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)