My Sprint Saga: Five Phones And Four Funerals

Reader O says he’s been a Sprint customer since 2004, and things went smoothly until the beginning of last year, in which some sort of black cloud cell phone satellite has hovered over him, zapping him with terrible luck that’s forced him to pour 40s on the street for four fallen phone homeys.

Here’s his rundown:

(New phone – #1)

In Dec 2009 I renewed a new two year contract with Sprint to obtain two new phones (a pair of LG Rumor Twos) – I just want to focus on my personal phone issues in this letter- the second phone and contract issues are another long story. Everything was working well until about six months in – the LG phone would have serious delays with input (typing/dialing would lag around 15 seconds), the phone would reset frequently and would not hold a charge for a full day.

(Six months in, Phone #2)

I called Sprint and was referred to a store near work – at the store, through some bungling on the tech’s part (beneficial to me, or so I thought) I walked out with a refurbished HTC Touch pro. This new phone worked properly for about two months, then demonstrated the exact same issues as the Rumor 2 phone with the wonderful addition of heating up enough that I really did NOT want it in my pocket. I called Sprint and lo and behold – the phone is not properly registered on my account, and despite being in my possession for less than three months, is not under warranty. I am told to go to a store yet again for a repair estimate. After 79 minutes at the store (I timed it!), the tech stated he updated the software and I had a “bent pin” in the charging port and the repair cost was ~ $70. I ask him to document the issue for me and please give me my phone back. I got a business card with a sloppy paragraph describing the issue written on the back along with my phone. After many hours on the phone with Sprint, I was directed to their “Multiple Device Replacement” department and was thoroughly grilled regarding this issue. The end result was if I renew my contract, I can be sent a new phone. I needed a working phone – I tell them to send me the phone. They did not have any HTC Touch Pro phones in stock, but were willing to and do send an HTC Touch Pro 2

(Three more months, Phone #3)

So I receive a brand new retail HTC Touch Pro2 in the mail – a very nice phone – which works for around three months. All of a sudden, the phone keeps on attempting to perform a “Hands Free Activation” process. Essentially, the phone thinks its brand new, and will not contact the Sprint network – the phone’s cellular radio appears to not work. After multiple calls, multiple resets of the phone, the only progress is the addition of another intermittent error message stating: “The device in unable to boot because either you have turned off the device incorrectly or tried to install an application from untrusted sources”. I ask for a replacement phone – and am told by one CSR that they no longer send out replacement phones as of the 7th of October. The next CSR states I must go to a store. I insist on a fix, so back to the Multiple Device Replacement dept. They decide to ship me a replacement refurbished HTC Touch Pro 2.

(Not even one day in, Phone #4)

Four days later I receive a tiny box from sprint with a refurbished HTC Touch Pro 2 inside, just the phone and a back cover – no battery, and no SIM card (I know, you say Sprint does not use SIM cards – this is a world phone and is one of two sprint phones can than can use SIM cards). I call up sprint just to be sure that this is ok – I am told it is NOT typical to ship a phone without a battery, however I can use my old battery. We attempt to activate and guess what? The replacement phone’s MEID is NOT registered on their network! Ok, we get this settled, make a test call to an automated voice that states “Congratulations, your phone is now activated!”. Great! I think this is all behind me – thank you CSR! The next thing I do is call my girlfriend (I wanted to let her know that I can actually receive phone calls now, I have a working phone!) – and tragedy strikes: The new phone’s microphone does not work! I can hear perfectly, however whomever I call hears silence…they cannot hear me. No matter what I try, any phone call I make with the new phone is essentially a one way conversation – nothing I say is heard. I call Sprint back – totally disheartened. After more than two hours on the phone, I finally get sent around to the Multiple Device Replacement department again…. the best they can do is ship me a phone. With other carriers now in mind, I say just send it to me. I am now awaiting Phone #5.

(Phone #5 – currently en route to my mailbox)

O says he’s ready to give up if the fifth time is no charm.

Have you had bad luck with the phones O has tried, or were his experiences freakish?