Sprint Says It Lost Some Of Those 2.8 Million Customers On Purpose

By all accounts, Sprint has hit an iceberg and is leaking customers like the Titanic, but new CEO Dan Hesse says that they lost some of those customers on purpose because they were just crappy customers. As strange as this sounds, it does match up with what we’ve been hearing from (former) Sprint customers.

Hesse told the New York Times:

“We did it knowingly,” he said. “We are interested in quality, not quantity.”

After two quarters of hemorrhaging, Sprint has begun the process of trying to attract new customers, ones who pay their bills. This might prove something of a problem for a company that has the highest “churn” (the rate at which customers defect for other similar services) of the big three wireless companies.

Hesse says that potential Sprint customers don’t know that the company has improved. What do you think? Has Sprint improved?

Sprint Puts Positive Spin on Losses [NYT] (Thanks, Dan!)
(Photo: Maulleigh )


Edit Your Comment

  1. lodleader says:

    All I know is that i just renewed my plan this week and didn’t have to give sprint my balls for the first time in 8 years. It was a great feeling.

    Plus i doubled my minutes and paid the same. I know there are a lot of Sprint haters out there, but I haven’t really had any problems with them.

    And my signal since the tower sell seems to have gotten better in my city, Springfield Missouri area, than before. Odd, I know, can’t explain that one…

  2. dtmoore says:

    with the consumerist executive customer service line I never have any problems with sprint anymore :D

  3. MaxSmart32 says:

    Sprint Cell Phones
    Online Only Prices and Rebates.
    The Smarter Way to Buy Sprint

    Seriously? On the very page that discusses how terrible Sprint is, there is an ad? How eff-ed up is that? I’ve noticed that several other times, not to mention ads for sub-prime loans on the same page as the horrors are recounted…

  4. hardtoremember says:

    Has Sprint improved? I strongly doubt it.
    In my experience with them they have been deceptive and downright rude. I don’t think they lost too many of those customers on purpose.
    I was with Sprint for a number of years and even after their last ditch offer of a 3 month billing credit I would not stay. They are losing customers because they refuse to serve and bill them properly.

  5. zentex says:

    I’ve had to “fire” a few customers before, so I can see how this is good for Sprint in the long-term. However, I can’t imagine “firing” 2.8 million of them!

    I have had Sprint for over 5 years, and I would give them an “F” on improvements so far. I’m still considering defecting to one of the others in December when my contract is up.

  6. Dansc29625 says:

    This is not a far out idea, companies have been doing this for years. The insurance co. that compares rates with other companies does this to get rid of certain customers.

  7. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    Can’t believe he had the temerity to say that. Good riddance, I say. I’ve been much happier with Verizon and now Cingular/AT&T. Screw Sprint

  8. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I live in Kansas City. Sprint is based out of a nearby KC suburb. I should be able to get good reception when I’m 10 miles from corporate headquarters. I couldn’t, so I churned over to AT&T. Best thing Sprint can hope for is a buyout from another telecom, either that or Chapter 11.

  9. tomok97 says:

    My wife and I are on one of those crazy good deal SERO plans. I’ve given her express directions to NEVER call Sprint to complain for fear that they’ll just cancel us. So…mission accomplished.

  10. dmolavi says:

    @max-hiding-in-the-forrest32: ads, what ads? i love adblock :)

    besides, if that was a google ad, consumerist.com had no control over the content, as google just picks up on keywords in the page and displays what it thinks are relevant ads.

  11. describe_one says:

    My wife had to file a complaint with the BBB to get Sprint to send her a bill. She would call; sometimes multiple times in a month to be told, “Your account is set up to receive invoices online only.” She would tell them, “Make them mail the invoices to me; I don’t even have the internet. They should never have set it up that way.” Well this went on for over a year, and she filed a complaint with the BBB. Sprint sent her a bill that one time, then stopped. It is ridiculous. They need to go out of business for the betterment of the world.

  12. trixrabbit says:

    so what sprint is saying is that if they don’t like you, they will provide you with crappy service until you go away? wow, that’s incredibly rude.

  13. Chairman-Meow says:

    “We did it knowingly,” he said. “We are interested in quality, not quantity”

    Wow..talk about the missing the clue bus Mr. Hesse!

    Doesn’t he even remotely understand that when people have a bad experience, they tell 10 of their friends ?

    So, Sprint wants “Quality” customers. How about you stop treating any and all of your customers like crap and maybe, just maybe you can stop the churn ?

    Yes, I know it sounds like a simple solution but it does appear to escape Mr. Hesse and the dumbass executives at Sprint.

    I can’t wait to see the headline that announces that Sprint is no longer in the Cellphone business.

  14. Sudonum says:

    I had Nextel and was dismayed when Sprint took over. I suffered some signal quality issues at first. But those have been resolved. The last couple times I’ve had to call them they have been reasonable and helpful. The last time was when I purchased my wife a Mogul on e-Bay and called to activate it. The call took around 30 minutes, but the CSR was very helpful and apologetic for the length of time. I even mentioned the length of the call affecting his metrics, he said they didn’t worry about call durations like they did before.

