Sprint: Military, Eh? Here's Your $500 Bill

Sprint thanked Ryan for his tour with the Navy by charging him $0.75 per minute for airtime, resulting in a $500 bill. When Ryan complained, Sprint’s customer service representatives called him irresponsible, and gently explained that they couldn’t care less about his problem.

My name is Ryan. I am originally from New Jersey, but do to my military assignment made San Diego my home in July of 2006. I have had several problems with Sprint over the past few years, but their customer service was always generally helpful and courteous. While I was attending my job training in Mississippi, they even informed me that my bill was adding up greatly because the plan I was under was not nation-wide. That representative even compensated the ridiculous amount that had built up. Obviously, this is NOT the reason for my email.

I was stationed on board the USS COMSTOCK, which was deployed from September 2006 – May 2007. Before we got underway, I sent a letter, signed by my Commanding Officer, that stated I would be unavailable from September 2006 – March 2007 (the original dates before our deployment was extended) and to cut off my service for this time period. Sprint complied and shut off the service to my phone, although they continued to bill me $30 a month for not even using the phone! When I returned in May, vice March, I turned on my cell phone and the service was restored. I have used my cell phone since May 2007 with a radical phone bill, from $60-150 a month, but the statements reflected time I went over my minutes, so I complied and have been paying my bill.

This month my phone bill came for over $500 and I was stunned, because I have not used the phone any more than I normally do. This caught me completely off guard and I called Customer Service immediately. This was the WORST Customer Service I have ever received (and I’ve been to the local DMV). The first representative put me on hold several times and informed me that because of the Military hold on my contract, they were charging me 75 cents a minute. I explained to her, and then two more supervisors, that I had been using the phone for over 9 months and never once received notification or any kind of indication of these sudden changes in my billing. They stated that their Military deployment freezes are responsible for MY problem (which they reminded me several times that this was MY problem). I was taken aback by not only their uncooperativeness and lack of empathy for someone in my situation, but also because of the fact that I had sent the letter stating that I would only be on deployment for the afore mentioned six month period Sept 06-Mar 07.

In the TWO (2) hours I spent on the phone, which I will probably be charged 75 cents/minute even though I spent over half the time on hold, I spoke with three Sprint representatives. The first one told me the best that Sprint could offer me was for me to pay my exuberant bill and would give me a whopping 10% off the rest of the bills for the remainder of my contract (which I intend to be done with them when that time comes.) The second representative gave me 1/2 off the disputed amount and suggested I talk to their collections department to set up payment (I am a very low ranking member of the Navy, E-3, and therefore, don’t make much money).

The final representative was the WORST stranger I have ever spoken with and treated me like I was a criminal. While speaking with him (He would only tell me that his name was Ryan and his user log-in was 1717, and that he worked out of Salt Lake City, UT) I became very frustrated and informed him that I would inform the media and take legal actions, if necessary, to bring light to this situation and that I could not believe that he had such little humanity to tell someone that spent 9 months away from his family and friends to protect his freedom that this was MY problem and that I was irresponsible for not informing Sprint that I was back from deployment. When I asked how he could be so uncaring he answered that it was my own fault and, “I don’t care,” is what he said to me. This is when I knew things would be ugly. It is not the matter of the money so much as a supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor, said the words, “I don’t care,” to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.” I want to send a message, “I DO CARE,” and even if my case is not brought to justice, I want to warn others, especially Hero’s who have served much longer than myself, that Sprint does not care and to stay clear.

Very Respectfully,
YNSN(SW) Ryan, United States Navy

Before ditching Sprint, try one last time to vacate the charges by calling Consumerist’s Sprint Executive Customer Support hotline at: (703) 433-4401.

(Photo: smcgee)


Edit Your Comment

  1. PhilR8 says:

    And the exodus continues….

    As a satisfied Sprint customer, what should I expect the future to hold? If Sprint is bought out, will I be able to keep my decent plan that I am completely satisfied with? Or will my service die a la Amp’d?

  2. Concerned_Citizen says:

    75 cents a minute? Was he roaming on 3rd party networks(Does sprint even do this in the digital age)? I can understand sprint not being able to credit you money that has to be paid by them to a 3rd party. But if you were on sprints network the whole time, there is no reason why they can’t just bill you the normal monthly fee because the minutes were no more expensive than that.

  3. rasbill says:

    i hate people like this kid, dude u went into the military your not a god, no one forced you into the military, you willfully joined because you thought you would enjoy it

    dont throw it in peoples faces like that, you were protecting your own freedoms too

    (please dont tell me otherwise thats garbage, no1 just joins up for the hell of it especially with all the war going on, you must enjoy the military)

    • Jessica Cabrera says:

      im not sure you read the whole thing…maybe you just skimmed through..he was not saying oh you need to bow down to me beacause im in the military he is just saying that it is bullshit that you can charge someone normal (after being home for months) and then all of a sudden out of no where start chargin .75/min..maybe you need to take a look at that again…

  4. Scuba Steve says:

    @rasbill: That seems like an argument for another time and place.

    The real issue is Sprint’s customer service, and how dealing with them it is akin to going up to a brick wall and pounding out the Star Spangled Banner with one’s head.

