, spoke to “Neil”, and complained that I hadn’t received the phone yet, so requested that the monthly service charge be suspended until I actually receive and activate the phone; and requested that the activation fee be removed because it should have been waived because I signed up online. Neil assured me that the phone would be sent out immediately, overnight, and the bill would be adjusted.

Four nights later, the phone arrived, and the fun began.

Bronwen needed to activate the phone and port the old number from Working Assets. Activating the phone was easy, but the number wouldn’t budge. Sprint decided to change Bronwen’s address, which caused Working Assets to reject the port because the addresses no longer matched. Brilliant. A three-way call between Bronwen, Sprint, and Working Assets soon set things right. Still, the number wouldn’t port. The next day Bronwen confirmed that Working Assets still had the number, and decided to cancel with Sprint.

The account was cancelled under Sprint’s “30-Day Risk-Free Guarantee.” Bronwen was owed $31.49, to be refunded within 10 days. Bronwen still hasn’t seen the money. No big deal, right? According a Sprint CSR “it’s only 32 dollars.”

Bronwen’s email, below.

On January 5th, I signed up for a new account on Sprint.com. I ordered a phone for 29.99 plus tax (179.99 minus a 150.00 instant rebate, so 31.49 total), and signed up for their 39.99 per month plan. The 36.00 activation fee was waived because I signed up online. I received the welcome email which stated that I would receive my new phone in 2 days.

Jan 8th – my credit card was charged 31.49

Jan 11th – I hadn’t received the phone yet. I called customer service and was told that it was on it’s way. There had been “a problem at the warehouse” and they would overnight it to me.

Jan 13th – Still hadn’t received the phone. Received a bill in the mail from Sprint:
42.97 service charge for Jan 5th – Feb 6th
36.00 activation fee
8.28 taxes and surcharges
179.99 for phone
-150.00 phone rebate
116.84 total

I called, spoke to “Neil”, and complained that I hadn’t received the phone yet, so requested that the monthly service charge be suspended until I actually receive and activate the phone; and requested that the activation fee be removed because it should have been waived because I signed up online. Neil assured me that the phone would be sent out immediately, overnight, and the bill would be adjusted.

Jan 15th – still no phone; checked my account online and noitced that bill hadn’t been adjusted. Spoke to someone on the “Sales Support Team”, who transeferred me to “Billing”, who transferred me to “Account Services” (Jared, ID:JJG9541). Jared apologized for the mishaps, and after trying to upsell me on another phone, promised to overnight the phone I’d purchased, and promised repeatedly that he’d “make everything right for me”. He even said he’d add a 25.00 credit to my account to make up for everything. After I spoke to him, I felt like everything was going to be resolved.

Jan 17th – received the phone. 7.30pm – Called to activate it and transfer my number from another cell phone provider. The rep said that she needed my previous address to do this, went through the activation steps, then told me to call back in a few hours and change my address back to my current address. I thought this was a bit odd, but she said she’d been a Sprint employee for 8 years and knew the system and this was what they needed to do.

Jan 17th – 10.30pm – My phone wasn’t activated (I even waited an extra hour just in case). I called again. The rep said they couldn’t transfer my number because the address on my sprint account didn’t match the address on my current provider account, so my current provider (working assets) wouldn’t release the number. I told the rep about the previous rep changing my address on the account, and asked if she would change it back to my correct current address. Then she did a 3-way call with a working assets rep, and got everything set up for my number to be transferred to Sprint. Then she activated the phone, and said it would all be set within 4 hours.

Jan 18th – Phone still wasn’t activated & number hadn’t been transferred. I called working assets to confirm that my number was still with them. It was. I called Sprint, and the rep didn’t know how to help me so she transferred me to account services (to Jorge, ID: GVALDE05). After trying to get this resolved with no success, and generally feeling fed up with Sprint, I requested that the account be cancelled (Sprint has a “30-Day Risk-Free Guarantee”). Jorge cancelled the account, assured me there was 0 balance due, and that the 31.49 would be reimbursed to my credit card in 7 to 10 days, and would send me a “Return Kit” to send back the phone.

Jan 27th – received “Return Kit” (a padded UPS pre-paid envelope). I shipped the phone back on Jan 30th.

