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13 Replies Latest reply: Jul 27, 2011 6:47 PM by pharaoh0 RSS

SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.

Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 14

  I received the following message from 9099

  SprintFreeMsg.  An account has been successfully added to your My Sprint profile on Sprint.com.

  (During the following interactions I had included this in my list of spam messages since I was working from the Message summary screen on my phone and only noticed it was a legit message when I began to type this.)

 

Jul 12

  I received the following spam from 4483

  SprintFreeMsg: Turn your Epic 4G into a Wi-Fi router and connect up to 5 devices with Sprint Mobile Hotspot.  <url> Reply END to stop

 

Jul 20

  I received the following spam from 4444

  SprintFreeMsg: Go more places with your Samsung Epic 4G.  Get cool tips, tricks and free apps at <url> Reply END to stop

 

  At this point I logged onto my sprint account

   -> My preferences

    -> Email & Sprint notifications

  I set 'No' on every form of communication for every device on my account for the "How can we contact you about the latest devices, discounts and more?" section

 

Jul 26

  I received the following spam from 7777

  SprintFreeMsg: Pick a winning NASCAR driver and you could win $1 million.Enter now in NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile or at <url> Reply END to stop

 

  I called 1-888-211-4727 (I am not sure of the name spellings)

  Eddy answered the phone and verified my account access.

  I explained that I was receiving the above spam text messages and asked if they were from Sprint.

  She said they were.

  I explained that I had already set my account to not receive spam messages and asked her to stop these messages.

  She said I would need to reply 'END ALL' to stop the messages.

 

  [As a security rule, no one should ever respond to a spam message in any form for any reason. The odds that it will stop the spam are very low and the odds that you will have your number sold to partners as a "good number" are very high.  If it is a legitimate company you should call them and have yourself removed.]

 

  I explained this to Eddy and asked her to remove my devices from the marketing systems.

  She did some research and talked to a couple people and determined that she did not have the ability to remove me.

  I asked to be transferred to someone who could.  (Even though she could not solve my problem Eddy was professional and tried to help.)

 

  She transferred me to Dana at installations.

  I went through pretty much the exact same conversation with Dana and had to explain the 'don't reply to spam' rule a couple times.

  At this point I'm becoming a bit frustrated.  I point blank say that I refuse to reply to a spam message and explain that either Sprint will remove me from the marketing list or I will call customer support every single time I get a message and spend as much time on the phone trying to get Sprint to remove me as it takes.

  Ignoring everything I've previously said she tells me to text 'END ALL' to the spam to stop them.  She says that if I do this it will stop the short code from sending further messages.

  I point out that the short code is changed every time they send a spam and ask how that is going to work.

  Dana tells me I will have to reply to each message.  (See security rule above.)

  I ask to speak with a manager.

  Dana quickly says "let me get you to tech support", instantly puts me on hold and cold transfers me to tech support.

 

  Latoya in tech support answers the phone.

  I ask her if I was just cold transferred or if she has had any information passed along to her.

  She says I was just transferred.

  I start from the beginning and go through everything above.

  (Once again even though she could not solve my problem, I appreciated the effort Latoya put in trying to help me.)

  I ask for a manager.

 

  After about a 20 minute wait I get Darnel.

  I go through everything that has happened, specifically registering a complaint about Dana for the cold transfer and ask to be removed from the marketing messages.

  Darnel tells me to text 'STOP' to get them to stop.

  I explain why you should never reply to a spam and he says well that's the answer.

  I ask how I got signed up to Sprint spam texts to begin with and he says I must have opted in.  I explain that this is not possible.

  He then says that these are not spam message but information related to my account, so I read spam 7777 to him.

  He says "well you must have installed the NASCAR app."

  At this point I'm starting to get a bit mad.  I have tried to get sprint to remove that BLOATWARE app and several others on more than one occasion.  I explain that the app came preloaded and locked to the phone.

  I tell him that about a month ago I had a rep tell me the only way to remove the bloatware is to root my phone which would void my warranty.  So I did and the NASCAR app has not been on my phone since.

  He explains that rooting my phone will void my warranty.

  I explain that the rep I spoke with informed me that when I un-root my phone the warranty will be valid and either way it is unrelated to this problem.

  Darnel then says he has a solution that will stop the messages "but you wont like it."

  I ask what that is.

  Darnel (a manager if that's true) tells me that if I take my phone to the Sprint store they can do a reset of my phone and that will stop these messages.

  I give him the following analogy.

 

  A telemarketer is calling your house every day at dinner.  You go buy a new phone (reset the device) thinking that will somehow make this person out in the world somewhere stop calling you.