  15. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @Dansc29625: Ditto. And while I’m well aware of the practice, what an ineloquent way of saying it, Hesse

  16. yajjo says:

    Lost me 7 years ago when they withdrew $500 from my checking account for a $50 bill, applied it to the account of someone else, told me they had no record of the transaction, then shut my phone off for non payment. Took 11 weeks to get my money back with the help of my attorney. The ineptitude of the two dozen or so CSR’s along with a crippled customer account system turned me off to them forever. To this day I continue to try to steer people away from Sprint when the opportunity arises.

  17. MaxSmart32 says:

    @dmolavi: It doesn’t matter how it ended up there, it is just crazy that it did end up there…ahh…and people worry about computers taking over the world!

  18. JN2 says:

    Aren’t those about the same number of people who joined AT&T for the iPhone?

  19. logicalnoise says:

    I currently have sprint and my contract is up in sept. I doubt that I’ll be continuing my contract with them.

  20. dreamcatcher2 says:

    you know what an accountant does when they’re getting in on the years and want to cut down their workload? Double their rates. Half of their customers quit, they make the same amount, and then the following year they double their rates again.

  21. mike says:

    “We are interested in quality, not quantity.”

    That’s ironic. That’s the same thing that former Spring customers say.

  22. BrAff says:

    i miss my Sprint coverage… but I love staring at my I Am Rich app on my iPhone, even if no one can reach me because I have no bars…

  23. Covert7 says:

    We just renewed again and got a great deal on our plan. Basically paying the same as before but getting a couple hundred extra minutes (1000), unlimited texting & web for me, and a Blackberry data plan for my wife. $80 a month.

    And as far as customer service goes, for us at least, we’ve never had a bad experience with them. But there’s been very few times we’ve had to call in for anything other than contract renewals.

  24. Hogan1 says:

    I will give it to Sprint for at least admitting it. Some people(customers) just sap company resources through endless trivial complaints and attempts to get credits. An average phone call to customer service probably costs the business anywhere from $5-10 and that can quickly add up if it’s some whiner complaining 40 times that he was out on the boondocks and dropped a call.

    On the other hand there are always customers with legitimate problems….

  25. Canino says:

    I had two different FCC complaints sustained against Sprint for a total of over $2500, both for billing fraud and both within the past 3 years. Before finally moving to another carrier, my bill was wrong every month. Every. Single. Month. We spent hours and hours on the phone just trying to get the bill corrected, not to mention the other frequent issues such as sudden unauthorized changes in service plans and poor coverage issues.

  26. Cyco says:

    I’ve never had any major issues with them in the 5+ years I’ve been a customer. I’m not really happy with their pretty crappy selection of phones they offer and the few good ones they have are fairly pricey. My other issue is that they want me to change my plan to the more expensive everything plan to get an Instinct. If I had any other plan other than the SERO plan, I would understand, but to pay more for the exact some thing is the only thing keeping me from making the change. Hell, the SERO plan is what is keeping from making a change in my cell provider.

  27. ShockTerminal says:

    For the most part Sprint has always been good to me.
    But then again I know how to talk to customer service and treat them like a person, nobody want to be yelled at.

    But cense using the “hotline” it’s been the most pleasant customer service experiences I’ve EVER had with ANY company. EVER!

  28. rhinojosa says:

    I can’t stand Sprint. My phone roams like there’s no tomorrow and it
    drops my calls when I’m in my apartment. There’s only one spot where I
    get a good connection, and I have to sit there whenever I’m on the
    phone. Other than that, I have no problems with them.

  29. byrdclaw says:

    Sprint’s customer service through phone calls has improved for me. What I can’t understand is their lack of face to face customer service. I went into a sprint store recently and had an issue with their service. I asked for a regional or district number to send a registered letter for the complaint I had and the store manager couldn’t give me one. He couldn’t comprehend that I didn’t WANT anything from him to fix the situation and just wanted to send in a registered complaint so he told me he was done with me, I could leave the store, and he got up to leave.

    I consider myself a great customer for sprint considering I pay my bills on time, and it’s this kind of crap that will make me jump ship without thinking twice if it happens again.

  30. jenl1625 says:

    I’ve had more trouble with the Sprint Store than with Sprint the service provider. My one recent experience with their incompetence was after I did the online customer service chat and then got a text message from Sprint a few days later.

    Sprint, texting a Sprint consumer, made their text message too long to display. They put so much header/reference number information at the front of the message that I literally got only the first word or two of the message.

    But hey, I had a reference number, right? Right? Turns out that when you call them and ask “what did this text message say?”, they can’t help you. “Oh, come on: a 20-digit reference number HAS to be there for the express purpose of digging this message out of the system, right? Why else would it be there?” Nope. They sent me a text message composed entirely of USELESS “reference” information, without consideration of their own text message length limits, from a computer system that can’t figure out what they sent me.

    There’s competence in action.

  31. 3drage says:

    I paid my bills on time and didn’t even complain when the extended my contract out 2 years by changing my service through their web site. This is just spin, and blatantly incorrect. Looks like lies even come from the executives.

