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BB Blues: My Journey with Sprint and BlackBerries


BB Blues: My Journey with Sprint and BlackBerries

It started about a year ago.

I had just switched to Sprint from AT&T, enjoying the fact that I could get any smartphone, as long as I had a data plan. It was awesome. I chose the BlackBerry Curve 8330m. At the time, the Tour was too expensive at $300 before rebate, while the Curve was only $150. So I went with the Curve.

Two months pass by, and it's December. A new BlackBerry, the Curve 8530 is released. It looked so attractive, with the new 5.0 OS software, the sleek trackpad, Wi-Fi, and precision themes. I grew jealous and angry towards my old Curve. This is when my story began.

Beginning in February, my phone started to slow up and freeze. I cleared On-Board Memory, did daily battery pulls, cleared cache, anything in an attempt to speed up my phone. Nothing worked, and it had seemed all hope was lost, considering RIM had not planned to release new software updates for the Curve 8330m for Sprint. For the next few months, I trudged on, jealous of friends showing off their new Droids, BlackBerry Tours, and other nice looking phones, which were now cheaper.

The time was June. I was feeling happy, school was about to end, and summer to begin. Also, the EVO was released, and I knew my father would be using his Sprint Premier yearly-upgrade for it. After a long time of convincing, he finally let me use his old Tour, since my mother nor sister wanted a new phone. We activated the phone on my line, and for a short time, I was happy.

A month passes. It is about mid-summer, and problems arise again. I had reception issues, browser issues, battery issues, hardware issues, and once again, slowness of the OS began to appear. I took all necessary steps by myself in an attempt to clear any cache, or re-register with the network, but all this did nothing. The reception issue bugged me the most. All the other phones on the line had no reception issues. Our reception in our area was quite good, actually. All phones in the house (EVO 4G, 2 Curve 8330m's, and a Rumor 2) had great data and voice reception. But I hadn't. And it wasn't just at home. It was in every area, even those where I had formerly had great reception.

I finally had enough and decided to call Sprint. They told me to do things I had already done, and once again, it did nothing. I took it to my nearest Sprint repair center, and all they did essentially, was take 3 hours to wipe my phone. (I do realize reloading the OS is a common tool used in fixing phones, but it didn't appear as though they did any actual opening up of the phone) They told me it was fixed, but when I got back into the car, I still had the same issues. I called Sprint again, I believe at this point it was the third or fourth call, and they agreed to send a replacement. I received it, and then went to Ohio to visit relatives.

On the car ride there, and during my trip, I had experienced the same issues. I thought of searching Crackberry for other people having the same issue, and low and behold, over 1,000 posts in a thread with other people complaining about the many problems of their BlackBerry Tour. I was relieved, but still called again, while in Ohio. This might have been the seventh or eighth call, I couldn't keep track at this point. The representative was rude and suggested it was my fault this brand new (well, refurbished, but essentially barely used at this point by me) device was experiencing problems. She finally agreed to send another replacement, but not without being on hold for half an hour, and arguing with me for about twenty minutes.

It was now Thursday, a week from that previous phone call. I was already home, and still had not received any sort of UPS tracking number via email. I called again to ask what was up, and the customer service representative informed me that an order had never even been placed. That's right. Not in the system at all. I was furious, but kept my cool, I knew it wasn't this person's fault. I got on the phone with a representative, ordered a replacement, and got off the phone.

It was now Saturday. While I had ordered the phone on a Thursday afternoon, therefore making it ship on Friday, I had still not received a tracking number from Sprint via email or any other form of communication. I figured maybe they had forgotten. I called again, this being probably the 10th or 11th now, and once again, they informed me that an order had never been placed. Now I had gotten angry. I grew red with anger and asked to speak with a supervisor. I had explained my issues to her, and she assured me this time it would ship, with overnight shipping, and a free battery. I began to feel calmer, and she even gave me her email, in order to contact her directly with any issues.

I received the phone that Monday, and right out of the box, the same problems. I emailed the supervisor, and I got an auto-reply email stating that she was on vacation for the next week. Great.

I called again, and explained my problems again, this time trying to explain that the problems would clearly not go away, so another Tour would not solve the problem. I was connected to a device replacement representative, who informed me about the Wells program. (Not sure how that's spelled) If I had three devices of the same model, all replaced because of software or hardware issues, I would get a similar and equal value device of a different model. I had finally found a voice of reason, a way to move away from the Tour and get a new device.