Jan 30th – 6.45pm – My credit card hadn’t been reimbursed yet. I called and spoke to Stuart (ID: AABAF0). He assured me that the account balance was 0, and that my credit card has been reimbursed for 31.49.

Feb 9th – my credit card still hadn’t been reimbursed. I called and spoke to Toni (ID: T1109). She said that the money won’t be refunded until 3 weeks after the billing cycle (Feb 6th), and that there was no record of any refund issued. She put in a “case” (case id: 3751386) to investigate the refund, and took my phone number and said she’d call me within 24-hours to let me know when it was resolved. Of course she never called me back…

Feb 14th – still no refund. I called and spoke to account services who told me that the case was posted on the 12th, and promised that sprint will send me a check 3 weeks after the next billing cycle (march 6th!), and that sprint never reimburses credit cards, they only send checks (!). He told me to call back again on March 15th to check the status. He promised I’d get a check for 32.04, I asked why not 31.49? He said there was only a credit of 22.04 on the account, so he did me a “favor” and added another 10.00, because of the problems with the account.

I asked to speak to a supervisor. He transferred me to Brandon (ID: BMM3165), who was really unpleasant and said that I’d receive a check for 22.04 in a couple weeks, then another check for 10.00 in March. I asked why should I believe him, when I’ve gotten such a run-around so far, and asked if there was another number I could call and speak to someone who could resolve this once and for all. He said there was no one else I could speak to, and because he is a supervisor this will definitely be resolved. And then made a comment that “it’s only 32 dollars”. So rude, I just couldn’t believe he said that. I’m not at all confident that this will be resolved.

What a story, eh? I’m so frustrated and really hate sprint now. All I tried to do was become a sprint customer. I just want my 31.49 back. It seems that everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, and Sprint’s customer service is really appallingly bad.

Where’s the money, Sprint? Bronwen says you’re good for it. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: Melting Mama)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sudonum says:

    Can you sat “Chargeback”?

  2. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    I cringe whenever I push ‘*2’… Sprint CSR’s have killed my inner-child.

  3. grouse says:

    Do a chargeback before you run out of time.

    See how they fight for their “only 32 dollars” then, if at all.

  4. Jim says:

    I handle credit card transactions all day. The credit card companies require a Terms of Service agreement in order for a company to be able to accept their cards. In that TOS agreement, it says that any refunds for purchases made on a credit card must be refunded to the credit card. Sprint is violating that agreement if they send you a check. Mention that when you call your card company for your chargeback.

    Obviously, this won’t cause Sprint to stop accepting Visa or whatever, but they do this all the time. The reason it has to be refunded by card is the fees. The card company gets a fee every time your card is used, be it for a purchase or a refund. So, Sprint is ripping your issuing bank off too.

  5. mathew says:

    You know what’s really stupid? Working Assets’ mobile phone service is run by Sprint.

  6. Stepehn Colbert says:

    Hmm…sounds like the Geico cavemen should make a Sprint commercial. “Sprint! so obtuse, we’re cavemen!”

  7. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I’m sorry to say this, but your initial difficulties with the number porting lay in Working Assets hands, not Sprint. There are some very stringent rules for Local Number Portability…a mixture of that and WA being incredibly difficult because you’re leaving them. All phone companies HAVE to *cooperate* when you’re leaving them, but there’s no good rulebook definition of the word “cooperate”, so they make it as big of a pain in the a** to do so…

    I agree with everyone else on the chargeback idea…let’s see how hard they fight for the measely $32 then..

  8. puka_pai says:

    Something similar to this is why I ill never do business with Sprint again. If they were the last provider on earth, I’d use smoke signals.

  9. Bryan Price says:

    Sprint still owes my son $24. He was deployed overseas, so Sprint put his phone on hold (Not until we had to get his phone bill paid up – and then we STILL overpaid. Somehow. Huh!), and it will be two years up in May. He’s still deployed, so I’m hoping to at least get a check back from them by then.

    I find it horrible that we had to overpay his phone bill, and I think it’s horrible that he still hasn’t gotten a check back from them yet.

    This family will never be on Sprint again.