How To Negotiate What You Want From Sprint Retentions

A former call center worker told us how to get to, and deal with, Sprint retentions department so they will fix billing errors, or waive fees.

Call customer service. You will probably get “Chris” in India. Ask for what you want, like the credits on your bill due to overages. The front-line guy won’t be able to do anything so escalate to his manager. Go through the same rigmarole, the goal being to get notes on your account. This manager won’t make changes to your account either so ask for account services so you can cancel your account.

Never use the term retentions, it makes reps go on the defensive and they will treat you like you’re fishing for deals. Instead, ask for “account services.”

(Photo: Maulleigh)

Just explain that the CSR promised to fix your issue but was unable too. And that you are no longer happy with their services. Then explain clearly what you want. Say something like “I want to upgrade to the Treo 700p” and the telesales guy said it would be XXX amount but now they are telling me its +XXX amount.” They will solve that problem. Retentions is all about fixing problems with giving you new equipment tied to Reups. As well as fixing billing issues. Don’t let them bullshit you. They can and will fix any provisioning error, like being overbilled due to incorrect plan codes.

Ask for specific, reasonable things, like new phone upgrades at discounted prices. Find a Sprint employee’s email address and say they told you to use the SERO plan (Sprint Employee Referral Offer).

You can also try asking for

• % based savings off your monthly bill
• Waived upgrade activation fee (18 dollars)
• Waived activation fee (first line or add a line)
• Give a 25 Dollar Credit on your Next monthly bill when you purchase a new line
• Free shipping

The company only cares about one thing: new subscriptions. If you can manage to hand them a “new” subscription while getting yourself a new phone with discounted service, then it’s wins all around.



Edit Your Comment

  1. chrisgoh says:

    Basically you suggest asking for something from a front line rep, once they tell you know, get transferred up the line and then tell them that the previous person promised it to you.

    Ummm…basically you are lying and getting the front line rep in trouble. This is really crossing the line. I’m all for sticking it to companies that try to screw you over, but there is a limit.

  2. chrisgoh says:

    I meant, tell you NO.

  3. Skeptic says:

    Ummm…basically you are lying and getting the front line rep in trouble.

    It says no such thing. The suggestion is to ask for what you want. The first rep is under orders to say no, so you escalate to the department that is authorized to make concessions to keep your business. Completely reasonable.

  4. ddn says:

    Or do what I did. Email the CEO of Sprint. Problem taken care of within 24 hours. My 650 blew up and the store refused to even look at it because I didn’t have the “right insurance”. 24 hours and 1 email to Gary later, new Treo 700p and no change in the unlimited Power Vision and free SMS plan.

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Gary Forsee is now the president of the University of Missouri System, where I am a student.
      I’ve had occasion to speak with him personally once and I held a door open for him once (lol).
      He seems like a nice guy, and in light of the current financial environment, he’s running the state university system after forfeiting his $100k bonus to cut costs, and you have to remember he probably made mad cash being the head of Sprint.

  5. textilesdiva says:

    It works! I had an $80 billing error, and went through a bunch of hoops through the regular CS number, and they basically said ‘pay up, or shut up’ (My options were to pay, or open a $150 fee for a call record log, even though this was for texts, and until a few months ago, the logs of text messages had been available to me online).

    I came home, used yall’s executive customer service # (thank you!), and was, for some odd reason, transferred to retention without any asking.

    The gentleman offered me unlimited texting for $5, instead of fifteen. I countered with me paying the $15 (I can easily change that when the time is right), but paying 50% of the supposed overage charges, and we’d call it even. After tax credits and whatnot, it was just a little more than $40 off.

    Not bad for what I’d thought was a losing battle. And it pretty much mirrors this protocol lined out here, minus actually asking for account services.

  6. farscape7 says:

    On a sprint phone I just hit *2 then it will ask you what you want and say “cancel”. This will take you directly to retention dept(my experience i am just a customer i don’t work there). This way you don’t deal with the 1st line guys who really cant do anything but say no. Then you try your luck with whoever you get. They usually assume you talked with a 1st line guy and that you were transfered to them without any notes.

    Be aware that they may change your anniversary date if you change your plan and they wont mention it to you of course. So you can deal with that on another call.

    fyi they have a 1000 min 8pm plan for $40 that they may offer you if you explain how much better deal you can get with…anyone, anyone

    well thats my experience with them. i have talked to retentions 5 or 6 times and they have retained me.

