Jon And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sprint Service

Sprint has told Jon that he owes over $2,500 in broken phones that he says he returned but they don’t seem to have a record of. His tale is long and twisted, and seems to be the first reported failure of the Sprint executive customer service line we’ve received. In fact, his account sounds so messed up that probably the best thing to do is shut it down and switch providers. Just another drop in the churn bucket. Jon writes:

Dear Consumerist,

Where to begin?

Let’s start with square 1. Around August of ’07, I got a Sprint Mogul PPC. I’m not sure how much you know of this device, but it has been plagued with problems since its release (to find more about the problems, you can visit and go to the Titan section, or under the WinMo/Mogul section), something I was unaware of until I got one. I was also lied to about the GPS functionality of the Mogul, and of the expected timeframe of EV-DO Rev. A – It still isn’t working. Bluetooth also does not work. Soon after, I began having problems with it. I contacted Sprint for a 30-day exchange, as is their policy. I received a second one soon thereafter. Unknown to me, they charged my Sprint acct and applied a 30-day temporary credit, until they received the 1st device back at their warehouse. As is true to my philosophy, as soon as I received the second device, the 1st one was back on its way to sprint, via their own prepaid ups envelope.

I’m just getting started, so keep reading.

Very soon after I received the 2nd Mogul, it began physically failing. When I would slide the device closed, it would freeze and shut off. I called sprint and asked for an exchange. Returned it.

Third device arrives. The box has obviously been beat-up by UPS, I return it and request a next. Returned by DHL to Exec. services, I believe. #4 comes. I believe this device had a very yellow LCD…i.e. White looked like yellow. Also returned it via DHL. #5 arrives, and it also is ready to fall apart.

Got fed up and said I wanted a Sprint Touch, so Sprint agreed and sent it to me. 1st touch had a screen defect, so I returned that and got a new one. This is when everything went to hell.

Since that date, I’ve been more than happy with my actual cell service, and my nice Sprint Touch. It works fabulous. However, my service has been cutoff at least 5 times since we did the final exchange for the Sprint Touch (the first was Nov. 7), which I believe was September 9th. My account is a “Spending Limit” account, meaning once you hit a set amount (200$ in my case), service gets shut off (to prevent overages and the such). It appears that each time I’ve gotten an exchange, the replacement device has been charged to my account, along with a corresponding temporary credit. These credits expire after 7 or 30 days.

Each time my service has been cut off, I’ve called into Sprint. They vehemently apologize to me, and assure me that the problem will be fixed. The most recent occurrence of this was December 23rd. I was traveling cross-country that day, and was sitting in a canceled flight @ SJC to Kansas City, going to MCO, when I was finally able to restore service.

Thanks to Sprint blunder, I lost my Enterprise reservation in MCO, because I was not able to call and either reschedule another flight or change times on the reservation. Yet it was just ANOTHER band-aid, merely a 7 day temp credit. My service was again interrupted on January 2, and I placed a call into executive services. Again. I was transferred to somebody by the name of Tobias Tavera, who was an executive analyst. This was on Wednesday, the second. I spoke to him, explained the problem, and he said he would look into it, and my service would be restored by Friday. I tried to give him a call on Thursday, and had no luck. I left him 2 or 3 voice mails. I again called to Friday, and was informed that he was out of the office, and would not be able to assist me until Monday, or more probable, Tuesday the 8th. I let it go, telling myself to breathe, and that it would all be
worked out. What a fool I am.

I finally gave in and called regular Customer Care today, about 30 minutes ago, and I asked the rep to read back through the last note or two and tell me what they said.

She said, in short, that Sprint has mailed me 7 phones, which is correct, but that they’ve only received 3 back at the warehouse. 2 Moguls, and 1 Touch. I almost hung up on the rep. I asked her to please clarify, and she restated that Sprints sent out 7, received 3. I about blew my top right there. She also told me that my service would not be restored this weekend, and that I’d have to wait until Tuesday to even speak to anybody about it. She suggested that I call executive services on Tuesday.

At this point, I’m in shock at this. Every phone was returned in a timely fashion…You’d think that since Sprint provides the materials to return these devices, they wouldn’t lose them… Now they want to hold me responsible for almost $2500 worth of equipment? WHAT?! Are they nuts! I’m not sure if this is UPS’s or DHL’s problem, or more likely Sprints…but I will not be held responsible for their lack of intelligence and responsibility.

In closing, what I want to for my account to finally have a 0$ balance…I continue to pay my monthly bill of 74.99total each month, in spite of the fact that for some periods I cannot use my phone because it’s been cut off. My account is so messed up and complicated its nearly impossible to figure out because of all the temporary credits, and all of the botched attempts at fixing it. This is bordering on fraud IMHO, and I will not, for any reason, be held responsible because of Sprint incompetent mistake. I’d love to leave Sprint, and I know I have the opportunity to do so because of the changes to their fee schedule, but I’m afraid to do it because of some whopping bill I know I’d eventually recieve in the mail, and I have neither the time nor money to deal with that. I know somebody sued Sprint in small claims court for a very similar problem, and they won, but I don’t think Sprint will make the same mistake twice. So, either fix this so I can finally go to sleep knowing I have a working cellphone…or let me out with no continued obligation and no surprise bill down the road. You could also reimburse me for the equipment that I’ve purchased, time without a cellphone, and time wasted. That’d be great.

Thanks Sprint for screwing up again.


Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.