An open letter to Sprint PCS

As promised, here’s my letter to Sprint PCS. I am aware that sending it may not do any good, but one can always hope. Regardless, I’m leaving Sprint and I encourage all y’all to do the same. I know that any large tech company will have issues, but the treatment and lack of service I’ve received from Sprint is quite frankly beyond the pale. I have never been so frustrated and angry with a company before. At the end of my last interaction with a Sprint employee, I was literally shaking with fury and was, in fact, so frustrated that I actually burst into tears upon leaving the store.
Those of you who know me IRL will doubtless be aware of just how incredibly angry I have to be to react like that. Sure, I get mad. I have a bit of a temper. But this… this is too much. Way too much.
I am now a Cingular customer, so if anybody wants to take advantage of that unlimited mobile-to-mobile talking feature, feel free to join me.

Sprint PCS
PO box 8077
London , KY
Dear Sprint PCS,
I never thought I would find myself as angry, frustrated, and disappointed in Sprint’s technical support and customer service as I am today. As a long-time customer of Sprint, I had become accustomed to being treated with civility and to having my questions answered promptly and correctly. Sadly, the events of the past two and a half days have demonstrated that I had merely been very lucky until now.
As near as I can tell from speaking with tech support, some time Saturday afternoon or evening, someone at Sprint changed my phone number without any such request from me. I did not discover the problem until Sunday afternoon when I found I was unable to make calls from my cell phone — dialing out got me a message from a local roaming service provider.
I called tech support, and so began my odyssey. I have since called Sprint technical support eight times and visited the Sprint store in Palo Alto (on University Avenue) three times. It has taken all of that to get my phone working correctly again. To date, this has cost me untold hours of aggravation but more specifically it has cost me 3.5 billable hours at my primary job. From a financial standpoint, that means that a mistake by someone at Sprint has not only caused me to lose phone service for two days but has cost me a total of over one hundred dollars of actual income.
To say that I am enraged is an understatement. Although I have been treated by the phone staff with unfailing politeness, I have received no offers of any kind of compensation and have been treated with active rudeness by the Sprint store employee I dealt with.
Each time I spoke to a technician on the phone, I was walked through a variety of attempts at fixing my phone and then told to wait 15-30 minutes, then try my phone again. The sixth time I called, I was told to go to a Sprint store and have a tech there upgrade my software. The person I spoke with at the store, Yony, was diffident but said he had fixed my phone and that I’d have to wait about an hour before I’d be able to use it again. I was by this time fairly annoyed and asked him to please check anything else he could on my phone to ensure that the correct thing had been done. He assured me it would be fine.
However, I found when I tried it an hour later that my phone did not work. I called tech support yet again, and was walked through more fixes. That tech assured me, when I complained about the number of times I had called in and how much difficulty I was having, that she was one of the few fully-trained techs in the office and that the other techs probably didn’t really know what they were doing. She told me to wait for four hours before doing anything at all with the phone and said it would work then.
It did not.
I called technical support yet again and was told, after more attempts at fixing it, that Yony had not, in fact, done the right thing and that I had to take it back in. I was incredulous, but he assured me that he was right. He very kindly put a note in my file about what exactly needed to be done and even to call the store and let them know what was going on.
When I took my phone back to the store this morning, I spoke with Yony again. I informed him that the techs told me he had done the wrong thing, and he said, “well, I just did what you told me.” He told me that the technician for that store had “just gotten in” and wouldn’t be able to work on my phone right away. He told me to leave my phone there and come back in 30-45 minutes. I was appalled by this, and told him that it was costing me billable hours at my job every time I had to come down to the store and his response was, “well, you should come here when you have time off.”
I have never been spoken to in this way by a Sprint employee — or by any employee of a service-providing company. I was, quite frankly, speechless. The phone support technicians weren’t able to help me fix my phone, but at least they were cheerful, polite, and profusely apologetic. Yony’s defensiveness and utter lack of any apology for his part in the miscommunication was appalling. I had simply told him what the phone support technician told me to say — that my phone needed a software upgrade because it had the wrong version.
When I returned to pick up my phone, I complained to Yony’s manager (whose name, I am sorry to say, I was too infuriated to notice). Even that was problematic — he kept me waiting for some time and even helped newly-arrived customers after I was told he would speak with me next. Once he spoke with me, he was apologetic and assured me that Yony would be reminded about customer relations.
Since this ordeal began, I have been mentally composing complaint letters on a near-hourly basis. Most of them included some statement to the effect of, “if you can offer me suitable compensation for the time, lost wages, and aggravation this has caused me, I will remain a loyal Sprint customer.” However, Yony’s rudeness and the utter incompetence of your phone techs, combined with the fact that Yony’s manager offered me nothing but a tepid apology, has finally driven home to me what many of my friends have tried to tell me for years: Sprint is a mediocre cell phone company and I would be far better off elsewhere. The chances of you offering me anything that would make up for the inconvenience, loss of income, and utter frustration of this string of events are all but nil.
I never thought I would write a letter containing the phrase “I am taking my business elsewhere” but that day has come.
Sprint, I am taking my business elsewhere. I will be reprinting this letter on my website and encouraging my friends and readers to join me at my new wireless provider.
Ealasaid A. Haas