  32. Greeper says:

    I’ll say this….someone gave me an iPhone so I had to switch from Sprint to ATT. SPrint network is FAR superior; I never had dropped calls EVER in 10 years with Sprint, where it happens daily on ATT. SPrint service was WAY cheaper as well, and for internet, my TREO was much faster than the 3G. Thus far I think iPhone sucks, and ATT sucks. If Sprint would pay my ETF, I’d go back to them. (And I did have a few billing problems with Sprint, but they always resolved them…I do hate their website though).

  33. dragonfire81 says:

    @jenl1625: You were speaking with a rep who was not well trained. I know the Sprint systems, I’m a former call center CSR.

    While they may not have been able to resend the exact same message they would at least be able to tell you what it was about and send a similarily worded copy. The messages are auto generated by the system, the exact text doesn’t show in your acccount, but the reason for the message does.

  34. dragonfire81 says:

    Oh and I might add the biggest problem with the phone support is reps who either don’t know their jobs well enough or who don’t care enough to to a decent job of it.

    Call centers are rough places to work.

  35. unpolloloco says:

    Sprint’s network still sucks – their biggest problem by far. That said, I’m paying $3/month (plus minutes) for service on a prepaid plan, so I’m still on the Sprint network.

  36. I think Sprint provides a fairly good service for the price they ask, but then again I’m another SERO user. I heard they recently dismantled that option, so if I have to change my plan when my contract is up, well… GOODBYE Sprint!

  37. Sprint has been a great carrier for over the last 2 years for me. Don’t blame Sprint for individuals at non corporate stores who suck at their jobs.

    As far as trying to get rid of customers. It makes sense. We do the same kinda thing when we get customers that really suck.

  38. Ms. Pants says:

    Sprint lost me a few years ago after sending me three phones that either didn’t work at all or were still in the system as registered to someone else. Then they told me that they were canceling my replacement insurance because I’d had to replace too many phones. Well yeah. When you send me something that doesn’t work, it needs to be replaced.

    In short, they can suck it. Let them go hang out with Jack Dawson.

  39. acrobaticrabbit says:

    @lodleader: sprint sucks. they mess up our bill all the time. adding charges that have no real bearing and charging taxes up the ass in places we’ve never been. I’d love to cancel and go to Verizon but my family is all on Sprint so we get free mobile-to-mobile calls.

    Their customer service is horrible. Aside from the obvious (and frustrating!) miscommunication involving trying to decipher eastern indian accents, it takes an average of 3 calls just to have them credit our account with something that THEY did wrong. I work in downtown Denver and my reception is so inconsistent – even outside the building – that it makes me want to scream.

    This CEO needs to go back to Ethical Business Practices 101 and try to keep customers instead of driving away those he already has while trying to get new customers. Which, by the way, are people who might slip up occasionally and not pay their bills anyway. Is this guy high??

  40. nicemarmot617 says:

    Sprint ripped my family off years ago printing up maps showing they had signal when their towers were many miles away. Then they charged my mother $200 to cancel her contract, despite there being no service anywhere near our house, her office, my school, etc etc. She refused to pay it and Sprint sent her to collections. So now I tell everyone I know not to use Sprint, and I tell them why. They treat their customers like scum.

  41. qrius says:

    according to the coverage maps, the following seems to be the ranking:

    1. Verizon seems to be the best overall
    Verizon Coverage Map

    2. ATT has great coverage in the east, not as good in the west
    ATT Map

    3. Sprint seems ok, but not as good as either of the above.
    Sprint Map

  42. qrius says:

    @Greeper: It’s all about where you live. You can’t speak for overall nationwide coverage based on your own limited experience.

  43. Mike626 says:

    I’m a Sprint customer on a $35 a month SERO plan. In Settle there is always a strong signal. (in downtown and the north suburbs) As long as I can keep the $35/mo deal, I’ll be sticking with Sprint.

    Unless the next iPhone can be implanted in my head, or enable me to fly or something.

  44. BigFoot_Pete says:

    I actually wrote a success story to the Consumerist a few months back about getting out of my Sprint contract without an ETF. At the same time, I tried to highlight how great the Sprint quality and customer service was, I just didn’t get reception where I moved.

    I realize I might have been in the minority, but after years of paying bills on time, they seemed to try to make my situation easier than the horror stories I have read on this site.

  45. Mike626 says:

    @Mike626: Er, *Seattle* –Settle was a Freudian slip. :)

  46. juniper says:

    Any customer service issue I have with Sprint – and there have been a few – I now take straight to the Executive Customer Service number. They’ve asked me, “Have you used this number before?” and I always tell the truth and say “yes – because you consistently solve my problems when regular CSRs cannot or will not.” They are always happy to take care of things quickly and efficiently. It feels kind of like cheating, but if their regular CSRs were like this all the time, I’d be a Sprint evangelist.

  47. loudguitars says:

    I’m fed up with Sprint’s “Improved” billing system. Used to be able to get my bill online within 12 hours of when the minutes rolled over. Now it takes over a week, and of course, the due date to pay hasn’t changed. And, since I’m on an unlimited texting plan, they don’t feel that telling me how many texts I’ve actually used is a detail I’d be interested in.

    Contract’s up in November. You’d better believe I’m switching.

