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I want out of my sprint mobile broadband plan!

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Journeyman

I want out of my sprint mobile broadband plan!

I am increasingly confused by Sprint's attitude towards the customer. I was very irritated by the cancellation of Sprint Premier, but I accepted it and never thought of cancelling my service with Sprint over that. I figured I would just have to keep my phone for another year, but I was otherwise happy with my service.

However, this recent change to the sprint mobile broadband hotspot data plan has me incredibly upset....

I was sold the sprint mobile broadband plan as a means of replacing my home internet with unlimited 4g data. I am not a 200gb/month internet user, but I definately use more than 5gb a month of data at home. I use the mobile hotspot (overdrive pro) as my main internet connection at home for me and my wife's computer as well as Netflix and gaming (when the lag doesn't make it unplayable, should've known 4g would suck for gaming). I signed a 2 year contract based on unlimited 4g data. I called sprint today to politely inform them that I want to cancel my sprint mobile broadband plan immediately. They told me "of course" and then "the cancellation fee will be 200 dollars." So not only am I out 50 dollars for purchasing what is now a useless mobile broadband 4g modem, but now Sprint wants me to pay 200 dollars to stop paying for a service that THEY changed! I argued with the sprint account manager for about 30 min, and she was insistent that despite the unilateral and sudden change in my plan, that my contract and ETF was still valid. So I took a look at my contract and found this:

Our Right To Change The Agreement & Your Related Rights: We may change any part of the Agreement at any time, including, but not limited to, rates, charges, how we calculate charges, discounts, coverage, technologies used to provide services, or your terms of Service. We will provide you notice of material changes—and we may provide you notice of non-material changes—in a manner consistent with this Agreement (see “Providing Notice To Each Other Under The Agreement” section). If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if you: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made. If you do not cancel Service within 30 days of the change, an Early Termination Fee will apply if you terminate Services before the end of any applicable Term Commitment.

Sprint is in essence introducing a new fee (charges for 4g service above the cap) into the contract, and that is by definition an adverse material change to the contract. How can Sprint legally deny customers the rights that are explicitly outlined in the contract that both parties entered into?

20 REPLIES 20
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Journeyman

How can they say that this is not a material change?  Taking the Unlimited 4G and force it to fit within the same 5GB cap as 3G is certainly material.  I figured out that my current month's overage charge would cost me $213 above the service cost.  That sure as heck is a material change.  I called and cancelled mine yesterday and refused to pay the ETF.  The rep had to check, but eventually agreed and waived the fee.

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Journeyman

Escalate to supervisor! They said no ETF fee for me. We'll see if that was a lie also.

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Journeyman

I did escalate to supervisor, I spent 30 min on the phone arguing with the supervisor. I wasted an hour on a friday night dealing with this (and I only get 1 day off/week). I was told to escalate again it would be 72 hours from monday before I could talk to the supervisor's supervisor. The supervisor agreed that it was a very negative effect on my service, but that it won't "get you out of the contract." I feel like they are implying that I am trying to weasel my way out of something when I fully intended to use this service for the 2 years I agreed to it, UNTIL THEY RADICALLY CHANGED THE NATURE OF THE SERVICE! I would have no problem if they had grandfathered people in like every other major phone carrier does when they change data, but Sprint apparently believes that now that they have the Iphone that they couldn't care less about their old customers like me (who has been a Sprint customer since 2003, and my father who has been a Sprint customer since the early 90s). My wife and I have very expensive smartphone plans with Sprint, I gave them over 2000 dollars last year. If this is not fixed to my satisfaction in a VERY TIMELY manner, then I will have no problem cancelling my wife and I's cellphone plans and will GLADLY pay the ETF on them and move to a competitor. If I am going to be treated like I am utterly insignificant as a customer, then why does it matter if I am on Sprint or a competitor like Verizon or ATT. Of course, people will say that nobody offers a mobile broadband hotspot anymore (except Clear), but I have a lot of options for home internet (DSL, Cable, Sat). I have never been treated like this by a company in my life and will make sure that everybody who will listen knows what Sprint thinks of the contracts they enter into, and how they treat their loyal customers.

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Journeyman

What you guys are saying happens in all carriers. the change to your data plan is standard with all companies now. no modem device has unlimited data any longer and that is because of the FCC. they are regulating the amount of data that a cell provider is allowed to distribute to their customers. I worked for AT&T for the longest time and saw these sort of situations all of the time. I would like to say that your experience should have been alot better. The experience all depends on how hard the agent your talking to wants to work. If its better customer service you are looking for you need to switch carriers to either T-Mobile or AT&T. It would be best to switch to AT&T though as T-Moible is currently in a merger with AT&T. Pretty soon Sprint is going to be considered bottom of the barrell like Straight talk, or Cricket. Take my advice. Cancel your service and switch providers. I certainly would like to, but i am in a contract with these bastards.

