15 Year Customer Leaves Sprint After Horrible Customer Service & Technology Issues
Wireless Cellular PCS Phone Mobile - Complaint
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Short of it; Sprint is consistently rated as worst customer service experience of all wireless companies. I can validate this with my own experience below shared in detail. Additionally, everyone that I know who has at any point engaged Sprint's customer service with an issue has been less than satisfied to thoroughly ticked off by the experience. Sprint's product offering and technical capabilities are lackluster and by no means industry leading. I STRONGLY suggest avoiding Spring if you are not currently a customer and looking for a new cellular provider once your contract is up if you are a current customer. Until then; I wish you luck...
I was a long time Sprint cellular service customer; 15+ years. I had always pad my bills on time and was in good standing as one of their premier/platinum customers. In October of 2012 I purchased an iPhone 5 for the Sprint network. I was provided a discount for renewing my cellular account for another two years but signed no new contract. Shortly after the purchase and activation I started noticing issues [please see below list]. These issues were not 100% consistent but frequent enough [at minimum once a week more often multiple times a day] to be a concern as this was my only phone and used for all situations including business and emergencies. After researching possible known issues and resolutions, I made my way to my local Apple store where I explained my experience, they tested the device, found nothing wrong, but replaced the phone as a one-time courtesy because I was so insistent that there was a problem and doubtful it was the Sprint network since I had 14+ years of quality service prior thereto.
After having my device replaced I saw no improvement with the issues. I reached out to Sprint technical support who walked me through the standard troubleshooting steps which did not help. Frustrated at the amount of time I had spent on the issue and lack of progress I decided to wait a bit to see if Sprint or Apple received enough customer complaints to further investigate. Months later with no improvement I again began to work with Sprint technical support and got a hold of a contact who attempted to take ownership of my issue [thankfully] and worked with me for well over a month to try and figure out what the root cause of my problems was. Additionally, she experienced a couple of these issues herself when in communications with me validating the issues even though Sprints own service quality tracking system did not show the issues [very important note]. The technical support representative and I worked together for a couple months and I finally escalated to management. After 7+ phone calls/escalations I learned that according to Sprint’s own technical support team management there were 18 known issues with the iPhone 5 on the Sprint PCS network. All of my issues were contained in the list she read me. I was very frustrated that I had spent well over 30 hours of my time trying to resolve these issues and they already knew they were Sprint/iPhone 5 wide issues.
At that point I knew the path to resolution was to get off of the iPhone 5 and onto a non-Apple device. I worked with a number of levels of Sprint customer service and their Customer Containment Team in trying to get an exception for Sprint to provide me a free HTC One to use in lieu of the iPhone. The best Sprint offered was partial assistance in the cost. After having paid over $400 for the iPhone when I purchased it, $36 for phone activation, and almost a year’s worth of monthly ‘service’ fees [11 months at a total of $766.37] all totaling about $1240 out of my pocket and not receiving the service for which I was paying their offer was unacceptable. At this point I decided to move to another provider. Why would I stay with Sprint who could not make such a small exception for a good standing customer of over 15 years when the problem was theirs?!
I shopped around and switched my service to another provider and purchased an HTC One to use on their network. So far I have been very happy with this new combination. Shortly after the switch I received my Sprint bill which included a $260.00 + Sprint Surcharges = $300.46 line item. In all fairness I was familiar with the fact that their 2 year contract for the ~$350 price break I was provided when purchasing the phone had previously included an early termination fee. Please also keep in mind the ~$350 price break was from the iPhone’s retail price which I would be utterly shocked if Sprint actually paid that much to Apple per unit. I then called in to Sprint’s customer service line to see what I could have done to waive this fee considering the lack of service reliability I experienced and reason for needing to cancel early.