  7. junkmail says:

    Also, make sure they actually follow through on their promises. Recently (two months ago) upgraded to a MotoQ after two hours of wheeling and dealing. Have yet to see half the stuff promised, (rebates, credits, etc.). Just have to keep calling and keep getting the same things promised over and over again. Eventually, they’ll get tired of me, (I hope).

  8. Skeptic says:

    i have talked to retentions 5 or 6 times and they have retained me.

    Hmmm…I’m guessing that this doesn’t work if you are still under contract? I’d hate for them to call my bluff. They know I’ve got a Sprint Treo that I can’t use on Cingular…

    I’m still waiting for my indentured servitude to be up but I’d like an earlier time for my nights. (They keep trying to tell me I need to make new 2 year contract to move my nights from 9pm!!!! Grrrrr….)

  9. DuncanC says:

    @Skeptic: Yes, you have to be willing to sign a new contract, but as long as you are, they’ll do just about anything for you. That’s the bargain. They’re going to give you something for nothing. @junkmail: is right, however, that you have to stay on them to make sure they follow through.

    And this post does seem to imply that you should lie (saying you were promised something, even if you weren’t) to get what you want. Not cool.

  10. chrisgoh says:


    Actually the article says – “Just explain that the CSR promised to fix your issue but was unable too.”

    If the CSR tells you no, they can’t do it, and then you tell the manager that the CSR promised to do it, that is a LIE.

  11. chipslave says:

    Here is more info than you probably ever wanted to know about the Sprint SERO program…

  12. enm4r says:

    I seem to be in the agreeing majority here, I’m all for pestering, complaining, demanding, dealing, etc, but I feel like the point is lost if you’re just lying to get what you want.

    Obviously with flexible definitions you could get around that with some language like “I was under the impression that ________” instead of flat out “CSR told me _________” but even that seem to cross the line.

    I’m pretty sure you can cause enough of a fuss to get what you want without lying. If it isn’t necessary, why do it?

  13. catchthefever says:

    I live in an area with poor service. Sprint wanted me to buy a new phone. I got the “we’ll give you one cheap if you agree to a 2-year contract”. I didn’t want any more contract with no guarantee of some decent service.

    The retention people kept telling me about how much Sprint is spending to improve coverage. I don’t care if it does not affect me NOW. I live in a major metro area (Phoenix), and constantly lost calls. I’d even drop calls to “Customer Care”.

    I wrote a letter to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office requesting that Sprint waive the fee to let me out of my contract.

    Within two weeks Sprint called and gave me a new phone of my choice. I still intend to ditch them when my current contract expires in six months.

  14. The Walking Eye says:

    While the 2 year contracts suck, if you signed up for one that’s your own fault, and doing exactly what this post says seems to me to be going over the line. And if you’ve had nothing but trouble, why negotiate to get a new plan and phone in the first place?

    You decided to sign up for Sprint, probably getting a free new phone in the process, and then prior to the period they allow you to re-up you want a better deal? Seems unfair to me since you agreed to a price and plan in the first place. If you’ve had nothing but trouble, that’s a different story but that’s not how this post is set-up.

    This is a perfectly good way to negotiate when it’s your time to do so, other than the lying about the CSR saying they were gonna fix something. I’m all for negotiating the best deal, but to deceive a company because you don’t like the contract you agreed to just doesn’t sit well with me. Apologies to all who are adamant that this is perfectly acceptable since Sprint’s out to “screw” you.

  15. Skeptic says:

    “Just explain that the CSR promised to fix your issue but was unable too.”

    Indeed, I missed this aspect. I was wrong in saying that the post does not ask you to lie since the CSR never promised to fix the problem. Too, bad, too, since it doesn’t seem necessary to say he promised only that he didn’t fix the problem..

  16. rugger_can says:

    @The Walking Eye:

    I think at this point we are arguing semantics. I don’t think the quotes are really to be used literally. More like guidelines. If we where to take them at face value then everyone calling would be getting a tero even if they had a problem with a huge overbilling :P

    Besides the title of the artical is not “how to lie to someone to get something you don’t deserve” right.

  17. phonedude says:

    I don’t expect to actually make it past the “audition” here, but who cares, really.

    I happen to work for Sprint Retentions. In case anyone is wondering, we DO actually read things like this to keep up with what people are saying to us when they call. Not everyone does, but I certainly do.