Journeyman

Call back and talk to another supervisor.  Explain that this comprises a material change to the agreement.  Say it just like that, because it corresponds with the terms of service.  If they make a material change in service, they must let you out of the contract with no ETF.  Go and calculate what your last month's bill would have been with the new terms.  That is a good way to illustrate the material change.  A $1 change isn't 'material', but a $200+ change is, as was my case with my usage.

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Journeyman

Thats the thing, I shouldn't have to call them up and say the magic lawyer-speak "material change to the agreement" to get them to cancel my service without a ETF. They should have apologized for changing the nature of the service they contracted to provide me for 2 years, and immediately cancelled it without any hassle because it was the right thing to do. Instead they tried to extort me for 200 dollars of my hard earned money (and I am sure they are gonna try and extort everybody who calls and tries to cancel) hoping that enough people will not know their rights and pay it. It is morally indefensible, and ethically and legally unjustifiable. If they would've just let me cancel last night when I politely asked this would be a non-issue, but now I am completely furious and outraged. I shouldn't have to spend another second on the phone with a "sprint customer representative" to get this thing settled, my time is valuable too!

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Journeyman

Thanks for reminding me to do this. It's indeed a material change.

I'm like 18months into the 2yrs with the mifi but there's no way in h**** I'm going to pay any portion of a ETF.

Be sure to record the phone call if you call them, and best to follow up with a email for your records.

If they don't agree, you tell them you are NOT paying the fee and any further action on their part will result in a small claims suit.

Waited for 4G service in San Diego for how long......still really not here, now they cap the service.

Gotta start looking for who else to go to.

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Journeyman

I totally agree, I had just signed up Sprint's data plan again with the sprint Mifi from letstalk.com on 10-16-11 and got it on 10-19-11 and then on 10-21-11 bam wireless week posted:

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has said the company will stop offering unlimited plans if they become unprofitable, and apparently that time has come – but only for some of its devices.

Sprint told its customers yesterday that it would stop offering unlimited WiMAX service for tablets, laptops, USB modems and mobile hotspots. The change does not affect smartphone customers on unlimited plans.

"Effective beginning with your next bill following notification, your on-network monthly data allowance will no longer include unlimited 4G," the company said in a post on its support page. "If your phone plan contains unlimited data, you will continue to enjoy unlimited data usage on your phone while on the Sprint network."

Customers with 3GB of 3G data and unlimited WiMAX access will now be subject to a 3 GB cap for data use on both networks, with an additional charge of 5 cents per megabyte over the cap. The same applies for customers on plans with 5 GB caps and 10 GB caps on 3G data - the limit now applies to data usage on both Sprint's CDMA and WiMAX networks.

Customers who pay an extra $30 per month for Sprint's mobile hotspot plan will be capped at 5 GB for data accessed through the feature, with an overage charge of 5 cents per megabyte.

A Sprint spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on the changes.

Some analysts have predicted the impact of the data-hungry iPhone could force Sprint to abandon its unlimited plans to protect its bottom line. Speaking of the plans, Hesse recently told Wireless Week, “If something is not profitable, we won't do it."

Still, Sprint hasn't given up on its all-you-can-eat smartphone plans just yet. The service is an important differentiator from competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless, neither of whom currently offer unlimited data.

I have since returned the device and was told i would not be charged any fees other than the 3 days i have had it. (lets hope so)

I know Dan has to answer to wall street and investors but this move is crazy, Sprint will upset a lot of customers like us and the sad thing is if you look at the website to order an aircard it still shows unlimited on the 4g side; talk about false advertising. Dan bad move unless your going to give us LTE unlimite since your phasing out WiMax. I think they should grandfather everyone in that has unlimited like verizon and at&t did with the unlimited for iphone; otherwise i think his thought process on offering unlimited data plans for is wrong; NOT offering unlimited data plans will be unprofitable; Listen to your customers Dan and executive board we have a voice and a choice and we will exercise that voice and choice and change to your competitor.

Oh yeah, found this from an earlier date 10-7-11 from wireless week blog...things that make you go hmmm.

A Chilly Reception for Sprint's LTE

(Maisie Ramsay)

Permanent link

Sprint's LTE plans sounded pretty good to me when I listened in to its presentation this morning. It will free the company from its oft-testy relationship with Clearwire, put its 1.9 GHz spectrum to good use and give it additional ammo against AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Clearly, I'm not an investor. Sprint's stock went into free fall this afternoon, shedding more than 13 percent.

I was only able to listen to about a third of the event, which lasted for nearly three hours. Listening to a replay of the parts of the announcement I missed – especially the question and answer session at the end – I can see why investors were less than satisfied with Sprint’s plans.

For months, Sprint had promised to deliver answers at today's strategy update. Instead, it delivered generalities that left questions about its finances and strategy unanswered. Here's a description from BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyck:

"After a slate of presentations that were far short on details, the Q&A session got ugly as the management team continued to avoid providing any detailed answers and in many cases offered responses so short and void of details that the CFO was actually laughed at.  By the end, the CTO arrogantly admonished a questioner to “get your facts straight” rather than provide a detailed explanation of a plan that, when described as “ridiculous”, received applause from the audience.”

