Sprint Wouldn't Let Me Get My Money Back Because My Warranty Expired 2 Hours Ago

“Darth” bought a Sprint phone with a two-year contract, both of which have given him nothing but trouble. He tried to bail out of the deal under Sprint’s 30-day money-back guarantee, but was told he was two hours too late. He stuck it out and his phone continued to torment him, and when he tried to use the warranty he was told — incorrectly, in his view — that the device had water damage.

He writes:

I’m in the Army, July 12th makes 5 years. I was stationed in Germany for 4 years and 2 months. Upon being stationed in California I opened a contract with Sprint. I purchased a Samsung Instict s30 with a 2 year contract for $150. However, after about a week of using the phone, I started noticing problems. The phone would lag when using the touchscreen, sometimes it would freeze to the point of having to turn it off, and it would randomly drop phone calls. This phone is required for work, so after awhile I got fed up and called Sprint’s Costumer Service number. I brought up Sprint’s 30 day money back guarantee policy and the Customer Service Representative told me I was 2 hours past my 30 days and there was nothing they could do.

I angrily accepted and continue to use my phone. About two weeks ago my phone got worse, it was freezing more often, the touchscreen was being inaccurate even after a calibration was completed, the signal strength would be completely random. While standing in one spot for 10 minutes I never had consistent signal. So I went into a Sprint store and tried to get my phone fixed. I have been paying for the ‘insurance’ that Sprint offers since I started my contract. I told them about the issues of my phone and they said that the only way to fix it would be to replace the phone. No big deal I though, until they told me I was going to have to pay for a new phone. That irratated me even more so I just dealt with the phone not working. About 3 days ago I went to a different store, and brought my phone in because it would no longer turn on.

After a 2 hour wait the Sprint employee I was talking with tells me that my phone had water damage. I am stationed on Fort Irwin, which is in the middle of the desert. The only way water would have gotten in/on my phone is if I did it. Which I did not. On top of that, both of the water detection stickers that were in my phone were still white. Depending on how much, and the pH level of the water, those stickers turn certain colors. Both of the stickers in my phone were still white, meaning that neither one of them had been hit with water. So how did my phone receive enough water to damage it, if a water reactive sticker didn’t react? That is what I asked them and they had no answer.

I asked what I could do about my phone and they said that I could pay $100 to replace the broken phone with the same model. Since the first week I had been trying to find a way that Sprint would let me upgrade without paying full price. Signing a new contract, selling my phone back to Sprint etc. So when I called Customer Service through a phone from the store I was in, I tried to tell Customer Service that I wanted to cancel my contract with them. I told them about the horrible quality I had been receiving from Sprint through my 3 months of service and they are still telling me that I have to pay $200 for a cancellation fee. My contract right now is suspended simply because I’m military and refuse to pay to cancel my contract. What can I do?

If you’ve managed to succeed with Sprint’s customer service, please share some advice with “Darth.”

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