    Have I given a free phone to someone that probably didn’t deserve it? Definately. Have I called the bluff on a line that has been to my department more times than Monica visited the oval office? Yep. Funny sometimes when you say, “OK, Sir….I’ll go ahead and cancel that line for you right now”….only to hear “homina, homina, homina” on the other end. Your site is as invaluable to ME as it is to the freeloaders who are looking for something for nothing.

    So…let me explain this. I do very well at my job because I do retain honest people. I also can look at some accounts and KNOW that they just want a new phone, but I have the skill to negotiate to the point where it’s a “win win” for both the customer and Sprint. I have also issued tons of credit for billing issues…believe me, I understand that the CSR reps sometimes are, well….WORTHLESS. I get angrier with them than I do with customers because I get stuck cleaning up their mess half the time…or they will transfer someone to me that DOESN’T want to cancel their line because they are too freaking lazy to deal with the problem themselves. To top that off, you have the “greasy car salesmen” that work at the stores and have absolutely no accountability for their actions, often flat lying to a customer to sell a phone. So, Mr. Customer, although I can’t say it when I’m on the phone talking to you, quite often I feel your pain and understand where you’re coming from. Let’s not forget, I have bills, too, and when I get off the phone with you, I have to go home and pay them, often running into the same troubles that YOU do with us.

    But, folks. There are some people that abuse the system. It’s dishonest and eventually it WILL catch up to you. There is a group in Brooklyn that is going to find this out soon enough. (You know who you are!) By the way, folks…do you REALLY think Sprint is afraid of any lawyer YOU can come up with? Honestly, guys. If you had THAT kind of money, you wouldn’t go through such elaborate measures to get a free phone. I’m kinda thinking that Sprint can afford, oh, ANY LAWYER they want and they are quite well equipped to handle you and your false claims. So, don’t use that line, guys. Nobody is shaking in their boots because of it.

    Look, I’ll wrap this up. You have a problem with your bill? Are you in need of a new phone and your rebate status is still too new? Have you spent some money with my company? Please, call me. I’m gonna take care of you. But, don’t expect a free 700 P when you spend 30 bucks a month on your plan. And, if you DO get a free phone from me, expect a contract. Sprint is a business. We do have the right to make money. Who’s paying for those towers? You?

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Who’s paying for those towers? You?

      Well….you do have a right to make money…from your customers….who, if are offered a better deal somewhere else….will NO LONGER be your customers….so you lose money… we give you in exchange for providing a service…like building new towers…so you can get more customers…

      correct me if i’m wrong, but I keep seeing customers in this logical breakdown.

      kinda like I pay taxes and the gov’t builds new roads and hires police and the like.

      this dude’s comment, especially coming from an employee and commenting on his job, makes me want to take a hard look at other offerings of service.

      Oh, and if you canceled MY line without my express permission just because I asked about what you’re going to do to keep making a profit off of me…..First you’ll transfer me to the ACTUAL supervisor (not you), and then HE can find me the number for the carrier of my choice.

      Do people abuse the system? Sure.

      Do you make billions off those who don’t? Absolutely.

  18. GlobalMind says:

    The article makes a statement which says it all: “The company only cares about one thing: new subscriptions.”

    This is the fundamental issue with all wireless providers. Once you’re in, they couldn’t care less about you.

    What’s even more funny, in the case of Cingular and their “corporate” discounts for us, they have cranked up the price of the device so you’re paying the same or more than if you bought it without the company plan. Hilarious.

    I have my Sprint Treo 600 now that’s ready to be replaced, and I have gone through my last two year deal. So far I can get the device for $329, which isn’t terrible but I know they can do better. Retentions might be an option. At this point I really am open to jumping to another carrier and buying the device I want from that carrier. After something like 7-8 years with Sprint, I might just take both my line and my wife’s line to someone else. Number portability is a wonderful thing.

    I am all for Sprint and the others being able to make a living, but I don’t believe I should need to subsidize new subscribers with my dollars. Over the course of a two year deal I’ll be paying Sprint the same or more than a new sub. I just won’t be a “new” tick mark for the ‘ol tot-board.

  19. youarebanned says:

    As a former Account Services Specialist for Sprint be aware that theyare now changing how retention works. They are no longer allowed to “give away the farm” and any handset credit above what your are currently eligible for (upgrade rebate) must at this time be approved by a supervisor. They are also unable to go below new customer price on any handsets. You may be able to get by on some reps who “forget” about this policy for now but I am sure they will be sticking by their guns. Good luck getting credits or discounts for anything that is not valid.

