I am and have been a good Sprint customer for over 10 years. In fact I’m a Sprint | Premier customer. I first joined Sprint when I had my first PDA – a Palm Pilot, that my husband gave me for my birthday shortly after I went to work in a “real” job in Accounting. I have been reasonably happy with my service and the products from them I have used. Over the years I’ve had several Windows Mobile devices, and an air-card; my husband has had two or three smart phones; I’ve had one of my kids on my account and it’s worked. I got the Windows Mobile 4 when it was first out, and I also got the Windows Mobile 6 very early. This last HTC, Windows Mobile 6, has had two batteries and has finally reached the stage where it won’t hold a charge any more.
So yesterday afternoon, about 3:30, I went to the big Sprint store and repair center at Mockingbird Station. I figured they would know about the new offerings and would be able to help me get it set up and connected with my Outlook. When I got there, I was next in line – they really weren’t busy at all, you see. The girl/woman who waited on me asked what I wanted and I told her I was looking to replace my current phone. I asked about the EVO 4-G, and she did everything she could think of to discourage me from getting it, saying that “Not everywhere in Dallas has 4-G yet,” and “You know, your monthly rate is $10 higher with 4-G”, and “You have to pay extra for tethering.” So, okay, I thought, she’s really looking out for me. We looked at another phone, the Samsung Intercept.
It looked pretty cool. I said, up front, that my only requirements were decent battery life, ability to connect to my Outlook, Facebook and Twitter. Oh, yes, she assured me, no problem with any of that. She looked up and saw that I was eligible for an upgrade bonus $$ off with a new contract, and it sounded pretty good to me. The whole time she was working with me she seemed to be looking at someone else at the other side of the store, but I figured she just was making sure everyone was being taken care of, and she seemed a little distracted in general because she had to ask me three times for my phone number and several times for my pin so she could look up my account. She took my old phone, and I started reading through all the contract disclaimers and checked all the check boxes and signed the sales slip. Then she remembered that accessories had a special of 20% off if you bought two, so I got a car charger and case. All total the bill came to $265+. Okay, I was getting a $100 rebate, as well, so not too bad. She switched my phone number to the new phone, and I told her I wanted to make sure it would connect with my Exchange service, so she started trying to do that. It was about 4:30 then, and I thought it would be great and I could get home and fix supper with time to spare.
This is where the afternoon started to go south. She had both my old phone and the new one and couldn’t figure out how to look up the connection information for my Microsoft OnLine Exchange account. She fiddled with it for 15 minutes, and then she took both phones to the back to the repair facility. Well, I figured, there’s bound to be somebody back there who knows what he/she’s doing (as this one patently didn’t). Finally, she came back out and asked me what my domain was. Microsoft OnLine doesn’t have a domain. It’s in the cloud. I patiently explained that to her, and she went back. Over the next HOUR we went back and forth with her asking me for more information and telling me that I HAD to have a domain, and me telling her that I didn’t have one – look at the old phone – no domain there – and it works just fine. I called both of my sons – both IT gurus – both on the same Microsoft OnLine account – one with a Droid and one with an I-Phone, and they both said, “No domain” “it should just connect!”
When I started calling the boys, she apparently completely lost interest in helping me, and started helping another customer. After about 15 minutes of being ignored, told her that that phone would obviously not be acceptable since no one there seemed to be able to make it connect with my Exchange account (remember THAT was one of the first criteria that I had). She got a little huffy, but finally reversed my sale, but because the other customer was also still standing there, all she did was reverse the sale. It took me interrupting her again to get her to reactivate my old phone to finish the transaction. It was now 6:30!
Now we come to the second problem. One of the reasons I had gone to the main repair center was because I have a Netbook that I bought in July 2009. It has an internal modem that is supposed to act like an air-card. In fact when I bought it, I transferred the number of my old air-card over to it, since it was going to be my computer that I used on the road. It worked fine, and I was very happy with it, until after Christmas, when I accidentally left it in my backpack and the battery completely discharged. When I powered it back up, it had lost the modem. I don’t know where it went, or if it was just a software modem, or what, but I couldn’t find it. It works fine at the house or anywhere there’s wi-fi, so I didn’t even realize the modem wasn’t there until some time in March. I brought it home and hooked up to the internet with the wi-fi, and tried to download the drivers again. I went to HP and got their HP-Connect (it’s a Compaq machine), and that didn’t work, so I went to the Sprint site, tried there, and it still didn’t work, so I took it to the Sprint store. They said, “It’s a hardware problem – take it to Best Buy” (where I had gotten it). So I dutifully took it to them, and they charged me $120 to tell me that it was a software problem, and Sprint was the only one who could fix it. So back I went to Sprint. Now, I’ll grant you that I didn’t just run from store to store; I took it home and used it on the wi-fi and on vacation and used it on the motel wi-fi, between visits. But I took it with me yesterday, for its second trip to Sprint.
After I was already thoroughly irritated by the phone incident, they came out and said “We’re downloading the software now. It’ll just be a few more minutes.” (That was 6:30, and I’m getting hungry.) So I sat, and I sat, and, of course, my sales person is too busy helping other customers to bother to check in the back for me. Finally at 7:30, I said, “Could you just give me a receipt for the Netbook, and I’ll come back and get it tomorrow.” She couldn’t understand why I wanted a receipt, 8-O, but she went back into the repair shop, and sure enough, here came the tech with my poor little Netbook, saying that he couldn’t get it to work. So I said, “Is there any reason that I should keep paying $59.95 plus tax, per month for it then?” and he said no, he didn’t think so, but wait – “It’s still under contract for another 9 months!” He was able to look at my account and see that I had already not had the use of it for at least 6 months (I think it’s been 8 months since I’ve had any minutes or bytes or however they count data service. But no data service.
Needless to say Sprint is getting a call later today, and I’m pulling out. I’ll buy out my data contract (better than to continue paying $59.95 + tax a month for nothing), and I’ll drop Big Al’s phone plan to the minimum, and I’ll get myself an I-Phone, and the devil can do what he wants to with Sprint.