T-Mobile CEO John Legere told reporters at a big media event recently, “If you come to T-Mobile, you’ve signed your last [mobile phone] contract.” Only this is not, strictly speaking, true. If you lay out cash or bring your own device, then no, you will not have to sign a contract. when switching to Big Pink. However, customers who buy a new device on an installment plan do need to sign a contract binding them to T-Mobile for as long as they’re still making payments on the phone. [More]
Philip’s wife’s phone wasn’t working very well. It would power-cycle and drain its own battery, and her texts get delayed. So he set out to get her a new phone, but this was a bigger challenge than he had expected. A replacement phone without extending the family’s contract apparently wasn’t an option. He managed to get a comparable new phone at no cost without extending his contract by calling the retention line to cancel, but this concession came with a price. [More]
So long, T-Mobile! Mark was looking for a new phone to replace his, and has been a loyal T-Mobile customer since 2007. What’s that worth to Big Pink? Not all that much. He saw a great deal reserved only for new customers. Here’s the catch: that deal included a nice price on a smartphone and a $50 per month unlimited no-contract plan. They weren’t about to let a contract customer move on to a dissolute, contract-free lifestyle. No way. [More]
Remember the heady days before Google’s Nexus One launched, when we wondered whether a search engine company might be the one to save us from handset subsidies tied to onerous contracts. Two years later, we haven’t quite been saved yet, but one mobile carrier announced bold plans to get rid of handset subsidies. Simply put, the idea of a T-Mobile iPhone is tempting for many, but would you pay as much as $800 up front for one? [More]
Vincent has been a Sprint customer for a long time, and it’s only just recently that his service really started to suck. He drops or misses calls, and can’t get a data connection. ONly after calling the Consumerist Hotline did he learn that the problem is systemic: their network is overloaded in his area, and there might be a solution at the end of this year. Sprint has made him an offer: they’ll let him out of his contact without an early termination fee, but only if he gives back his recently purchased smartphone. He says that he shelled out $400 for this phone, and would have sold it to another Sprint customer to recoup some of his losses. What should he do?
Mobile phone companies have to let you out of your contract if they make a materially adverse charge to your contract. That is, if they raise a fee, impose a charge, or change a rule that applies to the contract you are under right now, they have to let you out of your contract without an early termination fee. (Changing the contracts for new customers going forward doesn’t count.) If you want out, this is traditionally your chance, even if companies try to put up a fight.. Unless you’re reader Mark, a Sprint customer, who Sprint won’t set free. But Mark is no ordinary, naive Sprint customer. He not only reads Consumerist, but he worked for Sprint just a few short years ago. He knows how this is supposed to work.
Jerry doesn’t really have a problem with Sprint, his mobile phone carrier. But what the carrier’s site told him when he looked up the status of his contract has him holding back a bit. “We love you,” it proclaims, offering a discount on a new phone. Sprint loves him?