  48. sonic.boom says:

    i’m no big fan of sprint. i was ready to leave them after many years of putting up with billing errors and poor customer service. my mind was made up. i read a post in consumerist about loyalty discounts, so when i called to drop the ax, i knew i might be able to turn the tables and ask for something in return for staying. sure enough, the guy in retentions made me an offer i couldn’t refuse: significantly more minutes and texts and a lower bill– with no contract renewal. that was 4 months ago. since then i’ve had no reason to complain. i have to give it to them, they really cleaned up their act and won me back. i’ll stick with sprint until the other shoe drops.

  49. jetman says:

    No Sprint loses customers over stupid stuff. My blackberry stopped working one day, black screen just plain dead. I had handset insurance on the device. So they say they will order a replacement that was due in the next day. Well day after day no replacements (ahmm insert REFURBISHED units here).This is a business line so I had no choice after 3 days but to port my number to a new carrier. They refused to set me up on a loaner phone. So 12 days later after frustration they just grab a new retail blackberry off the shelf. Guess what Sprint you lost me as a customer over that stupid move.

  50. matt314159 says:

    While I’m extremely happy with my $30 SERO plan, when it comes to the question “have they improved?”, the answer is “no”, if my experiences earlier this week were any indication. I called them to cancel a separate datacard plan within my 30 day window (in fact I was only 4 days in)

    True to form, Sprint made it difficult to get anything done through live customer service. I was transferred no less than 4 times.

    • First guy said he was only for cancellations past 30 days, and transferred me. That’s fine.
    • Second lady said she only did Nextel cancellations and transferred me again.
    • Third guy said “sure, I can help you”, and put me on hold without even getting my account information.
    • While holding for agent #3, another guy answered right away, but didn’t speak immediately… I heard him chatting in the background for about 5 seconds, and then he said, “hello?” like he was getting ready to make a phone call and was surprised to not hear a dial tone. But at any rate, he helped me, and I’ve got his name and id number just in case he cancels accounts like he works their phone system.

    Total time: 45 minutes.

    I guess it could be worse, but I don’t really see a notable improvement.

  51. snoop-blog says:

    Imo, the company has improved. I just signed another 2 year contract, (my 4th one) and bought the new instinct. I’ve never had any problems with sprint, they’ve always did me right. But then again, I always pay my bill and have been a long time customer that buys new and nice phones. I had 2 lines, and they just canceled my second line for me for free (no etf) and I didn’t have to get crappy or rude to get it accomplished. As long as I’ve had sprint, 8 years, with never having a problem, they would really have to screw up to lose me as a customer. The fact that there are 2 sprint stores < a mile from my house, and I have friends that work there helps.

  52. joeboxxer says:

    I’ve been a Sprint customer for 9 years. I’ve had my problems in the past but during the past 12 months or so I’ve noticed a remarkable improvement in Customer Service. The CSR’s I’ve dealt with recently have been very accommodating, professional and have gone above and beyond. I’m impressed with the improvement and just renewed for 2 years.
    PS…I’ve never used Verizon Wireless but if their customer service is anything like their local landline customer service -I’ll stay with Sprint forever.

  53. warf0x0r says:

    Count down for me to cancel 6 years of sprint service…
    10 hours!!!

  54. SoLovelyDarling says:

    @joeboxxer: Your right. I’ve been a customer for six years and the service really improved in the last year. Until we couldn’t pay on time. Suddenly, they weren’t very nice. Now that I can’t pay the bill and the account will soon go to collections, the Sprint Customer Service line is suddenly too busy and I am asked to call back at a later time. I finally spoke to a live person when I dialed to be a new customer.

  55. racer_dirt says:

    I’m one of the customers they didn’t care about.

    After months and months of wrong bills, bad service, and bad attitudes…. I am finally out.

    Last week the bill came, totally wrong again, and I called, after a while of going back and forth I was transfered to Account Services where they basically said “we have no way to help you fix the billing issues, and certainly have no way to fix the signal issues, so we’re no going to keep trying…have fun with some other provider”


    Sprint is dying a slow painful death through their own incompetence, and I’m going to love watching it.

  56. synergy says:

    I never thought they were bad. I’ve been with them since 2000 and really don’t have any complaints. No billing errors and no real need for customer service. *shrug*

  57. littlemoose says:

    I’ve been with Sprint for about five years now on a family plan and we have all been satisfied. I agree that their phone selection isn’t great, but I have always had good reception, and my cell phone experience is much better now that I upgraded to a decent phone. My mom also says that she always understands the Sprint bill and that it’s the same every month, whereas on our old plan (then Cingular), the bill was completely incomprehensible. I’ve heard the Sprint horror stories but (knock on wood) I’m happy with my service.

  58. fett387 says:

    I tore off my left arm on purpose. My right arm is much better than the left. I am looking for quality, not quantity.

  59. oregongal says:

    @dmolavi: Oh yeah gotta luv FF with AdBlockPlus :D . I was thinking the same thing when I read that. What ad?

  60. kaizoku80 says:


    And how is it Sprint’s fault that you can’t pay your bill?


    No worries about SERO, I just renewed my SERO 500 line.

    Not only am I on SERO with free text, 7pm and Pick 3, but they gave me free Curve for renewing and my military discount keeps my SERO w/BIS and TEP at under $60/mo…AND they have the best coverage where I live, with Rev. A rolling out in 2 under 2 weeks.

