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Absurd customer service experiance - what would you do?

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Anonymous
February 21, 2005 10:23:15 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

I try to make this very long story short..

I used to have a simple flip phone and a retention plan which was $40
including 750 anytime minutes and free wireless web. I thought it was
a fair deal.

Last August my phone crashed and I lost all my stored #'s. Since I
don't use a land line, that was my whole phone book and a huge PITA.
I decided to avoid that hassle again I would get a Treo which I could
back up to PC.

When I activated the Treo (300) I was told I'd have to get a Vision
plan if I wanted to check email on the phone. I argued that because
I had that service and functionality on my old phone included in my
plan I didn't feel I should be penalized just because I needed to
replace a broken phone by being charged more for the same service I
already had. (I don't care about all the vision stuff, just email)
I spoke with someone who seemed to understand my point and offered to
give me a monthly credit in effect making Vision free. I was careful
to be very explicit in the understanding that the deal was not just
the customary two month offer, but in fact part of my plan. I hung up
satisfied.

A couple of months (December now) later I noticed I was getting
charged for vision with no sign of the promised credit. When I
called retention I was told that no such offer existed and it was
erroneously offered and there was no way to honor that. I tried
calling several times to speak with different reps but they all said
the same thing. And of course they also said there was no record of
that offer having been made in the computer. Finally I spoke with one
rep who seemed particularly sympathetic and willing to try to be
helpful. He offered me more minutes, but I didn't need that, I
thought about what might be useful and asked him about a second line.
He said if I upped to a $50 1000 anytime min plan plus $10 vision he
could give me a second line and credit me back the $20/mo extra line
fee. This seemed to be a fair deal so I agreed to that plan and a 2
Yr contract. Because of my previous experience with "phantom" offers
I again made sure to be explicitly crystal clear with our agreement.
There was absolutely no mistake in our understanding. He even told me
if there were any problems I could call sprint and provide his login
ID which he gave me and they could have him contact me himself.

So the first month bill shows up and there is no credit for the $20
add-a-phone fee. I call and explain this to someone who says there is
no record of that aspect of the plan, but she would credit my account
$30 while she looked into it. She also said she couldn't use the
login ID I gave her to contact that earlier rep even though that's
what he had told me to do. At that point I paid my bill minus $30.

The next month bill arrives and still there is another new $20 charge
for the extra line and also no sign of the promised $30 credit!

I call again and am told there is no record of the $30 credit offer or
the free extra line, and again there's no way to use the login ID to
contact the earlier rep. I ask to speak to the supervisor and am told
the same thing and that there is no such offer that exists anyway (for
the free extra line) She offers me $30, I say instead of a $30 token
let's try to fix this. She takes that to mean I have "declined" the
$30. I finally say, look if there is no way that you can honor the
agreement which I agreed to then let me out of my contract. She says
no, you will be charged $150 per line if you cancel; early. I ask to
speak to her supervisor. So then after going through the whole story
with this new manager, who is evidently "the" manager at that call
center, she says she can't (won't) do anything because her computer
shows that I was getting everything I was supposed to be getting (even
though I repeatedly tell her the computer isn't showing everything
that was actually promised). It doesn't matter that I had on three
previous occasions been clearly and explicitly offered these other
things, because they weren't in the computer they don't exist. I
pled for even the slightest effort of recognition that Sprint has made
errors and in the interest of customer service should at least allow
me to get out of my contract, a contract which was agreed to based on
different terms than Sprint is honoring. Answer, NO. I ask if she
would then at the very least help me contact this initial rep who gave
me his login ID. She says she has the capacity to do that but would
not because once an issue goes to a manager it doesn't get sent back
down to a rep. After going in circles with her for an hour I finally
resigned to the fact that I was screwed, If I stayed in the agreement
it was going to cost me $240 more than I agreed to over two years, or
$300 to get out of a contract based on terms I hadn't agreed to. So
I said, ok, since I'm obviously getting nothing else, I'll take the
$30. She then said that offer isn't good anymore, you already
declined it. !!?!?!?!? I was and am still absolutely stunned at
this level of response to what has been a series of SPRINT errors!
It's unbelievable and absurd to the point of almost being funny.

The final chapter (for now) is I called back to try one more time to
get someone to put me in touch with that earlier rep, and the woman I
spoke with at retention this time said, I'm sorry there is a note in
your account from the last manager you spoke with to not make ANY more
offers of any kind to this customer, including that $30.

What possible recourse do I have? Sprint has made ALL the mistakes
here and compounded them one after another, and yet they treat me as
though I am a problem customer now basically blacklisting my account.
But they have all the leverage? What can I do? What would you do?
Anonymous
February 21, 2005 10:23:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

Kevin wrote:

> What possible recourse do I have? Sprint has made ALL the mistakes
> here and compounded them one after another, and yet they treat me as
> though I am a problem customer now basically blacklisting my account.
> But they have all the leverage? What can I do? What would you do?

