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Sprint Wireless to Customers: "We Hate You!"

DoctorArchDoctorArch CurmudgeonRegistered User regular
edited July 2007 in Games and Technology
Link from C/Net

The Skinny:
The squeaky wheel doesn't always get the grease.

At least not if the squeaky wheel is a Sprint Nextel customer. On June 29, 2007, Sprint sent letters notifying some customers that their service would be canceled by the end of July due to excessive calls to customer service.

"Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information," the letter reads. "While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs."

"Therefore after careful consideration, the decision has been made to terminate your wireless service agreement effective July 30, 2007."

Subscribers who have gotten letters from Sprint terminating their service won't have to pay the early termination fee. Their account balances will also be set to zero. But subscribers will have to sign up with a new wireless provider by July 30 if they want to keep their phone numbers. Otherwise, the numbers won't be available after the Sprint service ends, the letter states.

(You can take a look at one of these letters posted within this discussion stream on a Sprint users' forum.) And click here to see an image of one of the letters.

A Sprint spokeswoman acknowledged that a group of letters had been sent out on June 29. She said that only a "small minority" of customers were impacted.

"We have to be able to quickly and efficiently serve customers," said Roni Singleton, a Sprint spokeswoman. "And when we are unable to consistently solve our customers' problems it results in a lot of frustration and longer waits for other customers. So after looking through our records, we were able to determine that there were customers who we could couldn't meet their current needs."

Singleton said it was normal business practice for Sprint to audit customer service interactions. She also said the company has always reserved the right in its terms of use to terminate the contract for whatever reason.

Posting on the Sprint users' message board, one customer who received one of these letters said the calls she made to Sprint were for errors in the company's billing. She also questioned how the company counted the number of calls.

"I absolutely didn't call as much as they say I did, but I did always have the hang up/transfer scenario--even today calling in I was hung up on twice and transferred at least five times," she said in one of her posts. "I mean I DREAD calling in and sitting on hold, why on earth would I do it unless I had to!"

Clearly, Sprint is trying to shed customers who seem to eat up too many resources. But it seems crazy that a company that's already having a hard time keeping subscribers would be willing terminate contracts.

For years, Sprint has had a reputation for poor customer service and poor network coverage, and as a result, the company is suffering. For the first quarter of 2007, it reported a loss of 220,000 post-paid monthly subscribers--customers who pay monthly. This was the third quarter in a row the company had a substantial loss of these types of customers. The company has consistently had one of the worst churn rates in the wireless industry. At the end of the first quarter of 2007, Sprint reported a churn rate of 2.7 percent.

So, instead of improving customer service, they'll just cut loose the customer.

Talk, discuss!

For more hilarity, there's a regular meltdown over at forums.

This reminds me of my sprint story about four years ago. I signed up for unlimited roaming, as I was going to be out of normal service area for a month and wanted to use my phone. Ok sure, they signed me up. A month later I get my bill, $300 over what it should have been. I call them up, "oh, sorry sir, you must have been mistaken, but your service plan does not allow unlimited roaming. We understand your frustration, and we'll knock $20 off your bill for your trouble." I told them to shove it, called the BBB, and got the problem taken care of in about two weeks. One month later, I dropped them as soon as my contract ran out and never looked back.

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DoctorArch on


  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Sadly, this seems perfectly in line with my experience with Sprint, and their overall attitutde towards everything.

    Brolo on
  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    This is fucking fantastic. Sprint is a shitty company and deserves to fail.

    I'm happy about this.

    They are doing the people they drop a favor for once.

    Endomatic on
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Aren't they doing you a fucking favor? I mean if they suck so much and are terminating your agreement because of how much they suck, why would you stick with them?

    Preacher on
    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.
  • MordrackMordrack Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    What a brilliant solution.

    Mordrack on
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Mordrack wrote: »
    What a brilliant solution.

    I just love how you never really see this kind of customer service these days. It's always "Be nice to the customer, the customer's always right."

    This is right up the line of "You don't like us, well fuck you too buddy." I applaud their honesty. They might be assholes, but they're honest assholes.

