Sprint Blues

Gone to Seed

So this guy flies down to Cancun, Mexico.  He has a laptop with one of those wireless phone cards attached.  He decides to download the cartoon movie, Cars.  The movie is a four giga-byte sized file.  It turns out that his download rate in Mexico is eight dollars per mega-byte.  Do the math, it comes out to $32,000.  After trying to negotiate with his phone company, he manages to get the bill reduced to $16,000.  I’m sorry, but I think that is still outrageous.  I would not pay.  Let them try to collect.  I would make sure that the bad publicity cost them more then they could ever collect.

I say that, but years ago we faced a somewhat similar incident.  We have Sprint.  Remember that name as I tell my own little tale of woe.  We were vacationing at the Cabin.  One of our sons, who shall remain nameless, made quite a few calls back to Saint Louis.  We weren’t concerned at the time, because we had contracted for free long distance and free roaming, plus the Canadian rider on our phone plan.  Or so we thought.  Sprint thought that we had only contracted for the Canadian rider on Anne’s phone.  The Cabin is close enough to Canada that at the whim of the fates, a cell phone call could be either international or not.

The weather gods favored Canada that summer.  If recollection serves me correctly, this misunderstanding cost us over a thousand dollars.  It didn’t hit all at once though.  Through the vagaries of Sprint’s billing process, it took three months of billings to accumulate the total debt.  Since then, whenever there is even the slightest of plan changes, I go on-line and often have to correct the same mistake, once again.  As the summer vacation season approaches, I will be vigilant.  Especially, since Anne needs a new phone before she goes.  Girl, get in gear.

My history with Sprint predates wireless, it even predates the Internet.  When I was with my original employer, I called on Sprint in Overland Park, Kansas.  They were still relatively new.  They were only in the long distance business at the time.  At the time it was publicly known that there were frequent complaints about billing errors.  The IT manager that we spoke to said at the time that their billing system was in such shambles that they acquiesced at almost any consumer complaint.  My put is that in the intervening years while their billing system has not improved, their customer services have become better at being non-responsive.  I could try to complain to Sprint, but their customer services help line waits are so long and life is so short.

4 thoughts on “Sprint Blues

  1. Our iPhones have occasionally roamed to Rogers Home in Canada. The first time, I had no idea what Rogers was and therefore, used the phone, which brought up a charge from Foamy Lake Saskatchewan. Nope. Haven’t been anywhere *near* there. AT&T did erase the charge (it wasn’t huge but it was noticeable) and now, whenever I see Rogers on there, I power down and back up, which usually points the phone in the right direction.

    Dogmomster once fought with Verizon (I think) over a similar situation. She had arranged her phone contract to accept the occasional roam. She kept calling until she got a “tech” “support” person who understood what the word “contract” meant and he promised to program the system (?) to not charge extra for the Canadian roaming. That story is probably not accurately told, maybe she’ll comment.

  2. One more, this time Sprint, which our kids both have. Mouse managed to take her Sprint phone to Africa, where of course it didn’t work and the battery died etc. (Yes, she knew this would be the case and the plan was to get an African phone, which she did.) Anyway…

    I went to try to pay the bill on-line and someone (GG) had changed the password and I couldn’t get into the account to PAY THE BILL (!) and the only way they could reset the password was to text it to the PHONE. Which was (HELLO!) *dead* in Africa!!!

    After about a half hour on the phone (the GG did this, I was *boiling*!), someone decided to “break” the rules and just tell him the password! I then got on-line and paid the bill. Really, do they want their money or not!!!

  3. We had a contract with Verizon in specific areas of Michigan. We have a contract with AT&T for service in the USA.

    Verizon billed for roaming charges on the basis that the consumer needs to periodically get their phone firmware updated – claiming that the consumer is responsible to prevent erroneous roaming charges. Verizon and AT&T know exactly WHERE each phone is located when making the call. There is no need to charge someone who is within the proper area for their contract. Verizon tried to get us to accept cutting the roaming charge in half when we were still in our contracted service area!

    AT&T sent a high $$$ bill, charged from Saskatchewan, for a call made from BPB. I made it clear that (1) we never left the USA, and (2) we have never been in Saskatchewan. Note: The AT&T sales rep also made in clear when we purchased our phones that occasional roaming in Canada would not be a problem and would not result in a charge. We did not pay the charge.

    Moral of the Story: Stick to your guns about your contract. The technology is available to service providers to prevent unwanted roaming.

Leave a Reply