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October 10, 2007

Less a Sprint Than a Marathon (follow-up)

Filed under: Bill Bickel, cell phones, customer service, Sprint — Cidu Bill @ 4:45 pm

As I approached my sixth (overall) hour on the phone with Sprint’s “customer service” department, I went through pretty much this exact discussion three times:

“According to my bill, you’re charging me $15 a month for a feature the salesperson who signed me up told me was included.”

“I’m sorry she gave you the wrong information. Your business is very important to us. But you’ll have to pay the $15.”

“Not acceptable. Transfer me to whoever’s above you.”

The third time I asked to be switched to the “cancel my service” department, where I explained the situation yet again, asked the woman to send me mailers for the return of the phones, and explained that they shouldn’t bother billing me for the cancellation or anything else, because as far as I was concerned we never had a valid contract. At which point she offered me the feature — in fact an enhanced version of it — for free for the duration of my contract.

All it cost me was another 75 minutes of my life.

Earlier rant: Just wondering… Is every cell phone company’s customer service department as flamboyantly incompetent as Sprint’s, or am I just unlucky? As I’m typing this, I’m starting my 4th hour of on-hold and talking-to-morons time (over the course of about a week) in an attempt to get service started.

I don’t want to think about the fact that if this is what I have to go through to become a customer, imagine what customer service will be like one I’m legally stuck with then for two years.

And just for the record, because of where I live, Sprint happens to be the only carrier I can use.

Follow-up: And not 12 hours after the customer service half-wit swore that there were no problems — and yes, I did make her swear this — I got a phone call from Sprint’s verification department (third time) asking me for the same information I sent them last week. Then she thanked me for my patience. I told her don’t thank me for my f—— patience because I’m well out of f—— patience. I think perhaps these people aren’t told that nearly enough, because she seemed rather startled.


  1. I dumped Sprint over horrible customer service.

    I’ve had occasional complaints about T-Mobile, but my longest hold time was 1 minute (literally) and signing up took three. Granted, I signed up in a store.

    Comment by Carl — September 28, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

  2. EVERYBODY has outsourced tech support, typically to some Asian country where cheap labor is plentiful.

    Comment by John DiFool — September 28, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  3. I’ve never had to wait for Sprint’s totally incompetent service.

    Comment by hia — September 28, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  4. I dumped Spring over the awful customer service. I don’t think we’ve had any problems with T-Mobile, but we’re switching to AT&T so my wife can an HTC flip and I can get an iPhone.

    Comment by Don — September 29, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

  5. As much as I wanted to use T-Mobile, their own service map informed me that I’d only be able to make calls (with any reliability) from outside of my house.

    I figure two years from now there’s a better chance of T-Mobile improving their coverage than Sprint improving their customer service.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — September 29, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  6. This site shows an amalgam of ratings for cell plans with Verizon and T-Mobile topping the charts, Sprint getting the worst ratings:

    Here’s a site I use when figuring out a new carrier and plan. It puts together incentives and rebates such that in many cases you can actually make money signing up. I spent $300 on 2 phones and sign-up costs and got $500 back in incentives and rebates. There’s at least 2 offers from Sprint on the site that will give you $50 after all is said and done. You’ll still get crappy Sprint service, but at least you’ll get something for all your trouble:

    Comment by Christian — September 29, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  7. Christian, Sprint is in fact giving me a $150 — which isn’t bad, since I really had no choice anyway.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — September 29, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  8. Sprint isn’t your only choice, even if their network is your only possible coverage. I’m fairly sure that Virgin Mobile is reselling service over the Sprint network. $20 for a basic phone, no 2-year contracts.

    Comment by Morris Keesan — September 29, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  9. Morris, Virgin Mobile is what we have now (which is why I know Sprint will work here). It was fine for us up until now — but I’ve got two teenagers with out-of-town girlfriends, and I realized that what it costs for them each to have an adequate monthly plan is more than I’d be paying for a Sprint family plan.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — September 29, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  10. We’ve had Cingular for 4 years now, and have been astonished at the high quality of customer service. No bull! Now that they’re AT&T, I fear for the future, but till now their service has been the best!

    Comment by Dan V — October 11, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

  11. My experience is with Qwest, a local company that apparently subcontracts Sprint’s network. Their automated “customer service” is pathetic. I wanted to pay the last two months of my contract and transfer my phone numbers. They would not let me do that until the two months were actually expired even if I did pay for the remainder of the service. Just being jerks. Their automated service is one of the “tell me what your problem is” rather than press from this menu. I couldn’t get it to understand so I just kept saying that I wanted “to talk to someone who isn’t a moron.”

    Comment by Its justme — October 11, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  12. I can’t say that Verizon’s customer service is _bad_, but I can’t give positive reviews either. Upon upgrading, I was to retain the North America plan (frequent calls to Canada); somehow that got changed to US only, and subsequent inter-departmental finger-pointing prevented any form of meaningful refund. That Verizon deliberately cripples their phones (just straightforward phone calling features are stunted in favor of useless nickel-and-diming features) means getting their offered phones is a mistake.

    Next contract round (coming up in a few months), I’ll get a phone independently (full price for unlocked is proving better than cheap crippled crap), look closely at no-contract options, and will be all over the bills each month. May just settle on AT&T for the iPhone – at least that phone isn’t crippled, and the carrier isn’t Verizon.

    Comment by ctdonath — October 12, 2007 @ 7:08 am

  13. I solve this by not having a cell phone. =)

    Comment by Powers — October 12, 2007 @ 10:53 am

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