  5. Lucky225 says:

    Just get them to pay the bill like they offered, then turn around and shut it off for military leave w/o Early Termination Fee

  6. ryan_h says:

    Did he call sprint and have his phone turned back on, or did he just get back in the states and figure that turning the phone on and using it constituted with him un-suspending it? something dosent add up here.

    I also notice these two seperate portions of his letter that dont match up:

    “The second representative gave me 1/2 off the disputed amount and suggested I talk to their collections department to set up payment (I am a very low ranking member of the Navy, E-3, and therefore, don’t make much money). “


    “This is when I knew things would be ugly. It is not the matter of the money so much as a supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor, said the words, “I don’t care,” to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.” I want to send a message, “I DO CARE,” and even if my case is not brought to justice, I want to warn others, especially Hero’s who have served much longer than myself, that Sprint does not care and to stay clear.”

    This looks like a combo sprint/user error to me. I wonder if this hero finds people who work in service industries to be heros as well, since he fights for our rights, and we work every day to give him something to fight for and maintain.

  7. fjordtjie says:

    i think it’s time for an eecb of sprint about it. and DO alert the media–our local abc news makes bigger waves for consumers than I would expect, being a dinky news station in WI. look into your local atations–san diego should have alot more power.

  8. Doesn’t surpirse me a bit. see also http://www.sprint-really-sucks.com

  9. looney82 says:

    i don’t like it when i see other members of the military throwing that around like it’s supposed to help in situations like this. i’m a higher rank than this guy (e-6) and i’m still deployed, actually in a country where people are trying to kill me daily. not to knock the navy, but seriously, how are you a hero? i’ve known heroes, and none of them called themself a hero. they just did their job and didn’t expect anything in return. i’m on my second deployment, and i don’t even bring that up to CSRs unless it’s part of the conversation. not to say it’s a bad idea, sometimes the CSR will waive a fee or discount a price, but i don’t throw my status as a veteran around. it makes the military look bad, and gives people like rasbill a reason to talk bad about people like me, who do love my job and joined BEFORE the wars.

  10. Allie928 says:

    I feel your pain. I recently signed up for a pay as you go plan with Alltel. When I called Sprint to cancel my contract, I was informed for the first time, that the cost was not $200.00 but $200.00 per line. I share minutes with my husband. If you go into any Sprint/Nextel store and ask what the cancellation fee is, they will tell you $200.00. It’s on their contract but they mislead their customers verbally. I plan on filing a complaint with my Attorney General’s office…Consumer Protection. I’m hoping someone will have enough on them to start a class action suit. Good luck with your problem and thank you for defending our country.

  11. cyberscribe says:

    C’mon Ryan, I’m in the military too, and have been subjected to repeated extended deployments. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle sometimes, keeping things like this straight, but you really shouldn’t try to use your own ignorance of Sprint’s policies as an excuse, I don’t think. YOU signed the contract. It’s YOUR responsibility as a subscriber to know what’s in it.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say.

  12. rasbill says:

    thank you looney82 as i do appreciate what you are doing for me, and am glad you understand my position

    and i agree with cyberscribe 100%

    but sprint sucks still, have we found a cell company that doesnt suck?

  13. Osagasu says:

    And posts like this remind me of the kid who said “I don’t care.” Most people don’t join the military because they think they’ll “enjoy it.” If you believe that, you have one skewed perception of the world and the people in it. People in the military join it to protect fifty states, five territories, and the district of Columbia. Then again, If you think we do it “for fun” or “for the hell of it”, I wouldn’t expect you to get it anyways.

  14. I think you meant, “less sucky” than the rest? (because they all suck to some degree, some more than others)

  15. MacQix says:

    Wow. I’m glad that people who are in the military, who do all the right things to take care of these types of things before hand, STILL get screwed over.

    Sprint outsources their call centers and customer service. When will companies wake up and realize that you can’t create company loyalty in outsource call centers. It just doesn’t happen.

  16. DH405 says:

    Wow. You can stop throwing your chosen job in everyone’s face. We get it. You think everyone should fellate you because you chose to sign up for the military.

    I agree with looney82. Real heroes (Thats how you pluralize the word, by the way) do not call themselves heroes. You are squandering the good will that people feel towards service members. You and McCain.

    You should have called them. Yes, I agree that they should fix that situation and credit you for the overage. I feel that they should do this out of respect for you as a PERSON and as a CUSTOMER. You don’t get super-special treatment for your job, but you should get at least baseline respect as a human.

  17. DH405 says:

    @Osagasu: I’ve known multiple people who joined the military because they wanted to have a few new experiences and/or wanted to go play with guns and/or wanted to go kill people in the middle east(Really.)

    You failed to say whether you’re in the military or not. Clarify that point, if you would.

  18. UESC says:

    that’s out of line. Sprint should just eat the bill, then have the guy switch over to a nation wide plan.

  19. Rajio says:

    He should make sure to keep pointing out that he’s an america patriot and a real american hero … to a CSR who is very possibly not even american. “You can’t do this to me! I’m an american!”


    irrelevant angle to the story.