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16 Responses to An open letter to Sprint PCS

  1. courtney says:

    Funny, I left Sprint 3 years ago and went to Cingular.
    Within the next week, I will be switching to T-Mobile. Hmm.
    You are lucky to get the free mobile-to-mobile minutes. The wouldn’t let me have them unless I signed up for 3 more years. Nope. Not gonna do it.

  2. guy says:

    So, how did you decide on Cingular as opposed, say, to Verizon?

  3. Ted says:

    You go, girl! :-) They really gave you the run-around; kudos to you for punting them and writing a letter of complaint to boot; if more people filed complaints with corporations vice just migrating to their competition, people may find that they start to change their ways for the better. After all, if you don’t complain, how will they know there’s a problem??
    I had a similar problem with Rogers, albeit my problems were with my cable internet connection vice cellular problems – Rogers’ customer service as well as the quality of service was horrible. I ended up leaving them for Bell DSL.
    Though I don’t have my extremely scathing letter handy anymore (which you’d probably find to be an interesting read) I do recall the scathing metaphor I used to describe their network problems – “your network is up & down more than a crack whore on a Saturday night”… [LOL]

  4. Ealasaid says:

    Dad: I made my decision based on a TON of research. I did up a very anal grid-graph and compared four major cellphone companies. I tallied the plusses and minuses for each one. Cingular had the highest total score, so it won. I mean, from talking with friends, it sounds like all cell companies are basically the same: as long as you never need customer service, they’re all about equal. And they all have shitty customer service. :)
    Courtney: yeah, I know. It’s pretty sweet. What rules for me is that it’s only a few bucks more a month than what I’m paying now… and I finally have top-notch reception inside my house! Yay!
    Ted: Thanks. Yeah, I’m a big believer in bitching when I am not happy. However, I have fairly low standards, so it’s hard to make me angry enough to complain. :) Sprint rose to the challenge, though. Hee. Kudos for the harsh metaphor. Wish I could read the whole letter. :)

  5. Ted says:

    As an amusing aside, Just found out that Rogers Communications has acquired Sprint Canada. Judging from your experience, I somehow suspect that Rogers, rather than blatently initating a leveraged buyout of Sprint USA, is slowly taking them over using the Mandarin technique… [LOL]

  6. Cathryn says:

    Yay! I have Cingular. We’ll have to exchange numbers next time we catch each other on AIM.

  7. John says:

    Amazing!!! What is going on with these people????
    I HATE THIS COMPANY. I’m going to go ahead and change it. DO NOT GO WITH SPRINT – Thieves.

  8. A Sprint Tech says:

    I hear stories like this all the time, nothing new here.

