There is a lot of talk about the recent changes in the taxes and surcharges for insurance and premium service this month. I haven't heard if anyone was able to successfully get out of their contract or not. And please don't start with the change your PRL and download gigs of data. I only do white collar crime and will try to get out finding a loophole. Or just suck it up in a month or two and pay the ETF.
I'm not going to go into the tirade of how long I’ve been a loyal customer (15 years) and how things have started to go downhill in the past few years, both coverage and CSR. I’ve run into problems all throughout these years, some worse than others, like losing service for a week and no one knows what’s going on, having to wipe my phone three times to try and fix something on Sprint’s end, etc…
The two issues that irritate me the most are the poor coverage at my house (and anywhere else I go) and just general lack of caring on anyone’s part at Sprint.
Before you ask, my zip code is 21710 and cross-streets are Downing St. and Stuart Court. If I look online at the coverage map it shows just on the boarder of “Best” and “Good”, but when I even have a signal it’s “Fair” at best. I won’t even go into how bad the data coverage is here. And yes, I’ve looked at all the updates to the network that have happened in the past 6 month, but apparently, none of them are helping me out. This is true pretty much wherever I go and try to use my Sprint phone. I was Las Vegas a couple of months back and I couldn’t even send texts, let alone try and call anyone.
The second issue, which seems to be happening more and more lately is that anytime I contact Sprint, I get a general impression that they could less about having me as a customer. You need to look no further than the recent woman who was made to pay the Early Termination Fee by Sprint to cancel her abusive husband’s phone after she left him. It wasn’t until Change.org got involved using a social media campaign, Sprint finally changed its policy. My issue wasn’t nearly as drastic, but was the one that broke the camel’s back. My wife had gone through three HTC EVO Shift phones in little over a year and a half. Nothing she did to them, just poorly manufactured phone (every time you slide the keyboard out, it freaked the phone out and you had to reboot it to get it working again… happened on all three phones). I called Sprint and they said nothing we can do but we can offer you the “special deal” for a phone upgrade. So by paying $100, they’ll give us upgrade pricing. All they were doing was making us pay the ETF to get a new phone.
So I figured, since we were paying $100 anyway, we might as well shop around and Verizon has great coverage in our area, so I switched her phone over. I did get a form email from “Dan Hesse”, saying how sad he was to lose me as a customer (I still am a customer Dan!) and they would like the chance to understand why. I sent a reply back with an explanation on why I switched my wife’s phone, that I was still a customer and if they would like to contact me with any questions, I’d be happy to answer them and provided a number I could be reached at. Still haven’t heard anything and that was just about a month ago. Maybe someone tried and my phone didn’t have coverage.
Thanks for the post. Just wanted to give you a heads up. The taxes and surcharges are not on the plans themselves, but on the add on features you have added to your device. This is not a material change and is not going to allow you to get out of the contract. These items are added by you and can be removed by you from your account/bill. If your not happy with the increase you can stop the services affected by this change in taxes and surcharges. I took a look at the area and I dont show any issues in the area. Do you have issues mostly in the home or is it the same outdoors too? I do show we have updated the towers with our upgraded 3G. Do you power cycle your device often? Have you done a PRL update recently?
Sprint Social Care
Thanks for the response and explanation.
This pretty much anywhere in Frederick County I go. Especially once I of get north of Frederick City, like in the 21709 zip code, around Liberty Rd and Latham Drive. I wouldn't say I power cycle my phone on a daily basis, but maybe once every week. And I just did a PRL update and the signal seems about the same. I don't know what it was before, but it's at 25013 now (don't know if that means anything or not).
It's just really frustrating to pay for service and not be able to take advantage of it.
I noticed a problem recently as well. Voicemails not being delivered until 16 hours later. Dropped calls, etc. I was told towers were being worked on. Hopefully for the change to 4G, because we're sure not getting it in Central Florida. Paying for it, but not getting it. One thing I did look into that greatly improved my reception was to install a cell amplifier booster in my car. Wilson Electronics makes them. What a difference. Zones I could not get a signal are now good.
Intrepid356, I’ve been to Orlando and Tampa and would agree, the signal is horrible there. That was the site of the last time Sprint had me wipe my phone, when it was something on their end. But why would I want to pay an extra $100+ for a signal amplifier when they advertise great service in my area, but aren’t capable of delivering it? I shouldn’t have to spend the extra money to make their poor signal usable. I’m not in the telecom business, they are.
As you can see, this is the typical response I get back from Sprint, they immediately provide some type of answer (at least this time there was useful information in it), offer assistance and then disappear…
Thank you for your reply. I ran that zip and cross st. of Liberty rd. and Latham dr. 21709. I show we have started to put in the upgraded 3G. This could be the reason you been having these issue. With the improvment's we are making, we need to take down or power down towers to implement the upgrade then re-power them and fine tune them so the coverage does not overlap. As of right now we are at 15% of the rollout for LTE and over 50% for upgraded 3G. I can assure you we are working to not only fix it, but improve your overall customer experience in the area.