  20. hamsangwich says:

    hmmmmm, it sounds to me like he didn’t follow through and should have called them when he got back from deployment. That being said, Sprint should just refund the difference (unless for some reason it really cost them a lot more for him to use the minutes) and tell him to make sure to call them in the future when he returns from deployment.

  21. RDProgrammer says:

    As much as I sympathize with his plight against sprint, don’t bring the “I’m a patriot” thing into it. America’s Army is not the glorious group it once was and service in a time when we are invading countries without cause is not something that should instantly gain someone ten points of respect.

  22. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Happy Memorial Day, you juvenile military-haters. I hate this war, but I fully support our troops. Ask someone with a brain and a heart to explain this holiday to you, then come back here and apologize.

  23. LUV2CattleCall says:

    The problem? The “Kabul”stone streets he was walking weren’t black and white, and his flack jacket wasn’t a trenchcoat…

    To all the people giving the OP crap for throwing down the Hero/Patriot card…maybe he’s proud of what he does, as he should be…and like it or not, he IS putting himself in harms way…it’s like he works at Toys ‘R Us where the biggest danger is Nerf fire. I think most of you are really desensitized to the harshness of war (FWIW, I’m in no way involved in our nation’s defenses…and would probably shit myself in a haunted house, so I respect the bravery of those who are out there).

    Also, the fact that he was serving abroad is VERY relevant to this case, since that is why he suspended his service. It’s not like he’s some businessman who wanted to get out of paying his bill during the time he was overseas banging a Thai hooker… Sprint should have, un-prompted, gone above and beyond for him. Hell, even the airlines give perks such as lounge access to armed forces members…

  24. LUV2CattleCall says:


    *it’s NOT like he works at Toys ‘R Us

  25. bilge says:

    @SMSDHubbard: The reasons I usually hear are “I wanted some adventure” or “My dad was military” or the ever-popular “I wanted to figure out who I was.”

  26. ryan_h says:


    this guy knows.

  27. Onouris says:

    @Me: They’re juvenile, yet you’re the one stooping to name calling.

    I see. I see.

  28. razremytuxbuddy says:

    This is the beat-the-customer service I encountered way too often when I was a Sprint customer. Regardless of who this customer was, the service described here was mean and stupid. As for using the military angle, I think this guy got really po’d at the customer service, as well as Sprint’s total lack of accountability, and he started throwing out whatever arguments he thought might get him a fair result. Sounds like the military angle didn’t work, and it played out as sort of a red herring. But I wouldn’t hold it against him that he tried, and I certainly respect him and everybody else in the military over there–living away from home and family for months or years, among people who hate you and want to kill you, dealing 24/7 with military job politics, wearing heavy clothing and gear in 100+ heat. The job conditions aren’t so great. It’s not exactly a climate controlled cubicle that comes with an assigned parking place.

  29. wtrwlkr says:

    I’m a 4 year (current) member of the military, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone throws around the “military” card. Yes, you can be proud of your job, but don’t throw around the dribble of “I’m protecting your freedomz!11!” to someone working in Bangledesh. No one’s freedoms are being protected in Iraq.

    Like someone else mentioned, those throwing around the military card every chance they get are taking advantage of the good will of the American public.

  30. Jesse says:

    Some of these customers need to learn how to summarize and put things into lists. This particular individual is one of them.

  31. NoNamesLeft says:

    “to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.””

    Seaman Ryan,

    Pushing paper and sending e-mail does not make you a patriot. Thank you for defending my freedom by typing up naval correspondence in front of a computer.



  32. wtrwlkr says:

    annnddddd the inter military flame war starts again! Hey, here’s one! Why do navy guys have their name printed on the back of their pants? So the marine knows who he’s nailing!

  33. SomeoneElseNotMe says:

    Sprint was rude and they shouldn’t be rude to ANYONE. You have a right to demand they explain what happened, why it happened, and how it can be remedied. Just like anyone else.

    However, throwing around the whole “I made a career choice that takes me away from my family so {quiet sobbing} I could protect y-y-your f-f-f-freedoms . . . ” bit won’t get you anywhere.

    @ SMSDHubbard at 04:38 PM — dude, I’d like permission to quote you the next time someone starts the whole “but I’m military!” argument with me. Your first paragraph was excellent!

  34. EyeHeartPie says:

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I get the feeling that the $500 charges are for all the minutes he used after he came back to the States. Since he never called Sprint to re-activate his account that was on hold, he was using on a minute-by-minute basis since he didn’t have an active service plan. True, Sprint should have warned him, but he should also be aware of policies and contracts that he signs.

  35. Trai_Dep says:

    Sprint hates America. But they love illegal wiretapping for pay.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    @SomeoneElseNotMe: Bro, I really hope that you cop that attitude while drinking at a bar filled with servicemen. No, servicewomen, so they can school you.

  37. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Onouris belched: “They’re juvenile, yet you’re the one stooping to name calling. I see. I see.”

    Aren’t you special… ed.

  38. Noris says:

    I hate when people bring up “I protected my country and I deserve to be treated like a hero” when they argue this stuff. Sprint is either right or wrong. They should refund you the difference, but your military service record is irrelevant.

    Just a reminder- nobody made you sign up. You volunteered.

