Sprint Makes Good After Public Flogging, Offers Retroactively Bundled Minutes

Remember Sarah? She wrote to Consumerist after she went over on her minutes with Sprint after a death in the family, and was told she’d have to pay $100 as a result. If she had called customer service before she got her bill, however, she could’ve avoided such fees. We’re happy to report Sprint has agreed to help her out.

Sarah wrote in with an update, after we put her in touch with a Sprint rep who’d contact us regarding her story. Not only did her situation get resolved, but Sarah took the time to make a few suggestions to Sprint as to how they can improve customer service.

Sprint escalated the issue to their executive and regulatory services department, and it has since been resolved. As requested, they reimbursed me an additional $35 (plus any associated taxes). This means I paid for the overage minutes at the “bundled minute” price of $5 per 100 minutes instead of 45 cents per minute… meaning my out-of-pocket charges will be $15 instead of $100. This is a win-win for both of us. I paid for my incurred overage minutes (so they still get extra money) but at a fair price (which makes me a happier consumer).

I also requested that Sprint consider adding a process to alert customers when they are at or near their limit, so they can take action. I know Sprint does this for data plans, so it doesn’t seem like a stretch to put this into place. The manager I spoke with didn’t sound convinced about the need for it since Sprint customers “have many ways to check their minutes”; however, she said they would look into it.

See? All it takes is a little berating on our behalf.

Previously: Sprint: You Have To Call About Your Bill Before You Know You Need To Call About Your Bill


Edit Your Comment

  1. homehome says:

    I wonder if she knows how to check her minutes now.

    • Lethe says:

      Did you not see the reason she went over her limit, or do you just not care? I experienced a death in my family about a year and a half ago and trust me, the last thing you’re thinking of at a time like that is how many minutes are on your plan.

      Yes, this could have been avoided if we were all emotionless robots, but we’re not, and (after public attention) Sprint recognized that and decided to act like a human as well.

      • homehome says:

        I saw the reason, it’s okay, she made a mistake, we all do, the problem I had is her demanding this when it is clearly her fault and her fault alone.

        • who? says:

          ….and maybe the fault of the provider for not warning people when they’re about to incur a large, unexpected charge that goes well beyond what a fair profit would be for the provider to provide the service.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            “fair profit”

            Glad you can determine this for companies with no research or even a definition of the word fair.

          • homehome says:

            they give you 10 difference ways to check your minutes without even talkign to anybody and you refuse to use them. Should they pump your gas for you and start feeding your kids too?

  2. nbs2 says:

    Maybe the tenor of the thread shift after I checked out, but last I remmember this should be an “Above and Beyond” post. If anybody was getting flogged, it was Sarah. Not for the sky high overages, but for being offered 50%, and then demanding the additional $35 even though she a) hadn’t complied with the terms of the offer and b) wouldn’t have known about the option if it hadn’t been mentioned to the point that she would have likely been grateful for the $50 discount.

    Of course, it’s MB, so really it was Sprint who deserved the flogging.

  3. Doubting thomas says:

    So internet bullying claims another victim.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      Exactly! She admitted she went over her minutes. So she should not have been credited. It’s just an abuse of the system, and she’s trying to be above the policy.

      • who? says:

        Is it an abuse of the system, or Sprint realizing that they would make more in the long run by giving her the $35, instead of her getting pissed and jumping ship at the first opportunity.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That’s capitalism at work buddy. They decided it was more profitable to keep her as a monthly paying customer than to quibble over $35. Nothing to do with bullying.

  4. ThinkingBrian says:

    Personally I think the policy is a joke to begin with…making people call in for a deal on minutes, give me a break, $5 for 100 minutes if you call in before the bill comes. How much of a discount do I get for sitting on-hold for 10-20 minutes, nothing.

    Here’s a suggestion Sprint, how about getting rid of the terrible policy and just charge people a simple 5 cents per minute rate for every minute the customer goes over instead of a rip off 45 cents per minute and save them the hassle of making a phone call to get a cheaper rate. Seriously, that’s terrible, even 10 cents per minute over your allowed minutes is fine.