    DoctorArch on
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  • harvestharvest By birthright, a stupendous badass.Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    They're terminating the contracts of ~1000 customers who call customer service >20 times a month. It's probably better for everyone involved that those contracts are terminated. First, because either the customers are incompetent, misunderstand the terms of their contract, or need constant hand-holding. Second, because the company exists not to serve customers but to serve shareholders, and customers who eat up a relatively enormous share of the customer service resources are a burden on the bottom line.

    Having worked in customer service nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to terminate the accounts of customers who called so frequently, either because of my own ineptitude or theirs. I don't have time to deal with their niggling bullshit problems, and if they have real problems that I either don't have the tools or authority to resolve, they're better off with a company that can meet their needs.

    And if I got one of those letters I'd be relieved. It means my contract balance is nullified and I'd be free to find another service provider. How could someone whose service is fucked up so badly that they call 20 times a month be angry that they've been released from their contract?

    harvest on
  • RedShellRedShell Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Gross, Harvest. I've worked in customer service, too, and 'griefers' are part of the game. If it becomes normal to drop people for 'using up' customer service, you can bet that I'll never sign up with a company that does this. It's indicative of a general cheapness and bad attitude towards your customers.

    I know that being horrified on the internet is a pretty small act. But damn! I already go out of my way to not use anything with call centers abroad. I'm looking at you, XBL...

    RedShell on
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  • Atlus ParkerAtlus Parker Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Man, what a crock.

    So a very small percentage of their subscribers call their support line one too many times? Isn't that what customer support is there for? How about subscribers that never call customer Service? Are they going to see a refund on their monthly bill? I doubt it. This is coprorate greed pure and simple and I can only hope that this hurts Sprint in the long run.

    I spent too years with their spotty service before finally switching to a more reliable provider. Unfortunately I still deal with Nextel on a daily basis which is an exercise in frustration. I have never dealt with service as shitty as Sprint's.

    Atlus Parker on
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Iwish I knew this ahead of time. one less month I'd have to keep fucking sprint.

    nexuscrawler on
  • EvanderEvander Disappointed Father Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Personally, my experience with Sprint is absolutely impecable service about 80% of the time, and lousy service the other 20%.

    I make ABSOLUTELY sure, when I recieve wonderful service, to thank the CSR profusely, and on the few times that a CSR has been really great, but wasn't able to help me because it was out of their hands, and I had to deal with a manager, the very first thing I'd do is inform that manager how great the CSR had been. I recognize the difference between having problems with the service and having problems with a CSR, and I'm not about to confuse the two.

    Also, I know of a bunch of people out there who abuse Sprint's customer service. Doing things like calling in and claiming to have had a bunch of dropped calls that didn't happen, just to get money off of their bill, and other such stuff. If this is going to get rid of those folks, then it seems like a great idea to me.

    Seriously, if these people are constantly calling with complaints, then they obviously aren't happy with the service, so why should they be upset about being released from their contracts? Who out there views phone contracts as anything other than a necessary evil in order to get decent rates, anyway?

    Evander on
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Man, that's so fucking cool. Get rid of the problem customers, AND the customers get rid of the service they hate.

    Win/Win situation.

    urahonky on
  • FireWeaselFireWeasel Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Preacher wrote: »
    Aren't they doing you a fucking favor? I mean if they suck so much and are terminating your agreement because of how much they suck, why would you stick with them?

    This is exactly what I was about to come in here and say.

    It's more like, "Sprint Wireless to Customers: "We Acknowledge How Horribly We Suck and are Releasing you From Being Contractually Bonded to Our Filth!"

    FireWeasel on
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  • devolvedevolve Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    That's quite a bit of hubris to think that the reason your customer service is shitty isn't because you have shitty customer service, but because of your customers.

    devolve on
  • EvanderEvander Disappointed Father Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    devolve wrote: »
    That's quite a bit of hubris to think that the reason your customer service is shitty isn't because you have shitty customer service, but because of your customers.

    What percentage of customers really have an issue, though?

    Because if it's a small percentage of people causing an inordinant ammount of problems, this makes sense.

    Really, what is wrong with saying "If you don't like it so much we'll release you fron your contract."

    Evander on
  • Raijin QuickfootRaijin Quickfoot I'm your Huckleberry YOU'RE NO DAISYRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    This seems like a perfect idea and I wish more companies would adopt it. It costs a shitload of money to take in 20+ calls a month from one customer. Therefore, let them go. Win/win situation.

    Raijin Quickfoot on
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