  39. MormonJay says:

    i think most of you guys missed his argument completely, he was sent out to sea and he knew about it before hand so he did everything he should have and then some, and even included a date when he would return, and then sprint screwed him over. that’s the whole point of his letter is that he did the right thing and spring screwed up and he wants redemption. and about what he did at sea? it’s irrelevant. he might have been behind a computer but that computer might have been controlling a UAV that destroyed many terrorists and helped keep them from injuring innocent people, or maybe he was indeed sending emails, that doesn’t mean his job is any less important. without computer databases the whole armed force would be at a major disadvantage, and you might be dead if it weren’t for this man doing his job. maybe you should stop and think before criticizing someone you know nothing about. however, i completely agree that he did overstate the fact that he is in the military, but that does not mean you need to jump down his throat for a simple mistake. why don’t you go give up 4 years of your life for something bigger than your mouth for a change and then come back once you’ve seen the other side.

  40. MormonJay says:

    also he never called himself a hero, merely other people who have been in the service longer than him heroes, as they should be called. so once again rtfa before you speak please

  41. glycolized says:

    @Trai_Dep: Hey, that’s a good way to further the stereotype that the US military members are a bunch of knuckle-draggers with violent tendencies.

    Hell, I’d keep away from any bar full of military folks anyway. The music probably sucks there.

  42. loueloui says:

    @rasbill: Hey moron, before you call someone out for serving their country maybe you should do a little research. It’s obvious you’ve never served so until then shut your ignorant mouth. Being deployed is mostly not fun, nor easy, and having lived through this and worse I totally agree with Ryan.

    The fact is that the law is on his side [usmilitary.about.com] and those pricks at Sprint should know better. See there are any number of shady companies that prey specifically upon servicemembers. So much so that congress decided to do something about it. Members of the military have special protections against this kind of idiocy, for just this reason.

    So before you go spouting off at the mouth, on Memorial Day weekend no less, take a minute and count your blessings.

  43. Why does the fact that someone’s in the military always come up? You don’t deserve any better customer service than anyone else.

  44. Hawk07 says:

    Wow, I never knew so many readers here hated America and/or the military.

    Sprint’s trying to take advantage of an enlistee and y’all are more concerned with illegal wars and invasions.

  45. EtherealStrife says:

    @loueloui: You made a choice to join the military. Ryan made a choice. Lose the entitlement.

    to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.”

    Ryan: ditch the military bs, except where it’s directly related to the contract. If you treat the CS people like equals they just might help you out. People tend to react poorly to a superiority complex. Which you clearly have. It can be a symptom of PTSD, so you might want to talk to someone about it.

  46. most of you don’t get it…some get it halfway or three-quarters of the way…

    think about this in a different way…if the OP was a regular joe-schmo (and not a self-proclaimed “hero”) and wanted to suspend service temporarily, he could do so without terminating his contract and thus, not incurring an ETF. Sprint doesn’t give you $75 or $150 towards the cost of a new phone so they can lose money and therefore they charge you a nonimal dollar amount during your “hibernation” period.

    IT IS THE OP’S RESPONSIBILITY, to call Sprint and change his plan when he returns. Sprint doesn’t care that you sent a letter requesting service to be restored at a certain date. For all they know, you could be dead (or on extended leave). Then, they have a greater issue when the bill comes around. This is a business, people. The fact that Sprint would credit him ONE f’in cent is ludicrous.

    The “supervisor” that said he doesn’t care is absolutely in the right. If he really said “I don’t care”, then he needs to be more professional and polite as a higher ranking member of this organization.

    Just my 2 cents worth…

    @Allie928: do you realize that EACH LINE OF SERVICE is one contract and thus, the ETF applies to each contract? don’t was your time.. the AG is gonna laugh in your face

    3 cents now…

  47. DH405 says:

    @loueloui: No holiday makes a man immune from having his bullshit called. And this rant to Sprint stunk of it.

  48. looney82 says:

    wow. it’s amazing how many opinions you can get out of one private (or whatever the navy calls them) writing a stupid email to the consumerist. i can tell just from reading some of the comments that some of you haven’t ever had a serious conversation with a soldier. or at least not a soldier who has deployed. most of us signed up because we didn’t know what else to do. not because we’re stupid or anything like that, but because that was the option that gave us direction. i have a squad of 12 guys under me now, and 10 of them have told me at least once during this deployment that if they hadn’t of joined the army, they’d be flipping burgers or worse. and not a single one of my soldiers wants praise for signing up and coming over here. the fact that their job is to close with and destroy the enemy doesn’t transfer back to the civilian world. it’s not supposed to. anyone who is in the military can tell you, it’s our own world. we have our own way of talking, our own haircuts, and our own way of life. sure it’s nice to have someone who doesn’t understand any of that say “thanks” every once in a while, but none of my guys expect it. we know why we do what we do, and that’s enough for all of us.

  49. reiyaku says:

    one thing i learned being in the military… always have a plan; expect the unexpected… also, being in the military does not make you anything special… everything thats presented to you is a courtesy… as for this kid… this kids a nut job… yea knowing sprint sucks is another thing… but for him to make sure everything is taken cared off before he left, he did a very poor job at that… honestly, good luck to him getting his dilemma resolved…

  50. metaled says:

    @rasbill: i hate people like this kid, dude u went into the military your not a god, no one forced you into the military, you willfully joined because you thought you would enjoy iT.

