Sprint Drops You Because You Call Customer Service Too Much

If you persistently insist that Sprint fix their numerous errors you will be dropped as a customer, according to reader Michael. He’s been having trouble with Sprint but instead of resolving his problem, they’ve decided to drop him as a customer according to a letter he received yesterday. The letter reads:

“Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information. While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs…”

Michael says:

I have called them alot over the past year, but those calls were to have them fix their errors. I’ve always been polite to their employees (whether it be over the phone or in a Sprint store). I’ve never missed a payment and have always paid my bill early. I’ve never asked them for discounts or freebies.

This is ridiculous. They terminate me because I call customer service too much? I call customer service to have them fix THEIR errors.

Sorry, Michael. Fixing their errors is costing them too much money. They have to get rid of you and find someone who won’t complain so much. It’s just too bad for you, Michael, that you paid full price for an expensive phone that you probably would not be able to use at its full effectiveness at another carrier… even if it weren’t defective.

Michael writes:

Hi. I and a number of others have recently received letters from Sprint that our service is being terminated because we call Sprint’s customer service too much.

I’ve only been a Sprint customer since December 2005. I joined on the $30 SERO plan. This was around the time the SERO plans first became available and they still included unlimited text messaging. Since then, I’ve called numerous times because I keep being charged $10.00 for the unlimited text messages. Every month I call and every month they only credit my account $8.00. This happens every month. This past month I had also been having problems with my Samsung IP-830W. I did go to my local repair center to deal with that, but they stuck me with a refurbished Treo 700P with non-functioning space-bar and menu key. I’ve been calling customer service pretty much every day for the past month trying to get this fixed too (getting an equivalent replacement). I purchased this IP-830W full price (~$699) back in March of this year. I’ve spoken with numerous customer service supervisors about this and they’ve offered me a blue Treo 755P. They told me they would put a temporary credit on my account for the same price as the blue Treo 755P and then send me a return kit for this defective Treo 700P the repair center left me with. The temporary credit is on my account, but no one has been able to order this blue Treo 755P. I also have not received the return kit.

Yesterday, I received a letter from Sprint that says they’re terminating service to me. Their reason:

“Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information. While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs…”

I have called them a lot over the past year, but those calls were to have them fix their errors. I’ve always been polite to their employees (whether it be over the phone or in a Sprint store). I’ve never missed a payment and have always paid my bill early. I’ve never asked them for discounts or freebies.

This is ridiculous. They terminate me because I call customer service too much? I call customer service to have them fix THEIR errors.

Sprint writes:

Michael, if you (and anyone else who is having this problem ) do want to stay with Sprint and get this resolved, you might want to try the Consumerist hotline: (703-433-4401). Let us know how it goes.


Edit Your Comment

  1. skittlbrau says:

    I’ve never heard of a wireless company doing this, but ING bank comes right out and tells you they will terminate you if you become “needy”. They call it firing their customers.

  2. B says:

    He should be happy that they’ve let you go, now he can switch to a company that won’t screw up so much. Can he unlock his phone so he can sign up for a new provider without a contract?

  3. JRuiz47 says:

    Interesting…another way to get out of a bad contract sans ETF?

  4. scoobydoo says:

    This is just brilliant. I can only assume someone at Sprint woke up one morning and decided to commit PR suicide.

  5. ThomFabian says:

    I love the “In addition we will not require you to pay an Early Termination Fee” line.

    Interesting that the fee only applies if you choose to terminate the contract, not vice versa.

  6. dbeahn says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. The most expensive thing a company does is talk to a customer. At one company that will remain nameless, the cost per contact averaged $5-$7 for a phone contact with a given customer. It doesn’t take that many calls before it was costing us money to keep someone as a customer. When that happened, we cut them loose.

  7. xkaluv says:

    Well… I think it is a poor business practice to drop a paying customer because you think he calls you too much.

    But in the interest of free enterprise, if they don’t want your business and they don’t want to fix your problem… so be it!

    Screw you Sprint… Verizon here we come! Oh, wait… they suck too.

  8. acambras says:

    It really sucks that they give him until 6/30/07 to find another carrier, but the letter is dated 6/29/07. Only ONE DAY, Sprint?

  9. 160medic says:

    Sprint should have to pay an ETF.That would be great.

  10. missdona says:

    Wow…. Everytime I call Sprint, I pray that it will be the last call I ever make to them. And then they screw something up, and I have to call them again.

    Waiting on hold for 20-30 minutes to reach a first level CSR is no fun for anyone.

  11. dbeahn says:

    @ThomFabian: More to the point, can HE charge THEM the ETF?

  12. missdona says:

    @acambras: They gave him a month, June 29 to July 30.

    Still sucks even with a month.

  13. ThomFabian says:

    They gave him until July 30, not June 30.

  14. acambras says:


    Oh, my bad — didn’t read the post very carefully, did I? (blushes)

    Still sucks, though — I’m all for them paying him an ETF.

  15. Ultimately, they are probably doing him a favor but giving him only a day is just crap. Also, “In addition we will not require you to pay an Early Termination Fee” is equivilant to the “I’ll do this as a favor, just this once” line.

    “Hey, we’re actually NOT going to charge you this fee we have no right to charge. Don’t you feel lucky?!?!”

  16. InThrees says:

    The great thing about this is that Sprint will view this as dumping a customer with unreasonable CS demands, rather than losing a customer due to their shoddy billing system.

  17. Thrust says:

    Funny. You want out of a contract because it is a financial burden or the service is not what was promised, and it costs you a fortune. THEY want out of a contract and they just send you a DIAF letter. How much MORE money would it cost them if you sued for breach of contract and discrimination? We already know it will cost em a lot of lost business since we’re seeing it here on Consumerist…

  18. JustAGuy2 says:


    This is just good business on Sprint’s part. Think of it this way: they’re getting $30/month in revenue from him. He’s costing them (conservatively) $100/month in customer service calls.

    Some customers just aren’t worth having. Typically, 20% of a company’s customers generate 80% of the profit, the next 60-70% generate 20% of the profit, and the last 10-20% are actually money-losers.

  19. not_seth_brundle says:

    So what does he do now with his PCS-only phone(s)?