Sprint Social Care
Victor is wrong. Sprint's tax base system is in the Terms and Conditions. Here is the applicable line (bold and underlined are mine):
Our Right To Change The Agreement & Your Related Rights
We may change any part of the Agreement at any time, including, but not limited to, rates, charges, how we calculate charges, discounts, coverage, technologies used to provide services, or your terms of Service. We will provide you notice of material changes—and we may provide you notice of non-material changes—in a manner consistent with this Agreement (see "Providing Notice To Each Other Under The Agreement" section). If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if you: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made. If you do not cancel Service within 30 days of the change, an Early Termination Fee will apply if you terminate Services before the end of any applicable Term Commitment.
Therefore the Terms and Conditions state that how they calculate charges is part of the agreement. A material change is any change to the document made by one party without the consent of the other party. If your bill goes up as a result of Sprint changing the way they calculate their surcharges, then the material change is irrefutably adverse. Also, Victor claims that the changes only apply to optional content. He has no way of knowing how this change will affect you without seeing your bill. He may really think that he is giving you accurate information, but he is wrong.
Thanks for your interest in this subject. I appreciate you pulling out the Terms and conditions.As you are correct this is where it would fall. Let me help explain a little better. Sprint was previously unable to appropriately assess some types of taxes and surcharges on some of Sprint’s products; including insurance and premium content charges. Sprint will be changing its’ taxation process in April for these charges and will now appropriately assess all applicable taxes and surcharges on these products. This is not a material change, therefore is not an ETF waivable event.
Sprint Social Care
Victor. You are wrong again. Your problem is that you do not understand the word "material" as it is used in the terms and conditions. Here is the LEGAL definition of "material change"
A change in the meaning or language of a legal document, such as a contract, deed, lease, or Commercial Paper, that is made by one party to the document without the consent of the other after it has been signed or completed.
Sprint is changing the way they calculate surcharges. Sprint's surcharges are part of their rates. Therefore, Sprint is charging different rates starting April 1, 2013. For it to be considered material, it is irrelevant which way the change has gone. What's relevant is that the original meaning of the legal document has changed.
Also, using taxes anywhere in this discussion is deliberately misleading. Sprint does NOT tax its customers. Taxes are determined by the government. Sprint collects money from its customers on behalf of the government in exactly the same way as grocery stores collect sales tax. These taxes appear on the bill as government taxes and fees. The sentence 'Sprint will be changing its' taxation process in April..." is ludicrous. The fact that a Sprint representative thinks that Sprint has control over its customers taxes is painful. Sprint has no taxation process. They have no ability to assess taxes. They are REQUIRED to collect government taxes in a manner and at a rate at which they have no control. Sprint is responsible for its own taxes and that is their problem. They can and have increased their surcharges to cover paying their taxes, and they also spell out in their terms and conditions that surcharges are not taxes. Yes, PART of their change has something to do with insurance and premium content. Victor, you do not know how Sprint calculates their surcharges. All you know is what the rest of us know which is that Sprint has changed their rates. Allow me to connect the dots for everyone so it is plain and simple.
Here is the message as it appears on some or all of our bills (bold and underlined are mine):
"Effective 4/1/13, Sprint will be changing tax systems for charges such as insurance & premium content. This update may cause an increase of taxes and/or surcharges on your bill for these products. For details of taxes & surcharges, visit sprint.com/taxesandfees ."
Here is part of the terms and conditions:
"We may change any part of the Agreement at any time, including, but not limited to, rates, charges, how we calculate charges, discounts, coverage, technologies used to provide services, or your terms of Service."
Sprint provided notice that they are changing the way they calculate charges. Therefore, they are changing the agreement. Here is the rest of the paragraph:
"We will provide you notice of material changes—and we may provide you notice of non-material changes—in a manner consistent with this Agreement (see "Providing Notice To Each Other Under The Agreement" section). If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if you: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made. If you do not cancel Service within 30 days of the change, an Early Termination Fee will apply if you terminate Services before the end of any applicable Term Commitment."
The only part left is showing that the material change is adverse. If a customer's bill goes up, then it is adverse. Plain and simple.
Good catch, my February and March Sprint Surcharges and Goverment Taxes and Fees were almost identical, then everything went up a few dollars for April's bill. The biggest culprit? A $1.50 increase for an "Administration Charge" from $4.50 to $6.00.
That should be enough to get out of the contract, because there is no way that is an optional charge on my account, and it is not a tax or required local, state, or federal fee.
Couldn't have said it better myself. The material change certainly is adverse now and into the remainder of my contract. I am filling out my complaint to the FTC and BB right now.
In case anyone else wants to do the same:
To prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.
A U.S. economy characterized by vigorous competition among producers and consumer access to accurate information, yielding high-quality products at low prices and encouraging efficiency, innovation, and consumer choice.
Our Strategic Goals
Hmm... I just cancelled my service over the weekend and went with Verizon. Maybe I’ll try opening a case with the BBB to get back the $280 in ETF. I broke even buy putting my Galaxy S 3 on eBay, but it sure would be nice to have some of that cash back! Will definitely open a case with the FTC. I still don’t understand how Sprint can get away with charging a monthly fee for a service that doesn’t work and when you call them up for support and ask what your options are, you get the “oh well” treatment.