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Error in Sprint's data usage accounting program...

Journeyman

Error in Sprint's data usage accounting program...

I have had the Sprint 6GB-per-month data plan since Oct '13 (about 6 months), which I access via Novatel Wireless MIFI. I keep a strict account of my data usage. On a daily basis, I take Data Used and Data Remaining from the total usage page in My Account and divide each into days used (typically 5 work days per week) and days remaining (scheduled days left in the month) in order to see if I'm above or below those quotas. For the past two months, my final "day remaining" has fallen on the last day of my data cycle (the 5th, new "minutes" start on the 6th), and I have had in excess of 450MB ("450,000 KB") remaining. I turn the MIFI on at around 6 PM and turn it completely off at approximately 10 PM (all times Central Standard) and don't turn it back on 'til my next workday, roughly 48 hours later. However, the next day (the 6th) My Account/Total Usage shows that I have already used 289,000 KB...even though the MIFI was powered off for the entirety of the 6th, and two hours before the 6th began at 12 midnight (i.e., turned off at 10 PM)!

Talking to Customer Support is less than fruitful, since according zooid's Law: "The User must be able to outwit the Device, and the CSR must be more knowledgeable than the User." Well, I'm pretty sure that -- in the absence of a script -- Sprint's CSRs would lose a game of tic-tac-toe against one of Sprint's freebie phones. To be fair, every tech outlet suffers this CSR problem. Minimum wage really doesn't get you very much in the way of knowledgeability and problem-solving at your phone support farm. What it gets is minimum wage intelligence, education and people skills...

The fault lies exclusively in Sprint's sub-standard software -- 'data accounting' or 'data usage demuxifier' or whatever -- that fails to 'bill' the correct usage date for data. The poor CSRs look at the usage figures on their computer screens and the program shows them that I was using the device between 12 AM and 3 AM -- and then again between 5 AM and 10:30 AM of the 6th...then they consult their supervisor, who was one of them 4 months ago, got promoted by 'seniority' and now makes 50 cents more per hour...and then they both consult The Script which says nothing whatsoever about this problem. No matter how I try to explain it, the 3-headed mutant CSR/Supervisor/The Script are just completely unable to grasp the concept that Sprint's data accounting program is not only shorting me the 450MB I had left over on the 5th, but also the 289MB I never used on the 6th. For those playing along, that means I'm getting short-changed for almost a full GB of my monthly 6GB allotment!

In absence of Sprint actually fixing their software so that it can read a simple timestamp (see also, "Programming 101", available at most junior high school libraries), here's "The User's Workaround": Never use the device on the last day of your data "minutes" cycle. Try to use most all of your data allotment by the day before the day your cycle ends (in my case, the 4th). Then, on the last day of your cycle (in my case, the 5th), call in sick or whatever, but under no circumstances do any work with your mobile data device turned on. In fact, I recommend that you not only turn off the MIFI, but that you leave it at home, in a drawer, in the basement...in order to avoid getting charged for "minutes" on the first day of your next cycle (in my case, the 6th)...

You will simply have to apologize to your employer that, no, I am not going to be able to do any Internet-based work today. Today, I'll just be reformatting your JPEGs, SWFs and working on refining page structure. I won't be able to post any of it to your website until after I'm back from 'weekend' (for me, Thursdays and Fridays)...

I sure hope this helps somebody out there. I feel certain it will neither help CSR/Supervisor/The Script (a.k.a., 'The Beast') to at least understand these concerns, nor compel Sprint (a.k.a., 'The Antichrist') themselves to fix their malfunctioning data usage calculation program (a.k.a., 'SkyNet')... Good luck, y'all.

v/r,

zooid

Tags (3)
2 REPLIES
Master

Re: Error in Sprint's data usage accounting program...

zooid,


Thanks for your very thorough post. It can take up to 24 hours for the usage to be reflected on www.sprint.com. Have you ever gone over your usage? We would be happy to look at your usage and compare it with what you kept track of to compare the two. Please private message us with your phone # for your MIFI or your account number along with your PIN. Could you also please send us your accounting usage of your data? We look forwarding to looking at this and getting to the bottom of your billing issue regarding your data usage.


Thank you,


Barry

Sprint Social Care
Highlighted
Journeyman

Re: Error in Sprint's data usage accounting program...

A copy of the private message I transmitted to SprintCare on March 10th, c/o 'Barry', for the record:

Phone number for MIFI: (deleted)

Acct #: (deleted)

PIN: (Not getting that or any password! You should know better than to ask.)

1 out of 10 possible 'Barry's replied:

"zooid, (1) Thanks for your very thorough post.  (2) It can take up to 24 hours for the usage to be reflected on www.sprint.com.  (3) Have you ever gone over your usage?  We would be happy to look at your usage and compare it with what you kept track of to compare the two.  Please private message us with your phone # for your MIFI or your account number along with your PIN.  (4) Could you also please send us your accounting usage of your data?  We look forwarding to looking at this and getting to the bottom of your billing issue regarding your data usage. Thank you, Barry Sprint Social Care "

Thanks, Barry, for your interest. Please note that it is impossible to "private message" you unless you specify your mailbox 'handle'...

To your points: 1.) All my posts are thorough; attention to detail is ingrained in my nature. 2.) Yes, I know it can take a long time to update usage and that it can read one thing at 10 AM of the following morning and something else at 3 post meridiem; but that should only be artifactual. How long it takes to update should have nothing to do with erroneously billing me for the wrong day. 3.) This answer depends on how one defines "gone over your usage": a.) Yes, I go over (review) my usage prior to each use; b.) Yes, I have gone over (reviewed) my usage with Sprint telephone support to no avail --or-- c.) No, I have never gone over my usage (exceeded my allotment), because I always go over (review) my remaining quota each day prior to use. 4.) I do not keep a historical record of my usage; I keep it on my smart phone on a note taker, which I overwrite with new data prior to each day's use, thus:

used: 604,089

remaining: 5,687,367

avg rem: 299,335 per diem 19

used avg: 302,044 per diem 2

(quota: 299,593 per 21 usage days in March)

These are the current usage figures for this morning, 10 March 2014. Tomorrow morning, I will subtract my "used" figure (above) from the website's "used" figure in order to see how much I consumed this evening. Then I divide the website's "remaining" figure by the iterated "per diem" (i.e., tomorrow will be "18")...and I divide the "total used" by iterated per diem (i.e., tomorrow will be "3"). I figure the total usage days and quota for each at the beginning of each new data cycle by counting my workdays (Sat-Wed) and dividing 6,291,456 by that number...

...All of which does you no good, because Sprint's usage accounting routine/standalone software(?) can't read a timestamp, either for when an actual 'data hit' occurred or even (minimally) when a device was turned on/off. In conclusion, your software sux and there ain't anything anybody can do about that, short of getting a competent programmer on the case.

Thanx for playing.

zooid

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