Sprint Insists I Owe Them $800 For Nonexistent Account

Image courtesy of (Will Middelaer)

Samit isn’t a Sprint customer. He doesn’t have a Sprint phone or service. He doesn’t have a customer number. But somehow he owes Sprint $800 for service that he neither signed up for nor received. See, he had tried to become a customer. After starting the process of setting up Sprint service, someone took down his social security and credit card numbers, then wandered off. Samit received an iPhone that he never asked for, sent it back, and somehow has racked up $800 in phantom phone bills.

Last October, with the release of the iPhone 4S on Sprint, I was excited to switch my service from Verizon. I thought I could save some money as a Sprint customer and, as a shareholder, I thought I could support a company with some room for growth. Unfortunately, the whole endeavor has been a disaster.

First, the Sprint representative for my company never actually placed my order–but instead just wrote my social security number and credit card information on a sheet of paper before taking off for vacation. When that was discovered I was assured that my information would be shredded and the order canceled.

However, a couple of weeks later an iPhone 4S arrived at my door. I promptly returned the unopened device and thought that would be the end of my experience with Sprint. Unfortunately, that was just the start. Over the next 6 months I received notice after notice informing me of a steadily increasing account balance. However, each time I called the customer service line for billing disputes the automated system disconnected the call because I’m not actually a Sprint customer and I don’t have an account number. Eventually the balance (nearly $800) was sent to a collections agency who pestered me relentlessly until I sent them a cease and desist letter. I received a response stating that they will no longer contact me but consider the charge valid.

Sure enough, when I checked my credit report a few weeks later I have an inquiry from Sprint and from the collections agency. I’m in the process of relocating for work and I’m sure this isn’t going to look great when I’m applying for an apartment lease. I called Sprint again tonight and started with the general customer service number. After 30 minutes on the phone with account services the line was mysteriously disconnected and I’m still stuck with an inexplicable $800 bill.

Should I lawyer up and sue a company of which I’m a shareholder?

Shareholder or not, no one should be treated this way by any company. You don’t owe them any money. It’s not like that $800 is going straight toward dividends.

At least it sounds like no one intercepted and is using the phone, because then there would be a phone number and account number in Sprint’s system. Right?

As of February, the Sprint Consumerist Hotline was still operational. The number leads to an executive customer service queue where actual humans will listen to your problems, and perhaps even solve them. You can give them a call at 703-433-4401. 866-561-0035

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