  20. nachas101 says:

    Sprint sucks – they have for quite a while now.
    This is written into the contracts you sign as consumers.
    They have a right to terminate your contract.
    From Sprint’s website:
    ‘We can, without notice, suspend or terminate any Service at any time for any reason”
    Granted, it’s a crap policy, but perfectly legal and correct.
    The upside is that now Sprint users unhappy who wish to switch without a temrination fee can do so by simply calling customer service every day to complain.
    I like t-mobile. Check the service in your area and find a mobile company that offers the best service for the money.
    I recommend shopping for your phone through amazon.com, you can often get new service for little or no actual money. My g-friend got a t-mobile phone and received a $75 check after all was said and done (it cost THEM $75 and her nothing, save for her monthly bill).

  21. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I’ll probably catch a lot of hell for this, but regardless of why a customer is unhappy, there is a point at which that customer is no longer profitable to keep around.

    Yes, Sprint could have *gasp* fixed the problem, but somewhere, some bean counter must’ve surmised that the amount of people calling into complain about billing disputes doesn’t outweigh the cost it would be to fix billing disputes. Hence, when a customer gets out of control, you axe ’em!

    This makes me laugh – Michael, you’re so much better off without these clowns.

  22. vealcalf2000 says:

    I’m a current Sprint customer and I can totally see them doing something like this! I’ll be the next one one the “needy” customer hit list. I call them average of once a week to “fix” there computer glitch that for some reason snips me for going over my alloted monthly dollar amount even though I upgraded my plan and tripled my minutes to avoid this. Each week I’m told the problem is fixed only to get snipped again next week. Ha ha maybe I’ll bump it up to calling every day and they can do me the courtesy of releasing me from my hellish contract.

  23. kylere says:

    You know, when it all comes down to it, they do not want your business. I am not sure why this is a problem, because frankly, leaving Sprint is something I see people WORKING to accomplish on a regular basis.

    I have to wonder what merger put insurance company personnel into this decision loop, they are usually the ones that drop you for using the service you are paying for when you dare to actually use it.

  24. JRuiz47 says:

    Am I seriously the only person who’s happy with Sprint service? So happy, in fact, that I’ve been with them five years and only signed two one-year contracts the first two years.

    I’ve been out of contract for about three years, but my plan is an old retention plan that can’t be duplicated, so it forced me to buy a barely used Treo when I wanted to upgrade phones.

  25. johndeleon says:

    I recently switched mobile phone providers from T-Mobile to Sprint. My sole purpose for switching was due to the fact that I receive a 24% discount with Sprint because I work in the health care field. While with T-Mobile I’m happy to say that I rarely had any issues, and if I did I would contact Customer Service and they would be fixed without a hassle and on the spot.

    After switching to Sprint I have had nothing but issues with billing and their service options. I’ve had to wait for 30 minutes or more to speak to a Sprint representative, and if you go the a retail outlet the wait is an hour or more. How are we the consumer being held liable for their mistakes? It’s not our fault that their reps are not fully trained. Are not aware of their own systems. I guess sooner or later I may end up in the same predicament…having to switch providers because I called their Customer Service line one too many times.

    Something needs to be done!!!

  26. Lewis says:

    In the hypothetical and having nothing to do with the specific issue at hand:

    I think it’s pretty silly to fire a customer for just being annoying, and not breaking his/her TOS or or being abusive to staff. You never know when the owner of this $30/month account is going to be head of IT or telecom for a F500 with hundreds of thousands of wireless dollars to spend. Oops.

    OTOH, if a customer is truly abusive (repeatedly) then it is the company’s obligation to fire that customer, IMO. Not doing so sends a really demoralizing message to staff that they need to take shit with no consequence on the other side.

    Note that my opinion is only in cases of true “abuse” – getting frustrated, but not abusive, with an incompetent/unhelpful/snippy CSR should not be grounds for firing the customer.

  27. kaikhor says:

    Although I can understand, to some degree, Sprint’s POV about how much it’s costing them because he calls Customer Service, I would think that they must keep some record of WHY he is calling (I know, this is silly, right?!) and since he’s calling for the same reason every month, wouldn’t it be cheaper for them to just fix the mistake then to lose the customer?

  28. Alger says:

    Regarding the one-day notice: Sprint managed to misplace my payment last month. They sent me a letter giving me notice that they would shut me down unless I paid within seven days of the letter. (Dated Thursday, received Monday evening, giving me three days to resolve it.)

    It certainly seems like they’re trying to reduce their customer base, doesn’t it?

  29. beyond says:

    I like how the letter is terminating his contract for calling customer service too much, then at the end tells him to call customer service if he has any questions or problems.

  30. LAGirl says:

    i got rid of Sprint because of their crappy customer service. guess i wasn’t the only one with that problem.

  31. Um, this has got to be a joke, right? A big, wet, sloppy April-Fool’s-in-July joke?

    This needs to get on your local investigative t.v. newscast. NOW.

  32. JRuiz47 says:

    @beyond: LOL. I think if I were to get to that point, I’d call Customer Support everyday to check on the status of my port.

  33. Shadowman615 says:

    LOL. This cracked me up for some reason. “We’re breaking up with you because you keep annoying us.” I’ve never heard of that before, quite amusing actually. I mean, I think it was a pretty crappy thing for Sprint to do, but there are plenty of other cell-phone companies out there if Sprint doesn’t want his business. I’d happily move on to another.

    So who are the “number of others” that Michael referred to in his letter? And how did he find them? Is there a support group or something? Or does this happen so often that a few of his colleagues got the same exact letter?

  34. JRuiz47 says:

    Sprint’s new hold music.

    “You Talk Too Much”

  35. banned says:

    Sprint sucks, good riddens. Were you under contract? If so, I’m sure you could sue for breach as I doubt the terms and conditions say the can cancel for calling too much. I bet if he wanted to cancel for all those reasons, Sprint would fight to keep him, or charge the ETF. Sounds to me like its time for the I-Phone, I mean, the timing couldn’t be better.

  36. Alger says:

    KAIKHOR, you are absolutely right – it would be much more profitable to fix the problem than to drop him. The problem is, they’re not bright enough to do that kind of analysis. They need to distinguish between customers who call a lot because they’re high maintenance, and customers who call a lot because Sprint has made a mistake and isn’t resolving it properly.