    Sorry for the rant, but I guess I just don’t see this the same way that others do considering I’m a prepaid customer on another carrier and pay 10 cents per minute period.

    • Belle says:

      That’s why I think prepay is the way to go. I switched from postpaid to prepaid and I am much happier knowing that they can’t bill me exorbitant amounts.

  5. speaky2k says:

    I have the cheap Virgin Mobile $25 deal, which uses the Sprint network, and if I get close to using all my minutes in a month I get a warning text. If I add extra minutes using their top up plan, when I get below $5 I get another text warning me that is low. I have only gotten the 1st warning twice in a year+ and on the second time I knew I needed more time that month so I added minutes. I got just below the $5 mark (of $10 added) so that is the only way I know about the 2nd warning system. I am sure they could easily add this feature to all systems, but it would keep them from charging as much money if you knew ahead of time you were almost out of time.

    • pamelad says:

      My Virgin Mobile plan costs less than $7.50 per month. But I’m not a yakker on my cell phone.

  6. JenK says:

    After reading the original article, I think it was low of Sprint not to retroactively apply the discount when she called. I know that other cell phone companies do this the first time to keep their customers happy. It’s not like it’s habitual behaviour on her part to go over. Good for Sprint for crediting her, bad on Sprint for making it go public before they did.

  7. incident_man says:

    This is one of the reasons why I ditched Sprint for US Cellular. One, the coverage is waaaay better, even in markets US Cellular doesn’t serve, and, two, US Cellular proactively notifies me via free text message if I get to 75% and am projected to use 100% of my plan minutes…….BEFORE I actually get there.

  8. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    I know there are a lot f AT&T haters here, but AT&T will do a rerate if you go above your minutes. IJS.

  9. chemmy says:

    Makes me think of Verizon. We have 2 phones on a family plan sharing 700 minutes. One month, they billed me for 100 minutes overage but we’d only used 500 minutes. WTF? Verizon claimed that the 700 minutes were not really “to share” but split up evenly between the phones and each phone was allowed 350 minutes. I used 450 and my husband used 50. So they billed me for 100 minutes overage, despite having only used 500 minutes on a 700 minute plan. It took 3 CSR’s and 2 supervisors to fix the billing issue.

    The reason it made me think of Verizon is because they all said the same thing. “If you had called us before you went over your minutes, we could have helped you.” Except that I wasn’t even over my minutes.

  10. petermv says:

    Considering that all these overage charges are only designed to extract more cash from customers. The easy solution is to just automatically bill the appropriate plan for that month. Instead of selecting a plan for the entirety of the contract, you sign up for the plan that suits you most of the time. For instance you normally only use 100 mins per month, as you use the time up and go over that, it automatically puts you into the next higher plan until you reach the maximum. This way you avoid any outrageous overage rates. This should also apply for data as well.

    Course that will never happen

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      So, they should automatically charge you the lowest available price for your purchase, retroactively, without your having to do anything about it. On that basis, it’s incumbent upon you to inform your boss if you know of someone who can do your job better or for less.

      They offer a certain set of services, and a price. You accept. Done.

    • homehome says:

      problem with that is many times the higher plan costs more than the extra 100 or 200 minutes, so as consumer, you guys would still be complaining about changing the plan.

  11. Pops209 says:

    There are many ways to have simple no surprise billing. None of the companies care about that. They want to make money and are willing to have these convoluted plans to eke out every dollar they can. It is your responsibility to know what your contract says.

    If you sign then you should understand that it is now YOUR responsibility to do what you need to do to not be surprised. Take responsibilities for your own actions. I know this is not a popular belief but, the world will be a better place when we stop paying folks for being victims for their own actions.

  12. PollyHaerk says:

    Wondering, is anything unfortunate that happens in Sarah’s life her fault?