What to do about a “customer service nightmare” with Sprint

By | November 3rd, 2016

Sprint offers to lower Kenneth Lynch’s phone bill but then pulls a fast one when his wife tries to upgrade her phone. Will the carrier go back on its word?

Question: About three weeks ago, I called the Sprint customer service line and complained that my bills were too high. I was tired of bills over $300.

The representative I talked to tried to help me and told me she could put me on a plan where my bill would be around $185 with 40GB of data. I was satisfied and hoped it would go well.

A couple days later my wife stopped into a Sprint store just to upgrade her phone and get a new one. The overly aggressive sales staff convinced her to switch plans to some “freedom” plan with unlimited data and it would only be $160 a month.

They tried to switch the plan but the computer wouldn’t let them so they tried to put in a ticket to get the help desk to change the plan. After three days of them messing with my plan, my plan was reverted back to the plan I was on before the original call.

The store never tried to resolve the issue. I called back into the customer support line and asked them to fix my plan and after many minutes of messing with it the representative could not figure out how to do it and told me that I would need an escalation to management.

She put in the escalation and told me someone would call me within three days. Ten days later, no one had called me and my plan is still the same. I called back in today and the person transferred me to another department, and that person put me on hold for 20 min and then hung up on me.
I have been a loyal Sprint customer since 2007 and this is how they treat me? I will see what AT&T or T-Mobile have to offer. Maybe they know what customer service is. — Kenneth Lynch, Austin, Texas


Answer: Sprint should have kept its word and lowered your bill as promised. When the somewhat coerced “upgrade” was discovered, it should have quickly allowed you to revert to your old plan.

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By the way, I agree with you that cell phone bills are way too high. If you’re on one of the Big Four wireless companies (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless) your average bill is more than $90 per month. That’s ridiculous.

I can’t fault a salesperson for trying to persuade your wife to add more services — after all, that’s what they’re supposed to do. But to me, this looks like a trap designed to squeeze more money out of you. And a clumsy one, at that.

Sprint’s terms and conditions stipulate that you can cancel your service within 30 days and avoid any additional charges, such as its early termination fee. In this case, it appears Sprint would allow you to cancel, but wouldn’t agree to roll back the charges, as it had initially told you it would.

The trick is to get this kind of agreement in writing, and a review of the paper trail — the correspondence between you and the company — suggests there wasn’t much of it. All of the negotiating had been done by phone. That’s not your fault. Carriers like Sprint prefer to talk (well, they’re a phone company, so of course they would), but that puts you at a disadvantage. How do you prove a representative made the offer? You can’t.

I love the resolution on this case. You found the Sprint customer service contacts on my consumer advocacy site and sent a brief, polite email to them. You heard back from them within a few hours and the company quickly agreed to honor your original agreement.

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