Sprint Makes A Minister's Wife Cry

The life of a Consumerist editor can be a roller coaster ride of emotion. One minute you’re laughing at Delta airlines uglyass new planes, the next you’re reading a letter from a minister who says Sprint made his wife cry.

Jackson writes us not knowing what to do. He ordered two new phones from Sprint but can’t get all of them activated. He says he’s clocked 11 hours and 15 min on the phone with ” 30 (Thirty) customer service reps of various departments.” At the 9 1/2 hour mark, he found his wife crying on the phone with a Sprint CSR. Jackson writes:

After I heard her crying I went over to a Sprint store and as I walked in the guy said,”How can I help you?”

To which I replied,” I’m here to kick some ass!!!!!”

He got snotty too, and told me I was at the wrong type of Sprint store for my account type. I apologized. I’ve been an ordained minister and I’m still very active in church activities.

I can just see the headline, “Minister kicks some ass”.

Or, “Minister gets his ass kicked”. The kid in the store was about 30 years younger than me.

Our advice to Jackson inside.

First, here’s Jackson’s email:

My wife and I have just spent 11 hours and 15 min on the phone with Sprint customer support, since April 13. We have, as of last night talked to 30 (Thirty) customer service reps of various departments.

I woke up one morning to hear my wife crying on the phone with a rep. That was the 9 1/2 hour point. I took over at that point. I didn’t last as long as she did.

We had a 2 phone, Family Plan. My wife added 2 more phones to the plan making us a 4 phone, Family Plan.

They disconnected one of the original phones and can’t get it going again.

It took 2 for sure, maybe 3 calls to get the 2 new phones shipped. I need to check with my wife.

They finally sent the 2 ordered phones for the 2 new lines, but I haven’t opened them cause I was worried about the whole Sprint thing by now.

This note doesn’t come near conveying the raging fury, I have kept to myself, regarding this matter. 2 of the lines, mine and one of the ordered phones, are business lines. Mine dead, hers not activated because I’m so worried about the whole Sprint thing and the 2 year contract we may have just renewed. We had just expired.

All the reps have been nice.

Sprint, itself is broken.

Out of five Reps who said they would call back, only one did.

I have only lost my temper once .

After I heard her crying I went over to a Sprint store and as I walked in the guy said,”How can
I help you?”

To which I replied,” I’m here to kick some ass!!!!!”

He got snotty too, and told me I was at the wrong type of Sprint store for my account type.
I apologized. I’ve been an ordained minister and I’m still very active in church activities.

I can just see the headline, “Minister kicks some ass”.

Or, “Minister gets his ass kicked”. The kid in the store was about 30 years younger than me.

And so on……..

Thanks for your time.

I’m thinking about youtube.com. I produce a program of our church on 2 local tv stations.

What would you do if you were us?

Ok,.Jackson. Here’s what we would do. According to this press release from Sprint, you have a 30 day guarantee. The press release says,

“We’re now giving you 30 days to try Sprint risk free whether you are activating Sprint PCS or Nextel services. If you are not completely satisfied with Sprint, your service, phone or network, simply return your phone, and deactivate service within the 30 days. We’ll return your activation fee and waive your early termination fee, and you will only be responsible for charges based on your actual usage.”

Call Sprint. Tell them you are taking advantage of the 30 day guarantee because you are not happy with your “service, phone and network.” You will need to return the new phones to Sprint.

Upon invoking the name of a 30-day guarantee, you will most likely be directed to some sort of retention specialist. This person will try to fix your problem. Feel free to simply insist that your entire account be canceled.

Tell the Sprint CSR that you would like to port your number to another carrier. This should prevent them from releasing the number into their number pool. For more information about porting a number, click here.

At this point you should be free to move your account to another provider. In the course of escalating your issue, we have some phone numbers you might want to try. Oh, and here’s a guy who seems important.
CEO, Gary Forsee: Gary.D.Forsee@mail.sprint.com
703-433-4040 Direct
703-433-4352 Fax


(Photo: Sam Wilkinson)


Edit Your Comment

  1. brattpowered says:

    So this guy expects someone not to be ‘snotty’ when a greeting is met with “I’m here to kick some ass!!!!!” Some people’s senses of entitlement are amazing.

    Anyway, the situation is ridiculous but it’s not smart to yell at someone who is offering to help. Good job apologizing.

  2. B says:

    “I kick ass for the Lord!!!”

  3. mattloaf1 says:

    Sounds like a case of “old person trying to do something (relatively) complicated with a technology service or product.”

  4. gundark says:

    Entitlement? Maybe these are the same type of people that were simply amazed that the 10 tips from the ISP insider were not all roses about the dumbasses they have to put up with on a daily basis.

  5. Buran says:

    What does one’s choice of employment have to do with the fact that one was mistreated by an uncaring megacorp?

