Sprint Changes Plan Without Consent, Overcharges, Promises Investigation, And Does Nothing

Sprint gave Seth a terrible plan when he tried to activate an old phone onto his account. Seth had enjoyed a $105 per month retention plan that provided unlimited text messaging and 2,000 minutes. In November, Seth noticed several charges for text messages. He called Sprint and spoke with Kiyana, who made several changes and gave Seth her direct number in case there were any additional problems.

In December, my bill came in at $450. I called Kiyana’s direct line, which was actually a number for a sheet metal company or something similar.

January’s bill was $500. Seth paid the minimum and was told Sprint would fix the problem. By February, the bill was $600.

I called Sprint and spoke to Jason, he offered a 28 day credit to keep my service from being cancelled. I wanted an investigation – something wasn’t right. I scanned the bill while on hold and noticed something: nights and weekends weren’t mentioned at all. Jason, there’s no way Sprint would charge me for nights and weekends, right? No, sir. Sprint doesn’t offer a plan that charges for nights and weekends, but it looks like that’s what’s been happening. That’s why I was 1500 minutes over each month — because they were charging me for free minutes. When Kiyana changed my plan around back in November, she left off nights and weekends completely — and nobody had noticed until now.

The investigation, and Seth’s email, after the jump…

Two weeks later, Seth’s service was disconnected. He was able to restore the service, but the CSR he spoke with never heard of any investigation.

Sprint had done absolutely nothing. Seth continued to lose service, and each CSR feigned indifference to the mistake that was obviously Sprint’s fault.

Seth’s full email.

In late September, my phone broke, so I called Sprint to activate an older phone until I could get a replacement. On my November bill, I saw I’d been charged for a number of text messages (thirty dollars or so,) even though ‘Unlimited texting’ was a feature of my plan. I had a sweet retention pla set up two years ago that offered two lines and 2000 minutes for around $105. I called to find out what was wrong with my plan, was bounced from agent to agent, my call was terminated more than once, I spent an hour and a half on hold, and then was finally switched to Kiyana, a retention specialist at a call center in Sacramento.

Kiyana told me that, when I made my September call, the representative signed me up for a new plan without my knowledge, one that did not include texting. She made many adjustments to the bill, assigned credits, and moved things around to make the bill the same amount as before ($85 plus extras) gave me her direct phone number in case there were future problems.

In December, my bill came in at $450. I called Kiyana’s direct line, which was actually a number for a sheet metal company or something similar. The rep I finally spoke to says I simply went over my minutes. I’d never gone over in minutes before — ever. Shocked, I paid the whole bill, some $300 over what I thought I owed.

January’s bill came in at close to $500. I paid the absolute minimum and left a $350 balance pending closer scrutiny of the bill — maybe there were fraudulent calls. I talked to Sprint again. The way we left it, Sprint was going to fix the problem — they knew there was something wrong.

But they didn’t fix it. February, the bill was $600. Nothing was getting resolved, and the past due amount was adding up. My cell phone bill for two months was $1000. I called Sprint and spoke to Jason, he offered a 28 day credit to keep my service from being cancelled. I wanted an investigation – something wasn’t right. I scanned the bill while on hold and noticed something: nights and weekends weren’t mentioned at all. Jason, there’s no way Sprint would charge me for nights and weekends, right? No, sir. Sprint doesn’t offer a plan that charges for nights and weekends, but it looks like that’s what’s been happening. That’s why I was 1500 minutes over each month — because they were charging me for free minutes. When Kiyana changed my plan around back in November, she left off nights and weekends completely — and nobody had noticed until now. Jason, I want an investigation started. Yes, sir. You have 28 days credit on your $1000 balance. They’ll call you about your case. I payed $105, the absolute minimum, leaving the rest to be disputed.

Two weeks into the 28 day grace, I went to make a call and found my phone service was disconnected. I called and spoke to Theresa, told her the story, that I had a 28 day credit, that I needed my phone service back on right away. She understood, was sympathetic — I hope they figure this out, she said. My phone was turned on within 20 minutes, but Theresa had no idea the status of my case or investigation into this billing error.

Today, once again, my service was interrupted. I spoke with Sherry in billing, who was sympathetic and said I should pay the absolute minimum, $105, just because that’s what I’ve been doing — leaving the rest of the balance for dispute. She couldn’t help any further, though, and transferred me to customer service and a woman named Ruby. Ruby had a lot of excuses, but the bottom line was there was no Case number attached to any investigation of my account. Any promise of an investigation from Jason last month had apparently just disappeared. Meanwhile, that $1000+ balance was just sitting there accruing late fees. Ruby, I need a case started and I need the phone turned back on now. It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m working — I have people to call. She said that my phone could be back on within four hours (7 pm pacific.) This wasn’t good enough. I refused to get off the phone without a Case number and a guarantee they’d turn on my phone within 20. She said they’d turn it on as soon as they could and they’d text me my case number.