If I had everything properly documented, I'd port my two lines to another
carrier (if I needed to keep the numbers), cancel, and sue them for the $300.

But if I had a problem like this, I'd have been documenting everything via
certified postal mail. Did you?

--
JustThe.net - Apple Valley, CA - http://JustThe.net/ - 888.480.4NET (4638)
Steven J. Sobol, Geek In Charge / sjsobol@JustThe.net / PGP: 0xE3AE35ED

"In case anyone was wondering, that big glowing globe above the Victor
Valley is the sun." -Victorville _Daily Press_ on the unusually large
amount of rain the Southland has gotten this winter (January 12th, 2005)
Anonymous
February 21, 2005 10:23:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 12:44:08 -0700, "Tinman" wrote
>Even though I am a SPCS subscriber, and in general like the service, I
>have witnessed first-hand the "no record of that conversion" situation
>on countless occasions. It's to the point where I don't think I would
>listen to a SPCS CSR offer me anything--without recording the darn call.
>
>During my last contract "update" nothing I was offered showed up on my
>account.

As an alternative, you might try email. When I worked out my last
retention plan, I did the whole thing via email with Sprint Customer
service. When I activated the phone and was talking to the CS rep,
she claimed that she could not implement one part of the retention
plan, and offered me something else that was not nearly as good. I
kindly told her no, that I have the retention plan in an email, and
that I would take it up with customer service via email. After a
couple of more emails, the retention plan was implemented as agreed
to.

These days, I try to do everything with Sprint via email.

Joe Huber
huber.joseph@comcast.net
Related resources
Anonymous
February 21, 2005 10:55:42 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 11:33:14 -0800, Steve Sobol <sjsobol@JustThe.net>
wrote in message <cvdctq$mqe$1@ratbert.glorb.com> :

>Kevin wrote:
>
>> What possible recourse do I have? Sprint has made ALL the mistakes
>> here and compounded them one after another, and yet they treat me as
>> though I am a problem customer now basically blacklisting my account.
>> But they have all the leverage? What can I do? What would you do?
>
>If I had everything properly documented, I'd port my two lines to another
>carrier (if I needed to keep the numbers), cancel, and sue them for the $300.
>
>But if I had a problem like this, I'd have been documenting everything via
>certified postal mail. Did you?

I wish. I don't have anything in writing. When I pointed out to them
that I never actually signed any contract they said that by using the
new phone I had sealed the agreement. That may or may not hold up in
court but it's harldy worth the time and expense to find out. I wish
I had recorded the calls, at this point I think that's the only thing
that would have given me and ground to stand on with them. I won't
make the same mistake again, but when I made that deal with that one
rep, I really felt like everything was very genuine, especially when
he assured me that I could get back in touch with him directly if I
had any problems. He said that was something he had never done before.
I may be naive, but I still believe he was acting in good faith, and
just perhaps that he was making promises he didn't know couldn't be
kept.
Anonymous
February 22, 2005 3:43:05 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

You did not need to replace the phone. You were charged more, but it
was not the same service.
Anonymous
February 22, 2005 4:59:11 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

"Kevin" <nomai@thisplace.com> wrote in message news:46fk11ldefj8r7p2a3874fhsh6bedq2akb@4ax.com...
> On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 12:44:08 -0700, "Tinman"
> <mlynch@REMOVEMEcitlink.net> wrote in message
> <37us02F5gioofU1@individual.net> :
>
>
>>I would first ask to see/hear your agreement to the new contract terms.
>>If they can't or won't provide this, which is likely, I would file an
>>official complaint with your State's Attorney General. Let SPCS know,
>>calmly and without emotion, that this is what you intend to do.
>
> Good idea, I'll try that.

Besides your own AG, I'd also file with the AG in the state where
Sprint PCS has its headquarters. Likewise, file with that state's BBB.
Both AG's and BBB's often have online web forms for complaint
submittal. By following this course of action I got Dell to capitulate
on fixing a bad computer under warranty.

--
John Richards
Anonymous
February 22, 2005 5:05:32 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

"Joseph Huber" <huber.joseph@comcast.net> wrote in message news:nnvk11p632u6lclf11bruqt8f97kl7p8du@4ax.com...
> On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 12:44:08 -0700, "Tinman" wrote
>>During my last contract "update" nothing I was offered showed up on my
>>account.
>
> As an alternative, you might try email. When I worked out my last
> retention plan, I did the whole thing via email with Sprint Customer
> service. When I activated the phone and was talking to the CS rep,
> she claimed that she could not implement one part of the retention
> plan, and offered me something else that was not nearly as good. I
> kindly told her no, that I have the retention plan in an email, and
> that I would take it up with customer service via email. After a
> couple of more emails, the retention plan was implemented as agreed
> to.
>
> These days, I try to do everything with Sprint via email.