    Unfortunately, they’re using past call volume to predict future call volume, without looking at the underlying cause. If only they’d apply a little more intelligence to the process, they could have happier customers, reduce their costs, AND maintain their ongoing profits.

    Based on their behavior to date, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  37. TinaT says:

    Is no one else suspicious about this? They don’t like customers having unlimited text messaging, so they continually charge them for it. If the customer pays it without complaining, Sprint wins. If they call and complain every month until Sprint drops them as a customer, Sprint wins. Sounds like grounds for a class action to me.

  38. nachas101 says:

    Sorry, but you cannot sue a company like sprint for breach of contract – it is explicitly stated in their contract that they can terminate the contract at any point and for any reason.
    Too bad, but true.

  39. nachas101 says:

    Tinat – I think EVERYONE is suspicious about this. But it doesn’t matter. All the customer can do now is sue in small claims court for the overcharges. Since he claims to have 8 of the 10 dollars credited, he’d likely only win 2 bucks a month for each month. He’s only been a customer since 05, so at best he is legally entitled to $48.
    That hardly seems worth it.

  40. JohnMc says:

    Personally I am camped with Z47. In a sense sprint just gave all of us a ‘get out of contract card’. Don’t like their service? Just start calling customer service too much.

    Next question. How much is too much?

  41. endless says:

    Does this surprise anyone?

    a 30$ a month plan with unlimited texting being cancled? Especially if he is calling them over and over.

    The plan is worth nothing, and he had to be the nail that stuck out. And the nail that sticks out gets hit.

    When i had a problem with sprint, I ended up paying 150$ less a month for all of my phones I have with them. (6) Which is still over 200$ a month, but alot less than where I started.

    If this guy really was paying 30$ a month for service, he made a HUGE miscalculation on his leverage. Customer service is all about leverage. If you are already making the phone company no money, they arent going to want to keep you.

  42. ThyGuy says:

    I’m more worried if they report this to the other phone companies. What if he tries to go to another horrible phone company and they refuse him, because, “Sprint told us you never STFU.” And he just never gets another phone?! o.o

    The company I work for needs to be able to do this. “Ma’am, if you keep being abusive, we’ll have to fire you as a customer… and keep your money you’ve given us so far! Mwhahahahaha!

  43. TechnoDestructo says:

    @dbeahn: You’d THINK that would be incentive to fix billing errors the first time. Particularly when they’re small enough to be eaten up in just one or two calls.

    I had AT&T (before the merger) for about 2 years, and I had two major billing errors with no apparent reason, and one because my roaming was set incorrectly. The first two took two billing cycles each to resolve.

  44. TechnoDestructo says:


    It isn’t like he wanted to be calling them over and over. He wasn’t trying to get “leverage.” It sounds like he would have been perfectly happy having his billing fixed and then never calling them again.

    This story is about Sprint fucking up, and Sprint reacting badly to it. Michael didn’t cost Sprint money, Sprint cost Sprint money.

  45. TinaT says:

    @nachas101: The lawsuit wouldn’t be for the contract termination, it would be for deceptive trading practices. Deliberately overcharging customers when you get tired of honouring your contracts is an act of bad faith.

    (Although in respect of the contract termination, Congress should pass a law invalidating contracts that only one of the two parties are allowed to enforce.)

  46. healthdog says:

    @LewisNYC: I have seen that happen. MCI screwed my sister over (Did we say 5 cents a minute? We meant 25.), so my father cancelled the MCI contract for all 18,000 of his employees. Mwa ha ha.

    He said that his MCI rep didn’t even sound surprised when he called to find out why the contract was cancelled.

  47. Canadian Impostor says:

    He’s on the SERO plan, which means Sprint is barely making any money off of him anyways.

    Here’s a hot tip kids, if you’re abusing a service like SERO, don’t call Sprint constantly demanding they “fix” things.

  48. Greg L says:

    15 calls a month averaged over 4 or 6 months appears to be the limit. However, any time a rep touches your account it is counted as a ‘call,’ so if you call in for one issue and get transferred to 4 people, then you’ve made 4 calls.

  49. endless says:



    He was on a SERO plan, which for those who haven’t looked into it, is a Sprint Employee Referal plan. He was on a buddy rate. From what I gather, he was already paying way less than what the average customer pays for similar service.

    He states he had been calling for several months, and then “calling customer service pretty much every day for the past month”.

    In which caseI imagine he was definately costing them money. If he was paying 30$ a month for his phone, all he has to do is be on the phone for 3 hours with customer service a month. (assuming a call center job is around 10$ for just labor, not including the operating costs: location, insurance, electricity etc)

    I can completely understand why sprint dropped him.

  50. Thrust says:

    I know I’ve said this before, but…


    Companies can’t jerk you around nearly as much if you’re on a cash&carry basis. If they have to be NICE to you, or you’ll go with their competitors they usually WILL be nice to you. Once you’re locked into the typical “all-for-us-none-for-you” contracts they offer, you are their bitch.

  51. quagmire0 says:

    Wow, the bigwigs at Sprint must be reading ‘The 4 Hour Workweek’ – particularly the part about dropping those customers that just aren’t worth the hassle. :P

  52. IsLNdbOi says:

    I just want to thank The Consumerist for posting my issue with Sprint.

    Wow, what a great time to be letting go of customers. The iPhone was just released and AT&T picked up an additional ~700,000 subscribers this past week.

    I don’t understand why Sprint is doing this. I mean why would they be handing out SERO plans left and right (basically to anyone who knows about these plans) if they intend to cut out people they “barely make money off of”.

    I was not abusing my SERO plan. I signed up for it when SERO first became available. One of the listed features was unlimited text messaging. I still have a copy of the plan here with me and have sent it to customer service before. They still haven’t fixed my account.

  53. Coder4Life says:

    Sprint customer service is far by one of the worst service centers I’ve dealt with.

    Even worse then trying to cancel AOL… They claim to give you your refund but then they always get DENIED, and ofcourse no one tells you about it unless you notice it.