So, I called my repair store, who informed me that while they did participate in this program, you had to have three off the same device in a period of 6 months. Since it was now the end of July, six months had already passed since the original Tour was purchased, which was in October 2009.

So I called back, asking for another Tour reluctantly, when the representative informed me that there were no Tours in stock at the time, that unless I wanted to be stuck with a defective phone for another couple weeks, that I would have to be sent a BlackBerry Bold 9650 instead, essentially the same phone, save for the trackpad and double the memory, which might have solved my slow OS issue. Since I had no choice, I took the Bold, not knowing the consequences.

Present day, October 2010. A year since the first BlackBerry I owned, one of five. One Curve, three Tours, and one Bold. And now all five were defective.

In the middle of September, I had started having email, data, and messaging issues. My phone, although connected to the BIS, wasn't giving me push email, instead, it appeared my BlackBerry had only been checking for emails every half-hour, delivering four to five messages at one time, all received at least twenty minutes late, according to my mail server at MobileMe. Of course, my first suspicion was that MobileMe's servers were acting up, but my email client had received the emails at the correct time, and even before my BlackBerry, which hadn't and shouldn't happen. I also suspected something was wrong with my email settings at, but my email was set up correctly, and nothing had prevented me from receiving push email. I next suspected the OS version I was running, the leaked 6.0 software, but when I switched back to 5.0, I had the same problems. Finally, my reception issues had gone away, and I even had a new Airave installed in my home, so that wouldn't have affected anything.

Switching back to official Sprint software also brought familiar problems back as well, such as slowness of the OS, and minor battery life issues. Still all three were important things to me, so I decided to call Sprint.

I called them on Monday. I was told to do various diagnostics and battery pulls and to wait a day and see if problems still arose. And they had. So I took the next step and took it to a new repair center, now only ten minutes away from my home. They did all they could, since it was only a software issue. While being very helpful, they couldn't find any issues, but assured me they would keep looking online for answers, which gave me a little confidence that this would be fixed.

I then decided yesterday, Wednesday, to call again. I ended up calling a total of three times.

The first time, I was told that I was eligible for the Wells program this time, and to contact two repair centers that participated. One looked up my account and said I was eligible, however, it could only be replaced with another Bold. I was shocked.

Isn't the whole point of this program to get a user out of a defective device and into a new one? What's the point if I just get the same phone again and again?

I called customer service again, explaining my issues. I was then stopped by the representative and he informed me that the Multiple Device Replacement department had informed him that I wasn't eligible for Wells program to begin with because I had technically switched devices. I argued, explaining to him that I had no choice in the device I received. I told him I had expected and wanted to receive a Tour as a replacement, but the customer representative pushed me to get the Bold instead, essentially saying there was no other option. I argued, saying the Bold and Tour were basically the same device, and then asked to be transfered to the MDR department, and he refused. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and while on hold, the call disconnected. On my home phone. Fishy.

I called up again, now being able to speak to the MDR department, where the woman told me again that I was not eligible for the program. I told her what I had told all the other representatives, and she said, "Sorry, but you are not eligible." I then explained to her that basically, what she was saying was not only contradicting what a few representatives and a store had told me, but basically telling me that I'd have to keep getting the Bold replaced, one phone after another until an equal device is released. There are currently no new $199 tiered BlackBerries leaked or even on any roadmap for Sprint yet. The closest devices are the new Curve 3G and the upcoming BlackBerry Oxford, both consumer devices priced at below $99, and therefore, not being equal devices. Basically trapping me into this defective BlackBerry, which I know I will have the same problems with, replacement after replacement, since the past five BlackBerries I owned had ALL had issues. There is no hope, save for an upgrade, which is in July 2011, where I will be forced to sign another 2-year contract with Sprint, unless I pay a full outright price for a phone I shouldn't have to pay for in the first place. Oh wait, I have a $75 discount for early upgrades! That means an EVO 4G, an equal phone to the Bold, is only $370 now! So much more affordable! :rolleyes:

That's my tale. I am currently waiting for a response from a representative I have been in touch with for a while who will back in the office on Monday. Please let me know if anyone else has had an issues like mine, and any other problems and gripes with this so-called "Wells Program."

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