 

  Darnel explains to me the difference between a telephone call and data.

  I ask if there is software on my phone that is requesting these spam messages.  He says no.

  I ask him to explain how a reset will stop these messages being sent from outside my phone.

  He then says "You have been provided the solution to your question."

  I then point out that I have been given FOUR different solutions.

    1.  The messages say reply 'END' to stop.

    2.  Three of the four people I have spoken to say to reply 'END ALL' to stop.

    3.  Darnel answer one - reply 'STOP' to stop.

    4.  Darnel answer two - do a factory reset of my phone to stop the messages.

 

  At this point I ask Darnel if he can 100% for sure verify that all of these messages came from Sprint.  He says he can not verify for sure.

  Amazed, I refer back to the rule of why you should never respond to a spammer, especially one pretending to be someone else and randomizing the short code.

  I once again ask to be removed from all Marketing spam on all my devices.

  Darnel then says he just noticed that all short codes have been blocked on my account almost an hour ago.

  I ask him if he means 'all' or just 'marketing.'

  He tells me that I requested to stop all short codes.

  I explain that I had only asked to be removed from marketing spam not block all short codes.

  He tells me that it is the same thing.

  I explain that I want to receive legitimate account related messages such as any overages I may get or in case I forget pay a bill or anything that is truly related to my account.

 

  Darnel (supposedly a manager) simply hangs up on me.

 

  <Breath deeply> 

 

One thing I noticed with the above spam compared to the account message.  The account message uses a . not a : after SprintFreeMsg.  This is not a typo on my part, but it does make me doubt the origin of the messages.  (See the security rule above.)

 

I was a T-Mobile customer for over 10 years for a reason.  This is worse than any and all bad support interactions I have ever had with them.

I only gave Sprint a shot since I would rather go without a phone than be a victim of AT&T again.  This is the kind of service that made me leave them.

 

Sprint forum support,

  1.  Please set my account so I am able to receive legit account related messages if that has been blocked.

2.  Assuming these spam messages are legit from Sprint, please stop them.  (See the security rule above.)

3.  If they are not from Sprint, why do you not filter any message starting with 'SprintFreeMsg' originating outside of your system?  This leaves your customers vulnerable to fraud.  (I would suggest a case insensitive filter) (I'm not cheap but I can help your techs write a simple regex expression to find these.)  If you're going to force feed us bloatware add a simple app to color highlight legitimate Sprint texts.  (Once again, I'm not cheap but I can write that for you as well.)

4.  Which support option can I expect in the future, the ineffective but helpful Eddy and Latoya or the give obviously wrong information and 'dump the call' Dana and supposed manager Darnel?

 

In the interest of fairness, I did read recently that Sprint is planning to stop including bloatware on future devices.  I hope this is true.

 

Please have someone who is effective, helpful and preferably apologetic call me to confirm that this is resolved and that your recordings of my calls will be reviewed.  I accept that I may be misremembering a point or two here and there but these are the facts as I remember them according to the notes I took during the call.

 

Including composing this post I have now spent nearly 3 hours on this issue.

  • 1. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    pharaoh0 Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    You wrote:

    Blaine5555 wrote:

    ...

      [As a security rule, no one should ever respond to a spam message in any form for any reason. The odds that it will stop the spam are very low and the odds that you will have your number sold to partners as a "good number" are very high.  If it is a legitimate company you should call them and have yourself removed.]
    ....

    This is generally good advice because usually you are not sure where the "spam" messages are coming from.  Usually replying causes the problem to escalate because it confirms that the number is a good number.  HOWEVER, this is not the case here.  You know these are from SPRINT.  They are sending you automated messages because you are a customer from multiple Sprint advertising departments.  So, here is what you do:

     

    #1: You can reply "END" to stop the messages from each individual Sprint ad dept.  so, if you don't want Nascar, then reply "END" to this message and the automated system will stop it.  But, you'll still get the other messages.  Additionally, STOP, END, QUIT, CANCEL or UNSUBSCRIBE also work too.  More info here: 

    http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Unsubscribe_or_opt-out_from_a_Premium_Text_Messaging_service/case-cx832318-20091104-115757#__highlight&id16=stop%2Bsprint%2Btext

     

    #2: You can reply "END ALL" to stop all messages from Sprint in their entirety.  "END ALL" is a phrase hardwired into the system to eliminate you from the universe of Sprint advertising via text.

