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shut down my account in self defense

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Journeyman

shut down my account in self defense

The short version is that we noticed reported usage on our Ovation U760 running at about three times our usual rate. After due diligence and repeated unsuccessful attempts at getting Sprint to resolve the problem, we closed our account to avoid overage costs that would have cost us as much as the rest of contract IN A SINGLE  MONTH.

The longer version: We noticed about halfway through the month that we were running at about 3 times our usual rate.

We practiced due diligence, unplugging machines, sniffing network traffic with wireshark, watching the statistics on the MBR-1000 cradlepoint router, and while we did find some interesting things, like google safebrowsing burning up several megabytes an hour if you leave firefox up and running, we couldn't find the source of the problem.

We unplugged the usb u760, and continued to monitor the usage. It usually takes about 18 hours for all for accrued traffic to be reported to the website, but at the end of two days usage was still being reported at about 300+ megabytes a day. We never plugged it the U760 in again.

We called tech support, and explained our problem. He offered to put us into seasonal standby, which disables the device except for emergency calls, and put a note on our account indicating the usage at that point (about 4.7 gigabytes). The Shutdown/Standby went into effect at midnight eastern time.

I checked about midnight PDT, and indeed my account on the webpages showed us in seasonal standby. I noted the current usage.

This afternoon when I checked again, we had accrued another 450 megabytes of usage since the beginning of seasonal shutdown, even though the device was supposedly disabled, and even though the device had been off for 2 1/2 days.

I called tech support, and tried to open a ticket on our problem. He suggested that I wait until I received the bill, and then contest it, and that they didn't issue support tickets, and that he'd put another note on my account.

After the call, we calculated the average rate at which our account was racking up phantom megabytes. We were going to have over $300  in overage charges by the end of the month even though OUR U760 WAS UNPLUGGED and OUR ACCOUNT WAS ON SEASONAL/STANDBY. That more than the rest of our contract was going to cost us if we stayed with it.

After our tech support calls, I had no hope that Sprint would be understanding if we waited until the end of our billing period to try to resolve the issue. The safest resolution was to cut our losses before more overage charges were incurred. I figure that Sprint is actually going to let our account accrue these phantom charges for another 24 hours before they "really" shut the account down, but it's still going to be cheaper to leave that to stay with Sprint.

23 REPLIES 23
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Master

How long has this particular card been active?  Have you had any exchanges under warranty? Just making sure a recent exchange hasn't affected usage levels.

Larry

Sprint Tech

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Journeyman

Wow! I am having the same exact problem with my Sierra 250U card! I started noticing my data rates going up even after I have unplugged the card! Contacted Sprint and they were supposed to add another Gig as they looked into the issue. Said that my pc was downloading updates overnight, only problem is that my card was unplugged...Oops! I down loaded Netlimiter to check my usage as I telecommute one day a week, Netlimiter showed I used 230 Mb, for 8 hours but, Sprint shows I'm using more! Ordered a Virgin Mobile card and am on the $50.00 plan (5gig) seems to be working great and the data amount is more normal! There appears to be a problem either from the technical side or the billing. Either way I'm not paying those huge overage charges! I've been a customer for 15 years never had a problem, and have been very happy with the card, but this is ridiculous!

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Journeyman

We've had two exchanges. The first was 19 months ago, about a month  after we got the card. The hardware just went dead. The second exchange was about 2 months later, but that was kind of weird. The hardware was still alive, and we could talk to it using the Smartview software, but it didn't connect (error 67, "your visionusername and or password may be inccorrect").

We took it down to a corporate Sprint store, and they  messed around with it. After a week they gave me a new one, which also  didn't work, but some smart guy on the phone walked me through a truly  hairy hardware/software interaction which involved clicking in strange  places on the smartview screen for invisible buttons and typing odd  character sequences without prompts from the GUI. 

It occurred to me yesterday that it might have been a  good idea to seek help in the forums rather than calling in phone  support. The Sprint affiliated posters here seem to be a grade above the  people I have talked to during my problem.

We didn't have much time, though, and the text header  for the Customer Service discussions states "This  is set up for  customers to help other customers." I'm pretty sure if we had checked  our usage much earlier, and had more time we would have had a happier  resolution.

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Journeyman

I just called Sprint support, and inquired about my overage penalty charges.

Since I shut the account down yesterday, April 23, about 3 PM,  PDT, it has accrued another 8 dollars in charges since I shut it down. I  can understand why they would leave the account "open" in some fashion,  to allow the billing to trickle in from the network.

My situation is pathological, though. Sprint might allow the account to  continue to accumulate the overage charges that I was trying to avoid  by shutting down the account. I wonder if I might have actually reduced  my leverage with Sprint by closing my account. The support person that I  called this morning uttered a phrase that I might be hearing a lot in the next couple of weeks: "But sir, your account is cancelled."

