My Column on Cellular company rip-offs
Cellular companies are engaged in a war for consumer accounts but many are not being honest. Here’s my horrible experience with Sprint where I was a loyal customer for 15 years
By Ray Hanania
I was a loyal customer with Sprint for 15 years using their cell phone service without a complaint.
It didn’t matter whether their competitors were offering lower rates or even better service. I didn’t want to change because I know how service fluctuates in the cell phone industry.
But as a loyal customer I also expected some loyalty from my cell phone service provider, Sprint, and when I contacted them to inquire about the rates, lower costs and better service, I got an annoying run around that began with their difficult-to-use automated answering system, their hard-to-reach live human being customer service, and then their seeming anger when I decided that I had enough.
When I decided to leave Sprint, I chose T-Mobile mainly because their customer service was so supportive and always available. I was getting answers from T-Mobile that I couldn’t get from Sprint, and I hadn’t even started my service with them.
Not only did they help me with my concerns, I even received $600 in rebates for transferring over my four phones that were with Sprint.
But Sprint, apparently angry, refused to move all of the lines and they kept two lines including one for my disabled sister, hostage for weeks, causing great personal grief for me and disabling my ability to communicate with my disabled sister.
Call-after-call to Sprint customer service brought different responses and different promises that were all broken. They had me pay for the closing of the contract on two phones using my credit card on the telephone, which I did do. The payment was automatic, and yet they still refused to release the phones for two weeks.
Then they doubled billed me and told me in addition to paying off the contract on the two phones I also had to pay an additional fee to pay for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which they claimed was more than $500.
The irony was that the Samsung phone wouldn’t even work with the T-Mobile system because Sprint “branded” the phone with their own controls and system so in reality you can’t move a Sprint phone to another cell service. You have to toss the Sprint phone out. Even when I finally got the number transferred to T-Mobile, it continued to display Sprint’s logo when it was turned on, and it wouldn’t allow the SMS and Texting features to work with T-Mobile. Calls were interrupted. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was a disaster.
I bought the phone through Best Buy, which in reality was the WORST BUY because Best Buy refused to help with the problem. They told me what they didn’t tell me when I bought the phone from them: “We have no control over Sprint’s equipment. We just sell them.”
Great I said. I’ll never buy another crappy phone from Best Buy again.
The other problem was that as I reviewed my Sprint bill, I noticed that they were billing me for Chicago cell phone taxes that were outrageously high and had been doing so for years. I live in the suburbs of Chicago. All of the users live in the suburbs of Chicago. But Sprint refused to look at the charges.
The experience was hell, but despite all the hassles, I decided it was still best to go through that hell than to stay with Sprint using a Best Buy cell purchased phone.
And I am thankful everyday since for that decision.
I wrote the column originally for the Illinois News Network and you can click here to read it. It’s worth a read.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and author, and former Chicago City Hall Reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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