  61. eirrom says:

    I have had Sprint for 4 years and really have had little problems with them. I just wonder if their reputation is even salvageable at this point. Would anyone ever believe they have fixed their poor customer service? I think the perception of this company will NEVER change.

    As long as my phone works, who cares about anything else?

  62. jeremiads says:

    Ridiculous nonsense.

    Starting in December, my phone would start having random crap put onto it every month, such as Latin ringtones I supposedly purchased or monthly subscriptions to games. Every month, I would call and have them “fix” it and give me credit, but it happened time after time.

    I was moving to an area that Sprint didn’t even service. The coverage map was completely blank for at least 50 miles from where I was moving. I assumed an ETF would be waived because of this, but no–their option was to put me on a plan that would let me have unlimited roaming. I refused, so they then demanded all sorts of proof that I needed to fax that I was moving. After being told that this is both a new requirement and a recent one, I told them to screw off. On top of it, I was obviously dealing with an out-sourced call center with people who can barely communicate in English.

    I went ahead and ported over to my new carrier (AT&T). I later called Sprint to get my final total to pay them off and be done with it. I was connected with an extremely nice guy who was obviously a native speaker of English. He immediately dismissed the other CSRs as nonsense, waived my ETF, and happily set me on my way.

    No, they weren’t trying to lose me. I never missed a payment. Naturally, the best service I got was after I had left Sprint.


  63. Mynuette says:

    You know, the one thing I tend to disagree with Consumerist on is the hate they have for Sprint. They are the only one of the big three cell companies that I’ve never had a problem with. I don’t think I personally know anyone who has.

    Around here I would say ATT & Verizon are the trouble makers; poor coverage, billing problems, inept CSRs, lying about services offered.

    I smetimes wonder if the Sprint hate is more than is deserved. In my world, Verizon is the devil I’ll never deal with again, no matter what prodct or service they want to sell me. FIOS is tempting, but I known they’d just screw it up.

  64. PackerX says:

    I worked for Radio Shack years ago and sold Sprint phones. This was just before the Sprint/Nextel merger. Sprint was a nightmare to deal with as far as customer service went. But they had one big draw: They would give ANYONE a phone.

    My area has a high illegal immigrant population. We would get people coming in with obviously fake social security cards (one was typed in script and another was entirely lowercase) and Spring would still give them an account with a measly $125 deposit. The only time a higher deposit was necessary is if the customer had previously had an account closed with Sprint for non-payment, and then the deposit was only $250. For comparison, Verizon would ask for a $1,000 deposit or just refuse outright. Nextel and Cingular were asking for around $400.

    We created over 20 new accounts per week for people with fake socials or horrendous credit. With customers like that, it’s no wonder Sprint wanted to get rid of the financial parasites.

  65. metsarethe... says:

    I’ve been a Sprint customer going on 7 years and the improvement is very noticeable.

  66. JustThatGuy3 says:

    There two things going on here, both of which are true:

    1. Sprint’s screwed up six ways from Sunday, and they’re losing a lot of profitable customers because of it.

    2. They have some customers who just aren’t profitable, because of some combination of (a) they don’t spend much, (b) they don’t pay their bills, or (c) they use up lots of customer service resources. These are customers you don’t want

  67. lingum says:

    Years ago, I used to work at RS in Leavenworth, KS. I was there for the PCS roll out. Our store had to sell PCS even though coverage in Leavenworth was basically zero for a afterwards. I was impressed with the store phone, when I took it to KC, but it wouldn’t work otherwise.

    Several years later, I got a PCS when I moved from KC to Leavenworth and coverage was still garbage there. I couldn’t use the phone in the house and had to go outside to use the phone, as I don’t have a landline in my house. I have been with T-mobile for 5 years since porting numbers was allowed and have never been happier.

    Only bad thing is that I’ll most likely have to change carriers when I move across the country.

  68. lingum says:

    @lingum: should read “basicially zero for a year afterwards.

  69. Jim says:

    In most recent issues with Sprint, if I turn to the north at my desk, I have a full signal. If I lean slightly forward facing east, to type on the computer for example, I completely lose signal and drop the call.

    6 weeks to go, iPhone in my sights.

  70. Jim says:

    To stop the onslaught of hatred, I should have added that I’m not expecting much from AT&T and the iPhone either…like my wife said, I pretty much just want it to goof off while I’m on the bus and stuff.

  71. oldtaku says:

    You know, Sprint has always treated me well, and starting about 6 months ago they started going out of their way to be nice, including giving me $10 credit off the next month just for being a loyal customer. Yeah, I know $10 is nothing, but it’s the thought that counts.

    I will agree that the in-store experience varies /hugely/ depending on the store. One of the locations in town I wouldn’t trust to not accidentally smash my phone to pieces. But I found a decent one and go there.

  72. TexasBelle says:

    My husband and I are just finishing out our second 2-year contract with Sprint. We never had any major problems, but I was royally irritated when they took away my ability to add my own ringtones. (Hmm, wonder if that would have been grounds to get out of the contract?) No way am I paying for ringtones from Sprint. Anyway, the husband wants and iPhone, so we’ll be defecting soon.

  73. kaizoku80 says:


    How did they take your ability to add ringtones away?
    Just upload them through funformobile or one of the many other free web-based uploaders out there.