     

    #3: You can personally block messages from your account by entering in the numbers.  Go here

    http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Block__restrict_or_allow_text_services_on_your_phone_via_My_Sprint/case-fk158645-20100930-171711#__highlight&id16=block%2B

     

    Since the system is very automated (for privacy and security), a human will not be able to do this for you without going through a ton of redtape (they won't and legally, they have provided you with multiple ways to stop the messages).  So, in order to save time time and have fun , I would suggest one of the three methods above and be done with it!

  • 2. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Actually I do not know that these messages are from sprint.  Even the 'manager' said he couldn't tell for sure.  More to the point, I do not care where SPAM originates.  Sprint spam is no better than viagra spam.

     

    But, lets just assume they are from Sprint.  I will not respond to a spam message, it encourages the behavior.  They can spam all they want and the system deals with the fallout.  Besides, as noted above I did use the tools provided by sprint and opted out on their web site.  I still get the messages.  You want me to believe that the 'spam unsubscribe reply software' was written better than the 'web spam opt out software' that did not work?  No, now they get to spend resources on phone support dealing with an issue that they should have handled on the web (****, they should never have auto opted me in at all.)  If I had opted in, it would be different and I would reply, but this is pure unsolicited text spam.

     

    Making it difficult to opt out is simply dirty spammer tricks.

     

    "Since the system is very automated (for privacy and security),..." BS.  The system is rigged to make it difficult to opt out.  If you want to talk 'legally.'  I have personally instructed Sprint to stop sending me these messages, on their web site and on the phone.  That is all I'm required to do, I do not have to jump through hoops and hope that the one set of software works better than the other.

     

    Still looking for a response from Sprint.

  • 3. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    pharaoh0 Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Technically, all Sprint is "legally" obligated to do is to provide a means for you to unsubscribe from their messages.  They have.  You must respond using methods #1 or #2 above.  Then, they will removed you from the list.  They can legally send you these messages, as any other carrier would too, because you have a business relationship with them.  If you call in, they are not obligated to remove you via that method.  You may not like it, but that's the law.  So, that's why I said what I said.  You are waiting for Sprint to do something they aren't going to do and wasting a ton of your time in the process.

     

    And, from a technicial standpoint, the system is automated for privacy and security.  The point of an automated computer system is to remove the humans from it.  They do this 1) so very few people have the ability to see the master lists and 2) so many hands do not have access to the system....these are better known to computer experts as privacy and security. And yes, both the web and phone spam unsubscribe software works when dealing with legitimate businesses.  When a business is not legitamate, then no...that's the point of bad spam!!!

     

    And lastly, if you do not want to reply back, I listed option #3 for you.  This is NOT an "opt out" method.  This is a text number block.  Since you have the four digit codes, you can merely add them to your text block list via the instructions provided.  THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM OPTING OUT BY CLICKING A CHECK BOX. 

     

    Spam s*cks!!!  But you are really making a mountain out of a molehill and wasting a ton of time in the process.  It is not that "difficult" and I have outline 3 methods that you could use.  Additionally, Sprint usually contracts their advertising out (like almost all companies)...so, really there is nothing customer care can do besides tell you how to respond to the messages to stop them. 

     

    EDIT:  For anyone reading this, please NEVER respond to the actual content of a message you didn't sign up for...simply reply to the number to opt out.  Most scams will use the Sprint texting codes (in the from section) b/c they are known but include bogus info in the content.  A reply will merely send a msg to Sprint if it is their code.  I would contact Sprint to verify if the from number is a Sprint text number (they will not guarantee the message is from them b/c a person could spoof their text code, but they can verify the number).

  • 4. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Mr.Sprintastic Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    Blaine5555,

     

    Sorry your having an issue getting this taken care of.  Please send me a private message with your phone number and I will take a look.

     

    Thanks,

     

    -Ron

  • 5. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    So lets break it down.

    1.  I used their web opt out.  I still get spam.

     

    2.  Even the 'manager' could not confirm that these came from Sprint.

     

    3.  In case you missed it above, none of the messages came from the same code, so how does your blocking "solution" work?

     

    4.  This system does not provide any added privacy or security for this topic.  Every agent I spoke with was able to pull up all my text messages and read them (at least a couple of them said "yes I see that message.")  This system is designed to make it difficult to opt out.

     

    5.  Whether we agree on 4 or not, the CS reps don't need access to my messages in order to click a button that turns off the spam.  Sprint needs to provide them with that button, as well as make the button in my preferences panel work.

     

    Since you keep wanting to include this "legally" straw-man angle, please link to your source for "legal" requirements. 

     

    However, even with a link to that source, this topic is about Horrible customer support and spam.  "Legally" will only matter if it bothers me enough to sue and/or drop service while trying to avoid the ETF.  I have not threatened either and I really don't see this issue going that far.  This issue will be a factor when my contract rolls over, other than that I'm just here to vent.  I find this entire situation unacceptable AS A CUSTOMER.  If everyone simple rolls over and takes it, these things will not change.  Sprint has shown a willingness recently to make changes that customers want, see the reference to bloatware above.

