On July 16, 2012 I switched my cellular service from T-Mobile to Sprint. Unfortunately, since I switched, my experience with Sprint has not been positive.
When I made the switch to Sprint I was not informed of any major service/network upgrades in my area that would drastically affect my service. When my phone/service did not seem to be working I visited three different Sprint store locations on four different occasions. It was only then that I was informed that recent storms had caused minor damage to Sprints towers in my area and Sprint was working to repair them quickly. I was assured that everything would be fine in just a few days.
During this time I experienced the following issues:
1. no service for approximately two days
2. more dropped calls than completed calls
3. unable to reconnect dropped calls
4. no data coverage
5. no access to data connectivity via the phone
6. messages about roaming and roaming charges despite being on a national plan and well within the borders of the United States
7. no access to voice mail
8. battery life that would not last more than a few hours
Basically I had a phone that did not work as expected. Sadly I missed many important phone calls during this time, including a furniture delivery.
As days passed and nothing improved I continued to reach out to Sprint for resolution. On July 29, 2012, thirteen days into my contract period, I was directed to take my device to a repair center to be checked. There I was told that my device was in perfect working condition and that nothing was wrong with it. The Sprint Rep advised me that the repairs from recent storm damage in my area were almost complete, but offered me a signal booster to ensure my device would always work in my home. To ensure that my phone would outside my home the Rep set up my phone so that calls were directed to Sprint-owned tower(s) only.
After a few days I did experience a slight improvement with the signal booster in my home, however, I did not have any improvement outside my home. So I visited yet another Sprint store for further assistance and this time I was informed that Sprint was working on a complete overhaul on their towers. Apparently the work related to the storm damage had been completed, but Sprint subsequently discovered that sub-standard materials were used and needed to redo the work; a job that was not expected to be completed until the end of 2012. This was very frustrating, as I had been told the issue was isolated to storm damage and would be fixed quickly.
In addition to the poor phone service I was dealing with, I got my first bill. On August 25, 2012 I received an email bill notification (note: when I enrolled with Sprint I was informed that everything was paperless and/or managed online), but no support for the charges totaling $288.09. After several attempts to find the information online, I contacted Sprints customer service directly.
The first service rep did not provide her name and informed me that she was not able to review the charges on my bill because the system was down. She was, however, able to take a credit card payment over the phone for my convenience. I do not understand how the system can be down, but payment can be taken. She also told me that if I had wanted to view full bill details I should have selected the paper bill option. I explained to her that I was told paper was not an option, but she informed me that it was and said that she would send me a complimentary bill re-print (how can it be a re-print if it was never printed in the first place?). Once she completed the bill re-print, I asked her for an update on the service upgrades in my area. She claimed she didnt know anything about it, but transferred me to an account manager so I could get an accurate update.
Around 7:15pm I spoke to Jasmine, who was not able to disclose her location, and informed me that she was unable to help me. She recommended that I try calling back at a later time.
The following day, August 26, 2012, I called back customer service again. This time I was transferred several times. It seems that nobody has answers to questions and nobody really knows much of anything. I was finally transferred to Jose, who was not able to disclose his location (they must be top secret). I have been told to always get a name AND location as same first names exist across locations and agents seldom give out last names for security.
Jose was able to review some of the charges on my bill, however, the numbers were not adding up. He informed me of a $30 activation fee, a charge that should not have been on my bill since my line was part of my husbands corporate discount program.
I also asked Jose about the major service upgrades in my area, and he too claimed he did not know anything about it. He also told me that there was nothing he could do to rectify any misinformation I was given by the store reps. He further went on to explain to me that store employees are given very little training, whereas those who work the call centers receive comprehensive training. Jose suggested that If I wanted someone to rectify the misinformation I was given that I should get in my car and drive to the various locations and talk to the various individuals that I spoke with previously because they are the only ones who can rectify the misinformation they communicated to me. I told him that was not an option and that wasnt even a reasonable suggestion.
It is my belief that every company needs to take responsibility for the information and actions taken by their employees and that the customer should not have to get in their car and hunt down the various employees. I clearly voiced my concerns on the matter to Jose, and he offered to give me a $30/month credit for the next 4 months. While the credit seems generous, Im still not satisfied.
The following week my husband made some inquiries at work in regards to Sprints service. He was told that many of the companys employees have been experiencing similar issues and was given the corporate phone number for Sprint (703-433-4401). I tried calling the number many times over the course of several days and was hung up on several times before actually having luck connecting with an operator. I first spoke to Carrie, who then transferred me to Mr. Jared Conway, who is now assigned as my case manager. I was hopeful things would improve and get resolved, but sadly that was far from what happened. Actually, things got drastically worse.