  74. kaizoku80 says:


    I agree, coverage in Leavenworth, KS sucks!
    I used to work on the base there and couldn’t get coverage to save my life until I crossed back over to the Missouri side.

  75. vastrightwing says:

    I have a legacy family plan with tons of minutes. I’m holding on to that plan for dear life. My problem with Sprint is that every single time I make any material change to my plan, it takes a minimum of 6 billing cycles (months) to straighten the mess out. Therefore, they are fine as long as you don’t touch anything!

  76. mac-phisto says:

    getting fired by sprint is probably the best thing that can happen to a subscriber.

    i know they’ve changed their policies recently, but one thing that really used to piss me off was their phone rebate program for upgrade customers.

    i used to activate sprint accounts. & on more than one occasion i encountered someone like this – a long-time customer (5 or 6 years) who was less than 1 month away from $150 rebate on a new phone w/ contract (one guy was literally 1 week away) & sprint would not budge to replace his/her broken phone. did they have to? maybe not. but get this: activating a new handset RESET THE REBATE ELIGIBILITY. so, even though the customer paid FULL PRICE for a new phone, s/he would have to wait another 21 months to get a rebate on a new handset!

    i think their policy has changed since, but that was always a good indication to me of how (un)committed they were to customer service.

  77. eirrom says:

    Has anyone really had great service from any cell company? I don’t even think it is possible. Name a giant service corporation that provides great customer service? I can’t name one.

    There seems to be more complaints regarding cell companies than anything else. You would think they are poisoning the water or beating you children based on the complaints.

  78. raskolnik says:

    My experience of Sprint has been that they’re likeable screw-ups. Here’s a breakdown:

    October 2007: signed up for the SERO plan; fantastic price (500 anytime minutes, unlimited text & data, nights & weekends begin at 7pm for $30/month). They signed me up for the wrong plan, but a quick call to a polite and friendly CSR fixed that right away. I also had to call them a few days later because my Mogul (which sucks anyway, but that’s not Sprint’s fault) wasn’t properly configured for data. Again, a quick talk with a polite CSR and that’s fixed.

    Everything’s fine.

    August 2008: I decide I’m sick of how terrible my Mogul is and buy an Instinct on eBay. I have to switch plans, which I think is lousy, especially since I had called them before I bought it and they said it would work on my plan. I call customer service and politely ask them what the deal is, since my plan had unlimited data and everything. CSR puts me on hold for close to 10 minutes (my guess is talking to supervisor), and then comes back. She says they’ll sign me up for the Simply Everything plan at a base price of $69.99/month but will knock $30/month off since it is such a big jump. This is cool with me (much more than I expected them to do), so we go through with it, get my phone activated, and everything is cool. Once again, the CSR was very polite and friendly. I don’t mind paying a little extra, ’cause I absolutely love the Instinct, and I am using a ton more data now than I was (easily 10 times more).

    About a week later I get my bill, and it’s for like $150. It turns out they had back-dated the plan to the previous month, even though the switch happened on the last day of the billing period. Plus no credit in sight. Again, I call, and talk to the person, who fixes the previous month issue and then tries to say the credit will kick in next month. I don’t understand why, she said something about off-setting it so it’d be there on the last month of my contract or something silly like that. I say that doesn’t make sense and she agrees to fix it for this month too. Checked my bill today, and it’s like $50, which is as it should be.

    So while you can say most of those calls never should have happened to begin with, mistakes happen with any company. Maybe they were trying to screw me and hope I wouldn’t notice, but I really didn’t have to fight to get them to make it right, and I never have. I’ve never had to make more than one call about an issue or escalate it to a supervisor. I’ve never had a problem with service either, except for those places where no one has service. I’ve honestly not understood the bad rap Sprint gets here, but always figured it used to be horrible. Again, I’ve nothing but praise for Sprint, as they’ve always been reasonable and done their best to keep me happy anytime I’ve had to deal with them.

  79. Communist Pope says:

    Been with Sprint over 8 years and can’t think of any problems that weren’t settled to my satisfaction within a reasonable amount of time. The only complaint I have is that their customer service reps are outsourced and/or dumb, but I don’t think I deal with any companies for which that isn’t the case these days.

  80. Bourque77 says:

    I dont know if sprint is any better but I can promise you at least for 6 more years or so I wont find out. I am happy with verizon and will try at&t, t-mobile, or someone else first. Im happy as can be to be through with sprint and the crappy phone service they offer.

  81. Marshfield says:

    I wonder if its something chronic in Sprint that they are destined to failure. About 10 yrs ago we signed up for Sprint ION service, VOIP with 4 phone numbers and lines, 2 fixed IP addresses on the internet, and 600 minutes of LD a month for about 100.00. Fantastic deal. worked like a charm. And then about 2 yrs later, they wrote and said “thanks for being a customer, it’s going away now” and that was it. I don’t know what happened, we were happy but I guess they never figured out how to make money on it.
    I’m still using some of the cat-5 they ran around the house back then.

  82. draiko says:

    I’ve been with sprint for a while. My contract was up this past Feb and I was about to defect, but called sprint up one last time. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse! I’m so glad I’ve stuck with them, they’ve really turned Customer service around… no problems since Feb!