     

    I can see that you are a huge fan of Sprint, to the point of making me wonder if you are not the anonymous voice of a frustrated Sprint CS agent.  But all of that aside, rehashing the same "its not hard to do what they say" is not going to change my mind.  Something that could be helpful, you seem to know a great deal about Sprint's services.  Do you know if there is a number or link that I can use to register a complaint about the service I've received?  Something specific, like an 'internal affairs' or QA type of department, I have no interest in getting connected to Darnel ver. 2.

     

    To keep it on point.

    1.  This thread was created due to the horrible support I received.  I am looking for a Sprint rep to address this 'support.'

     

    2.  I will not reply to the spam.  I will call customer support every time I get a message from here on.

     

    3.  Your opinion on mountains vs. molehills is just your opinion.  I appreciate your point of view and your input but I disagree.  If I'm am bothering you with my concerns I'm sorry, but you are not required to answer.  I have no interest in trying to change your mind on any of this.

     

    4.  Good customer service would have been, making the 'web opt out' work but if there's a bug, enabling the first agent I spoke with to stop the 'Sprint spam' would have been fine.  Bad service is 3 transfers, plain flat out wrong information from a manager and a hang up.

  • 6. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thanks Mr.Sprintastic, number sent.

  • 7. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    pharaoh0 Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Wow...that's a lot.  I am not questioning your want for better customer service, but I am merely questioning your need to pour so much time into a simple issue.  I tried to provide you with a solution...you don't like the solution and want something different...not sure if that can actually be provided.

     

    but to answer what you addressed to me:

     

    1. I said block the spam...not use the "opt out".  Opting out and blocking are different things.  Going online and opting out usually works well for the Sprint email stuff, but not so well for texts.  Blocking it will nip it in the bud.

     

    2. No one will COMFIRM they came from Sprint because someone could spoof the sprint number and send you a message.... BUT they will confirm if it is their text code and hence you can feel safe to reply to that number under #1 or #2 above.  You must differentiate between the message and the number that it is received from.  For instance, it is possible for someone to call somebody you know but to use your phone number as the from number.  If that person tried to call back the number, they would get you and not the person that spoofed your number.

     

    3. You have to go to the tech help page and follow the instructions.  You can block individual numbers and text message codes (i.e. 7777, 9099, 4443, etc).  Then when a message comes to your number from one of these numbers, the system will stop it and you will not receive it. 

     

    4. Agents can always pull up your text messages (getting them to give you a copy is bit more difficult), BUT, they do not have access to the main ad system that delivers the messages.  They are merely looking at what was received by you phone...they are not looking at the system to see if you are signed up for the messages.

     

    5. That is a design thing.  The reason why is back to security and privacy.  Sprint doesn't want their reps in the loop of this process.  If a rep were to help you, more than likely they would be sending a text message to one of the numbers (7777, 9099, etc) with END or END ALL in the message.  They want this to be fully automated:  it takes pressure off of their support line and it puts the power to turn them off into your hands.

     

    I really hope that you find a solution that works for you.  I was merely trying to help you to understand what you could do and why you are finding roadblocks within Sprint.  As to the legal bits, it is important because most companies operate within those parameters.  Advertising is very important and many companies lobbied hard to get exceptions to many of the consumer protection laws regarding adverts/solicitations.  Most companies try to provide a wall between themselves and this issue by hiring 3rd parties to do the advertising for them.  This is probably why you were running into so many issues regarding the reps ability to remove you from these lists.  But, I really hope that Mr. Sprintastic can find a resolution for you

     

     

    Blaine5555 wrote:

     

    So lets break it down.

    1.  I used their web opt out.  I still get spam.

    2.  Even the 'manager' could not confirm that these came from Sprint.

    3.  In case you missed it above, none of the messages came from the same code, so how does your blocking "solution" work?

    4.  This system does not provide any added privacy or security for this topic.  Every agent I spoke with was able to pull up all my text messages and read them (at least a couple of them said "yes I see that message.")  This system is designed to make it difficult to opt out.

    5.  Whether we agree on 4 or not, the CS reps don't need access to my messages in order to click a button that turns off the spam.  Sprint needs to provide them with that button, as well as make the button in my preferences panel work.

     

  • 8. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    r.kim Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    pharaoh0, I understand that you're trying to be helpful, and I appreciate the effort you've put into your responses, but I'm another customer dealing with the exact same issue that Blaine5555 is having. I share the same grievances and the same frustrations, and agree completely with his/her position on the issue.

