There is a lengthy thread on this issue over on SprintUsers but I thought I would recap the issue here in the hopes that the underlying issue can be fixed and no one else will have to spend as many hours talking to customer service as I did.
About a month ago my trusty HTC Mogul starts to develop bad keys. The camera key goes bad, then the power button gets flaky. The final straw was when the little blue key on the slide out keyboard went bad. Without that key it's a real pain to shift into punctuation mode, making sending a literate email a real chore.
The phone hadn't been abused or dunked in liquid so I thought I'd take it in to my local Sprint store for repair or replacement. The technician checked out my phone, confirmed the operating issues and verified that the phone hadn't been abused or suffered moisture damage. Since they couldn't repair my phone, they started the procedure to replace my phone. That is where the trouble started.
There were no Moguls available to replace my phone so they had to offer me a comparable replacement. The only 4 phones they were allowed to order were the Palm Pre and Pixi, The HTC Snap, and the Treo800. However none of those were compatible with the application I need for work. The application requires Windows Mobile 6.1 or better and a landscape format touch screen. There was nothing the store could do so they suggested that I go home and contact Sprint Customer Service.
I made many calls over several days and talked to three main departments, none of whom could actually help me.
1. Initial Customer Service Reps. These people were without fail cheerful and eager to help me. However, they always gave me the same list of phones available for replacement and really couldn't be of much help. Many of them noticed that I have been available for the $150 device upgrade for quite some time and offered to process a phone upgrade for me. I would have went this route except the only phone that was comparable to the Mogul was the $300 (after rebates and credits) Touch Pro 2. A nice phone to be sure, but I am quite happy with the Mogul which was paid for.
2. Technical Support/Advance Exchange. All of the people that I talked to in this department were also eager and very knowledgeable. All of them understood the phone requirements that I have and recognized that none of the phones that they could offer me as a replacement would meet my needs. Disappointingly, none of them, not even supervisors could (or would) over-ride the default offerings in the replacement system. Ideally a replacement Mogul was my goal but the original touch pro or even the diamond would have met my needs. Of course the Touch Pro 2 would have as well, but I really don't expect to have my many year old device replaced with the latest and greatest.
3, Retentions. I was shunted to this department a couple of times when it was clear I was becoming frustrated with the lack of progress. Since I am month to month and have been for quite some time I could have pitched it all and went to another carrier. However, I've been a Sprint customer with three lines for over 5 years and I'm very happy with my Service and value that Sprint provides me. Everyone in this department was eager to help as well but they all told me they had no access to the repair/replacement system and could do nothing for me.
Finally, a supervisor in tech support checked with the insurance company and found out that they had replacement Moguls available for replacement of lost or damaged phones. Though this route incurred a $100 deductible for replacement, the supervisor offered me an account credit to offset that charge. A few days later my refurbished phone arrived and I only had to call back once more when I noticed that the credit to cover the deductible wasn't applied as promised. That last call was quick and easy (though it really shouldn't have been necessary).
If someone at Sprint reads this I hope something can be done to prevent this from happening to someone else. It's frustrating and a waste of my time and every CSR that I talked to after the first couple.
I understand that phones become obsolete and can't always be replaced with a 1 to 1 feature match. However, I wasn't digging in my heels over case color or ring-tone selection. I'm a small business owner with a very specific (and not terribly hard to meet) set of phone requirements. There should be some path of escalation available that can resolve these issues.
Well, less than a month later and my refurbished Mogul died. The screen went blank (I suspect a faulty connection to the screen) but the backlight and keyboard sliding sounds still worked. Still, without a screen it's useless.
I took it to the nearest Sprint Corporate Store. This time at least they had Moguls available for replacement through TEP. The bad thing was that I have to come back Tuesday for the device; 5 days without a phone is an awful long time.
Also, they called me to let me know my phone was ready to be picked up. Even though I had a broken phone. And had left an email address to contact me at.
Message was edited by: cz6y48
Most of the new advanced phones are off-limits to me becasue I have a SERO account. I could probably order a Touch Pro 2 but it's $300.
Why not just get the service that I pay the TEP fee for every month?
Well, as you have noticed, they no longer manufacture the Mogel any longer. And they tried to compensate you with options in order to get it replaced in a timely fashion. They also gave you options (albeit not viable for your business) to replace the phone for free. Of course, going through Asurion to get it replaced for $100 is also an option. TEP offers to replace your phone for free with the same or similarly priced models or you go through Asurion to get it replaced for a deductible. That's what customers pay for when they get TEP.
The only way they can replace Mogels now are by refurbished models. Sometime in the future, that won't even be an option.
That's all was asking for, to replace my phone with a comparable device. The fundamental issue is that they didn't offer me a comparable device and there was no way to escalate my issue to someone that had the authority to help me.
At least this time I'm getting a replacement without jumping through hoops.
Additionally, the service argreement isn't to replace a device with a "same or similarly priced model." The agreement reads "wireless device of comparable kind and quality."
My assertion is that none of the devices offered to me as a replacement met that standard. Particularly, none of the devices offered where Windows Mobile sliders. Now if Sprint didn't have devices like that anymore, it'd be a different matter, but they did have the Touch Pro and still sell the Touch Pro 2. However, neither of those devices were offered as replacements even though they are both the closest to "comparable kind and quality" to the Mogul.
It's a moot point now. Asurion replaced the defective device, Sprint covered my deductable. And, when the replacement died a few weeks later Sprint had Moguls again for replacements.
The dissapointing thing is that it doesn't look like anyone at Sprint acknowledged or seems to be working on the origional issue of inflexibility in the replacement program. Most of the time it's not going to be an issue but when it is, the CSRs need to have the lattitude to make exceptions or there needs to be an escalation path to deal with these sorts of issues. Particularly troubling was the disconnect between retentions and tech support.
Everyone I talked to thoughout this issue wanted to help but were unable to because of limitations placed on them, and that's the shame. I love my Sprint service and devices. The fact that I've been a customer as long as I have speaks to that and I intend to remain a customer for the forseeable future. The dissapointing customer service experiences I've had just make it impossible for me to reccomend Sprint to friends and customers until I have some indication that the company is listening.
Please, someone tell me that someone heard me.
Message was edited by: cz6y48
We definitely hear you and appreciate you taking the time out of your day to post this on the Community. There are Care agents who review these boards on a regular basis. In turn, our Community moderators proactively forward posts such as this to our Care dept. asking for assistance. I'm happy to hear your problem was resolved. However, improvements can alwlays be made to existing processes, especially to the reference you made regarding the communication disconnect you experienced between retention and tech support agents as it relates to the device replacement program and escalation policy for these types of issues.
If you'd like please send me a PM with your acct and contact information and I can ask Care to contact you directly. Thank you again for your honest feedback and know that you've played a part in helping improve the quality of our service.