    Rasbill, do you ever come out of your house? High school graduates can’t get jobs or even get into college with a 4.0 GPR and are FORCED to join the military. They all enjoy it too?
    I can see where Ryan is coming from, points out why he can’t communicate and take care of his personal business like most people walking around the US on a day to day bases. Then they get Shit like this commentor and the lowly phone grunt working for sprint.
    It’s his fault because he is in the service, he points it out and treated like shit, like you just did. NOT GOD, a person who didn’t deserve what they did to him. (no wonder so many returning service members are out of work and unemployed. People like this treat them like they did something wrong when they do the right thing.)
    Me, I REALLY want to thank you RYAN and all of the other men and women who are making sacrifices for me and my family. And thanks from all those who don’t have a clue what they have right now, how fragile their freedom and rights are at this moment in history, that you are helping to preserve! THANK YOU ALL! I do appreciate your personal sacrifices!

  51. Noris says:

    @loueloui: Yeah, I’ll count my blessings as American imperialism and its right hand, the military, continues to force its will upon sovereign nations. They’re HEROES!

    @metaled: If you have a 4.0, you can get into a college. In fact, most states will pay for you to go for at least the first year.

    @looney82: I’m sorry you’re in charge of a group that couldn’t find alternative paths via education. The military is still a choice, just like burger slinging is a choice. Had any of them looked into the trades, or was taking two math classes at a community college just to hard for these lazy…. I mean hard-working proud Americans.

  52. looney82 says:

    @Noris: i wasn’t going to respond to the insults in your post, but you don’t call my guys, or any other member of the military lazy. it’s been a long time since the army has used it, but they used to say something along the lines of we do more before 9 a.m. than most people do in a single day. that still holds true, especially now that my guys are deployed. i’ve seen 19 year old soldiers, just barely moving out of their parents house, stay up for 72 hours and stay focused on the task at hand. now you show me where in the world that is considered laziness. as far as the education thing, most of these guys did a semester or two of college and found out they didn’t like that lifestyle. the military is an excellent lifestyle, and i’m glad i’ve choosen it. i love my job, i love what i do everyday, and i can’t picture myself going back to the civilian world. and before you go spouting off about education as opposed to the military, i want to inform you out of 12 guys, 3 of them have at least a bachelors. and i’m in the infantry, the least-thankful, hardest working MOS in the army, in my opinion.

  53. I guess Sprint will screw over NASCAR fans next (doh, they already do that I am guessing). Bet loud complainers get the heavily discounted Sprint SERO plan (Sprint employee referral program).

  54. BrianU says:

    Ryan, I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with Sprint. I never got a cell phone just because of the technicalities, surprise charges, and customer service – so I can’t offer a solution. As an 11 year, then disabled, Vet, I can tell you to expect more hard times than than the nicer treatment I used to expect. It used to be viewed as an honorable profession by most, with unavoidable special circumstances that most people and companies would understand and work with you to overcome for every one’s benefit. I think several social and economic factors have eroded the unquestionable trustworthiness of enlisted people, and very surely the integrity, skills, and sociability of the average civilian worker. Count on a dumbed-down populace having no idea of what you really do for a living, and resenting all the illusions of overblown benefits they imagine you have from the same misleading recruitment advertising that you are probably finding out about first-hand right about now in your career. Thanks for your service, God bless, and please keep yourself as safe as possible. Believe me, there’s not much left of the U.S.A. worth sacrificing yourself for. I hope your Sprint experience and some of the responses here enlighten you to that.

  55. Derp says:

    @RDProgrammer: @RDProgrammer: Who we invade or don’t invade is not this kids choice. Your opinions are your own, but don’t try bashing the Army because of your belief that we’re wrong. Some still think we’re right to be where we are.

  56. frogman31680 says:

    In the area that I live, and unfortunately I am a sprint retailer, you roam on sprint, nextel, and Alltel for free. This guy just got screwed by sprint, like I see everyday.

  57. PinkBox says:

    What I got from the story is that he sent Sprint a notice to cut off his phone for six months, even though he ended up being gone for nine months because of an extended deployment.

    He paid for the three months anyway, because he was billed as normal, and then was suddenly hit with the $500 bill stating the .75 per minute charges.

    Considering he used the phone AFTER he had asked for it to be reconnected, then he should not be liable for the $500.

  58. dthigpen says:

    Well, as a severely disabled veteran (US Army), I think it’s your fault for not calling and notifying them that you had returned from deployment, especially after having seen related charges on multiple bills since. It was extremely irresponsible of you to just pay them and wait to complain until you were grossly negligent and ran huge overages one month.

    You should have just taken the 50% off deal on the bill and switched providers.

  59. Hawk07 says:

    Some of these comments are especially funny in light of the USAA bandwagon a few days ago.