  83. meehawl says:

    I’ve had Sprint for the past 15 months with the PocketPC phone and the very fast EVdo on Sero for $30/month. Then they upgraded the phone to go faster and added GPS. Seems like a good deal for me, especially with the tethering and the ability to run any program I like without all that “jailbreaking” nonsense. I think the reason Sprint is losing money is that unlike AT&T, they haven’t found a critical mass of suckers willing to pay nearly 2x the average monthly rate (close to $100/month I believe) for pocket candy.

  84. TexasBelle says:

    @kaizoku80: I used to do that, but the last several times I’ve tried, I never received the text messages with the download links. Since I don’t have trouble getting any other text messages, I blamed it on Sprint’s greed. Was I wrong? I would like that!

  85. legwork says:

    I understand the DIAF attitude. I’ve whined about Sprint over the years, but my current Sprint plan and phone (Blackberry) are rock solid. It’s an everything plan, including phone-as-modem. Awesome. No billing issues this go-round. Might be due to the unlimited thing, or just luck. I’ve gone through billing hell from three carriers and have scar tissue on my forehead to prove it. Nice change. Coverage in my area is great for both voice and data. Better than with my previous Samsung. Much better than AT&T or Verizon on all counts. Their Blackberry reps (or are they Blackberry’s Sprint reps?) have been stellar. Sure, it’s almost $100/mo, but it’s business, I’m on the thing all the time, and it’s been headache free.

    Please-oh-please-oh-please, nobody mess with my phone!

  86. bdgbill says:

    Sprint certainly lost me on purpose. Customer service that evil cannot be an accident.

    I was on a 3000 minute plan for over $300.00 bucks a month for over 10 years. Not sure if that makes me a crappy customer or not.

    I have been with Verizon for 3 years and still feel like I’m getting VIP treatment compared to my experience with Sprint.

  87. 4ster says:

    Here’s my last WEEK with them:

    1. Charged for a ringer I didn’t buy.
    2. Charged for roaming that is already included in my plan, something I had to call them about three times earlier in the year.
    3. Kept on hold for 45 minutes and then hung up on. This was in regard to them charging me for picture mail which, again, was already included in my plan. The rep said that despite the fact that I was quoting Sprint’s web site, it couldn’t be done because he “didn’t have a code for it.”
    4. Charged $18 for an activation fee after a rep told me that there wouldn’t be a fee.

    5.Drive 50 miles out of my way to pick up a new phone from them that they night before they told me they had in stock, only to find out after driving to the store, that I was told the wrong thing, because the salesperson does not know the difference between the Katana LX and the DLX.

    6. Three hours on the phone with three Sprint reps over $50 in text message “overages” on my wife’s phone. Reps one and two say my wife, sent or received 728 texts in a month that she had 1,000 included in her plan. Rep #3 says, in that case, my wife must have sent 1,228 in a month. Rep #2 tries to turn this call into a sales call.

    Granted, I got 100 bonus minutes after complaining about #3 and the other fees eventually got removed (the one in #6 was done as a “courtesy,” they say).

    So, no, they haven’t changed. Sprint still sucks.

  88. dragonfire81 says:

    Sprint can actually set up anyone on an account WITHOUT an SSN and all that’s required is a $250 deposit.

    You do need two forms of ID to set up this way, but there is no credit check involved. In a humorous twist, some people actually end up with LOWER deposits when run WITHOUT an SSN instead of with.

  89. endless says:

    some commenter on here or gizmodo said i was wrong when i said sprint was trying to get rid of their lower earning customers.

    i laugh.

  90. BIG WHEEL says:

    This is what happens when you outsource all (or at least most) of the call centers. We have one in our small town in Ontario, Canada and the reps are instructed to lie to customers and tell them they’re in Buffalo (because the US economy is tanking in a such a spectactular way). I know they have a bunch in India and Mexico as well. The reps in other countries get less money than a rep who actually works directly for Sprint. Sprint outsources to a company called Teletec who make their money by charging Sprint a few bucks an hour more for the reps they hire in a foreign country. Does that make sense?

  91. DomZ says:

    They have improved. Their automated systems may not be the best but when shit hit the fan I used the Consumerist Sprint Exec Cust Service number and they resolved everything better than I had expected.

  92. dangermike says:

    I guess I wasn’t one of the crappy customers. After they lost my business, they called and sent me letters offering a $70 service credit to come back to them. Then again, considering all the discounts I could have received from competitors could have gotten me 2-3x as much by signing elsewhere and the t-mobile to-go account where I’ve taken my phone number has cost an average of $30 less per month than the sprint monthly service I had, despite the sprint service being the lowest cost option and my usage never exceeding my minute allotment.

  93. mrearly2 says:

    Crappy customers. They’re out there, and no one likes them. So, I suppose it’s logical, if not reasonable for a company to attempt to shed the riffraff. I’m sure Sprint, as other companies, want customers who are willing or able to spend more than they need to, on overpriced plans, services and equipment.
    Of course, I’m a good customer. I pay my bills on time and don’t call every week to piss and moan about something that’s probably my doing, etc.
    On the other hand, corporate greed has just about gotten the best of us, and we are all suffering the effects.