A hour and a half later, I don’t have a case number, have no idea what number or even what department to call to follow up on this problem. I’ve paid out at least $300 for nights and weekend overages that I don’t owe, and nobody at Sprint is keen on following up with my problem. I’ve spent 12 hours on the phone with Sprint in the past 4 months and my bill still isn’t correct.

I want full credit, I want the extra money I paid Sprint back, and I want a credit for having spent wasted hours with these knuckleheads over the phone. Mostly, I want to see killer bees let loose in their Kansas City headquarters.

Sprint’s had over four months to resolve the excessive charges. They have done nothing. Seth should immediately escalate the problem to executive support. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: cmorran123)


Edit Your Comment

  1. oldbluebox says:

    Sprint has had a lot of issues lately.

    I’m a third party dealer for them and whenever I call them for any customer issues they give me problems, and I’m a sprint rep.

    Hard times.

  2. mac-phisto says:

    killer bees…now that’s an awesome idea.

  3. bokononist says:

    i had a similar problem with Sprint. They never resolved it–they wrote it off fast and sent it to collections.

    Document EVERYTHING and take them to small claims court. Maybe give them one more shot at executive customer service first.

  4. bones says:

    Write a letter to Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee. Keep documentation of everything. If you don’t get resolution from Forsee’s office in 30 days file a small claims case. Make a BBB report. If sent to collections hire an attorney to sue Sprint Nextel in regular court with documented hours, attorney’s fees, lost clients, lost client calls, damage to reputation personal and business, and find your written contract.

  5. Mr_Human says:

    This is exactly why I do the pay-as-you-go thing. I know it’s not right for everyone, but damn if I’m going to tie myself to yet another contract with a giant telecommunications company.

  6. Dashiell says:

    I guess this is SOP at Sprint. Every time I call with a problem they say it’s taken care of, and then a month later I have to call back because they either didn’t do what they said they would, or they did do it, but made some other mistake. Now I just assume that they haven’t done anything until I actually see it on my bill. I’ve never had anything this bad (they’ve even made a few mistakes in my favor) but I honestly can’t even remember the last time my invoice was completely correct.

    I’m starting to think the front line CSRs don’t even have computers. They just pretend to look stuff up, say what I want to hear and then hang up.

  7. clbarrientos says:

    CSR changed my plan without my consent, sprint is the worst because they don’t do anything to serve their customers.

  8. sshhaammss says:

    wow that’s worse than what tracfone did to me!!!
    they totally suck at keeping track of stuff, apparently.

    watch out for TRAPfone or CRAPfone or totally WACKfone. i bought the year’s service plan and the double minute plan, then woke one day and looked a my crackfone to see that i had 0.0 minutes and an expiration date in the past. impossible. i called and spoke to someone who gave me numbers to type into my phone and read back what it said. the secret codes told them that my phone was broken. oh really? well they sent me a broken replacement, replaced it a couple weeks later, and neglected to give me back my double minute plan or my years worth of service.

    when i tried to get them to face up to their mistake they kept flipping the script back to page one:
    “uh we don’t have any record of your ever having used our service… would you like to activate your CRAPfone?”

    “no im calling because i spend 200 dollars for a service i am not recieving. my phone rings when i call it i just can’t answer…”

    “sir are there minutes on your phone? you cant answer without minutes, you know.”

    “well no sh*t lady! that’s how’s its been for the last 2 years i have used your service. why should it change now? the problem is that there’s no way in *ell im buying more minutes until you tell me what happened to the 800 minutes i just had, and also the expiration date needs to be put back in the future, likew next year, where it was!”

    Thats the part where CRAPfone puts you on hold and pretends to get a manager, then several minutes later its, “sorry we have no record of ever having had you in our system would you like to activate your trapFone?”

    “uh… i thought i just told you… nevermind”

    the moral of my rant is don’t get trapfone, crackfone, crapfone or any other service that spells phone ‘fone’.

    other marked stupidities of the service include the fact that you can’t see who is calling unless you have minutes, so that after you switch to a REAL service you have to keep a few ‘units’ on your slapfone just to see who calls your old number, just in case you know…

    the agents also barely speak english

  9. It is always amazing to me to watch the tide sweep back and forth between who has the best Customer Support & Retention of all the wireless carriers. Despite the down, then way up, now way down again CS from Sprint I remain with them because I have a grandfathered, unreal plan with unlimited data because I signed onto the very first high-end Vision plan, ever… And I stayed with it. I’m just waiting for the day that they decide to do exact this same thing to me.

    And I absolutely know it will happen.

    But when it does – it is going to be hard to decide who to go with my pretty decent company-supported cell phone bill stipend. Verizon is known for the best service in my area, but has poor support, and they are behind on phone technology. Strange as they used to be known for being the best in all ways (service, coverage, support) Cingular has awful coverage, slow, strange pauses in transmissions of voice, expensive data plans, but perhaps the best support right now. Sprint comes in second in several categories, but that means they aren’t dead last in any category. Which means they win for me. Talk about the lesser of evils.

    Additionally, why in the @#$&% hasn’t some company come in and be the JetBlue or Song of cell carriers and kick all three of these marginally acceptable carriers squarely in the nuts? Kills me.