I've done regular plan changes and inquiries via email, but this is
the first I heard of doing a retention plan via email. Is there
anything special in the way you address that email so you get a
retention specialist rather than a regular CSR?

--
John Richards
Anonymous
February 22, 2005 5:05:33 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 02:05:32 GMT, "John Richards" >
>I've done regular plan changes and inquiries via email, but this is
>the first I heard of doing a retention plan via email. Is there
>anything special in the way you address that email so you get a
>retention specialist rather than a regular CSR?

I sent in a regular request via the website indicating that my
contract was up, that Wireless Web no longer suited my needs, and that
I was considering switching to Verizon because they offer plans that
allow phone/laptop use. I asked if Sprint had anything similar to the
Verizion plans. The reply from Sprint indicated that they had no
plans similar to the Verizon plans, but they offered me some
discounts/additional minutes becuase I had been a loyal customer for
several years. There were several emails back and forth as I asked
for some more features/discounts.

I really don't know if I was speaking to a retention specialist or
not, but the person dealing with me was able to "negotiate", and to
give me discounts that the phone CSR rep was supposedly not able to
implement.

Joe Huber
huber.joseph@comcast.net
Anonymous
February 23, 2005 9:50:38 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

"Joseph Huber" <huber.joseph@comcast.net> wrote in message news:8nal11hd145nm095kkrslf3ka95i1ta4qa@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 02:05:32 GMT, "John Richards" >
>>I've done regular plan changes and inquiries via email, but this is
>>the first I heard of doing a retention plan via email. Is there
>>anything special in the way you address that email so you get a
>>retention specialist rather than a regular CSR?
>
> I sent in a regular request via the website indicating that my
> contract was up, that Wireless Web no longer suited my needs, and that
> I was considering switching to Verizon because they offer plans that
> allow phone/laptop use. I asked if Sprint had anything similar to the
> Verizion plans. The reply from Sprint indicated that they had no
> plans similar to the Verizon plans, but they offered me some
> discounts/additional minutes becuase I had been a loyal customer for
> several years. There were several emails back and forth as I asked
> for some more features/discounts.
>
> I really don't know if I was speaking to a retention specialist or
> not, but the person dealing with me was able to "negotiate", and to
> give me discounts that the phone CSR rep was supposedly not able to
> implement.

The key to your success (reaching someone who was empowered to negotiate)
was probably that:
a) your contract was up, and
b) you gave a valid reason for being interested in switching to Verizon.

--
John Richards
Anonymous
February 23, 2005 4:52:34 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 18:46:33 -0600, Joseph Huber
<huber.joseph@comcast.net> wrote in message
<nnvk11p632u6lclf11bruqt8f97kl7p8du@4ax.com> :

>On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 12:44:08 -0700, "Tinman" wrote
>>Even though I am a SPCS subscriber, and in general like the service, I
>>have witnessed first-hand the "no record of that conversion" situation
>>on countless occasions. It's to the point where I don't think I would
>>listen to a SPCS CSR offer me anything--without recording the darn call.
>>
>>During my last contract "update" nothing I was offered showed up on my
>>account.
>
>As an alternative, you might try email. When I worked out my last
>retention plan, I did the whole thing via email with Sprint Customer
>service. When I activated the phone and was talking to the CS rep,
>she claimed that she could not implement one part of the retention
>plan, and offered me something else that was not nearly as good. I
>kindly told her no, that I have the retention plan in an email, and
>that I would take it up with customer service via email. After a
>couple of more emails, the retention plan was implemented as agreed
>to.
>
>These days, I try to do everything with Sprint via email.

Thanks for that suggestion. I have always just assumed that I was
much better off talking to a live person then dealing in email. I
also made the assumption that email support staff might be the least
experienced and the least empowered. I must have been wrong.

After reading the replies to my post here, I emailed sprint with the
same account of the situation, and amazingly they wrote back EXTREMELY
apologetic and said that my account has now been changed to reflect
the terms to which I actually agreed, ie free second line. And
furthermore they have credited me $55 for the overcharge of the 2nd
line up to this point. So basically they have made everything right.
The only thing I could still be irritated about is the enormous amount
of time and frustration I had to go through to fix this which
shouldn't have been necessary in the first place. But under the
circumstances, I'll let that go if this is truly done. I'll await my
next invoice and see... but at least now I have IN WRITING from
sprint a clear outlining of the terms of my plan.

