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Contempt for the Customer

Journeyman

Contempt for the Customer

I've been with Sprint so long ~15 years that I can remember when they had good customer service and up until 6 hours ago, I was still reasonably happy. Now I am actively looking to switch providers for my family.  All I wanted to do was upgrade my phone, it being more than two years since my last upgrade.  First the Sprint website kept kicking me off my online account every time I would try to upgrade.

Soooo ....I tried the chat box. After a long delay, the person on the other end gave me a series of seemingly-scripted apologies, before finally telling me to go to a store or order on the phone.

Soooo... I called on the phone. Through a heavy accent and considerable background noise, the woman told me that she would upgrade two phones because there were was buy-one-get-one free.  I told her I didn't want to upgrade another line, while she talked over me. (The others are iPhone users and don't want to switch to Android.) She said I had to. I ended the call.

Soooo...I went back to the web site using a different browser, thinking that the previous issue was a Chrome incompatibility problem.  Success! Using IE, I am able to select upgrade and I am within seconds of finalizing the transaction. But...wait...

What's this $36 "Upgrade Fee".  I'm going to pay for a phone (forgo the BOGO), sign a new 2-year contract, thereby anchoring the rest of my family to Sprint for the same period, and they want to charge me $36 for the privilege?

So...I call again. What's this $36 fee, I ask. I am told I should not have to pay it, but he will forward me to someone else who will be able to tell me why the fee shows up online.

I am forwarded to someone else, with whom I am required to re-explain the situation. She puts me on hold a couple times while she looks into it. She says something about not being able to change the fee and that she is going to forward me to someone else.

After a significant wait, someone else picks up the phone and asks if I have any more questions. While I start to answer, she repeats herself over my talking. I told her that I hadn't had my original question answered yet. After another delay, there is some back and forth during which she repeatedly interrupts me.

Finally she explains that while activation fees are waived, I still have to pay upgrade fees. Still doesn't really answer my original question as to why the fee at all, but I was too frustrated and disgusted to continue to debate the point.

While my friends all jump from provider to provider, I have stayed loyal to Sprint, thinking that it would be rewarded.  In previous years, it did matter to Sprint. No longer.

3 REPLIES
Journeyman

Re: Contempt for the Customer

SDit,

I hate to hear that you were given the run around and had a bad experience. We do appreciate your tenure with us and would hate to see you go. The $36 upgrade fee is a fee that we charge all customers for the activation of a new device on our network. When an existing customer performs an upgrade they pay a small upgrade fee and get the device for, let’s say $199.  That device costs Sprint $750 from the manufacture.  We subsidize $515 of the price upfront and then pass the savings to our customers. If you are part of a credit union, this discount would waive all upgrade and activation fees in the future and you would also receive 10% off your monthly MRC. To see if you qualify for that discount or any others you can check out http:/sprint.com/verify.

-Liz

Sprint Social Care

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Journeyman

Re: Contempt for the Customer

So you are saying that the customer's real price in your scenario is actually ($750 - $515 =) $235.  Then why not be honest and promote price as $235? As it is, it appears as a penalty that you reveal to *some* returning customers only after they have nearly completed the upgrade process.

Why not just own the deception? Promote the phone for $10, then just tack on fees until you get the price up to some other price that you desire? Open up the dictionary and start combining nouns with the word fee. Then grab the thesaurus and find synonyms for fee. It would be no less honest in kind, only in the degree.

Journeyman

Re: Contempt for the Customer


SDit,

I do understand your concern with this and all carriers do charge an upgrade/activation fee to their customers. We cannot promote the phone as being $235 because not all accounts are charged a $36 upgrade/ activation fee (such as an account with the credit union discount or other discounts that may waive the fee).

*Liz

Sprint Social Care