    If a customer is calling and complaining more than likely there is a problem, but SPRINT will refuse to fix it and will act dumb.

    All I have to say is that GARY FORSEE should try calling his own service #’s and see the type of service he gets.

    Even better.. FIRE HIM!!!

  54. Coder4Life says:


    You are right, at my part time job the SPRINT rep came in and posted up the SERO plan.


    I shoudl see if the paper is still hanging, and I’ll send it to the tip line…

  55. golfinggiraffe says:

    @THRUST: Please name a national wireless provider that provides no-contract plans without forcing you to ridiculous rates. And yes, 10 cents a minute for prepaid is ridiculous. Paying an extra $10 a month for no-contract, on top of another $35 for “activation” is also ridiculous. I’d rather shop around for a company with a good reputation, like T-Mobile. I’ve never had a problem with T-Mobile customer service.

    I’d like to see you get through life without ever signing a contract.

  56. missdona says:

    I would drop Sprint like a hot rock if I could find another carrier that for $30 you get:

    500 min
    Nights (at 7pm) & Weekends
    Mobile to Mobile
    Unlimited Data (EVDO,people not lame like,um, some other carriers)
    Unlimited Text

    Super cheap after rebate PDA phone. $75 Treo 700 after rebates.

    I would not be pleased if Sprint wanted to drop me.

  57. nachas101 says:

    I get where you are going with this Tina, but respectfully disagree.
    One has to prove that their actions were intentional and misleading.
    They can cop to a computer error, which takes away the whole ‘deliberate’ thing.
    Lawsuits cost money.
    Why sue? Drop them. Call t-mobile, sign up for their new plan: 1000 anytime minutes, unlimited nights and weekends and be done with it.
    Not worth a lawsuit. Even if they didn’t credit part of the money, he was only overcharged $10 a month. For 24 months. $240 is still small claims court stuff and not likely worth the fight (it costs around that much to file and retain an attorney).
    Not worth it.

  58. toobadsprint says:


    Well the SERO IS LESS THAN ZERO for the company. The unlimited text was probably and error and instead of fixing the issue this is their way of backpeddling to fix their wrongs and start recouping much of their long lost money. Since the company has merged they are in business to get to number 1 and number 2 and if it means crushing the small consumers that were paying next to ZERO they will and they are.

    Sorry to be the bearer but you shouln’t have called customer care to complain about the plan… More than likely the SERO plan will be getting nulled out as will many other non money making rate plans for this company.

  59. nachas101 says:

    I can’t speak for everyone, but the reason I sign a contract is to save money.
    I spend less than you do, get the best phones, and am generally happy with what I get.
    Pay as you go phones suck and the rates are ridiculous.
    Say what you will, but pay as you go is NOT better.
    Unless, of course, you don’t use your phone for anything but emergencies. In which case, go ahead.
    For example: My T-mobile service is 600 minutes nationwide, free nights and weekends for $39.99 a month, plus another $3.99 for 500 text messages.
    Virgin mobile, rated ‘the best’, costs $60 a month for 600 minutes, with unlimited nights and weekends. Then they hit you for text messages.
    Plus, you get the honor of buying a crappy phone AND still using the less than spectacular sprint network.
    I’m already $20 ahead of you, every month, all for the inconvenience of having to stay with them for 2 years so I don’t have to pay a dime for my sweet phone.
    Over the two years, I would save close to $500. That’s why people sign contracts.

  60. IsLNdbOi says:

    I’m a college student and the reaons I joined Sprint was because of this SERO plan which included unlimited power vision (data service) and unlimited text messaging. The plan is only $30 a month + taxes. If I got the same service from any other carrier it would cost much more.

    Like I said, I’ve never called Sprint to ask for discounts or freebies. I’ve only called them to have billing errors fixed and also for some technical support (which I end up going to the local repair center for anyway).

  61. Thrust says:

    @nachas101: Buy the phone. Buy a good phone that can be switched between different service providers. Yes it costs more to buy the phone, but if money is an issue get a cheaper phone. You sign your life away for that free phone you could have just paid $200 for and break it, you have to buy it the second time around anyways. Even if you don’t break it, they own you for one year for each $100 they cover on the phone. $8.33 a month for the length of the contract, thats how much that phone is. For $8.33 a month they can give you horrible service and you can’t say Boo.

  62. nachas101 says:

    um. What?
    Signing my life away?
    I hope to live in more than 2 year increments.
    My phone, without a contract, sells for around $300.
    To get this phone free, I signed a 2 year contract for which I pay a total of $54 and change every month.
    If I break it, well, then I am an idiot.
    $8.33 a month? Talk about pulling number out of your rear end.
    I don’t pay for a phone, I pay for service. The phone is free. I also keep my old phones, all of which still work perfectly, so if I drop it, I can always just use one of the other 3 phones that I have that work with T-Mobile.
    So you are telling me that in your mind, it is worth saving your estimated nonsense of $9 a month versus the $20 a month I save by having a contract?
    ummm… what?!?!?
    You pay $20 more a month in usage than I do. At least.
    In your estimation (and your numbers don’t make sense to me), I pay $8.33 a month for a free phone.
    So, the way I see it, you now have to explain to me the reason that the extra $11.67 a month I’m saving doesn’t make it worth while…
    By the way, even if we use your numbers, I still save enough cash to buy a new cell in 2 years your way over the way that makes sense ($280+).

  63. Bix says:

    It’s lame, but at least they cleared his balance.

  64. EtherealStrife says:

    @Thrust: The sheeple have spoken. It sounds like 90% of the folks on this thread should just get cellphones implanted in their skulls.

    Landlines are your friends, people!

    I’ll continue to spend $50-100/year for my prepaid while laughing at all the cellphone addicts. For those not in the “Oooh shiny!”-latest-craze crowd (hell, even if you are), eBay! A few hours of shopping around spread out over a couple weeks can net you a nice phone for ridiculously cheap. Techbargains also has the occasional unlocked cell pop up without a contract. And if you’re making the switch while keeping your current provider (ex. T-Mobile monthly to T-Mobile Prepaid) there is no activation fee. I’m reasonably certain the same is true if you’re switching from another service (can’t confirm though). There are plenty of free activated sims on ebay, so I doubt there is one.

