Timeline of Firing Sprint

I cancelled my new Sprint PCS service tonight. I’d had it for less than two weeks, and over the course of the evening decided I don’t want to be their customer. Here’s the timeline.

January 9 – We order new phones from Sprint
January 11 – We receive the phones. I test it out, and the microSD card doesn’t work right.
January 12 – I take it to a Sprint store. They send me to a place near the beach that repairs Motorola phones. The Motorola place tells me it needs to be sent back. We try to take it to the Sprint company store on Kings Highway. They tell us since we ordered it on the web we can’t return it via them.
January 13 – I call to order a replacement phone.
January 17 – 20 Every day, I think that will be the day I get the phone
January 22 – I get tired of waiting so I call for a status on the replacment

8:45 PM – I start the call by dialing *2 from the phone in question
9:00 PM – I talk to my first person. They ask for my cell number and password. They tell me something I never quite got about how the order for a replacement was cancelled until I pay. Since the initial order was covered with a credit card, I never understand this. This person transfers me to another person. They ask for my cell number and password. I go through about the same thing again. This person transfers me to another person. They ask for my cell number and password. I still don’t know where my phone is, what the status is, or what it is I’m supposed to owe.
9:17 PM – My cell phone drops the call. Around this time, we decide this is way too much trouble to try to be some company’s customer when they don’t seem to want my business
9:20 PM – I call back from the landline, straight to the Sprint Online Return line
9:35 PM – I talk to my first person of the second call. They ask for my cell number and password. I explain that the phone was defective out of the box and I want to invoke my 30 day guarantee. This person promises to send me a return label via email and transfers me to account services.
9:45 PM – I am connected to a guy with a Texas drawl. He asks for my cell number and password. He is the only person in both calls whose accent is easily understandable to me. I don’t want to sound ethnocentric, but at this point I’m relieved that I’m at least talking to someone on the same continent as myself. He asks why I want to cancel, and I give him about the same story I’ve typed up here. He asks what they can do to keep us with Sprint. I say that at 8:45 PM they had a shot but in the subsequent hour they’ve set about systematically making sure I don’t want the phone or their service anymore. This guy also promises to send us a return kit.

I had high hopes for both the Motorola RAZR and for Sprint. Now I have zero desire to have anything to do with the company. We’ll stick with Cingular a little while longer and possibly upgrade to new phone models later. Nice job Sprint, in under two weeks you turned me from an excited new customer to a sworn enemy of your company. The cell phone industry is an amazing place, populated by choices that are the least sucky. No one is ever delighted, we are all just trying to minimize our frustration and dissatisfaction. I am now staying with a provider that for calls made from our house over 20 minutes in duration drops 75% of them. Talk about damning with faint praise.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

8 thoughts on “Timeline of Firing Sprint”

  1. darkmoon says:

    The stories I could tell. Yet, still… your issues did not really result in Motorola’s product save for the microSD card not working correctly. I’m curious as to if the slot was messed up or not.

    Either way, it sounds like a bad case of Sprint CSR. Which I’ll have you know that they’ve actually changed and upped their performance from about five years ago. They used to be dead last in customer service if I remember correctly.

  2. Chris C. says:

    I’ve had SprintPCS for 6 years. I’ve been satisfied with them, AS LONG AS I don’t actually, uh, need anything. Their commitment to customer support waxes and wanes, and any recent objective study of the cell carriers will tell you that Sprint is just awful at CS. [darkmoon, they are STILL dead last per the latest study] Everyone knows it, I know it, I just don’t ever change phones or need CS 🙂

    Verizon usually comes out on top.

    Anyway, I ain’t changing phones or carriers until someone comes out with another PalmOS clamshell.

  3. Ken Nelson says:

    Is Verizon an option? There’s a lot of things about them I don’t like, but when we completed a call from south of North Platte NE, to Norton KS, and made arrangements to meet friends for happy hour, I was amazed and pleased.

    Verizon will have to major-league piss me off before I’ll dump them.

    “It’s the network.”


  4. grayarea says:

    the best is the subsequent reconnaissance campaign. sprint reps call a hundred times over the next few months, you know, begging you to come back. the old “what can we do to win back your business?” “well, how about a hubble telescope? and a couple hundred pounds of whale steak. HONEY? YOU WANT ANYTHING?…”

  5. dave says:

    dm, yes the slot was physically messed up. The repair person told me that on day one. I suppose having a system with some continuity from rep to rep when they bounce you around is more than Sprint is willing to put in it. I’d still be willing to try the RAZR from Cingular. If I remember correctly Cingular’s version is more open and usable than Sprint’s, with fewer carrier imposed restrictions.

    Chris, If I hadn’t needed something we might well have continued on. As it was, once I got stuck in the hell circle of bouncing from rep to rep I decided that if it’s going to suck this bad when I need something then it’s time to quit now while I can invoke the 30 day guarantee.

    Ken, We had Verizon at one point and switched to T-Mobile, I don’t remember why. T-Mobile was the best service we ever had. We kept our Atlanta numbers for a year and a half until we settled down here, just perma-roaming. They don’t have primary service here.

  6. dave says:

    Gray, I’d be delighted to get those calls because every one of those reps will get the full story, over and over again until they all give out and then “Why are you wasting your time jacking me off with this call? It’s completely a waste of resources if your company isn’t planning on doing business in a more reasonable manner. My business was in your hands and all you had to do was take it – but collectively you refused. Don’t come crying to me about that now.”

  7. PJ Cabrera says:

    Man, it seems everybody and their brother, sister, dog and pony got a RAZR in Puerto Rico in the last three months. So I wouldn’t totally give up on the phone or Motorola, as the RAZR users I personally know, say they love their RAZR. At least they don’t passively hate them as much as with their previous phones.

    This whole discussion about who is in first place, last place, etc., in customer service, is hilarious. Really, their position in relation to each other really amounts to who pisses customers off less. And I bet the difference from last to third to second to first place, is a few percentage points.

    There’s no such thing as “best” customer service with these companies, or very many commercial entities any more. It’s all a joke. Just about every customer service situation I’ve been in in my life, the employees are bored out of their skulls, they’re either uninformed or apathetic, or downright unhelpful and surly, to actually do their jobs: to serve the customers.

  8. grayarea says:

    git em, dave. i guess i got a little tired of it after a few calls. they never really acknowledged my story and just cut straight to offering more deal-sweeteners.

    by then, i had already had the same problem with my new carrier, but they totally defused the situation. i didn’t have to raise my voice or pull out my copy of the Riot Act. (“mr. area, terribly sorry…wont happen again…and therell be no charge for service this month.” and it’s never happened again.) after that, i just enjoyed being captain smartass to the sprint reps.

    (eg: hello, mr area, this is janet from sprint– “hel-lo-o-o, janet… how you doin?”)

    btw, i seem to remember in the consumer reports survey of cell providers, all were withing a couple of points of each other. and the highest rating was only in the 60s (out of 100). so that’s some ‘hard’ data to back pjcabrera’s point.

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