  9. Franc Cazares says:

    Unfortunately I have just had a terrible experience with Sprint myself. During a six day period calls appeared on my phone from Mexico and I live in Atlanta! When I called Sprint and after speaking to several reps and “supervisors” I came to the conclusion that I will pay the charges, write a complaint letter, and cancel my contract. I will let everyone I know to never select Sprint as a wireless provider. Customer service at this company is dismal at best. Neither the representatives nor the “supervisors’ take any ownership whatsoever. They even went as far as practically accusing me of being a liar. Never again will I select this company for any of my business.

  10. Mary says:

    I am getting royally screwed by Sprint and don’t know how to get my message to someone there who might actually give a damn. Every time I ask for a supervisor I get some other idiot who could care less. I’m ready to start offering everyone I know to pay their cancellation fee just for the satisfaction of knowing I contributed to them losing money.

  11. Sherry says:

    On Oct. 30th my husband ordered Sprint PCS through a corporate account. He ordered three like phones and was told they would be shipped next day. Several days and several phone calls later we had not received the phones at all. Then, after spending much time on the phone, I order was promised to ship out. We did receive one phone the next day but it was not the phone that had been ordered and where were the other phones? After many more phone calls to Sprint and several more days of waiting we finally received the correct phones. However, they did not work and again we made more calls to Sprint PCS. Even receiving a call back from a customer service rep. after midnight one night just letting us know they had not fixed the account. Finally after two days the phones worked! Then, a week later the phones had been turned off. I personally called Sprint myself and was told it was because we owed a balance on the account even though we had only had the working phones for one week and had not had a chance to receive a bill. My husband also called Sprint and was told they had been turned off for some type of security verification. Later that day, they were turn back on. Finally, I thought the nightmare was over but it was just starting! After only three weeks of service, we are now being told that we owe over $1,600 dollars. The phones that we had chosen were suppose to be only $39.99 each. So, how could this be? My husband again called Sprint and spent even more time on the phone, not to mention calling daily. We finally were told they had credited our account and now we owe the just over $1,000. My husband gave them one week to straighten the account or we would cancel the service. One week went by and today the balance is still way off and he has ask that the account be fixed or terminated. The Rep. for Sprint said it would be another four days before they could fix the account, needing supervisor approval. We have talked with past supervisors and still are in the same boat.
    We have spent much time on the phone and even money in faxing documents to them but still they have lacked in customer service. Today we decided to cancel the service and it seemed to be no problem for Sprint. Only one Rep. has showed sympathy to our ordeal and she offered a $25 credit which we never saw. We have already spent money on holders and car chargers they are now a waste. We are glad shipping back their phones (which I really liked) and still have to worry about the bill. Even after spending numerous hours on the phone and talking to way more than a dozen Representatives, why are we still going through this? Is there anyone at Sprint that cares?

  12. Mary says:

    I’m about to cancel my service with Sprint, too. I have put up with their crappy customer service and bad reception for almost 3 years now. One day my phone bill had reached abot 300 dollars. I freaked out and called CS and asked why I had such a high bill. (i rarley go over my minutes) It tirned out that they randomly turned off my “PCS to PCS calling”, so everyone i was calling (…and almost all of them have Sprint anyways) was sucking down my mninutes. I gave no such permission to take off that feature. I pleaded with them to compensate me for their mistake and the best they could do was take off $60 worth. I was pissed.
    Here’s another story…. (by the way I SHOULD HAVE sued for this….)
    I went into a Sprint location for a problem I had with the Vision Pack. (actually, I don’t remember the problem…I was too infuriated and scared afterwards). Anyways, to make a long sotry short, I forgot about some racy photos I took of myself with my camera phone to send to my fiance overseas, and he saw them. and gawked at them. and commented me about my body…saying “i hope i dont offend you when i say this, but…..” Back then, I was so “nice” to everyone and I couldnt stand up for myself. Oh, that’s not it either…. he saved my phone number and CALLED ME when we got off work. If I’m not mistaking, that’s totally illegal. I could have sued. I wish I had.
    I need another service provider. How’s cingular?