  94. Elvisisdead says:

    It’s the angels and demon customers theory. There are simply some customers that it doesn’t pay to have. Ones that call customer service too much, never buy new phones, only have minimal plans, etc. Banks are the same – they’d almost rather not have checking only accounts.

    We’ve got SERO on 2 lines, and have only had minor problems getting new numbers assigned when we moved. They tried to tell me I couldn’t have SERO as the result of changing numbers. So, I said thanks, called back and got another rep, and was done in 10 minutes.

    If they offered SERO to the general public, they couldn’t handle all the enrollments. It is, indeed, the sweet spot. Seriously. $30/month for 500 minutes, unl data, unl text, and 7PM. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?

    So, in absence of a real price slashing war to get the numbers, you can strategically decide to go for the more high profit customers. Wal-Mart vs. Nieman Marcus. If you shed the costs of dealing with the demon customers, you then have an angel base. Win-win.

  95. Bkzbeatboxxx says:

    That’s why I’m happy with my T-mobile service! Sure they just turned 3G but when I have never had a problem with my bill for the 2 years I’ve been with them. ATT and Verizon have good service but they slam you with surcharges. With Tmo, your bill is what they say it is.

  96. Caroofikus says:

    It’s the same old suck it’s always been. I’m excited to go back to T-Mobile in October!

  97. dottat1 says:

    I must say that my local towers are no longer crowded and I get service in places I didn’t before.. Let them drop like flies and free up the network I’m on..

    I don’t like being a *cough* congested network with all of the fanboys…

  98. indymommy says:

    I like Sprint. I do have to select my friends carefully now, making sure they have Sprint for their carrier too, for the free mobile to mobile-then dumping them if they switch- LOL-just kidding.
    I doubt they lost those customers on purpose! Sounds like a little kid “SOOOO, I don’t wanna be your friend ANYWAY-you can’t come to my birthday PARTY!! nAA Naa Naa”
    I have had quite a few billing issues with Sprint over the years. Such as-something should have been included (unlimited texts or data) and they said “you’re right-it should have been included-I’ll credit your account right away” then 2 days later my phone gets turned off because that extra 200 dollars in data charges never was credited and there’s new ones for that month too… taking a few calls to finally get it straightened out gets frustrating. But all in all I have been happy with my service. Usually I go to the sprint store, where they’re much friendlier & more knowledgeable (sometimes getting frustrated themselves with the 800 number). They can do everything there at the store. I also really liked the chat option that used to be on the web page (can’t seem to find it anymore) that was MUCH better than sitting on hold! You can surf while waiting, and the agents are great!
    One thing also that I don’t like is that they do not have a 24 hour customer service number, even for emergencies. Which was very inconvenient when my phone was stolen. Usually the hours are pretty good, ending at midnight & starting again at 6am, but not on the weekends.

  99. enderx says:

    About time someone stuck it to the ‘consumer is always right!’ crowd. Such victims!!

  100. Roudi says:

    I am a Sprint CSR who handles escalated issues almost exclusively. You would not believe the number of calls I have handled from customers disputing legitimate charges on the basis that they simply did not want to pay them. A general example would be a customer who hadn’t paid a bill in full since they started service with us, whose payments have finally just plain stopped, just bought a brand new phone (so you know they aren’t broke) and trying to argue down their bills to the point where they get either free service or a credit balance.

    These, I think, are the kinds of customers Dan Hesse is referring to. A lot of customers like this threaten to cancel, assuming that, since Sprint is hemmoraging customers, we will bend over backwards to retain them. Instead we let them know that they’re still under contract, still subject to ETFs, and we are more than happy to connect them with our Account Services department to discuss their cancellation.

    The moral here is, be a good customer and we will do everything in our power to help you out and make sure your problems get resolved (especially the ones we cause in the first place; we’re working on that, honest). Be a bad customer (don’t pay your bills, rack up overages then deny you did them, let your kids run up your bills and then yell at us for it, etc) and we will let you see yourself out.

  101. nerdychaz says:

    What makes me love sprint is their customer service. If you are a good customer, they treat you right. Furthermore, their customer service is based in the USA. This is important to me. I have had problems speaking over the phone to people in India reading off a script. (after a while you learn their script and how to manipulate it like a touch tone recording)

    Anyway back to sprint.

    I joined up when Nextel and Sprint were seperate companies. I enjoyed my Nextel service and was happy with it. After the merger, Nextel service began progressively to drop a lot of my calls. However, I was also in more urban areas where Nextel did not have as much as a base. After a while of this poor service, I recieved a call from a CSR. He direct marketed the new Sprint / Nextel combo phone (Motorola Nextel ic402) to me. That night I looked at the coverage map of sprint, nextel, and the combo service. I found that the combo phone was exactly what I wanted: A phone that always had signal, Direct-Connect (work related), and texting). I went the next day and bought the phone.

    Another time I had lost my phone and then found it a day later. Someone had took the phone and racked up $300 of 1-900 calls on it. Sprint got rid of them. Let me repeat that SPRINT ATE THE $300+ IN CHARGES. I was elated.

    In summary: Customer Service, Solid Product, Supporting the Nation’s Economy by staying in the states, Motorola based in the USA, they have a customer for life.