Mobile And Sprint Merger Could Mean For You



If you're living in the US, there's a good chance you're using a phone on one of the four major carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. As a long-time Sprint customer who has had major problems trying to recoup massive overcharges from a generally incompetent and unresponsive Sprint customer service department, I can tell you from first-hand experience: if Sprint owes you $300 or more (like they did me), then you'd better be prepared to dial customer service again and again and again if you want your money back.

You may fool a customer into signing with low prices, but you won't fool them for long when they realize their phones never work. They should have the right to eliminate unprofitable customers, let alone those that are potentially damaging their customer service program by putting unreasonable demands on the system.

Divide that number by ten - assuming that about one customer in ten asks for any consideration for their trouble - and you get an idea how much value Sprint places on its customers' time. I have had some billing issues with Sprint ever since I added phones to my account.

This experience, along with the wireless broadband mentioned yesterday, keeps me sort of sentimentally attached to Sprint, in spite of their screwed up billing, bad customer service, and lack of an iPhone. Several times they told us they would send us prepaid mailers to return the phones but those mailers never came.

If Sprint's included Hulu subscription is a big draw, consider AT&T 's subscription deals as well: its Unlimited & More plans include WatchTV (AT&T's app that comes with 30+ channels of live TV and over 15,000 on-demand movies and shows). I'm writing this letter as I am on hold with Sprint's customer service, and my service is not yet restored.

Customer service told us there was no issue they could find, and cellphone if we wanted to buy a phone we should just buy it from Sprint instead - except they won't offer the same sale price as Best Buy. Sprint has hired enough people to answer 80 percent of the calls in 30 seconds.

Note: Sprint didn't respond to our requests for comment on this article, but they did respond to ZDNET with a no-comment on their "excessive customer service calling" disconnect policies. If Sprint wants to keep its focus on its more profitable customers, do what the airlines have done-divide the customers into levels (Silver, Gold, Platinum) and give each level a dedicated phone number to call.

Rather than get violent with the guy, I marched out of there and promptly called "customer service" again to see if I could find some answers. I have been trying to pay my phone bill for the month for the past two weeks. If you like the service you have now you should probably keep it. Your current Sprint or T-Mobile service isn't going to get any worse and we doubt prices are going to rise any time soon.

I probably didn't hit the 90 calls in six months mark, but if it weren't for the incredible good fortune of finally getting connected to a customer service rep and manager who would actually agree to credit my account, then I might still be calling customer service.

US Cellular actually has quite a reputation for stellar customer service, so it was surprising to hear complaints about them, but those of you who did complain noted poorly trained reps and confusing tactics, especially around their "belief" plans, which look great from the outside but quickly turn sour after you sign up. However, US Cellular's biggest issue is the one that comes with being smaller than the other carriers: coverage.

If you need to report a problem about your device or wireless account the customer service number to call is 1-888-211-4727 or toll-free 1-800-777-4681. As I sat on hold again, I pondered how I had predicted this when I walked out of the Sprint Store with my new phone.

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