I told Mr. Conway that I was still waiting for the paper copy of my bill that was promised to me on my August 25, 2012 call. He informed me that there was no record of the request and it was never sent to me. I again stated that I need to review the bill before I could make a payment (my due date was quickly approaching on September 7, 2012). He then proceeded to go over the charges with me verbally; despite my clear instructions that it was not helping me and that I needed to have a paper copy.
He stated that I was never charged an activation fee; something I later learned was not true once I finally received a paper copy of the bill.
I asked that the bill be emailed to me or mailed. I was given a very hard time about needing a paper copy, but the offer to take a phone payment was still available to me. Finally, I got him to agree to send me a re-print of my bill. The understanding by the end of the call was that once I received the paper copy we could review it together before paying it.
He also said that he would put in a work order for my service issues. He too claimed he did not know anything about major service upgrades in my area that were the cause of severe disruptions to my service. He stated that I should expect dropped calls while driving because I was moving. Since I had cell phones for over ten years and never had this problem before, I questioned his advice.
He needed a list of the exact location (addresses) where my phone did not work. I didnt even know where to begin, so I obliged him by listing locations where I had been the prior days. I was very uncomfortable divulging personal information (i.e. work location, childs daycare, parents house, etc). He assured me that the information was for tech support only, stating they needed to know where the service issues were occurring. After listing several locations for him to submit to tech support he told me that he had enough to work with.
I further addressed the many issues of poor customer service and information given to me thus far. He apologized that I was upset and assured me that everything had been handled properly so far.
Finally, I requested to be let out of my contract due to all of the issues I have been having. I felt and still do feel that Sprint has not kept their end of the contract since day one. He informed me that since I was over the 14 day return time that there was nothing he could do in that regard.
From this point forward I received many phone calls from tech support throughout the following days, wanting to know more information. The three most memorable calls were:
The call that lasted over 40 minutes and required me to call from my landline phone so that the tech could remote dial into my phone to run tests on it, a process in which I needed to facilitate from my landline.
The call whereby the tech informed me that he would need more information on my service issues and I would need to assist in completing various test calls from ALL the locations where my phone was not working as expected, such as my childs daycare, my work, and my parents house. I would need to let the tech know the days and times when I could use a landline phone at these locations so he can run service-location tests. I was quite shocked that anyone would even think that would be a possibility!
A call whereby the tech told me that I should never expect a good connection on a cell phone while driving. I informed him that I had T-Mobile for the previous eight years and never had a problem with their service, regardless of my location or mobility.
These test calls are very inconvenient and unnecessary. There has been no improvement in my service to date, including the areas where test calls were made. My continued patience for fielding probing phone calls is slim to none (more like none). Over the course of these calls some techs claimed to have no knowledge of any alleged upgrades in my area, while some claimed that they were working quickly to resolve them. My expectation is that the wireless provider should be taking care of their service issues and not inconveniencing the paying customer to assist in resolving them.
To further add to my frustration, I received a slip from the UPS delivery service stating that they were attempting to deliver a package to me at my home address, however, a signature was required. I suspected it was the bill I was waiting for since I had not yet received it, but didnt understand why it would require a signature. Since I was not home to sign for it, I attempted several times to call the case manager assigned to my account, Mr. Conway. My phone calls were either not returned or they were returned while I was at work. I can only assume Mr. Conway knew I would not be available to take calls during working hours.
Finally, I called the main switch board number and made it clear to them that I had waited long enough to speak with Mr. Conway and somebody else needed to assist me. Fortunately I was connected to Ms. Barbra Bailey, who was the first and only person from Sprint who was actually helpful. She informed me that FCC regulations require customers to sign for their Sprint re-bills. I told her that I would be happy to contact the FCC and explain that I was willing to waive my signature and take responsibility if Sprint were to resend the bill on a day I would not be at home to sign.
Ms. Bailey was able to get my bill sent without requiring my signature. I expressed my concern that I was now going to miss my due date, and she kindly offered to speak with Mr. Conway about putting a hold on my account until I received my bill and made arrangements with him. She also shared a concerning story with me, telling me that her daughter lives in my service area and she too is unable to use her phone because of the massive upgrades going on in the area. Imagine my surprise, after several Sprint reps claimed to know nothing of these issues, including Mr. Conway. Ms. Bailey was kind enough to give her direct line in the event I needed anything further from Sprint.