  60. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Hey, my dad was an exec at USAA for many years and I look up to and admire the service they provide our fighting women and men.
    I work part time customer service at one of the stores you probably hate, but I go the extra mile (special treatment) for people, do what I say I will when I say I’ll do it, and generally live up to the standard I’ve seen as my role model. Corporate doesn’t make it easy, like when they shot down my request to replace an item destroyed my a customer in the army stationed in Iraq.
    HOWEVER, if I give 110%, I’m glad to give it. If I’m not going to give it a huge extra effort, I will still give it 100%. BUT YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED to the extra based on who you are or what you do. It is mine to give. If you cop an attitude, “I’m in the military” “My people have been oppressed” “I’m a recent graduate” as evidence why I need to break the rules for you, I’m not going to care either. You are ENTITLED for me to do my job. You are not entitled to demand my extra time or effort. I genuinely care about what I do and will generally give everything I’ve got, but that stops when you feel like I HAVE TO give it.
    To be clear, I have support the military, do my job with at least 100%, and take care of every customer. What I’m talking about is being pissed when somebody EXPECTS and gives me attitude based on anything other than how good of a customer they are to me.

  61. Trai_Dep says:

    I don’t think many think that military deserve special privileges, but they deserve to be treated w/ common courtesy as anyone being abroad and warning Sprint beforehand should be. It’s sad that Sprint has suck so low.
    SomeoneElseNotMe, however, was mocking, which is uncalled for. Especially for a wide-butted guy squatting on his chair cracking wise on a guy that’s facing a tough situation.

  62. trk182 says:

    @wtrwlkr: Everyone knows that the Air Force is the only branch that does things the right way.

    We send our officers out to get shot out while the enlisted play on computers back at base…Stupid squids, Stupid ground pounders, when will you learn.

    P.S. I hope all you military haters are in the next building that gets blown up, I won’t resort to name calling …just die in a fire.

  63. Onouris says:

    @Me: Hey, thanks for proving my point for me.

    I guess some people just find it really tough when someone, god help them, doesn’t agree.

  64. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    @trk182: Actually, I think the Army and Marines have it right, since our commissioned, warrant, NCO and Enlisted troops ALL are on the SAME BATTLEFIELD!

    Just saying… But the most important part isn’t the branch on the uniform, but what comes before that… “U.S.”

    As for my thoughts on the matter, I feel more compelled to speak on the commentary of the opinions running on our troops and veterans serving/served.

    Personally, I find it funny that there would be those out there that are quick to conject that people wearing those uniforms out there are just out for a quick fix to quell their homicidal tendecies, wants a mere status symbol to wear/have, or have a death wish to fulfill.

    The truth is that most of your enlisted members came from the more urbanized areas, as well as locales that had little to no job growth/sustainability. As a previous poster stated, for most in this day of globalization, and the push for better, more competitive (post) grad-students, a mere GED or High School Diploma will do you no better than flipping burgers, or in some cases, stripping at the local adult joint.

    Some people actually go into military fields to actually GAIN MARKETABLE SKILLS, like Medical, Clerical, and Mechanical skills, like Avionics. Some achieve better leadership skills in the military, since it gives empirical knowledge, as opposed to the implied studies in some electorate in some college somewhere.

    Chances are, your next wave of LPNs, RNs, PRNs, EMTs, PAs, PT/OTs will come from our military. For that matter, your Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) will most likely fill the soon-to-be-dire void in the FAA. Will you look at each of these occupations so sourly, when your life is in their hands?

    I will also add that a majority of your safety forces are commonly Veterans, as well. I’d be willing to bet my dollar to your donut, that a majority of police, sheriff, trooper, and firemen are or have once served.

    And I am sure that those people joined those occupations for nearly the same reason why they joined the Armed Services: Because it is a civic duty to fulfill.

    Now, before just conjecting what a serviceperson/veteran does, I’d ask you to do one simple thing… Think for a minute of their service, their character as people, their families, and their loved ones. It could be a friend, co-worker, maybe even a person you work for that either does or has done those military tasks. Not everyone who serves kills, nor do they have too. Myself, I can tell you that half of my service had been fulfilled by peacekeeping tasks, where the main emphasis had been to provide humaniarian relief and care for the locals.

    I would contend that there were and are many in uniform that prefers those actions over bloodshed anyday.

    But alas, everyone will have varying differences in opinion, and it is unfortunate that some will never understand that there is more to a troop than the rifle, pistol, magazine cache or Yarborough that they carry.

    I’m just happy to remember the many facets of the people from our American militray and it’s veterans…

    of US.

  65. I did some “Googling” and it appears that Sprint outsources it’s call centers (ie: customer service) to a company called Alorica [www.alorica.com]. I imagine such things as this issue are caused when companies outsource one of the most important aspects (customer relations, support and service) to outside companies.

  66. dragonfire81 says:

    I don’t know if this will help you are not. Sprint has a special military suspend plan that basically leaves your account active and charging monthly at $0.00. You can be on this plan for up to two years (or longer if your have the deployment orders to back it up).

    Sprint also has what’s called a “seasonal” suspend plan which allows you suspend your phone for up to 6 months at $5.95 a month (if for example you were going out of the country for a fair bit of time and wanted to keep your service). On this seasonal plan, your phone CAN still make calls and if you use minutes, you are charged at $0.75/min.

    These charges occur until the seasonal plan is removed, which you must do by calling Sprint, it does not automatically switch back when you hit U.S. soil.