    @nachas101: Uh no. If I understand it correctly, the 8.33/month (12.50 in your case) is what the provider is “paying” you (in giving you the free phone) for a 2 year lease on your soul. During which they can jack you around as much as they like, and you’re forced to consume XXXX minutes per month while dealing with whatever they classify as “service.”

    You pay $20 more a month in usage than I do. At least.

    You assume everyone is as addicted as you. Like with alcoholics justifying their drinking, that is simply not the case. I for one use my cell on a daily basis, and pay less than $10/month with no contract hanging over my head. One month I used less than $1 (out of town for most of it). Having *gasp* face to face conversations helps.

  65. Helvetian says:

    He was probably a low value, low profit, high maintenance customer. I don’t blame him, but wow they really wanted to get rid of him. They even paid his last bill and waived the ETF, which they don’t have to do according to the terms. He is probably blacklisted for good just like Cingular did last year.

  66. BenD says:

    This is one of the most interesting solutions I’ve seen from a company. I think many people would disagree with me, but I think this is an honorable way for them to end this. They tried to fix their screwup but failed. Instead of continuing to not solve the customers problem they realized they had screwed thing up enough that it’s time to give up. At least they cleared any balance and seemed to be reasonable about switching numbers. The industry standard seems to be screw with the customer until the customer pays to leave.

    I live on my cell phone and use over 4000 min a month some times. For me contracts work great, but they can really screw those who use few minutes. When I started 1years were standard and they didn’t try to rope you into renewing every plan change. I seem to get a much better level of service than my friends… I think it’s because I started in the old days or something. (or possibly 2 years at over $300 a month.) I haven’t had to get customer service to fix a screwup since the merger… I’ve stayed where I am for the customer service in the past. If I’m treated the way most people seem to be now days…. Maybe it will be time to buy an iPhone ^_^ (by the way my phone is over two years old.)

  67. toobadsprint says:

    Wow this has had over 6,000 views… Perhaps this is MYSPACE worthy?? Maybe then you might get customer satisfaction…. “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??”

  68. jeffj-nj says:

    I truly don’t understand the problem. It DOES seem as if Sprint was unable to provide him the service he seemed to need, so they aren’t anymore. Honestly, seems fair to me.

  69. Thrust says:

    @nachas101: Up here in Canada, MOST cell providers have different prices on the phones as per the length of the contract. A 1 year contract gets you any of their $100 or less phones free, or $100 off their price of any more expensive phone. 2 year contracts get $200 off, and 3 year get $300 off. As I said, you pretty much get $100 for every year of the contract (up to 3). If you know any math, $100/12mo = $8.33, and thus not just pulled out my rear, you just need to work it out.

    And (at least up here) if you buy the phone, the nice lil $20 saving contract is still available to those who bought the phone, just as a non-contract monthly service.

  70. Shafted_by_Sprint says:

    I have been a Sprint customer for over 5 years now. Just shortly after my unit returned from Iraq, we recieved notification that we would be redeployed to West Point to train cadets over the summer. With almost 1/3 of the unit being Sprint customers, almost 200 soldiers, one of the first things we did was get online and consult Sprints coverage map to ensure that we would have service once we arrived. We where relieved to see that we would in fact have service and did not take any preventive measures in making sure that we would be able to maintain a reliable means of communication to our families back home. The area we would be staying in was actually catagorized as having “best” coverage.

    After we arived however, we where disgruntled to find that the service was not “best”, there was no service at all. A few of us that used Sprints free roaming feature informed others of this service Sprint offered, and many called and enrolled. Even with roaming, calls are sketchy at best, and very unreliable, but we where satisfied to at least be able to call home for a few minutes an evening and let our families know that we where well.

    And now comes the kicker. Many of us Sprint customers recieved a letter at the begining of this month declaring that our Sprint account will be cancelled on July 30th due to the amount of roaming we are doing. The letter stated that they believe that another carrier will be able to serve us better and that we are recieving the boot. Keep in mind, we are not here permanently, or by choice. This is a two month obligation that we had to fulfil, and because of it, Sprint is telling us good bye. We will be returning to our home station, where we have clear Sprint service, FIFTEEN days after the cancellation of our accounts. I personally know at least 10 soldiers that called and explained this situation to Sprint and was told everything was fine.

    Because we recently came back from a deployment to Iraq, many Sprint users bought new phones in order to catch up the updates in technology that we missed out on over the 12 months we spent out of country. As we all know, Sprint phones are not interchangable with other carriers, and these are basically going to be very expensive paper weights for many members of the unit. I broke my phone on a training excercise, and did not have insurance on it, so I called to order a new phone. Sprint sold me a new phone at full price THE DAY that thier cancellation notice was mailed to me. When I ordered the new phone, I agian asked the sales rep about the free roaming, and explained my current situation, and was told that everything was fine, and asked for my credit card information.

    This is the icing on the top as far as Sprint Customer Service goes. Why on earth I cant get coverage at the United States Military Academy, 40 minutes away from New York City is a mystery to me. I had a cell phone the entire time I was in Iraq with a middle eastern company. I payed LESS to call home and keep in touch from the otherside of the world than I do now with Sprint to call within the country. It also did not matter if I was in a major city or out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, I ALWAYS had full coverage. Never had a dropped call, and the customer reps of that company spoke better English than those with Sprint do.

    This is just step one, next I will be contacting every news agency I can get ahold, with the support of 200 to be canceled soldiers, and then my Senator.

  71. cypherpunks says:

    How come no one is looking at the plus side of the equation?

    Seems like a reasonable way to get out of a contract without early termination fees. You call sprint every day for a month, and then they drop you.

  72. psiwuvu says:

    today, I was thrown out of a sprint “retail” store because: a) they wouldn’t honor my service contract based on some lame excuse, b) they wouldn’t credit the time that I was NOT able to use the phone (call our CS line they told me,) and c) they wouldn’t let me out of a contract… mamamia, sprint sucks! ps

  73. rekoil says:

    For those folks who said “why isn’t Sprint paying the customer an ETF?”, here’s an interesting Wiki article on standard form contracts…


  74. NewVerizonCustomer says:

    I have to admit that I am a virgin blogger; however, I appreciate the power of the blog. As a military service member, I rely on my cell phone as my only means of contact with my home and family. My personal experience with Sprint’s questionable billing practices and non-existent customer service has been nothing less than shocking…and very suggestive of criminal I have already reported them to the FTC since I am sure their business practices are something more than merely “PR suicidee”…a great line by the way. My only hope is that enough victims know that the FTC can help if enough victims make complaints to the FTC (FTC.com).

