Sprint PCS Complaint - My problems with Sprint PCS
LONDON, KENTUCKY -- This is the text of a letter I sent to Sprint PCS:
I am writing to express my disdain at the inept service I have received as a customer of Sprint PCS. I have been a customer since March 1999, and initially chose Sprint because of its competitive prices and hassle-free, straightforward plans. In the past six months I have become extremely dissatisfied with the increasingly convoluted way in which my account has been handled. The following are accounts of these incidents.
· In July of 2000, I agreed to sign up for a one-year service term because I had no problems with Sprint, and was under the impression I would stay on another year regardless of the service term. In return, I was offered a $10 credit for the add-a-phone service I was paying for. At the time I had been paying $14.99 per month for add-a-phone. On my next bill. I did see the $10 credit, but I also saw that now the $14.99 per month for add-a-phone was changed to $10 per phone. When I called in about this, the person I spoke with informed me that the rates had just been changed, and now the add-a-phone option was $10 per phone. I find it very convenient that Sprint PCS changed the add-a-phone prices just when I began receiving my $10 credit, making their loss $5 instead of $10. Also I was not informed of this change in pricing, which I find suspicious.
· In September 2000, my phone was damaged and would not work any more, and I have been paying for the equipment replacement program since the beginning of my account with Sprint PCS. What I found out was that I had to pay a $35 deductible and I would receive a refurbished phone similar to my original phone. So if I had paid $3.25 every month up until that point, that would make it $61.75, plus the $35 deductible is $96.75. That means I paid $96.75 for a used phone that flickers in and out of service at any given moment and drops calls on a regular basis. I could have bought the same phone new for $69.99 with a mail-in rebate from the Sprint PCS website. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was charged a $29.99 activation fee for activating my new phone. When I called in about it, the representative told me it should have been waived because I had the equipment replacement program, but someone had accidentally forgotten to waive it.
· In October 2000, I received a mailing about the Sprint PCS Clear Privilege reward that I was entitled to. Of the three options, I chose 30% off my next Sprint PCS invoice. I received two mailings, one for each phone on my account. When I called in, it asked for my Sprint PCS phone number and I entered the number of the primary phone. When I received the invoice that showed the Clear Privilege credit, the amount was about 3% of my invoice, not 30%. When I called in, I was told that the 30% was applied to the charges on my secondary phone, not my primary phone. Since I had $80.48 on my primary phone’s charges and only $12.25 on my secondary phone’s charges, 30% was taken off of the $12.25. That might make sense if I had entered the secondary phone number when I called in to claim the credit; however I had entered the primary phone number and even made a note of it in case it would be a problem later. Again, the representative said that this would be fixed on my next bill.
· Today, I called in to change my billing plan, since it is the last day of my billing cycle, and Sprint has been advertising many new service plans. Originally, I wanted the 2000 minute plan that included 1000 any time minutes and 1000 night and weekend minutes for $74.99. I got this information from a mailing I received, and on the mailing it says that this service plan is available until January 14, 2001. But the representative informed me that regardless of the mailing I had received, this plan was no longer available, and instead there was a 2000 minute plan with 500 anytime minutes and 1500 night and weekend minutes for $69.99. Even though it was cheaper, I wanted more than 500 any time minutes, so she suggested the 3000 minute plan, which had 1000 anytime minutes and 2000 night and weekend minutes for $74.99. Since I pay $74.99 anyway for 1000 minutes, I decided to go ahead with this plan. While the representative was processing this, I asked questions to make sure nothing else would be changed without my knowledge; I specifically asked about the $10 add-a-phone credit mentioned earlier. It was then that she informed me that the $10 add-a-phone credit for agreeing to a one-year service term would no longer apply. When I asked why, she explained that my account only allows for two options, one of which is free long distance, and the other the $10 add-a-phone credit. This was the first time I was hearing about “options” on my account, the fact that I was limited to two options, and that long distance and the $10 add-a-phone credit are considered options. But the plan I had just chosen has 2000 night and weekend minutes, and since this was also considered an “option” I had surpassed my limit of two, and would not receive the $10 add-a-phone credit any more. I thought this whole thing was ridiculous, and asked her to cancel the switching of my plan. First of all, I have never been told about options, or that I was limited to two. I have also never been told what are considered options. Secondly, the fact that a credit that I had been given in exchange for signing a one-year service agreement is considered an option on my account is preposterous. Thirdly, the representative told me that “free nights and weekends” are considered an option. However, this plan does not give me free nights and weekends. By paying $74.99, I would be paying for the 1000 anytime and 2000 night and weekend minutes. And when those 2000 night and weekend minutes are used up, I would pay per minute for any overage. So I do not understand why 2000 nights and weekends, which are part of the plan, are considered an “option.”
· Finally, I have found the prices to be inconsistent with Sprint PCS advertising. As mentioned earlier, I received a mailing which offered 2000 minutes divided into 1000 any time minutes and 1000 night and weekend minutes for $74.99, available until January 14, 2001. The representative informed me that regardless of the mailing I had received, this plan was no longer available, and instead there was a 2000 minute plan with 500 anytime minutes and 1500 night and weekend minutes for $69.99. On the website at this moment, there is an advertisement for 2000 minutes, of which 500 are anytime and 1500 night and weekend. The price for this plan, however, is listed as $49.99 on the website.
These incidents have increasingly demonstrated that Sprint PCS is lacking in customer care and is primarily concerned with extorting as much money as possible through hidden charges and the supposed incompetency of someone who forgot to waive a certain fee or didn’t apply my reward option to my entire bill, as I was led to believe. I am irritated that although I have provided close to $3000 of revenue for Sprint PCS, I have received inept service, both in the handling of my account, and in the actual airtime service of my phone. I have also been subject to what I consider deceitful tactics in throwing in extra charges and hidden fees and conditions on any sort of rewards I have received for being a loyal customer, without any notice of these fees, changes to my account, and conditions applied. I plan on forwarding this account to consumer interest groups so others are aware of the way Sprint PCS conducts business and treats its customers.