I'll keep checking daily, to see if it keeps accruing charges.

The U760 has been unplugged and unpowered since 10:16 AM, April 20, PDT.

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Journeyman

As I noted here http://community.sprint.com/baw/thread/67081,  I've discovered that Sprint is claiming that I'm using my MiFI account  when the MiFi is turned-off and at home, while I'm connect to the WiFi  at a café.  I watched about 100 MB rack-up yester-day.  And it's now  pretty clear that a whalloping bill that I paid a couple of cycles ago  was run-up in this way.

Since this happens when my MiFis is completely off,  the problem is not principally located in the client unit (though the  server may have been persuaded to mistake some other device for it).   It's a server-side problem.  It could be a software glitch; it could be a  server-side hack; it could be a rogue employee trying to boost division  revenues.  I don't know, but that detail is not my responsibility.

In any event, I'm not turning-off my account in self-defense; I've contracted for 'Net  service from Sprint, and I expect to get it.  On the other hand, I'm  going to get back the bogus extra charge from two cycles ago (about $270),  and I'm not going to pay a bogus charge for this cycle (which has been  run over allotment in this way).  If Sprint resolves this properly  (which means, amongst other things, moving like a bat out of Ηеll to refund past overage charges and ensure that this cycle has none),  then I'll stay with them. Otherwise, I'll take my two voice numbers to  another provider, contact the FCC and CPUC, and get a lawyer on this.  I'll also see about getting a reporter to watch the charges rack-up, as he holds my turned-off MiFi in his own hands.

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Journeyman

Guess what, Sprint? People like myself dont appreciate being ripped off! I bought a new computer,  which required a new connection card. Low and behold after no overages for years, and slim usage this month, this card is racking up charges even while unplugged! To the tune of $400

and counting! With less than half the month and without being plugged in!

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Journeyman

You REALLY  think they care about your threats haha ha! That's not meant to disrespect you dude.....just read the posts here. The implicit obvious answer is that Sprint doesn't  care. period Call and talk to anybody at ccustomer "service"....anybody, t becomes quickly apparent. The attitude is palpable. They don't care..I sincerely beleive that.

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Journeyman

ickster—

While I'd like to believe that Sprint is no worse than occasionally imperfect, given how much a sort of grift has come to characterize the conduct of business (including the conduct of business by major corporations) , it wouldn't shock me if Sprint refused to do the right thing simply because it were the right thing, and used feigned obliviousness as a way of postponing responsible action and of continuing to harvest and retain funds to which it's not entitled.  So that leaves contacting the regulators, demonstrating what is happening to the press, and contacting a lawyer

Now, if we assume that Sprint is deliberate in its misconduct, their next step if not warned would be exactly to claim that they thought that they were resolving the problem with their customers, to represent themselves as wounded innocents.  So one wants to be positioned to show that Sprint was given fair warning, instead of just bearing down on them out-of-the-blue.

Meanwhile, consider the problem at the level of the Sprint employees.  Perhaps grifting managers have ordered them not to pay the costs of fixing “little” problems, or perhaps the employees are unmotivated, but managers of any sort (grifting or honest) would not want them to let those “little” problems become big problems.  The employee needs to see — and to be able to show the manager — that a problem is going to become big if not fixed.  Well, it becomes big if it causes Sprint to have to placate regulators, pay off class-action lawsuits, and eat humble pie in public.

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Journeyman

On the morning of the 23rd, I received email from Sprint that read "To ensure your needs are addressed, I have forwarded your request to our Account Services department. One of our specialists will contact you  within 24-48 hours."  Sadly, it is no surprise that, as of 48 hours later, no such contact had been attempted, nor has any since.

There are two interpretations here.  One is essentailly of sloth and indifference; the other is that Sprint has discovered that they have a big problem, and are stalling before they begin communicating with the customers.  Neither interpretation is in Sprint's favor, but the latter is perhaps a bit less dire than the former.

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Journeyman

My overage charges are now up to $40.95, six days after I shut the device off, and 4 days since I discontinued service on it.

The support guy told me that it was entirely normal  for charges to continue to accrue after service has been discontinued.  He didn't think it was odd that it was continuing to do so, at about 10  bucks a day, for four days after the device was shut down. That's 200  megabytes a day. That's more than I used every day before my datacard  went rogue on me.

When I tried to open a support ticket, he didn't know  what I was talking about. The closest thing they have is a memo that  they put on your account. You can get the memo ID, an 11 digit long  sequence, with a data stamp, which I suspect will be Central Time. The  problem with these memos is that it is a tale told by an idiot (me) to  the disinterested (them), and something is lost in transcription.

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Wizard

@SEACHANGED   We are more than happy to take a look at this for you.  We will PM you to request the information that we need.  Thanks!

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