  10. mjrbacin says:

    sprint has messed with us up one side and down the other. One of the agreements that I had made with one rep. over the phone was we sign up for 2 more years of service and get an additional phone for my wife and my phone fixed for free. Well we had to pay the $35 for her phone and they said we had to pay to have my phone fixed. Well thats not what they told us over the phone. But to make it “OK” they said we could send in a rebate and get our money back then it would be like we never paid. Well that was over 2, 3 months ago and we have yet to see that rebate. We hate Sprint and as soon as our contract is up were going to Cingular.

  11. Ben Popken says:

    Brenda writes:

    “I would recommend he file a complaint with the FCC (http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cib/fcc475.cfm). I had similar issues with AT&T, and filed a complaint with the FCC. By law, the company must follow-up with any consumer that files a complaint the FCC. This is tactic is not widely know, and works better than calling any CSR.

    I received a refund check in my case. All others who I have told about this have received either a refund check or a credit for the amount from the telecommunications company.”

  12. ruben says:

    Been a loyal customer for 6 years with Sprint myself, mostly because we try to keep our distance. They don’t bother me and I don’t bother them.

    My final straw may have come about a month ago. One day I got in the mail a “thank you” for upping my plan (which was to expire in August) and agreeing to a new 2-year contract. NEWS TO ME. I have the plan’s end date circled on my calendar (the same day I switch to the iPhone and AT&T).

    I called them up and told them they’d made a mistake. Their records indicated otherwise — that I apparently verbally agreed to a 2-year commitment in exchange for 50 free minutes per month. (I laughed out out. Fifty minutes is an insult!)

    In cases like this, I fall back on several tried and true tactics:

    1) Ask to speak to a Manager
    2) Threaten them with BBB action

    I went so far this time to request they produce the “evidence” of me saying yes to such a ridiculous contract. Apparently a corporate department outside of C/S can produce those recordings, but I never got that far. Luckily, common sense prevailed and they cancelled the 2-year contract and reinstated the old one.

    Like I said, if they don’t bother me…

  13. buzaw0nk says:

    Not to be a appoligizer for Sprint, but one of my lines went two months without any Internet plan and over the two months the service came out to $300 in overages. I sent an email to CS and without a single second of hold time the issue was resolved successfully. Nice job.

  14. submetropolis says:

    These stories are common not insolated incidents.
    I worked for Sprint, now I’m with Embarq. Two of my co-workers had the exact same thing happen. (ex-sprint employees) They do this to their own employees not just their customers. You’re best bet is to have a Sprint store fix the issue or call customer service from a phone at the Sprint store. This way anything thing the idiot on the phone says or does can be double checked by the rep at the store. Most store reps/managers can hand out credits up to 200bucks.
    I’ve had no problem getting them to credit my account and friends too. The system doesn’t work so you have to circumvent it. You will get no where calling their CS line.

  15. --Stephen-- says:

    I went to the local Sprint store on 11/23 and purchased 2 phones. I selected the $59.99 per month family plan and was told that $20 would add unlimited text messaging to our plan.
    On 11/24, Sprint mailed me a bill for $182 and 5 days later mailed me another bill for $284. When I called to find out what was going on, the first 2 reps I got on the phone with told me that since I had purchased my phones in a Sprint store, I needed to go there with any problems I had with my bill, then hung up on me. A phone call to the executive team got some credit applied to my account, but only $187.
    I was informed that the $20 unlimited texting wasn’t available for my plan, so I was charged $15 for unlimited texting on the 1st phone, and after racking up about 10 bucks in per message texting fees on the second phone, they added the 15 buck unlimited texting to that phone also, but kept the $10.40 fee for per message texting that they had already billed me for. I was charged activation fees which were supposed to be waived. I was charged $75 for a data plan when I had specifically requested that data access be blocked on both phones.
    On the 12th day of my contract, I returned both phones to the Sprint store and canceled my contract. I was told that for 12 days of having a plan that was $59.99 per month, the balance on my account was $84, and that since the current billing period ended on 12/28, they wouldn’t be able to cancel my account until that day, and I would have to pay for service for phones I didn’t have for the period from today (12/04) until the 28th.
    I pointed out to them that they were able to activate the phones within an hour of purchase, they could deactivate them within an hour also. They wanted me to keep the service active until the 28th, when I would be 5 days past the 30 day return policy.
    After going a few more rounds with them, they finally agreed to cancel my account immediately, and with all the credits that were applied, my account balance was -$14.00.
    I’m waiting anxiously now to see whether they send me another bill for several hundred bucks or they send me a refund for the $14 their computer shows on as a balance owed to me by them.
    Also, in addition to all this crap, the 20 minutes of usage we got out of those phones were pretty bad too. Lots of static, multiple dropped calls. Even if they hadn’t screwed up my bill so bad that I canceled the contract, I probably would have canceled anyway because the service was so bad.
    I don’t know who I’m gonna go with now for cell phone service, but I’ll never go back to Sprint.