    You were dealing with reps who did not know the difference between these two plans.

    Call Sprint back and say you want to cancel, you’ll get to the retention department, they’ll probably give you your credit, a discount and maybe something else on top of that.

    Good luck to you, I used to work Care for Sprint and let me tell you: It ain’t pretty.

  67. puka_pai says:

    I suspect that somewhere along the line Sprint screwed up the dates of suspension. Ryan says they billed him $30 a month during the period he was deployed, whereas dragonfire81 says it should have cost him nothing. $30 is probably about the base cost for a plan when there’s been no usage — and Ryan didn’t use his phone while he was on cruise. Even if they put him on the wrong plan, the 6-month one, they still overcharged him. Seems to me that Sprint owes Ryan money, not the other way around.

    Very eloquent, Soldier_CLE. Spot on, too!

    A peaceful Memorial Day to all who’ve served, their loved ones and those who currently serve. I’m proud to call myself the daughter and wife of retired enlisted men. And I hope every day that this current conflict ends before more good people are hurt — both physically and mentally — and die. That’s how *I* support our troops.

  68. Trai_Dep says:

    @trk182: “Everyone knows that the Air Force is the only branch that does things the right way. We send our officers out to get shot out while the enlisted play on computers back at base…”
    Nothing to add except you’ve posted the funniest comment in this entire thread. :D

  69. OrtizDupri says:

    I’m sitting here in the middle of Iraq (somewhere near Baghdad) – and honestly, this story doesn’t add up.

    It sounds like he just expected them to turn your service back on (based on a letter you sent several months earlier) without calling to follow up and ensure that this was completed. Thus, he just started using the phone again, without taking the responsibility necessary to make sure everything was straight.

    I deployed out here with a Blackberry 8830 (World Phone) with an international roaming plan – upon arrival, found out that service in my area (roaming GSM on Iraqna, the local pay as you go network) is poor, and dropped calls were common. Dialing out was almost impossible – it would ring, then disconnect. Checking my bill at the end of the month, I found I was being charged $2.49 for every ATTEMPT to call out – not even if it connected or not. Obviously, not what I expected (I did expect to pay the Iraq roaming price if calls were connected). I called Sprint, waited on hold, talked to the CSR – they got rid of all the unconnected call charges, I paid for the roaming, and changed my plan back to be in suspense without any international roaming (I have since switched out my GSM card with an Iraqna card so that I am not using Sprint service over here). No problem at all, and I was pleasantly surprised to see around $200-$300 of charges drop off my bill.

    I have had no problems dealing with Sprint, especially as a member of the military (they didn’t even require a copy of my orders to show that yes, in fact, I was calling from Iraq). This whole issue sounds much more like a personal problem than a Sprint problem.

  70. OrtizDupri says:

    Also, didn’t want to bring this up – but don’t call yourself a damn “HERO” or “PATRIOT.” Nothing annoys me more than people using their military service as some way to get free things or as an excuse to cover their own lack of responsibility.

    (Not meaning to say that is true in this case, but I have seen so many people use the “I’m in the military” excuse – from getting free things in various places to trying to get out of traffic tickets.)

  71. MormonJay says:

    @OrtizDupri: nothing annoys me more than people who don’t read the article either. he never called himself a hero, even if he did call himself a patriot, i call myself a patriot too, because i am AMERICAN so why don’t you just stop trolling and go put your scrambled half planned thoughts on some other website.

  72. eben56 says:

    Those of you who blame the OP are sick. You guys just troll around trying to get people to “look at me.. I have an opinion”.
    Maybe the OP used his military service a little too much, but .75 a minute is totally absurd under ANY scenario.
    I hate the war and I hate George Bush, but the people who serve in our military and put their lives on the line so you can troll around and act superior, DO deserve a little special treatment.

  73. planetdaddy says:

    Just another guy on this site who thinks that the rules don’t apply to them. You are not special just because you were in the military.

    Your service is appreciated but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to. Get real.

  74. Slow2Whine says:

    Hey, If you are are Active Duty, you should already be eligible for 10% off your monthly statements for the remainder of your contract. (for the remainder of your enlistment) I know that Sprint does that for the armed forces, as I’m sure other cell phone service providers do too.

  75. Noris says:

    @trk182: You hope that people die? Wow, that’s patriotic. You should put that on a bumper sticker and let people know.

  76. @looney82: @cyberscribe: @wtrwlkr: Agreed
    I’m sorry you got screwed Ryan, but I’m sure things will work out for you though now that you have the power of the Consumerist on your side!
    I bet next time you don’t forget to call to get your service turned back on either.
    Anyhow, its Memorial Day Weekend, so I just want to take this time to say thanks to any service members and vets out there reading this. You guys rock.

  77. Noris says:

    “”I don’t care,” to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.””

    Yes, he paraded his simple “I’m doing my job and THE LONG ARM OF DEMOCRACY (aka deck mopper)” in his letter.

    I’m more of a Patriot than any military person by simply voting for Senator Feingold every few years. At least I’m not telling people in foreign countries what they can and cannot do as I point a gun in their proverbial faces.