  6. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I don’t know about Sprint, but Cingular has corporate owned stores where you can activate lines, change plans, add/remove features, and so on. The Cingular store rep can do all that with just a few mouse clicks. Calling customer service is a waste of time.

  7. zero_o says:

    I just got a phone from sprint and the CS rep wouldn’t activate it on the phone, she said I had to go to the store (the letter in the box says “do not go to the sprint store”) I just let it drop and I went to the Sprint store and they said there was no reason why she couldn’t have activated the phone, that’s high quality Customer Service… then you ask them why you can’t use certain features on the Motorola Q and they blame the Windows operating system. (it’s no the O/S fault)

  8. Quickness says:

    When I sold Sprint phones in Chicago, Sprint had an event at one of their big call centers. The place goes on super lockdown. No one can enter or exit the building.

    They gave a few tours, but they were with escorts. I guess we found out later that they always have threats and such from customers who say they will come in and hurt people and because this is one of the bigger service centers, Sprint cannot afford it ever going down.

    The cubes are setup (this was, mind you, 7 years ago) in a square, with dividers on it to turn it into 4 “desks”. At the end of each setup is a supervisor. They listen in on calls, take escalations, etc.

    We laughed because instead of working on increasing their customer service, they just turned it into a fort to keep the customers they piss off, out.

    Oh, and I’ve been a happy Sprint customer for over 10 years. Had the same phone number. Awesome service, never had any issues regardless of what part of the country I am in.

  9. MercuryPDX says:

    @brattpowered: So this guy expects someone not to be ‘snotty’ when a greeting is met with “I’m here to kick some ass!!!!!” Some people’s senses of entitlement are amazing.

    QFT, perhaps that ISP rep confession was not so far off base.

    You get more flies with honey than vinegar.

  10. Brie says:

    ITA with “The reps are nice, Sprint is broken.” I get my new phone with a temporary number. I call in to port over my old number. The rep says, “All right, I can help you with that.” (By now, that part just KILLS me.)

    Long pause. That gets longer. She says she is going to transfer me to a supervisor which I take to mean “I don’t know how to do it.” I say okay. She transfers me – click. Dialtone.

    I call back; get a new rep. Who also disconnects me.

    I call back and get a truly helpful rep. By which I mean he doesn’t disconnect me. He keeps me on the line so he can port over my new number… which not only takes 20 minutes, but requires that he CALL ME BACK due to some issue or other. To his credit, he calls me back an hour later to tell me the number port is complete and I should be able to start using the phone in the morning.

    So: what MissedTheExit thought would be a few mouseclicks on Sprint’s part because porting over new numbers must happen all the time… took three reps, over 30 minutes of phone time counting botched “transfers,” over an hour of waiting time for the task to be done, and then overnight waiting time.

    Poor Mrs Minister. Although even I might’ve just gone to the store after hour number 3. Unless the point is that this couple always follows the written word?

  11. Klay says:

    Jackson writes that he has clocked some serious hours with CSR’s. I had a similar “time-consuming” issue with Vonage and keep very accurate hours and recordings of all calls. After six months and still no operable fax service they admitted there was nothing they could do. Being a small business, I sent a bill to Vonage for over US$2500 of my valuable time. After some weeks of waiting I received a call from their payables department denying the invoice. Fine, I said. I’ll go to small claims court, you won’t show and I’ll deduct it on my taxes as an unpaid invoice. I win.

  12. pestie says:

    He’s here to chew bubble gum and kick ass – and he’s all out of bubble gum.

  13. michelobob says:

    I’ve been an unhappy sprint customer for 3+ years now. Once my contract ends, i’m gonna run to another provider so fast that they (sprint)wouldn’t notice me going through the door….moral of the story,… avoid sprint at all costs..don’t say you were not warned.

  14. er6037 says:

    I used to work for a major wireless carrier and I will say that if someone came into my store talking to me like that I would have just told him to leave or that I am calling the cops.

    Sorry, but things don’t go perfect all of the time and there isnt some magic button a customer service rep can press to make everything ok…threatening, yelling, (or crying) is not going to do any good for anyone.

  15. raising_kain says:

    It seems as though this is the best it will ever be. Corporations are becoming further and further removed and impossibly bureacratic. I have had the same response from almost all customer service numbers. The reps, themselves, are generally pleasant, but have restricted access or little knowledge. Gotta love Corporate America!

  16. BillyMo says:

    As a Sprint rep, I spent three hours, two weeks ago trying to get a credit score on a customer. She patiently waited and I was screaming at care within an hour. They don’t know what they’re doing overall, and if you get transferred to tele sales, hang up. It is all outsourced… out of the country. They barely speak English and never know what they’re talking about. All they want is the account passcode (whether one’s been established or not).

    By the way, she never did get the phone.

    A Sprint store should be able to help. They should be able to activate the lines through their systems relatively easily. If not, they can contact sales support and they will help them through.

    The real question is why the line is off. My guess, and this is solely a guess, is it’s the active line in the box.