Ouch.

Sprint's decision to build its own LTE network instead of relying on Clearwire leaves the WiMAX operator in the lurch, and the impact of that could have unpleasant repercussions for Sprint. Since Sprint is Clearwire's majority shareholder - and is (or should I say was) its largest customer - any damage to Clearwire could harm Sprint as well. Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

Then there is the little matter of spectrum. Repurposing its 1.9 GHz spectrum for LTE is a nice idea, but will the network be speedy enough and launch fast enough to effectively compete with Verizon and AT&T?

Sprint is deploying LTE in its G block spectrum, giving it just 10 MHz to work with – half the bandwidth Verizon is using for its LTE network. Sure, Sprint will add additional capacity from its 1.9 GHz holdings as it phases out its iDEN network, but whether it can compete with LTE networks using more spectrum in prime 700 MHz real estate is another matter entirely.

Piecyck, for one, has his doubts.

“There was no discussion on how these speeds would stack up against Verizon and AT&T, which are using twice the amount of spectrum, nor how much capacity they would provide until they need to free up more spectrum,” he says. “However, they didn’t lose a chance to mention that their speeds would be faster than WiMAX.  We look forward to testing that claim.”

Sprint may end up deploying an LTE network that is slower and later to the game than its top two competitors. Not good.

Then there’s the little matter of financing.

CFO Joe Euteneuer threw out some rosy numbers about the impact of the plan on Sprint’s profit margins, but they came with some fine print. His estimates excluded the impact of the iPhone. That’s sort of like calculating your monthly budget without counting your mortgage payment. Sprint will have to “go to the market for financing” – i.e. go into more debt – to pay for its new network, the supposed financial benefits of which don’t include the massive cost of the estimated 30 million smartphones it just bought from Apple.

I’m starting to understand why investors are feeling a bit disgruntled.

As if you needed more to think about, LightSquared’s involvement in Sprint’s plan provides another twist in the operator’s increasingly complex 4G plot. Sprint might be able to use LightSquared’s 1.6 GHz spectrum, or it might not, depending on whether the FCC gives LightSquared the go-ahead before the end of the year.

Clear as mud.

In the meantime, Sprint is moving ahead with construction of its LTE network – will it incorporate the LightSquared component at a later date? Will it exercise its right to nix the deal if LightSquared doesn’t get the green light by Dec. 31? I don’t know, investors don’t know. Does Sprint even know?

I still like the idea of Sprint building its own LTE network. I like that it is replacing its iDEN network with a CDMA-based push-to-talk service. But like Sprint’s investors, I want more information about its plans. Sprint was supposed to give us answers today, but left us with questions.

Posted by Maisie Ramsay at 10/7/2011 4:31 PM

Highlighted
Journeyman

kds1989 wrote:

What you guys are saying happens in all carriers. the change to your data plan is standard with all companies now. no modem device has unlimited data any longer and that is because of the FCC. they are regulating the amount of data that a cell provider is allowed to distribute to their customers. I worked for AT&T for the longest time and saw these sort of situations all of the time. I would like to say that your experience should have been alot better. The experience all depends on how hard the agent your talking to wants to work. If its better customer service you are looking for you need to switch carriers to either T-Mobile or AT&T. It would be best to switch to AT&T though as T-Moible is currently in a merger with AT&T. Pretty soon Sprint is going to be considered bottom of the barrell like Straight talk, or Cricket. Take my advice. Cancel your service and switch providers. I certainly would like to, but i am in a contract with these bastards.

Can you please provide a citation to support these two statements? If you're referring to Wireless Mobile Data (as of today) Clearwire, Time Warner, Cox, and Comcast offer unlimited mobile data. I can't find anywhere that the FCC is regulating the amount of data that a carrier can provide to a customer. Where are you getting this information from?

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Journeyman

I too am so disappointed that Sprint is pulling this tremendous bad move. I just bought into their WiFi Hotspot Overdrive Pro 4G Unlimited 2 year plan a couple of months ago for the sole reason the Best Buy Sprint rep told me that its for 2 years and guaranteed me that they will grandfather me in for unlimited data usage for 2 years even if Sprint decides to do away with unlimited data plans.  Well that time has come, and so quickly.  I did not expect this from Sprint.  I am now wanting to cancel my contract without ETF also.  This is a very very bad move on Sprint's part.  The management team making this decision should be replaced! I was hoping that Sprint would pick up and bought a lot of their stock recently giving them the benefit of any doubt.  But first thing Monday morning, I am going to short their stock now as I do believe this is one extra nail in Sprint's coffin before it goes to its grave.  The iphone 4S sales will not help them.  Downward from here after they diss all their loyal Unlimited Data plan customers.  Verizon 4G LTE data plan, here I come.

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Journeyman

I just got done ordering cable internet. *sigh* It will be a lot faster than the 4G overdrive ever was, but I wish I didn't have to deal with this hassle. Still haven't called Sprint back, not gonna cancel my service until my new internet gets hooked up, because I foolishly trusted Sprint to provide the primary internet access for my home.

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