The reprint of the bill was mailed on September 14, 2012 (date taken from postmark on envelope), seven days past the due date of my bill. I finally received it a few days later. I immediately called Mr. Conway who again was not available. I attempted to call Ms. Bailey; she was not available either. I left voice mails for both of them. When I did not hear back from either of them I tried calling again, noting my preference to work with Ms. Bailey. Sadly however it was Mr. Conway who called me back on September 24, 2012, and informed me that I needed to work with him because he was assigned to my case. He advised me that was company policy.
During our phone call, I pointed out to Mr. Conway that I was advised that there were in fact major service upgrades in my area, despite his denial of them. I let him know that some of the Sprint reps acknowledged them, while others did not. I also expressed my displeasure with the entire customer service experience. I asked to have my call records pulled and reviewed for information given to me. He told me that was not an option, as Sprint does not pull call records to review the information communicated to a customer when a complaint is called in.
After a very long and very frustrating phone call little was accomplished. I simply gave up and agreed to pay the amount that Mr. Conway calculated. I still didnt understand how the charges were calculated (many did not seem fair), however, I did receive a credit for the $30 activation fee, a charge Mr. Conway previously advised (on a prior call) was not charged to my account. I was out of time and did not feel the need to continue the conversation with Mr. Conway. I dont know if it was intentional on his part or not, but in conversations with him he did not answer the questions being asked, but instead was talking around the issue, bringing up information that was not relevant to my case, interrupting me while I was speaking, and making it very difficult for me to explain my issues. I believe his goal was to frustrate me so that I would just go away. I finally agreed to pay $354.86. Mr. Conway agreed to put a payment hold on my account until the following week (while the payment was in transit) so that there would not be any disruption to my service/account.
My husband was also very frustrated and did not understand the bill so called Mr. Conway and requested that he review the bill with him since there appeared to be several discrepancies. Instead of returning my husbands call, Mr. Conway called me back and chose to spend several days playing phone tag before finally connecting with husband. My husband was not satisfied with Mr. Conways explanation of the charges and we both agreed this was not what we signed up for. We felt trapped since we could no longer get out of the contract and felt we were now stuck paying for a service that was not working properly.
As promised, I mailed the check on September 29, 2012. On Tuesday of the following week Mr. Conway called both my husband and I several times on our cell phones, leaving what we feel were threatening messages. He informed us that our service would be terminated due to lack of payment and said a phone payment was needed immediately or our service would be terminated on the following day. This shocked me because the payment was mailed the week prior. Naturally it took several phone calls to actually connect with Mr. Conway, but both my husband and I left very clear messages that this practice was not acceptable and Sprint should not terminate our service. I further stated that I will involve a third party if that meant assurance that the service would not be terminated.
I was finally able to connect with Mr. Conway and made myself very clear to him again, at which point he told me there was nothing he could do because the hold had already been lifted and could not be reactivated. He continued to urge me to make a phone payment. I immediately asked to speak to his supervisor, at which point he put me on hold and when he returned he informed me the hold was reactivated (the same hold just moments ago that could not be reactivated). I asked to speak to his supervisor, but he told me there was no need. I asked him point blank if he was refusing to let me speak to a supervisor, to which he said he was not, but that his supervisor was not available, so he agreed that he would leave a message for a supervisor to call me back.
Days later Mr. Bill Young called and left me a voice mail stating he was a supervisor and that he was calling as I requested. It took me several days to connect with Mr. Young due to our schedules. It appears we both work similar hours and I am unable to take personal calls at work. In an effort to resolve my issues with Sprint, my employer gave me permission to leave work early so I could connect with Mr. Young. Please note that leaving early means that I take work home with me at the end of the day.
On October 19, 2012, when I finally connected with Mr. Young I shared all of my previous experiences with him in great detail. He apologized for my inconveniences, but stated that best he could tell was everything had been handled properly thus far. Are you kidding me???? Please also note that at this point my service has yet to improve. In fact it was so poor that even the connections with Mr. Conway and Mr. Young were extremely poor. There were numerous occasions in which the connection was so bad that I wasnt able to leave a voice mail before the call would drop. On average, it took 2-3 attempts before being getting a connection and the call not being dropped. In fact, this is the average for any call I make. The dropped calls continue in my house despite the signal booster provided by Sprint. Mr. Young defended Sprints service saying at one point I was within Sprints acceptable call standards. Wow!
I clearly explained my objective to Mr. Young and asked to be let out of my contract with Sprint with no penalty or to have our bill reflect the service we actually receive (or dont receive). I was told that neither was an option. I was also told that since I was not cooperative with their tech support (the ones who needed me to call from a landline everywhere my phone didnt work) that I was limiting the help they could provide. I did not accept this and continued to push Mr. Young over the course of many phone calls and voice mails with him. I finally asked him point blank how he could defend a service in which we could not even hold a conversation. I then told him that I felt cheated and lied to but was now forced to continue to pay for. He agreed to look into my case further and call me back the following week.