To me, Sprint not providing the consistent service to which they agreed in the contract and for which I was paying monthly constituted(es) Sprint's breach of contract thereby nullifying any early termination fee clause. Not to mention the fact that I never signed a new contract for the iPhone 5. Upon calling I was told that Derek [the same person with whom I worked to try and get the HTC One on the Sprint network] on their Customer Containment Team was already looking into having this waived for me by a customer service representative. Pleasantly surprised I waited a few days for him to work on the situation and reached out to him. Come to find he, in fact, was not looking into having the early termination fee [ETF] waived for me and was extremely unwilling to take my request to his management for review, refused to allow me to speak with his manager or supervisor, was rude and ultimately just hung-up the phone on me.
It is no wonder Sprint's customer service is consistently rated as the worst in the industry and their customer attrition is horrible. I immediately called another contact in the Customer Containment Team and left a message asking for a manager to contact me and that I wanted to file a complaint against Derek for his poor customer service skills. I never received any callback from this person nor a manager in that team. I then again called the regular customer service line and asked to speak with a manager. After speaking with the reps and being on hold for 22 minutes I was told a manager would call me back within 48 hours. A day and a half later a manager did call me. I missed the call and the manager left me a voicemail stating that Derek was looking into having the ETF waived and if I had any questions to contact him. This was again very frustrating since the point of my call was to register a formal complaint, not to discuss the ETF. I had made that very clear to reps with whom I spoke to escalate my call to a manager.
I was at an impasse and needed some more information. I spent a couple hours researching what other people had done in similar situations. I came across a phone number for the Executive Customer Service team and gave them a call. A representative named Barbara fielded my call, listen to my complaint about Derek and said they would investigate it internally although I would not be told what comes of it. Additionally we discussed the ETF and she offered to waive the ETF [again $300.46] if I would return the iPhone [worth over $600 used] to Sprint. I had already sold the iPhone to help recoup the cost of the HTC One I had to purchase from my new carrier since Sprint's phones do not work on any network but their own. She ultimately spoke with her senior management and was able to offer a split of the ETF without the iPhone being returned. I responded that something was better than nothing but I would be pursuing outside assistance from my local news provider in completely settling the matter since I think any ETF is unfair and unreasonable and their offer was not an acceptable resolution. She then retracted the offer and we ended the call. About 10 minutes later Barbara called back stating she wanted to give me my new balance which was $150.23. I asked why it was lower if she retracted the offer to which she replied that since I said something was better than nothing that was me accepting the offer. I reiterated that this was not something I would consider resolution to the issue and that I would continue to pursue having the full amount waived. She then stated that she understood and we again ended the call.
I think this whole scenario is outrageous and abusive. If they don’t provide the service for which they are contractually bound and I am paying, then why is it I that is in breach of contract instead of them? I think they really breached first by not providing service even close to consistent with reasonable expectations and therefor I should not be subject to any ETF or other penalties noted in said contract.
List of issues I encountered while I had an iPhone 5 on the Sprint network over 11 months (one or more of these issues would occur at a minimum of once a week, often much more frequent):
1. Incoming calls not ringing/showing on my phone and/or going straight to voicemail when in a 3G service area showing multiple bars on my service level indicator on the phone.
2. Text messages taking up to 45 minutes to reach the recipient even when the recipient was also on the Sprint network and sitting right next to me in my home. This issue was true for incoming and outgoing messages.
3. Text messages showing a failure to send error message when in fact they did successfully send.
4. Failing to automatically reconnect to saved WiFi networks.
5. Data service failing to transmit data even when the phone’s status indicator showed 3G and multiple bars.
6. Calls being dropped even when phone’s indicator showed multiple bars.
7. Receiving a Call Failed message when attempting to call another phone even when phone’s indicator showed multiple bars.
8. Phone not registering new voicemails for up to 4 hours later even when phone’s indicator showed multiple bars.
9. Connected calls breaking up and ultimately dropping.
10. GPS indicator failing to accurately recognize position. [important for directions]
FYI - In addition to attempting to work directly with Sprint to resolve on this issue, I have also worked with the BBB, Corporation Commission, and submitted a complaint to the FTC to no resolve. I am now working with my attorney to see if there are legal grounds to pursue.