    Now, one more piece of advice to Consumerist-ville: do not be shocked when you walk into a store, threatening violence, holding an item that the rep you’re standing in front of made no commission from, (and stands to make less now that you’re taking time away from other commissionable sales), that they aren’t rolling out the red carpet and pouring their finest champaign to welcome you.

    Evil Megacorp or not, we reps still need to feed our own families.

    Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, the “thirty days” only applies to new customers if I’m not mistaken. They upgraded. Using that as your reasoning is stupid when you can tell the truth (it’s documented all over the account, I’m sure) and have a much more effective argument. If you say the word “cancellation” to Customer Care they pretty much have to send you to Retention, so do that if that’s what you want to do, but most people want a resolution not cancellation.

    Post here if more advice is necessary. I can more than likely put you in contact with someone who can help… over the phone if need be, especially if I have more details.

    Take care.

  17. Killian says:

    I worked in retail for at least 10 years and I’ve run into more than my share of greetings like that. I would have said something like “if you let me help you first, I’ll let you do it twice” or something else creative to try and defuse their anger. It’s been rare that I’ve actually been threatened with bodily harm so most things pale by comparison.

  18. shdwsclan says:

    Customer: “Im here to kick some ass !!!”
    Sales: Im not sure we have that in stock at the moment. I can find another store that does.

  19. aikoto says:

    I still don’t understand why companies can’t make a simple interface for their products and services. When I worked at Best Buy, I filled in all their rebates at the store before they left. I made copies of their UPC codes and stapled all the right ones together because I knew that if they left and tried to do it themselves, they’d fail and come back looking for me since I sold it to them.

  20. aikoto says:

    @Killian: “If you let me try to help you first, I’ll let you do it twice”. Brilliant. I bet that works pretty well.

  21. mac-phisto says:

    ahh, reminds me of one of my favorite circle jerk songs: killing for jesus “i’m never bored, when i’m a-killing for the lord…”

    i used to get this a lot when i activated sprint. seriously folks, don’t EVER order a phone over the phone EVER & that goes doubly for sprint. you’re just asking for the perpetual csr loop, complete w/ an IVR that can’t understand the word NO. there were occasions where i (acting as a sprint rep with “special” phone #’s specifically for reps) spent hours on the phone trying to resolve an issue. not fun. unfortunately, nextel used to have an awesome agent help line & i think that’s all pretty much been rolled into sprint’s csr pit of despair.

  22. oldhat says:

    As a Sprint customer, moved from T-Mobile, and still does business with Verizon and Cingular, let me just say:

    Sprint has the worst customer service ever. Absolutely terrible. How are they still in business?

    Service is okay, prices are competitive, but pray to god you never have to call customer service.

    That is all.

  23. quantumm says:

    I agree, ordering phones over the phone is usually a huge cluster-fuck. You will only talk to that person from Bangladesh once, so if/when then screw up your order you will be dealing with another rep to fix your issues, each one usually with a progressively thicker accent.

    Buy your phones from an actual store, that way you can atleast hold someone accountable if they screw up your activation. If you are ballsy enough to deal with the jack-offs at the actual Sprint Store, they should be able to complete a simple activation for you. Personally I would recommend finding the best advertised price on the phone you want and then going into a 3rd party dealer and having them match the price. They dont get paid if they dont get you activated or if they screw up your activation and you cancel, so atleast they have some motivation to do things right. Honestly, as much as I hate to give Best Buy any credit, their phones prices are tough to beat, but you are at the mercy of their “highly trained” sales staff.

    P.S. If you are still in contract with Sprint and want out, port your number over to Nextel. You wont be charged an Early Termination Fee because Sprint is together with Nextel. From there you still have the new customer trial period with Nextel so port your number out from Nextel to whoever you like. This little loophole wont last forever so take advantage of it while you can.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    @quantumm: that loophole works, but it also requires an iden (nextel) phone. if you have one of those laying around, then you’re money. otherwise, nextel phones are some of the most expensive at full market price. even new activations often require a sizable donation. you may be better off paying the etf or using one of consumerist’s amended t&c tricks.

  25. quantumm says:

    Just get the cheapest phone they are offering and return it for a full refund once you have ported your number out.

  26. SexCpotatoes says:

    Battle Pope kicks ass for the lord:


  27. Baciaa says:

    haha thats funny. i would have loved to have been the CSR on the phone talking to a crying baby… As if they don’t get that shit enough.

  28. Souperal says:

    I work for a fortune 500 company, and get a 25% discount on Sprint, so I made the switch June 14th, to the tune of $539.73 being charged for a Treo 755, and two GS phones. I have cancelled(hopefully) 6/25/2007 and am awaiting my refund. I NEVER RECEIVED my phones, and was told (after 4 hours on phone with sprint customer support),that my order was cancelled! Then I receive a bill for an additional $212!! They say the “Check is in the mail”……………. In 7-10 days.Hahahahaha