  75. NewVerizonCustomer says:

    Actually, as I ponder this posting string….I am AMAZED that ANYONE had the hours to spend waiting on Sprint’s customer service reps to even anwer!!!!

  76. romannose says:

    Sprint is doing this to thousands of their “customers” not just this poor chap. I honestly do not understand the outcry. I know this guy seems reasonable to a point but having worked for a call center i can assure you that many people just call in because they are whiny crazies with nothing better to do. Imagine all you people who have ever suffered through retail/food/service sectore jobs, could just dismiss that regular “customer” who does nothing but complaine and ruin your day. I applaud sprint.

  77. DisConform says:

    While working for a now defunct Southern Cali based home security firm, we “fired” a customer who was most certainly clinically paranoid. We logged hour after hour of phone calls (2-3 times a week) with the customer insisting that someone was bypassing her security system to enter her home just for the singular purpose of rearranging her furniture. The lady was very well off and was rumored to be heiress to a cosmetics fortune. In the end, since she had a contract that included free service calls, it was determined that they were loosing way too much money on the account. The funny twist of the story was that she signed up with ADT, so for the short while that they kept the local office open we were back to dealing with her.

  78. Scuba Steve says:

    You’d be surprised at the amount of companies who wish they could be as selective as phone companies about who they do service with. Big chain stores constantly regard “demon customers” as the ones they want to go to the competition’s stores instead of theirs.

  79. bnb614 says:

    Some of you are great at pointing out that it is strictly business and that he was costing Sprint money, but you seem to conveniently leaving out that they continually overcharged him and wouldn’t fix the problem. If a company overcharged me $10 a month and then only refunded me $8 after I pointed it out to them, I would be calling them a lot too until they fixed it.

    Sprint sucks and I hope this idiotic decision hurts their bottom line with customers leaving for better service.

  80. notwhoyouthink says:

    The letter was sent to about 1,000 people.


    Sprint Not Sorry for Cutting High-Maintenance Customers

    Tuesday , July 10, 2007
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
    Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) isn’t apologizing for its decision to ax customers it determined were calling customer service too often.

    The nation’s third-largest wireless provider sent letters to about 1,000 subscribers June 29, saying the company’s records showed they had made frequent calls for help with questions about billing and other account information.

    “While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time had led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs,” the letters said.

    The customers were told their service agreements were being terminated, they wouldn’t owe anything on their final bill, and the company would waive early termination fees. They also were told to switch to another wireless provider by July 30 if they want to keep their phone number.

    In debate on the Internet, Sprint’s move has attracted criticism that the company is penalizing consumers for trying to get what they paid for, or that the frequent calls are more a reflection of poor customer service by Sprint itself.

    But Sprint officials said Monday this isn’t a case of someone being flagged by a computer program, and that an internal review lasting six months to a year focused on the types of problems the callers had and what information they were seeking.

    “These accounts have been researched very carefully,” Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton said. “We feel strongly that the decisions we made, we stand by them. These decisions weren’t made lightly.”

    Singleton said the targeted subscribers each made an average of 40 to 50 calls a month to customer service. She wouldn’t say how that compared with the overall number of calls logged by the customer service department in a given month.

    Singleton said the review also found that the subscribers often were calling about the same problems over and over after Sprint officials felt they had resolved the issue. She said some callers were repeatedly asking for information from other customers’ accounts, which customer service workers aren’t allowed to divulge.

    “If the average person is calling less than once per month and these people are calling 40 or 50 times more, that takes away from customer service,” Singleton said. “Our priority is to improve the customer experience.”

    Officials at competitors AT&T Wireless (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) said that while they may terminate customers who are abusive toward customer service operators or violate other terms of their service agreements, they don’t terminate customers because of customer service calls.

    “We have never severed ties with customers in a mass mailing like this,” said Verizon spokeswoman Cheryl Bini Armbrecht.

    CIBC World Markets analyst Tim Horan said in a research note to investors that he didn’t see anything alarming with Sprint’s decision.

    “Sprint has taken a number of steps to improve the ‘quality’ of its customer base and we view this measure in the same light,” Horan wrote.

    Sprint, which has about 54 million subscribers, has been trying to upgrade its customer base, tightening credit requirements and attempting to attract customers who will spend more each month on data services, such as Internet browsing, music downloads and streaming video.

    During the most recent quarter, the company said it gained just 600,000 new customers, while AT&T and Verizon gained 1.2 million and 1.7 million, respectively.

    Earlier this month, Sprint unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at highlighting its network speed and capabilities, an attempt to distance itself from earlier marketing campaigns that were criticized as unfocused and confusing.

  81. nachas101 says:

    I was going to post this link:

    “Singleton said the targeted subscribers each made an average of 40 to 50 calls a month to customer service.”

    40 to 50 calls a month!!!!
    Holy crap.
    That’s a lot of calls. Too many, in fact.

  82. Tonguetied says:

    @endless: So he was supposed to suck it up and not call when every month he got dinged for a bill he didn’t owe?

  83. diesel21 says:

    Okay, I am a manager for sprint, and I have worked for all the companies. When its comes down to it people will never be happy with there cell phones. They treat phones as if it was a new car payment and that without a cell phone you may die. Get with it people it is really not that serious. I’ve heard the complaints when working with T-Mobile,Verizon and Cingular oh I mean the new At &T. Its all the same this guy may have called everyday, but does it take a call everyday to get a 8.00 dollar credit? You only get one bill a month. If I came to your office everyday complaining wouldn’t you have me removed eventually????

