Trying to get good customer service from Sprint is a hassle. If you’ve ever gone into one of their stores, most of these workers are Sales Representatives and not really concerned with helping you understand your plan. That being said, please read the fine print before signing that contract. Here’s my story of how I am going to save $1200 by asking the right questions about my service plan.


The Story

Today I reviewed my Sprint plan online to see how I can start receiving calls and text messages back on my iPhone. As you know, I’m outside the country and didn’t want to keep paying $80-100 a month for a plan I wouldn’t be using. So I called customer service, before leaving the country, and placed my phone (and tablet) on seasonal standby. This reduces my bill to about $9 a month while I’m overseas. Cool beans right. seasonal-standby-for-sprint-plans-usa

First off, I must’ve let this plan charge me 3 times before I took a look at the bill. Apparently in addition to my $9/mo plan, I had a mysterious $8 add-on charge being added to my bill every month. To throw salt on my wounds, I couldn’t even “analyze” my plan and see what this charge was for because Sprint.com wouldn’t direct me to this page. WHATT?? So I’m stuck paying this bill and not knowing why, so what do I do…I attempt to contact their support team.

Other than the endless amounts of forums you must go through to find their contact information, getting on a call with an obviously outsourced worker is not ideal. So I decided to contact Sprint via Chat.


Getting Support via Chat

Now before I hopped on this echat session I had a gameplan and list of questions I needed answered:

  1. Can I restore call/text capabilities on my iPhone at a lower rate than $80-$100 a month while I’m abroad?
  2. Why am I being charged an “Add-on” fee every month?

Now before you hop on a chat session, take a moment and do a little research on your account. This means reviewing your billing history, confirmation letters, subscriber agreements, and any device agreements you may have. All of this can be found on your Sprint.com account. I admit it is difficult to understand, but once you have a general knowledge of your sprint account, you should initiate a chat. Now back to the story.

So as I hop on chat, everything seems to be going well with the basic “what’s going on” and “how can I contact you if we get disconnected” messages. I eventually explain my situation and ask if I can receive texts or calls while on seasonal standby. After about a 7 minute wait, a LONG 7 minutes, I was able to google exactly what the representative copy and pasted into the chat. Not what I was looking for, but I appreciate the amount of research put into it.


Searching for the Right Solution

I needed to know if I could restore my call/texting at a lower rate than $80-$100 a month. Possibly lowering my unlimited plan to a pay as you go plan or offering a solution that would restore my ability to use my phone number while overseas. But instead of offering a solution, I was being offered a chance to upgrade to their new Unlimited Freedom Plan for $60 a month. Why yes Sprint, I would like to raise my bill $10 more than what I was originally paying.

I dont get it.

It makes no sense at all why I would want to PAY MORE for service when I originally contacted you guys about lowering my plan cost. But I went along with it and asked what is the difference between my old plan and their new plan. Their response: +2 GB of additional 3g Hotspot data. Seriously. So while being abroad, I want to add 3g of hotspot data (and $10) to my plan which I wont be able to use right? Wow.


The Frustration

So at this point I am frustrated and tell the rep if I’m ever going to upgrade my data plan, it better be for 4g data speeds and not that bullsh** 3g I’ve been getting my whole whole tenure at Sprint. Thank goodness this was a chat session because I would have gone off on this representative. Maybe not having phone service was a good thing. Either way, they continue to break down details of data speeds available. Mentioning 4g is only available in certian locations and after a certain amount of data usage, I think 23gb, my 4g will drop to 2g data speeds. So if this makes sense…I spend $80/mo for consistent 3g data speeds, but will pay a “risk” cost if I have a plan that uses 4g data speeds? Wow.

As our conversation went on, I learned that the charge I was seeing on my account, the “add-on” charge was actually a $7.99 “Account Spending Limited Charge” that was included on my orginal plan contract. It appears on my account, but apparently its removed on my invoice because I signed up for E-Bill and Auto Payments. So that basically means, all of the months I was NOT signed up for this…I probably was being charged. After almost 4 years of being with you, I find out you’ve been cheating on me and taking my hard earned money…thanks Sprint. I hear Verizon is looking for new customers.

By this time I’m cooled down.

Wait, no I’m not.

Because when I inquired about this service charge, the representative notified me of a RECONNECTION FEE of about $36 that would be applied to my account when I restore service. Wait…let me repeat. THE REPRESENTATIVE notified me that I would be charged this new $36 reconnection fee in order to restore services on my phone. I didn’t receive this information when I put my phone on standby, nor did I receive this information anytime leading up to this chat. I would later on find out the reason via another representative.


Change of Representatives

The new representative (I was transferred over to) tells me that I would have to manually setup my notifications in order to receive account payment updates while abroad. I was originally signed up for only text message updates. Well, I was on seasonal standby and thought that Sprint would know my text message option would be void. But ok, I’ll put the blame on me for that one. A $36 blame.

So how can I restore service? I have to pay the $36 reconnection fee, which can be voided AFTER PAYMENT by Financial Services.


The Threat that Saved Me $1200

Yep, I’m finally fed up with Sprint and decided enough was enough. I asked how many months were left in my contract and what any early termination fees would be. I was notified that I don’t have a service contract on my iPhone and I just have to pay $150 (the remaining device balance) and I am free to use service with any carrier that I choose.

So essentially my $80-$100 payment every month, which is suppose to end in February 2017 (totaling to about $1200 from this date), is only in reality about $25 a month. I am not obligated to use Sprint’s services with my iPhone, but I am obligated to pay off the remaining balance on my phone. This is huge! I can now pay $150 and take my phone to any provider I choose instead of continuing to pay for this expensive limited plan.

*In reality, no one really needs an unlimited plan, check your phone usage and you will be surprised. 5gb data is generous even if you watch a bunch of Youtube videos.


Next Steps

For my tablet, I have the option to pay a $50 early termination fee and make this device eligible for use with any provider, but for the most part, I don’t mind paying $15/mo for 1gb of data.

For my iPhone however, the ability to switch carriers (after 2 days as the representative mentions) and be able to keep my phone number for $150 is a steal of a deal. The days of 3g data and dropped phone calls will soon be over.

Now my choice is between Ting (ironically run by Sprint) and Verizon.


Ting or Verizon

Ting is affordable with a “Pay for what you use” charging method. I use Ting on my old iPhone 4s to take and make business calls. I usually pay $22 a month, but my bill has been as high as $33 when I use a bunch of data. Since your bill fluctuates every month with usage, it may not be the best option for those strict budgeters. Here’s a free $25 service credit if you’re interested. If you need help setting up Ting for your smartphone, feel free to contact me.

Verizon, on the other hand, is the quality standard for mobile communication. I can be underwater and still get a phone call! They also have plans that support 4g data speeds but obviously, everything could get a bit pricey.


Final Thoughts

It’s hard finding out Sprint has duped me FOR MONTHS.

Read your fine print before signing a contract and don’t be ashamed to ask questions before making a commitment. I was able to save $1200 by finding out my 2-yr service contract was just a 2-yr device installment contract. I am only obligated to pay for my phone, not for Sprint’s service.

With all of this being said, I was provided great customer service by Shalonda and Cody over at Sprint and admire the time they took to get my questions answered. Other companies, like Amazon, are quick to pass you on to another department and make it hard for the average customer to get answers.