Sprint PCS Complaint - Sprint's 'Mail-In Rebate' Scam
Resolution Update on 04/29/2010:
Shortly after submitting my complaint to the BBB I was contacted multiple times by Ms. Vanessa Brown from Sprint Executive & Regulatory Services and the matter got resolved surprisingly quick.
My check arrived in the mail on 04-24-2010.
I thank the BBB for putting pressure on the case which finally caused Sprint to seriously review my case.
Nevertheless I still think that a company that make their customers fight for what's legally theirs doesn't deserve my business, so I have moved to another cell phone provider.
OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS -- I bought the HTC Touch phone on April 1st 2008, in the Virgin Mega Store (6801 Hollywood Blvd #105, Hollywood CA 90028) for a total of $270.61 (including tax), with a promised rebate of $100, that was supposed to be received after sending in a 'rebate form' that they were going to send me in the mail within 3 months. Thus getting the price down to roughly $170.
Apart from a bunch of other problems which I won't bother officially complaining about (no reception anywhere in or a 1 mile radius around my house, a broken card reader slot and AC adapter that both didn't fall under the $7 a month insurance), I obviously never received the rebate form within the promised 3 months.
I went back to the store 4 times to talk to the sales representatives that had sold me the phone to ask what was wrong, and they advised me to wait another 3 months, twice.
The 5th time I decided to go back, Sprint had parted ways with Virgin, so they were nowhere to be found. By then I had been waiting 9 months.
I then visited the next nearest Sprint store (364 South La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA90048) who, after approximately 30 minutes waiting, could not help me and advised me to contact customer service over the phone.
The reason I had not done this yet was because of my bad experiences with customer service regarding my other complaints.
After numerous phone calls, mainly consisting of being reconnected to 'unauthorized' personnel, spending hours waiting, only to find your call being dropped eventually. Having a phone that does not work in your own house/neighborhood obviously did not help.
In September 2008 I eventually managed to get through to a 'supervisor' named 'Jay' (all the customer service personnel have neither last names nor employee numbers), he promised me to fix everything for me, I obviously felt very relieved and trusted him.
I was supposed to fax him my sales receipt together with my mailing address under attention of 'Jay' along with promotion code 05/97140 to fax number 1866 9641216 and could expect my rebate within 3 months.
I'm not in possession of a fax machine, neither do I have access to one, but 'Jay' helpfuly advised me to go to the Sprint store, because they could fax it for me.
I did that the same day, at another Sprint store location this time, naively hoping I would be able to avoid the 30 minute wait time. Needless to say I never heard from 'Jay' again.
By this time I had moved to another part of hollywood, but I made sure Sprint got notice of this, and 'Jay' was also aware of this. Also I made sure an extended USPS mail forwarding service was set up.
Another 3 months later I was back at where I once was, calling customer service for hours on end. And also contacting them through the website www.sprintrebates.com, explaining my situation. This usually led to them telling me this was an issue that needed to be resolved over the phone, providing me with the same phone number I had been calling all allong.
After a while I finally got through to another 'supervisor' named 'Nathan' through e-mail. He promised me to solve the issue, just like 'Jay' once had. I now had to send in the same stuff (receipt/address/promocode) via regular mail, and I could expect my 'status' to be updated within 3 weeks, and a rebate in the mail within 3 months. This obviously did not happen, but since our contact was through e-mail, I was able to contact him again, and he then advised me to scan all the info and send it to him in an e-mail (I had suggested this method from the very start since this is the only way to know for sure that nothing got lost in the process).
'Nathan' confirmed he had received my info and also promised and expedited process of only 3 weeks (or 15 business days as he called it). This was 02-22-2010, 3 weeks from that date would have been 03-09-2010
For a change my 'status' on www.sprintrebates.com did turn into a 'green' bar showing I should receive my check in the mail on or before 03-28-2010. Obviously nothing happened. I contacted 'Nathan' a couple of times more, we got to the point where I had to send them my address (for verification) through e-mail, and then they would cancel the original check and issue a new one. After verifying my address twice 3 days ago (I got the same e-mail twice) I haven't heard anything yet, but I strongly doubt miracles will happen. They can play this game for as long as they feel like it.
Basically I have been actively pursuing my rebate for a measly $100 for 2 years now, my contract with Sprint could have ended this month, but I figured I would wait with dropping my service until after I got the rebate. So far it has cost me approximately 40 hours of my time, not mentioning gas money/stamps/etc. I live here on a F1 Student Visa that will come to an end soon, so my time here is extremely precious (let alone expensive). By now this is obviously more a matter of principle than money, since it cost me way more than the $100 I will be getting, someday.
Complaints have been filed with the following:
California Attorney General