  20. phonedude says:

    @youarebanned: as a current Retention Rep, youarebanned is EXACTLY right. And it’s a LOT of fun right now, too.

    • Robert Morgan says:

      And it’s a LOT of fun right now, too.

      Yep, ok. Phonedude, let your boss know that, based on your adversarial attitude with customers I am now planning to end my 5 year relationship with Sprint. Obviously you missed the orientation day when they explained how to deal with customers.
      I will also be selling my Sprint stock. I no longer want to have ownership in a company which does not align with my views of helping customers and patrons.

      I’m keeping my money, and telling a few thousand of my closest friends about your antics.


  21. josmatt22 says:

    I was having problems with phones that were defective and they kept giving me credits. I cannot get anyone to actually help me. I know I have overpaid and no one calls me back. I have an SERO that was supposed to be helping me and she must have quit. I know I have been over charged.
    Now we are getting a service here that has unlimited
    everything for $34. My bill is over 150. a month with all the extras. Also my son got the Treo 700
    a couple of months ago and it is always freezing and he lost all his contacts. I paid over $300 for it. When I call them I have to have a full battery and be in a good mood because it takes about 2 hours. I am so tempted to go to the new company but my son says no. I have a Samsung A600 and it has been good I had so much trouble with the Red Razr and the A900. The store will not help me either they told me to call Account Retention.

  22. phonedude says:

    Josmatt….if you’re having problems with your phone, that’s what the insurance is for. Do you have it? Retention isn’t allowing freeloaders to get new phones anymore, for free or discounted, anyway. Here’s a clue for ya. If you buy an expensive phone, buy insurance. By the way, stay away from the Razr and maybe even the Treo. Sure, the Moto Q doesn’t have picture mail or video mail, but it’s WAY better for push technologies and it multitasks. I’ve owned both phones and I don’t like the Treo nearly as much as Q. Remember, I work for the company, so take my advice to heart. Stay away from the Razr….I repeat, stay away from the Razr. But, from my department, we aren’t giving you a thing, so you best have insurance.

    Also, I like how people claim that we are way more expensive than other people and then when I look at their bill, I see that they rack up overages and go over their minutes or data overages. Come on people, if you’re on a 550 minute plan, it’s only that price if you stay under 550 minutes. Simple math, folks. We’re not gonna wipe your ass for you anymore. Simple as that.

  23. salemcatnyc says:

    I love this site and are really learning from people’s experiences and so called techniques. I tell you what though, Sprint is by far the best cell phone company there is, at least as far as the connectivity and the data coverage price. 15 bucks unlimited vision plan, can’t beat it. ONly thing I hate about the company is their customer service both over the phone and in store. I like talking to retentions because they are pleasant, not because I like to get stuff for cheap or free. As far as phones are concerned, PHONEDUDE is right, get the Q, no Razr. I have had experience with both and the Razr just sucked the big one. And guys, please don’t abuse the knowledge, it just screws it up for the rest of us non-freeloaders.

  24. cygnus63 says:

    OH what to do what to do? I recently broke up with a girlfriend who had got me a new sprint A900m as a birthday present through her Sprint rep where she works. She had put the phone in her name and of course there is that new service contract, of which there is about 16 months left. So as of now, I have this phone that’s in her name, the bill goes to her, she won’t give it to me, she won’t cancel the service for it, I don’t want to use it because she get the bill and would look at the numbers incoming or outgoing, and call and harass them. does this mean I’m stuck with a great phone that I can’t use, does she have to cancel it, release the number or what?
    Any help would be really appreciated, Thanks in advance.

  25. phat_head says:

    ***as a sprint retention rep*** reading the comments on this page is really interesting. just to inform you all. sprint is aware of these type of sites and has changed there policy towards giving away free “stuff”. you can say what ever “BS” you’d like to the csr you initially speak to, but if you are transferred to account services or retention. Your not going to be given anything that it makes no since to give you, even with a contract renewal. Retention will go a little further than a csr to assist you, but due to repeated abuse and people calling in fishing for rediculous deals sprint has become alot stricter on giving anything away.

