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10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

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Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

I've been a loyal Sprint customer for more than 10 years.  Back in the early days, I worked in Telco, doing handset engineering for Ericsson, switch engineering for Northern Telecom, and even a brief sprint in engineering for MCI.  I eventually worked for IBM, who gets a corporate discount from Sprint and I stuck with it.

I endured years of growing pains with Sprint that included:

1) Lower than 1st tier coverage and not-so-great network service.

2) System upgrades that jacked my billing (after a "system upgrade") and resulted in hours on the phone just to get the billing straigtened out.

3) Typical customer service issues in general, IE: being told A and getting B, having to call back multiple times to get things worked out.  I learned to document everything with names, dates, and times.

I'm probably an odd customer.  I rarely upgrade phones, I'll bet in 10 years, I've probably only received 3 (subsidized) phones from Sprint, choosing to replace legacy phones that eventually or were damaged via buying them directly from other consumers.

I've got what I believe is called a "Free and Clear" plan - 1000 minutes, 2 phones, we pay for both voice, text, and data and our bill is around $60-$65/month on average. 

I currently have a Touch Pro 2 (Windows Mobile) - which I've been less than thrilled with, but it's connected to corporate email, so it gets the job done.  It was an expensive phone at the time, so I was paying for replacement coverage until recently when I noticed that my deductable exceeded what it would cost me to replace the phone with a refurbished version. 

The Touch Pro 2 is Windows Mobile (6.x), 3g, and is a reasonably capable entry level "smart phone".

Of course, it died this weekend.  I've seen the "Sprint Premier" emails and marketing.. I'm a Sprint Premier "Gold" member and thought that it sounded like a great idea, so today, I go call customer service (on my wife's phone) to see if I can take advantage of that Gold Premier status.

Honestly, I don't care about the price of the phone.  At all.  When I call in, I'm told by a CSR that I need to change my plan to an "everything" plan at a cost of over $120, plus a $10 fee for the Android.  I note that this is *exactly* the same rate that I could get if I walked in off the street...  The CSR tells me that because I want a "smart phone" I need a new plan doubling my cost.  I asked if a Touch Pro 2 (existing phone) is a smart phone and he indicates yes.  He doesn't really make the connection between the fact that I have smart phone and that he's telling me I need to double my monthly costs to use a smart phone. 

So I'm a bit flabbergasted...   I find the same thing repeated on this forum (by SP_Hana) - "....All of our  smartphones:Blackberry, Android, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm and all  Samsung Instinct phones require one of the bundled plans that include  the services needed to fully enjoy the great features on the phone.   These required plans also make sure that customers will not experience  any surprise charges for services the phone features."

Well, I've already got Windows Mobile.  I don't have a bundled plan... So I don't really understand.  (Actually, I understand perfectly - there is a line in the sand here, but I'm offended by customer service providing an indication that they're protecting the customer.  Let's just call a spade a spade, I'd appreciate clarity and honestly much more than slight of hand and marketing spin.)

Sprint, if you learn nothing else here, learn this:   I understand that phones are getting faster, consuming more data, and that this data impacts network infrastructure. I'm willing to pay more than I'm paying today - that makes sense to me..  What I'm not willing to do is double the cost of my monthly bill, especially when you're offering me (a Preimier Gold customer) the exact same deal that you'd offer me as a brand new customer.  I know that from years of working in the tech industry that new customers are valuable, but you're not considering that when you lose an existing customer, the chances of that customer coming back are low..  It's much harder to get an old customer back than it is to get a new customer and Sprint needs all the market share it can get.

Update: I asked to speak to customer retention and was told the same thing - I get to start over with a new entry level bundled plan, but they'd give me $100 for my trouble if I sign up for another 2-years.

Sprint Premier CSRs - If I'm missing something here, please contact me... Right now I feel that my gold premier status is all about marketing and very little about showing me that I'm a valued customer...

6 REPLIES 6
Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

wow, I feel the same as you do. Sprint has no loyalty to their existing customers.  I have been with Sprint/Nextel for over 10+ years myself and feel the same way.  All they care about is how to increase the rate of existing customers when there is a problem with service.  Every time you upgrade your phone, a plan seem to be another upgrade with a higher rate for the phone to function.  Funny that in order for a certain phone to function you would have to upgrade for a price, when you already have a unlimited everything plan. 

Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

I'm in the 10+ year club too and haven't had service at home in at least a week.  I contacted Sprint who stated the problem wasn't theirs.  If I've had service at home all along and don't now, whose problem is it?  I guess they think it's mine.

I'm going to look at Verizon phones this evening. 

Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

They tell me to take my phone into the store so it can be serviced.  I told them, it's not my phone that has the problem, it's your service.  I drop calls left and right now, I can't use the internet, unless I have a lot of time on my hands to wait for the page to load. 

My new Iphone is on it's way and my Evo is being sold to the highest bidder on Ebay.

Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

I feel the same way, i have been loyal to sprint for ever and I get no nice little free phone with out them wanting to give me an upgrade price.

I am seriously just going to join my mothers verizon family plan to get the ideal phone (iphone) and get a cheap rate since its her family plan.

I always used to tell her to go to sprint since its cheaper but since I can't get a free upgrade phone forget it. The free upgrade phones come with upgraded plans.

No way... i want to feel rewarded as a long time customer and being a premier customer all i get is $5 dollars off my next bill?

thanks for being so cheap, i am going to be going to your competitor now.

Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

So, cancel the contract and go virgin mobile or walmarts program. Heck, i have been with Sprint for 7 years, and my bill is  asmall car payment as I have wife, and two girls and me.

Journeyman

10+ year "Gold Premier" customer disappointment (Free and Clear)

In the same boat. Obviously customer service no longer exist @ sprint. My husband has been with them 10 plus years. I was with Verizon, but change to sprint about 4 yrs ago. We had the final straw last week, when my husbands evo was STOLen and I tried2 make insurance claim,but cannot get eve back because it is now activated by a sprint customer! Cancelling lines 2morrow. I have spend 2 much time talking 2 So many different people. I am discussed!

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