I have no idea who designed their phone CS system but it is an
absolute nightmare.

Thanks for all the ideas here.
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 12:32:48 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

Kevin wrote:

>>But if I had a problem like this, I'd have been documenting everything via
>>certified postal mail. Did you?
>
>
> I wish. I don't have anything in writing. When I pointed out to them
> that I never actually signed any contract they said that by using the
> new phone I had sealed the agreement.

I really don't beleive that by using the phone, you could be "sealing
the agreement." If that were true, Sprint could lock us all into 20year
agreements with $3 million termination fees any time without ever
notifying anyone, and we'd be "sealing the agreement" by using the
phone. Not reasonable, so I would call the CS rep's bluff and fight it.


> That may or may not hold up in
> court but it's harldy worth the time and expense to find out.

Small claims court could easily handle this case, and filing fees are
minimal (and you could also including the filing fees in your damages to
get it all back). This is of course, fi you really think you have a
valid case.

> I had recorded the calls, at this point I think that's the only thing
> that would have given me and ground to stand on with them. I won't
> make the same mistake again, but when I made that deal with that one
> rep, I really felt like everything was very genuine, especially when
> he assured me that I could get back in touch with him directly if I
> had any problems. He said that was something he had never done before.

That right there would have set off alarm bells in my head, that he's
never done this before. If he hasn't then how does he know it's going
to work this time?

My general rule of thumb in dealing with any company is, if the offer is
not published somwhere in writing, if I can't print it out or otherwise
have it on a piece of paper that I can hold in my hands, then I do not
trust the offer as valid. This is why I have an objection to the
retention department in general. Not only is it a haven for people who
have little in the way of valid complaints (yours excluded), but it's
rife with these oral, unverifiable, backdoor deals that only cause
problems for everyone involved later.


> I may be naive, but I still believe he was acting in good faith, and
> just perhaps that he was making promises he didn't know couldn't be
> kept.

I agree with that, that probably is the case. Even so, if there were
methods for Sprint to deliver these promises in writing this wouldn't be
a problem.



--
E-mail fudged to thwart spammers.
Transpose the c's and a's in my e-mail address to reply.
Anonymous
February 26, 2005 11:29:30 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

Isaiah Beard wrote:

> I really don't beleive that by using the phone, you could be "sealing
> the agreement." If that were true, Sprint could lock us all into 20year
> agreements with $3 million termination fees any time without ever
> notifying anyone, and we'd be "sealing the agreement" by using the
> phone. Not reasonable, so I would call the CS rep's bluff and fight it.

No, such agreements are used pretty regularly. Doesn't mean Sprint can change
the terms of the plan without notifying you unless the contract states that
they can....

--
JustThe.net - Apple Valley, CA - http://JustThe.net/ - 888.480.4NET (4638)
Steven J. Sobol, Geek In Charge / sjsobol@JustThe.net / PGP: 0xE3AE35ED

"In case anyone was wondering, that big glowing globe above the Victor
Valley is the sun." -Victorville _Daily Press_ on the unusually large
amount of rain the Southland has gotten this winter (January 12th, 2005)
Anonymous
February 26, 2005 10:15:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.sprintpcs (More info?)

Tinman wrote:
<nsip>

> waste of time and resources--if not lost sales. I am interested in
> trying Ready Link, but there's no chance I'll add it via a CSR. Since I
> can't find an easy option to add it on the Web site, I'll do without.
>

The website isn't without problems either. I added 1000 Night/Weekend
minutes to my plan from the web. After it went into effect, I checked
my account from the website and observed that the minutes were listed as
"shared" on my primary phone, and there was not way to add minutes to
the two add-a-phones on my account. However; the bill from the first
month had about $55 in charges for extra minutes on the other two
phones. I'll skip the long story. It turned out that the problem was
my plan was so old that the minutes couldn't be shared, or even applied
to any phone except the primary one. I was refunded the $55 and
switched to a Fair and Flexible plan that does what I want, and got a
couple of other "goodies". I have not received the second bill yet, and
the new plan kicks in tomorrow, so the story is not completely done yet.

If I had talked to a CSR to make the change it would have been
discovered right then that it couldn't be done. The web didn't do that.

Not-so-good things summary:
Web didn't do what it looked like it should.
Web didn't make clear what was actually done.
Call dropped with first CSR.
2 1/2 hours to find out problem. (CSR had to go to multiple levels of
support.)

Good things summary:
Both CSR were courteous, professional, and helpful.
The cause of the problem was discovered (antique plan).
A change was made to fix the problem (new plan).
In the end, I got what I thought I had ordered (refunds made).
(Assuming that the next two bills look like what I expect.)

Overall, at this point, I'm satisfied.
!