Monday, March 20, 2017

Say No To Sprint

You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s been a bad few weeks in cell phone land. The story actually goes back a decade to when I was living in the basement of my grandmother’s house. Those days were dark enough but I needed a cell phone and there was only one company that had any service. That company was Nextel. It was OK though because I had a cell phone that worked so my kids, ex-wife(s), work, grandmother and everyone else I really didn’t want to talk to could get a hold of me. You would think that was easy enough, right? Not exactly, because Sprint bought Nextel not very far into it and when the service evaporated I was forced to call Sprint to cancel my phone.

Again, what did I know right? The hard sell was applied to me and I wasn’t as jaded as I am now, so when the Sprint operator told me that I could get a free Palm Centro if I switched over to Sprint, I believed them when they said that market research said they had the best service in the area. I have unfortunately been with Sprint ever since. I had a Palm Centro (which had no reception) followed by a Palm Pre (which had no reception) then a Samsung Galaxy Epic (that had no reception) followed up by a Samsung Galaxy S4 (with no reception). This is where things started getting bad. My S4 had issues let’s say. This isn’t Sprint’s fault of course, but it did start the train of thinking which enlightened me. Sprint wouldn’t upgrade the phone with the bad camera. I can accept that I have never had cell service worth a damn but a bad camera? No way.

I dealt with it for as long as I could, a couple of years in fact. The Sprint service like the camera on my phone didn’t work in 3 places, at home, at work and of course, everywhere else. When it was time to upgrade the phone they wanted my contract changed, or another couple of years added to my old contract or 700$ for the phone. Sprint (like Verizon) uses the non-standardized CDMA style phones. Unlike the GSM phones that AT&T, T-Mobile and the rest of the world uses you can’t just buy a new phone from anywhere and snap your SIM card in it. As long as you use a network based on CDMA you are using a phone made specifically for the provider, and when Sprint decides you aren’t getting one you can’t just go to Amazon or Best Buy and buy a new one. I was desperate when I bought a used one.

The HTC One Max that I bought had a camera that worked great! Of course it was clunky and nothing else worked very good. As a Sprint customer I have been programmed to accept phones and networks that don’t work. In over 10 years I have never had a good phone call on Sprint. I have never had actual 4G and I have had nothing but headaches. The worst of the worst was that phone was a total burden while I was on my cruise. It was a pain in the ass to carry, hard to handle when I wanted to take a picture, and I decided I was going to get a new phone when I got back whether Sprint provided it or not. I’m sorry to make this a long post but I need any of you reading this to understand what happened and why I am actually writing this. Bear with me a bit longer.

I ordered my new phone (Samsung s7 Edge) and got a call a few hours later telling me there was a problem with my order. It took the usual hour and a half on the phone to find out the order was cancelled and nobody knows why. I still don’t know why. I was told I had to go back online to order again but when I tried my upgrade availability was reset to March 2019. They could cancel my phone on a whim but not change my account back to the way it was? Assholes! Two hours of phone call later and they assured me it was reset. An hour and a half of phone call the next day and they assured me that they had fixed it. Day 3 and I was finally able to re-order my phone. By day 5 I was forced to spend almost 3 hours on the phone and 5 (yes FIVE) sales associates later, I found out there is a problem but they don’t know what it is. The last person in the chain asked me to give them 24 hours and he would call me back. I was exhausted and accepted this, but I promised myself that 24 hours was the end.

26 hours later I was forced to call again, because nobody got back to me. Like the same idiot who dealt with Sprint for ten years I checked voice mail, e-mail and text messages all day. After 20 minutes on the phone they were ready to start passing me around again. I said no, and that someone on the other end of the line actually had the nerve to get crabby with me because I wasn’t willing to speak to someone else “and be enjoying my new phone as soon as possible?” This was when I lost it. I was dealing with a phone bank spanning several continents, trained to treat people like a used car dealer. Without repeating the language I demanded that the order be cancelled so I can switch providers. The person on the other end of the phone was happy to do this and it was the only “easy” thing I have ever done with Sprint. I mean what the hell is wrong with these people?