  26. kisskillyes says:

    I worked for sprint in the account servicing department and the reason why they were willing to try to accomidate you is the numbers they have to meet. Sprint care department has no numbers to meet,they are just there to confuse the customer more they they already are. Account services has a point system where every phone number they save they get x number of points. So if you get one of them and you do not put your account at risk the level of service will drop because they have to make there numbers for three months or ther are gone. They also have to take at least 660 calls a month even if they are very slow on calls. Even though when they make there numbers for the month they get paid really good. That brings me to how they want you to say that you are canceling or shopping around to make there numbers go up. You would think that they should not bring that cancel word up but they are basically told to PUT accounts at risk to inflate there numbers in account services. I provided great customer servive which cost me my job.I did not make my numbers for three months but I had a minumum of 10 customer accomidations and endless comments such as “If I would have spoken with a month ago” etc… but customer servive is no longer. I guess my point is that it should not take you to cancel your account to get the best customer service but with sprint it does.

  27. kittymarie says:

    @phonedude: Dude, I recently had a run-in with Sprint, after they billed me $709.05 for ETF on 4 of 5 lines we had. The contracts had expired in Dec 07, but Sprint decided to extend those contracts in Sept 07 when I inquired about the termination dates. When I spoke to one of the acct services reps in early Feb 08, after receiving that whopping bill, I was assured that the problem was taken care of, that my balance was ZERO. Little did I know that they were going to take $489.67 from my checking account 3 weeks later! When I immediately called about that, I was transferred up and up through various supervisors who said I had agreed to a “customer service bonus” and this started my contracts over. Never once did I authorize an extension of my contract, never did the rep state that the “bonus” was directly tied to an extension of my contract. Finally, after nearly an hour of banging my head against the proverbial wall, I was told that the next manager I was to speak with would have to be via callback in 48-72 hours.
    Fortunately, the person that called me back, less than 24 hours later, was very polite and understanding. I pleaded my case, giving all the details, she listened politely, but at first was reticent to refund the monies taken from my account, again stating something about the “bonus”. It wasn’t until I made an analogy of this “bonus” and the fact the reps had misrepresented it to being similar to mail fraud that I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Later that same evening (after I had gone to work), my husband received a call from the refund department at Sprint, was given this person’s direct line, and informed me the money would be refunded directly to our account in 24 hours. I’m patiently waiting to see if that happens today, but it took the threat of “mail fraud with a cell phone” for them to see that their reps are lying to customers.

  28. mekk says:

    Just a suggestion: don’t let companies directly debit from your account/credit card. There are too many billing mistakes that happen to all of us and it’s a lot easier to get your money “back” when you haven’t paid it yet.

  29. rwalford79 says:

    I dont want anything from Account Relations more then them fixing the Mail In Rebate that was denied.

    Sprint gave me a temp number while I had mine ported in, then proceeded to change the number on me without notifying me, then give me yet another number once I caught on no one could call me. Created a SECOND account, charged me FULL PRICE $99.99 for that, then finally after days of calls, got my account cancelled, moved me over to a new plan (the original I wanted), and got my number ported.
    I had some credits put on the account, and then those mysteriously went away, werent applied to the NEXT bill – which still charged me full price for 1.5 plans (they feel they should charge me for having service on a number I couldnt use, nor did use).

    This month, I decided – forget it – and paid it all – will call Account Relations tomorrow on my day off to have that fixed. But today, I check, my MAIL IN REBATE has been denied. All because they cant verify my contract date (which moved on the plan change they did), the phone number (which they want the original, which I dont have), and the ESN number ( all of this is on the receipt). So now Im out $100.00 for the MAIL IN REBATE, PLUS about $60.00 in a plan I didnt have.

    So, I REALLY hope Account Relations can help me. If they cant, Ill know making it back to Sprint was the wrong choice, and I should have stayed with T-Mobile.

    See, Im not asking for anything like the 15% discount I should get with work, but they refused to give me. Im not asking for a FREE second line, phone, or FREE LongDistance Plan, or anything like that. Im not even asking for month credits, or anything, I just want them to fix what was wronged, and either move that Mail in rebate quickly, or apply that and the $60 monthly fee they screwed up to the next months bill. I dont even care how they do it, just do it.

  30. HondaGuy705 says:

    The funny thing is, my wife and myself both just left Sprint after 6 years for me and 10 for her to jump on the iphone bandwagon. Sprint never even attempted to retain us, and we haven’t called and asked for anything, pay our $120 bill every month, and in general aren’t a whole lot of trouble. I’d been potentially interested in keeping them and getting a Pre, but after the ridiculous way Palm has taken on Apple, I took a pass. Given the way Sprint is Hemorrhaging customers, you would at least figure they’d be a little more aggressive than last time, offering my no deal on a phone and a $50 credit.