Sprint Sells Blind Man Wrong Phone, Charges Restocking Fee, Shrugs

Orlando is blind, and had a very specific set of requirements while shopping for a new phone. The staff of the local Sprint store apparently weren’t very savvy about accessibility features on the phones they sell, though, so they sold him the wrong one. Who paid the quite literal price for this error, in the form of a restocking fee? Orlando, of course.

I am a 40 year old blind man living in [redacted]. I have been blind since birth.

It is very hard for me to adapt to new technology, so for more than five years I have used the LG Rumor 2 phone. It’s not an Android, but it was perfect for me because it has a slide out keyboard and reads aloud everything.

It recently broke, so I decided to take advantage of my upgrade and get a newer non-Android phone. I really didn’t want to have to adapt to a touch screen. I sent my caretaker to the Sprint store where he spent nearly an hour going over the features of a new ‘basic’ phone with the store representative to make sure the one selected would meet all of my needs.

Once he got it home, to our dismay it didn’t. It did not speak aloud the caller ID, contacts list (etc…)

He went back to the Sprint store the next day and they did accept the return, but they forced him (me) to pay a $35 restocking fee for the phone that THEY incorrectly sold us.

The fiasco continued over the next two days as he made a trip to a different Sprint store and ultimately bought me an Android phone that I am slowly learning to use. Even then, he had to make a third trip out to get contacts imported over because he was told we had a wireless backup function and we could do it from home, but this was not the case. They also cut off the second line we have on the account even though we expressly told them NOT to do so.

All in all I would estimate 6-7 hours were spent travelling into the city and back, visiting stores and on the phone with Sprint. I’m rather livid over the situation. Whenever I speak to them on the phone they are sure to remind me how grateful they are for my business as a “long time Sprint customer.”

I called Sprint today to get the second line turned back on and wound up speaking to a woman in the retention department. I was requesting a refund of the restocking fee, and honestly hoping for a little additional compensation for what I was put through. This woman was a horror. She was not just unpleasant but outwardly unkind from the very second she picked up the phone. She didn’t even start out with “Oh, sir, I’m so-and-so and you’re in the such-and-such department.” She just picked up and started talking.

I actually told her after a few minutes that I would prefer to speak to someone else. As someone who has been blind from birth, I am extremely sensitive to inflection and tone and aggression in the voice, and I really would have rather not dealt with her. She REFUSED to put me through to someone else, asserting she was ‘THE account manager in retention.”

Then, after explaining everything, she also refused to issue a refund for the restocking fee. She said “Well, did your caretaker look at the phone when he was in the store?” Essentially her assertion was that he had every opportunity before leaving the store with the phone to make sure it functioned they way we needed, and that it was our fault it didn’t and we had no right to a return of the restocking fee. I asked her if there was ANYTHING she could do, to which she replied “I can’t offer you any type of compensation for any of this.” (I’m paraphrasing that, but just barely.)

So this is how Sprint treats it’s long time, loyal and disabled customers?

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