  84. syllamo says:

    After seeing this story on the boob tube, I had to find out the story on the net. Reading through the comments, I was surprised at how many people actually accept this decision by Sprint and even defend it.
    One comment did nail it, MONEY. It costs to support a customer. Basically these people, who signed a contract and paid monthly, were eating away at profits. Let’s not forget the shareholders.
    Here is what every Sprint customer needs to do, CALL CUSTOMER SUPPORT as many times as you want and bankrupt them, show them that the consumer, the very hand that feeds them, can always fight back.

  85. airnut1 says:

    It seems like I have to call customer service once or twice a month for them to fix their own errors. My payment is never posted when its made and 5 days later I when I go to make a call I cant call out and get redrected to customer finance. So does this count? Because of their errors I get directed to customer service to put up with their nasty rude call center employees. Will I be getting a “dear john” letter? In a way I hope so! then I can get out of my contract and not worry about them,but it puzzles me why!? Customer service is there to service customers issues!

  86. Swann says:

    I’m an ex-Sprint/Nextel employee with six years behind my belt in a Texas call center. I actually started back when we were Nextel only. Back then we were able to do much more to help the customers with their billing/service issues. We were even given business units so our customer’s could reach us whenever they needed to. The majority of my customers were on the east coast, mostly in New York. I can tell you all from those years of experience that the Nextel service in that area is absolutely horrible. To this day it hasn’t gotten any better. We were told time and again by the “higher ups” that due to all the “mass congestion” between cell sites in the NY area it wasn’t likely to get better, so just see if there were open Trouble tickets for that area and if so, tell the customer it’s being addressed and would be resolved soon. Needless to say, I got a few bad QA’s because I didn’t lie to the customers. I told them they were in a poor service area and that, yes, we were always looking for ways to improve on that, but currently there is no resolution. The majority of those customers stayed with Nextel because of the Direct Connect and we could give access credits to compensate for some of the issues.
    Then…Along came Sprint !!! When we saw the drop in our stocks, we employees knew right away this TAKEOVER, oops…I mean merger…was a HUGE mstake. Sprint totally cut out all the Positive Customer Service duties were we previously allowed. I could go on for hours listing the Negative changes. Also as for Shafted By Sprint’s comments, he is absolutely right. Sprint has no respect nor common courtesy for military customers. The majority of them had to go thru hell just to get a phone put on military standby. Sprint recently reduced the workforce by 5000 employees, and guess what…most were the experienced reps that had been with them (or pre-merger Nextel) and had the highest salaries. We were replaced with kids just out of high school making about a third of what we made and the quality of the calls reflect that inexperience. But Hey…it saves Sprint money and it is ALL about keeping their Extremely Overpaid Executives happy. I mean I’d really hate to see Gary Forsee have to actually ‘stop and think about finances’ before buying a new Jag or Oceanfront condo…or things of that nature.
    Oh…and one final note…the reason I was told I was let go was because a customer that I had worked with since July of 2001 called me on my business unit to report service problems in New York, after my shift was over. This was never a problem with Nextel, but Sprint considered it a personal relationship, therefore a policy violation. What rubbbish!!! Strange how they find it beneficial to get rid of people for going above and beyond to help distressed customers. So this newest ploy to oust less than profitable consumers really doesn’t suprise me. All wireless companies have their downsides, but Sprint takes the cake !!!

  87. Missi says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to the poster who gave the executive phone number. What a great time that was. I have been having phone problems for over a year and called them today to try to cancel my service, I was hung up on the first time. The second time I was on the phone for 1 hour and 12 minutes (I’m not kidding) then I lost my mind when they “dropped” my call after the hour and 12 minutes I was waiting. So finally I typed I hate sprint in google and came to this site. I called the number and that guy is crediting my account, and sending me 2 new razr phones just to keep my business. Woo hoo. You have no idea how happy this makes me.

    As for the idea that this was a good idea people really must think about it. People are not stupid for the most part. We do web searches we see the better deals and when we aren’t in contract or hell even if we are (sometimes it’s worth paying the etf to be done with a company)we cancel our service. If enough people do that they have no customers. Believe me they are in the business to make money and they make plenty off of me a month because I have 3 lines with them, that’s why they were willing to send me 2 new phones to save my business. It might have helped that I offered to send him the confirmation from AT&T showing that I was going to begin service with them.

    They want your business they just don’t want to give it away, my guess…once they realized what they had done and how they were not making any money off of those plans they dropped them.

  88. playbon_b3 says:

    I used to work for Sprint and I just left there like a couple of months ago. It is one of the worst companies to work for and they care absolutely nothing about the employees which translates to the customer and in turn the employees care nothing about the customers. Sprint is going down and going down fast and hard. I used to work in the retention department and they used to give away the farm to keep customers but now they are losing money trying to keep customers and they are slowly but surely getting rid of customers that are too costly to keep. Sprint is not just the worst wireless company it’s the WORST COMPANY PERIOD ALL AROUND!! If a company doesn’t take care of it’s employees then it’s employees are not going to take care of it’s customers. SPRINT SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!!!!

  89. ragnarock4379 says:

    First, let me start off by saying that I’m a Sprint customer. When I first read this blog I looked at my Sprint bill and found that they have been erroneously charging me $10 a month since December 2005 for “Sprint PCS Vision Access Pack.” Basically, you’re paying $10 a month for nothing:

    Unlimited email and instant messaging from AOL, MSN and Yahoo!
    Unlimited Web access from sites like CNN, ESPN, The Weather Channel and many more.

    I have no idea why this is being charged for $10 a month when all of this is basically included (as far as I know, and I may be wrong) with your cell phone internet usage! All I know is that I never agreed to sign up for this and I don’t use these functions at all on my cell phone. IF YOU’RE A SPRINT CUSTOMER READ YOUR BILL… I’VE BEEN SWINDLED FOR $180 OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS BECAUSE I DIDN’T READ MY BILL!

    Anyhow, I believe that this is by far the stupidest idea in the history of business. I totally agree in Sprint’s approach in cancelling problem customers. It saves the company money, it reduces wait times for customers services reps, and it allows people to get out of their contracts without paying any more money (unless, of course, they bought an expensive phone that is now useless). The stupidity comes in when you realize the following:
    1. They cancelled 1,000 or so people out of 50 MILLION CUSTOMERS!!! How does this make any more than a marginal difference in the customer service??? 40,000 more extra calls per month could’ve easily been handled by hiring just a few more customer service reps!
    2. Didn’t anybody at Sprint realize how bad this would look when this got out into the press and on the internet? Sprint, which is notorious for bad service, wants to alienate more of its customers and say “fudge you… don’t call us… we want to get rid of coustomers rather than fix our / your problems?”
    3. This will piss off their customers and cause them to not renew after their contracts are up.