  78. RedSeven02 says:

    I supervise over a dozen people as NCOIC of my section, with the youngest (currently) at 19. At any point in his dealings with Sprint, did the OP bring ask his supervisor for guidance? In a situation like this, the last thing I would want to hear about is that someone in my chain not asking for guidance, and that by the time I find out, we’re in front of the Commander/First Sergeant because someone (in this situation) can’t pay their bill. I’ve been in for 18 years, and I’ve always stressed that the one thing that will give you personal face time with leadership (and not in the nice way) is to have an unpaid bill and not seeking help.

  79. TXWayne says:

    I am retired military and this reminds me of a time back when I had Sprint. We were making a particularly difficult move from the Pentagon to New Mexico (housing market in N Va had tanked and we lost money we did not have on our townhouse). Because our home in NM was not ready I was sleeping on my brother in law’s couch while my wife and family were staying at my brother’s home in Wichita. My wife made a call to me on our Spring cell phone from my brother’s house. Coverage inside the house was flaky and some how right as she made the call it went to roam and we got hit with a $40 call. Something like that now I am retired is no biggie but at the time it was a big deal. I called Sprint and complained and got every thing just short of “I don’t care.” We have since dropped them because of that sort of attitude. Recent press seems to say their days are numbered so maybe what goes around comes around.

  80. RandomZero says:

    Speaking as a former Sprint rep who has taken these very calls before, I place the blame squarely on Sprint regardless of whether he called to reactivate. There are two standby plans, restricted and unrestricted; nobody should EVER be placed on unrestricted standby except by explicit, clearly-documented request. (And yes, then it’s $0.75/min for any usage.) It does happen on occasion, however (I’ve taken these calls in the past), and was entirely CSR error.

    That said, Sprint is extremely anal-retentive about adjustment limits, and went on a firing spree of any reps/sups who went above and beyond in cases like this a while back. Don’t hold your breath for the money.

  81. glorpy says:

    Ryan – they offered you 1/2 off, which is $250 AND they offered to let you pay it over time. Keep your normal part of the bill to $75/month and pay $25 extra for 10 months and you’re all set. And that’s still less than you have been willing to pay in the past.

    It’s not ideal, but it’s probably the best offer you’re going to get and I think you were foolish for not taking it.

  82. MormonJay says:

    @Noris: sorry, i should have clarified what i said better. i know he called himself a patriot, as every american has a right to, but he never once called himself a hero and most people were getting on him about that. i don’t understand the double standard of every person in the military is a hero, but when one calls someone else in the military a hero, people think they are talking about themselves. kinda disgusts me, but you can’t do much about it.

  83. dragonfire81 says:

    @glorpy: Actually he’s not, IF the phone was supposed to be on MILITARY suspend and not seasonal suspend (as it likely was) he is entitled to every penny back because he should’ve been on his regular calling plan when those calls were made. (You can’t make calls on military suspend, you’d have to reactivate first).

  84. RandomZero says:

    @dragonfire81: How current is your info? When I was there, military supend was seasonal suspend, with the additional bonus that Care Support would resuspend it as it expired. Seasonal suspend should be trstricted, no calls possible, as well, except by explicit customer request.

  85. SomeoneElseNotMe says:

    @ Trai_Dep at 09:15 PM on 05/24/08

    Let’s get this straight, pal. In this country, I can hold whatever opinion I like, whether or not anyone likes it.

    As for anyone attempting to “school” me — we aren’t under martial law yet, pal. I’d certainly feel free to sue them and their families until they were forced to live u8nder a bridge and eat garbage for the rest of their lives. And not have one minute of remorse for doing it.

  86. P.T.Wheatstraw says:

    It is not the matter of the money so much as a supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor, said the words, “I don’t care,” to a customer who has not only been with their company for nearly 4 years, but a Patriot, who signed a contract for 4 years to defend America and his right to say, “I don’t care.”

    Seaman Ryan,
    As a Navy Vet I feel I need to explain to you that the salad days when we could roll into a bar in whites and get free drinks ended about a week after 9/11. Nobody cares if you consider yourself a “patriot” or not and it has no reflection upon whether or not Sprint is screwing you (especially since you’re a Yeoman!).

    On that note–yes, it is entirely possible that Sprint is screwing you. On the other hand, I have counseled hundreds of E3s who screwed up with their cell phone suspensions when on deployment, failed to pay their bill, and wound up in collections and/or at Mast. So, from past experience, I’m going to side with Sprint here.

    So, if they are willing to wipe out the bill, take it. Take it and STFU. Your “outrage” that they are dicking over a “patriot” is so hackneyed and so pointless and brings discredit upon the Naval Service.

    Alternately, if you wish, I can track down your CMC and you and he can have a little chat about making statements like this in public. Your call.

  87. K-T says:

    I had sprint when I joined up. I put it on hold, and when I got out of basic I called them up and took the hold off. I never got an extra charges. It is in fact your job to call them up and get the hold turned off. They do not do a “time frame” hold. It is either on hold, or not on hold. They are being very generous an offering to cut your debt and to work with you on paying off your debt. You can’t sit around and throw out that you are serving the country and they should do more for you when in fact they are going above and beyond (for once) and helping you out of the expensive situation that you got yourself into. If i were you I would take the deal being offered and thank them.