  13. Ealasaid says:

    Mary – so far I like Cingular just fine. I haven’t had to deal with customer service, mind you, and sometimes the sound quality is mediocre, but over all I like it quite a bit.

  14. Dick Gaskin says:

    Dear Sprint PCS;
    Ref: Your letter dated: September 24, 2007
    Account Number:0009489892
    To Whom It May Concern: In reference to your letter dated 24 September 2007.
    I remitted payment in the amount of $ 73.33 (seventy three dollars and thirty three cents) in full, for my remaining account balance in full at that time.
    I now have my regular billing statement of which I will be happy to pay $67.06 which includes your late fee of $5.47, since I was late by a couple of days in paying my bill for the previous month.
    However, the facts are that you took it upon yourself to change and extend my contract, without my knowledge, consent, or express permission in writing or by recorded device.
    I spent many hours on hold and trying to reach you to no avail, as well as when I did finally get through to you on the phone to settle this matter; you did not wish to settle this matter. Nor would your agents allow me to speak to their higher management to resolve this matter.
    Since you feel free to change my contract without my knowledge or consent written or verbal, I feel free to say that, I do not owe you any other fees of any kind.
    Furthermore I am filing complaints with the BBB and the States Attorney Generals Offices, in Tennessee, Texas and Missouri as these are the three states I have knowledge of your doing business by your bills sent to me. As a continuation my complaint will also include the fact that the insurance plan your agent sold me stated that should my phone ever become lost, stolen or damaged, it would be replaced. Never was I told or made aware of the fact that it would still cost me $50.00 “Fifty Dollars” should I have the need to collect on this insurance policy. It is my opinion that you and your agents are using underhanded and deceptive practices in conducting business with the public and these practices should be stopped.
    I will be glad to consider paying a (ONE TIME AND TOTAL FEE) in the amount of $200.00 along with any actual and regular account balance remaining, for your written statement that I will have (PAID IN FULL) any monetary obligation I may have with you and this will sever in good standing, any and all contractual ties and or obligation between myself and sprint pcs, your agents or subsidiaries. After which we never have to do business with each other again.
    I am reaching out to you once again and in writing to resolve our differences in good faith and I hope you will reach this same conclusion and accept my offer in good faith.
    Dick Gaskin

  15. Exhausted in NY says:

    I am sooooooooooo tired of Sprint. I have NEVER seen a company like this. NEVER.i am so tired of calling to undo their mistakes that are always in their favor.I cannot even begin to write here i am so exhausted from dealing with them. I see they are laying off thousands of people.hmmm

  16. Maribel Rosales says:

    Wow!! I sure feel better knowing that I am not alone. I just wish I knew if there was some kind of law suite that one can do for all the emotional stress they cause. I stayed with Sprint for about 4 years and the past two have been the worst. They charge for things that you have never asked for in example, they added some service so that I could make international phone calls on my phone to Mexico. Ha that was a joke. I think that because my last name is hispanic, It would be alright. I had to sit there and argue with them to take that off, and hadnt realized they had been charging that for quite some time. After they looked at my phone calls and realized I ve never made any international calls, they agreed to take them off. Ive had many other issues and problems with them, but this past week has been the worst. What I don’t understand is how they can treat their customers this way. I called and asked to speak to a supervisor because once again they just took it upon themselves to renew my contract without my consentment written or verbal…..and there is no way on earth I will do that. I had to go through an idiot of their representative and was told the Supervisors were too busy. Good bye Sprint….I dont stress easy but you sure have made me go through alot . Everyone at my work heard the problems I had with you everytime I had to call you. Trust me …None of them use Sprint.I wont permit you too stress me any more and will not allow you to do what you’ve done in the past. Last time I didnt sign a new contract either, but this time I’m going to fight it all the way. There’s too many other cell phone companies and if you were the only one. I rather be phoneless!!