On October 22, 2012, Mr. Conway called me again. I found it very strange that he would call me since I had made it clear to Mr. Young that working with Mr. Conway, especially after he threatened to terminate our service, was not going to work. However, on this particular day Mr. Conway stated to me that Sprint had agreed to release me from my contract. Sprint would be sending mailing labels so my husband and I could return our equipment to Sprint. Once the equipment was received our account would be credited for the equipment costs. I asked him what the catch was since this seemed very out of character from my experience with Sprint over the past few months. He said there was no catch, but that the equipment needed to be returned by November 14, 2012. After that date our contract would be canceled and our phone numbers would be terminated. I was shocked. I felt as if I was being threatened again that if I did not have everything in place on or before the 14th I would lose my phone #. I stopped him and let him know that I felt threatened and explained why. He apologized and stated that was not his intention. I could see that this phone call would not yield any positive outcome so I requested that Mr. Young call me back to discuss this.
When I did not hear from Mr. Young the following day I contacted him and left him a voice mail. He returned the call the following day. The purpose of my phone call was to receive a written copy of the terms Mr. Conway had verbally communicated to me, plus I wanted to discuss Mr. Conways threatening comments. Mr. Young stated that I must have been confused by what Mr. Conway had told me. He stated that my husband and I would be released from our contract but that we were required to return our equipment to Sprint, which was going to be used to cover the cost of the early termination fee and that we would not be given a credit for the cost of any equipment. I would be out approximately $300.
I stated that this was not what Mr. Conway had communicated to me, and requested that he pull a recording of the phone call and listen to it. He stated that it would take 2 weeks to have the recording pulled and another few days to review it. He asked if that was what I wanted. Clearly it was. I further requested that he send me the revised offer in writing. He stated that he could not mail it, however he agreed he could email it me. So I gave him my email address. I further requested that he follow up with me once he reviewed the recording of my call with Mr. Conway. I also told him that I need to discuss the revised cancellation terms with my husband, but that we would wait for his feedback regarding my call with Mr. Conway before we agreed on our next step. He assured me that once the recording was evaluated he would follow up with me.
When November 7th had come and gone with no word, I again called a left a voice mail for Mr. Young. I stated that I was waiting for a follow up on the phone call and the email with the new offer, as it had been a full 2 weeks and I had not heard or received anything. He called and left a voice mail for me while I was working, thus beginning the cycle of phone tag again. He never seems to be available when I call and he only seems to call me back while I am in the middle of my work day. His messages in no way addressed my very clear and specific concerns and I still had not received the email I requested.
Sometime after 5pm on November 16, 2012, Mr. Young called me back and finally sent the requested email. The email contains some surprise information such as a 30 day time limit on the offer, which by the time the email was sent had almost expired. I was finally able to connect with him on November 19, 2012, at approximately 4:30pm. I requested a follow up on the phone call review. I was informed that the call was not available for review. I then asked if I could record our phone calls so that when they needed to be reviewed I would know right where to find them. He said his company policy did not allow for me to record phone calls.
I then requested that all further communications take place via email. He again stated that he could not communicate with me via email, another company policy which says a customer concerns need to be handled verbally via phone calls. I find it very convenient that my conversation with Mr. Conway is not available and that the company will not communicate via email or allow me to record phone calls. I also asked if I could have a third party listen in on the phone calls and was told it was subject to who the person was and the nature of the call. Sprint will evaluate my request on a case by case basis. It seems to me that the hope is simply for me to feel frustrated and defeated so that I will give up and go away.
I am now officially at my wits end with Sprint. There are no words to truly express my sheer and utter frustration with this entire situation. I find the lies and deceitful business practices are not just unacceptable, but probably illegal. I have been lied to and mislead from the day I signed my contract and now I am being forced to pay way too much for services I am not getting. This is a company that does not want to be held accountable for their statements (lies), misinformation, lack of efficient service and poor customer service.
My objective remains the same.
I want to be released from my contract at no cost (phones and equipment included) since my concerns and inquiries began well within the 14 day limit. Further, Sprint has yet to hold up their end of the contract in providing acceptable service and coverage. Or,
Have my bill adjusted to reflect this unacceptable experience.
It is my hope that you and your organization will be able to help me resolve this as I have been left to feel quite helpless against the corporate machine.