  90. Missi says:



    a. As a manager for Sprint I’m in no way shocked or surprised that you can’t spell.

    b. It is important to some people when some of us (I’m sure this doesn’t apply to you) actually have jobs that we have to do on a daily basis and sitting on the phone with your sub par mostly outsourced customer service department isn’t our idea of fun. I have wanted to cancel several times so far based on the inability to understand your customer service reps since they are not in the US.

    c. Quit blogging and get your ass to work, when I was a manager for Cingular and we had high call volume I actually (gasp) took calls to help. So get moving!

  91. HeartBurnKid says:

    Apparently, that’s the Sprint way: Don’t solve the problems, just find some sheep that won’t bleat when you screw ’em.

    I work for a company that prides itself on its customer service, and we have a volume deal with Sprint. I’m going to forward this to a few of the higher-ups and see if I can’t make it clear that Sprint isn’t a company we should be associating with.

  92. fANTAsIA says:

    I have been with Sprint for about 10 years, and have seen the company change for the worse. I am considering cancelling my service, but I don’t want to get locked into a contract ever again…for those who know…

    What is the best option for a pay-as-you-go plan…

    Also, the SERO plan…I don’t see that option…is there a link to that somewhere?



  93. chrysalid says:

    I’m a Sprint/Nextel CSR at a call centre in Canada. We’ve been told that when customers call in who are obviously trying to get cancelled sans ETF and final balance, we are to report the account to our supervisors. Most likely, you’ll end up cancelled and you’ll end up owing Sprint tons more than you already do, which in most cases, is really saying something. I rarely see an account with a monthly bill consistently less than $100.00.

  94. MarineMike says:

    After leaving Sprint for customer service issues and a blatant disregard for “customer retention”, I ate the early termination fees and joined Nextel. I had a slight hick-up initially with Nextel, but my childhood-nostalgic excitement for a walkie-talkie phone smoothed over my dismay. I had purchased my phone over the internet and upon receiving the phone, I noticed they sent me two car chargers. I only have one car and one phone, obviously. The printed internet purchase confirmation, confirmed my request for one car charger, and the phone came with the usual wall-wart phone charger. They had charged me for the extra charger ($35), and when I sent it back expecting a refund, they charged me a $25 restocking fee reducing my refund to $10… on my next bill. After multiple dead end C.S. phone calls and a subsequent email to the board of directors, I got my $25!

    Two years later…
    All has been well aside from my near coronary when the two companies merged. I knew something was going to go wrong, I just didn’t know when. So I’ve had my Nextel phone for two+ years and I’m thinking it is time to upgrade. Customer service has been great – no hassles to date. A few days after some online browsing of my upgrade options, I get a call from Sprint/Nextel phone sales. After my perusing of the web site and the lack of savings options listed, I had decided I was going to wait a few more months before making my purchase. But Wow! Here is this pretty voice pouring butter in my ear and HEY!, she’s going to get me my new phone for free if I resign for two years. Well, I still had over a year left on my service after a plan upgrade last Nov, and having had no further “hick-ups”, I said “Sure, let’s do it!” That nostalgic feeling started again and it should have been a red flag.

    Five days later I received my new phone, a major upgrade from my last – so far so good. Open it up, one car charger. Whew! I put my phone together, hook it up to the charger and leave it for the night. I didn’t activate it yet. I planned to take it to the Sprint store down the road from my office, have them activate it and swap the sim-card information. Easy process right? You would think, but that would make you anything but a good consumer. After an hour and a half at the store, my new phone’s serial # was decidedly bad and needed to be returned. This is where the real trouble starts. After returning to work, I noticed that my old phone had been deactivated. Standard when upgrading to a new phone, but I don’t have a new phone anymore. So, I spent another hour with tech support rehashing the story and getting my old phone turned back on. I also spent another two hours in phone calls trying to obtain a shipping slip to return the new phone. Evidently, their FedEx service was down too. I was also told that I would have to wait for the returned phone to be received by them, before I could request another possibly dysfunctional phone. Old phone reactivated; I at least retained all my ring tones, but later that night had to contact customer service again to set my phone plan back up. They had turned my phone back on but I had lost my text and download capability.

    In light of the situation I think I will probably stay with the Nextel side of Sprint. The problem is this:

    We need our phones! One company isn’t necessarily better than the other, as far as customer service is concerned. I just want my phone to work all the time, where ever I am. I have friends and family with the full spectrum of cell providers represented. It all depends on what day you are connected with Bob, Mary or Muhammad and what is going on in their life at the time.

  95. Super1984 says:

    I think we should write letters to Sprint that go like this:

    “My records indicate that over the past year, I have encountered frequent errors from you regarding billing or other general account information. While I have worked to resolve the issues and mistakes to the best of my ability, the number of errors you have made during this time has led me to determine that I am unable to meet your current wireless payment needs.

    Therefore, after careful consideration, the decision has been made to terminate your wireless service agreement with me effective January 1, 2007. This will allow you to pursue and engage with another wireless service customer…”

  96. userz says:

    Companies that intentionally overcharge customers like this showld be prosecuted at the highest level. This is being done to millions of customers with the knowledge that most people just don’t look over their bills that great and just pay the overcharges.

    This is simply fraud and theft. Isn’t it interesting that it always seems to be overcharges and not undercharges?

    The goverment should pass laws or enforce the ones they already have to protect the citizens of this country (USA) from predatory practices by companies that intentionally defraud it’s citizens and steal through this method.

    As soon as a company doesn’t stand by it’s part of a contract like these phone companies consistently do by placing fraudulent charges on peoples bills then the contract should be able to be walked away from without any penalty to the consumer.

    Also if phones were purchased which are not able to be used with other services then the company should be required to reimburse the consumer for the price of the phone upon return of said phone.