     

    Simply put, Sprint needs to provide a simple, discoverable means to unsubscribe from *all* their unsolicited mass-advertising via their website. And no, I do not consider having to respond to each and every message from an unknown short-code as a viable solution and I hope I'm not forced to craft any tortuous analogies to illustrate why

  • 9. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Mr.Sprintastic Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    To be removed from Sprint's SMS Message (Text) list,  please text the words “END ALL” to 8989. You will receive one final SMS confirming their removal. (Thanks for your loyalty to Sprint. We have removed you from our SMS messaging list.)

     

    Thanks,

     

    -Ron

  • 10. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    This is a solution I can live with.  I have no issue with sending a  text to a verified Sprint number.  This is very different than replying  to unknown unsolicited messages.  Had the first agent suggested this I  would have thanked her and been on my way.

     

    I know you cant discuss (nor should you) any actions that may or may  not happen based on my experience, so I wont ask.   I'm fine knowing it  is being looked into.

     

    I try hard to weigh all experiences and not focus just on the bad, add another point to the positive side.

     

    Thanks for taking the time to respond Mr.Sprintastic.

  • 11. Re: SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    pharaoh0 Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Dude, it is simple and discoverable (if you call or search).  You could reply "END ALL" to any sprint msg and it stops them all (not one at a time unless you like some and don't like others).  If you don't trust that you are sending it to a Sprint number, call *2 to verify the number (not the message).  That was one suggestion I made and the solution given my Mr. Sprintastic (he just used a different Sprint msg code).  My key point was that a sprint rep was not going to personally remove you...something that did not happen here.  I was not commenting on whether I agree with this policy; merely, the futility of requesting a solution that will not be given.

     

    Although I must agree that the END ALL solution should be added to the tech support page, which I listed under option #1.  That is a solution that I knew and apparently customer service knows, but it isn't on the page with the rest of the options....so I will definitely agree there.

  • 12. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    Blaine5555 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Dude, it was neither simple nor discoverable.  This whole mess  started with a call to Sprint to verify the messages.  I spoke with 4  people at Sprint and even the manager could not confirm that those were  sprint messages.  But then you know I called, you know they couldnt  verify the numbers and you know its a bad idea to respond to  questionable spam, you just want to keep arguing.

     

    You are being a bit misleading when you say the  suggestion you made was the same as the one from Mr. Sprintastic.  If  you do not understand the difference between responding to an unknown  number and initiating a send to a known verified number, I'm not sure  what to tell you.  See the sprint icon by Mr.Sprintastic -> Sprint representative.  That makes it a valid number that I will send to.

     

    I apologize for calling you out like this but  you refuse to understand why its bad and you ignore things that have  been stated repeatedly.  You go right ahead and continue to reply to  spam, I really hope that works out for you.  This has turned from a  discussion (that has been resolved btw) to a session of repeated statements going nowhere.  I'm out, I wont be returning to this thread, you win, consider this my "END ALL".

     

    Everyone else, if the spam is claiming to be from a  specific source, look up the contact information separately and contact  them through that channel.  If they dont like it, they shouldn't send  out spam.  It doesn't matter if its some silly phone text from Sprint or  your bank, if it smells phishy don't risk it.

  • 13. SprintFreeMsg Spam and 3 hours of horrible support.
    pharaoh0 Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    You don't need to apologize...different people have varying degrees of understanding when it comes to these things.  I can understand the fear...but, I still don't think you get it (you don't need to verify the message...just the text number) -- but, you have a resolution..so, who cares, right?  But, since you responded to my reply to Roy to say I was "misleading"... let me say that you were given this solution by several Sprint reps, then by me, and then by Mr. Sprintastic (confirming a Sprint code):

     

    From 1st Response:

    "#2: You can reply "END ALL" to stop all messages from Sprint in their  entirety.  "END ALL" is a phrase hardwired into the system to eliminate  you from the universe of Sprint advertising via text."

    From 3rd Response:

    "2. No one will COMFIRM they [the txt msgs] came from Sprint because someone could  spoof the sprint number and send you a message.... BUT they will confirm  if it is their text code and hence you can feel safe to reply to that  number under #1 or #2 above.  You must differentiate between the message  and the number that it is received from. 

    ...

    5. ...  If a rep were to help you, more than likely they would be sending a text  message to one of the numbers (7777, 9099, etc) with END or END ALL in  the message.  They want this to be fully automated:  it takes pressure  off of their support line and it puts the power to turn them off into  your hands."

     

       END ALL!!!

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