Here’s what made me really angry. I decided to go online and sign up for AT&T. Took me about 15 minutes to switch my number over and within an hour I had my new phone. Seriously, programmed, charged and everything, I just had to pick it up on my way to the airport. I went with AT&T because I will NEVER play the CDMA game again, and I don’t trust T-Mobile. Everyone I work with have Verizon phones and they get a couple of bars where I get none, but they still have to beg to get customer service or new phones without trading a baby or a car title for it. They own your ass after all (CDMA). I at least knew should I have an issue I can buy a Chinese phone for peanuts and if it lasts 6 months who gives a crap? What I didn’t know was that it was all a lie. Every bit of it was a lie, and I could smash my television every time I see a Sprint commercial.

Saturday, I went into work and I placed my new phone on the desk where I always left my Sprint POS. My factory is in the middle of nowhere. I mean we are lucky to get electricity much less phone service. The phone made noises. I picked it up to see that I had alerts, and not the “you have no service” alerts my old phone gave me. No I had 4 bars of 4GLTE screaming in app updates, text messages and emails. I felt like a connected human being for the first time in … ever! The same at home. My new AT&T service is rocking strong everywhere. I was completely furious with Sprint and the worst was yet to come. I still had to go home and completely cancel the Sprint account, and I probably don’t need to tell you where this is going, but I will share this for those who think they are alone.

While the phone number on all my business cards was transferred to a new account easy enough, the second line had to be a new number. Sprint kept loading the other line with the former numbers of derelicts and/or crack addicts. No matter how many times it got changed, angry people at all hours of the day would call for the former owner. Like the misery of changing that number over and over so was the agony that I knew was coming to cancel it. This is made even worse by the extreme hatred I was feeling for Sprint in general. I was kind to the first Indian who lied to me about service upgrades and telling me about how there was no supervisor available to cancel my service. I told him, they wouldn’t call back politely and held firm to talking to one now. The second Indian was more frustrating as he lied about the service and went as far as to tell me that a new phone would maybe solve my problems. A new phone would have solved THEIR problems, and it was like another stab in my angry ribs. There was no supervisor above him available. I lost my temper, I’m human.

There was another Indian in there but he got the one word treatment from me. “Would it help if we sent a network upgrade to your phone?” Seriously, I would have fallen for that 5 years ago, but it is 100% factually impossible. He would put me on hold for 10 minutes here 10 minutes there each time getting on the line lying to me about service upgrades and how there wasn’t a supervisor, but they would call me back. I would say “no they won’t I am sick of the lying I will wait,” and you know what is really sick? They don’t take being called a liar personally or get indignant about it. They actually know and accept that they are lying. That is pathetic at its core.

The last one (it works like this first one almost no English hoping you will hang up, second one better English hoping you will think that it was all a translation issue but you will still hang up, third one even better English, better lying, con artist who understands the brush off then finally ..) was actually an American. This is the finish line folks. She will lie to you, she will try to blame you, she will act like it can all be fixed. She took her yelling and screaming like a boss, let me tell you. She finally agreed to cancel the service once I convinced her that I would actually go to the nearest Sprint store and create chaos. I had actually reached the point where I would go to jail after making a mess of a Sprint store, and they had driven me to this!

Like a used car dealer this is no way to treat people. Some people hate how I treat used car dealers, like they are subhuman. I’m sure there are places where they are perfectly fine people but they aren’t around here. The cell phone companies have a better model for treating you this way because they just make you deal with a gauntlet of phone operators. On the other hand used car salesmen always treat me good because I am up front that I will come back. I have even dragged one out of his office and made him drive around with me in a car with a clanging transmission. It took this dealership a month of lying to me about fixing the transmission or telling me it was my imagination. This is why the whole phone game is pure genius. Most people won’t deal with this, and that is EXACTLY why, when I see the guy from the old Verizon commercials saying that Sprint is within 1% of everyone else, I lose my temper a little bit. I assure you that the Sprint service isn’t even worth trying, regardless of the cost. Paying half price for 0 or full price for more to a lot more than 0? Think about it folks, before you end up being a bitter old blogger writing about a stupid cell phone company.

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