Sprint - Deceptive practices in contract renewal and customer relations
I have been a Sprint customer for many years. When it was time to renew, I shopped around, and I was quoted a monthly price, including tax from Sprint. I decided to stay with Sprint because it was the most economic choice.
The day after signing the contract I received a text message saying I needed to check if I was eligible for discount. Since I don't normally communicate with companies via text message (entirely unprofessional, what am I a 15 year old?), I figured it was spam or phishing and ignored it. A couple weeks later I received another text message saying my bill was going to go up if I didn't confirm my eligibility, and so I called in to Sprint.
That was when I learned that I apparently had a discount through an employer from years ago (even though I never had them paying my cell bill) that I did not know about. And that my two options were either accept the 15% increase in monthly bill, or cancel the contract I just signed, and pay a $350.00 fee.
I have two gripes: I would have gladly told them I was no longer working for this company, and accepted that it was no longer available to me if I was told this BEFORE I signed a new contract. The fact that Sprint never mentioned the discount or asked for verification until after I had signed the contract clearly tells me this is a business process intentionally designed to squeeze customers after signing new contracts, and concealed until it is too late to go with another provider (at least for a couple years).
My second gripe is that the person I talked to lied to me. He said that my employer was paying that discount (of 25%). The reason that does not make sense is they offered as a pity prize a 10% discount that I am ineligible for as a AAA member. I asked "so you are telling me that AAA is going to pay 10% of my cell phone bill?" and the representative said "Yes." I said "You realize that makes no sense, that would add up to more than I pay in yearly membership fees to AAA." and he tried to change the subject. But I returned to the subject and said "Its a lie. Sprint gave me that discount because they wanted business. I am telling you that you can still have my business, and it will be just as profitable. But you would rather squeeze me for an extra 15% because you think that I am stuck and can't do anything about it for two years."
And they are right. My wife and I spent a bunch of money on the phones, which only work on the Sprint network. Add to that $350 more to cancel the contract, and leaving is not affordable. But I will make sure to tell this story as truthfully as possible to my social and professional network every month when I pay the bill, and hopefully deprive them of much more than they are squeezing from me in new business. My wife's sister and parents are all Sprint customers, so I am going to be sure to help them shop around, along with every other friend or colleague I can.
Review about: Sprint Cell Phone Upgrade.
Monetary Loss: $360.