Slow Slog With Sprint

Frontier is not the only phone company Westporters have issues with.

I should have known things would not go well when I called Sprint this morning to cancel my mother’s service. (She got an easier-to-use phone, not that it matters.)

I punched in her number. A voice chirped, “Sorry! I did not get that!” Which did not instill a lot of confidence in this particular telecommunications company.

After navigating the complex (and repetitive) phone tree, I reached an actual — though heavily accented — human being. When I said I wanted to cancel the service, I was disconnected. Instantly.

downloadI called again. Again, the voice “did not get” the number I punched in. Once again, I eventually was answered by an actual person. Once again, when I said I wanted to cancel, the line mysteriously went dead.

I called a 3rd time. This time, I started by saying I’d been cut off twice by a phone company. The representative apologized, and took my number to call back “in case it happens again.”

I asked how that could possibly happen. She agreed it shouldn’t, but said by way of explanation that all cancellations must be handled by a supervisor. Of course!

I listened to gruesome music for 6 minutes. Then — silence.

Luckily, she had my callback number. Two minutes later, my phone rang.

My mother has a Toyota. Perhaps you've heard of it?

My mother has a Toyota. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

To make sure I was legitimately calling to cancel an account — perhaps this is a wide-ranging scam — she asked for the make of my mother’s car. “Toyota,” I said.

“Can you spell that?” she asked.

NO, I COULD NOT, I replied (yes, using capital letters.) I told her it was like the best-selling car in the world. She let it go.

She assured me I would not be disconnected again. When I asked how long it would take for the supervisor to pick up, she said, “One to 3 minutes.” No problem! That’s a sprint!

Eight minutes later, the music stopped. I was — yet again — disconnected by a telecommunications company.

This time, there was no callback.

Angry businessman killing the phone

I went online. I did not have an account, so I filled out a form. The password I chose was “SprintSucks1.”

The next part of the form was “Set access level.” I was happy to, except:

  1. there was no way to do that, plus
  2. I had no idea what that meant.

I clicked “Help.” A popup message said, “Questions? Check out our support site with answers to your questions 24/7, or chat with us.”

Which I was happy to do. Except, there was no way to access the support site from the page I was on.

Once more — a mere 50 minutes after starting — I called again. I explained everything I had been through since I started calling THIS TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY. 

The representative pretended to be sympathetic. Miraculously, he did not need to contact a supervisor. He could handle this exceptionally difficult request — cancel the service — all by himself.

Which he did, after taking down my callback number just in case we were disconnected.

sprint-tether-hotspot-300x274It was a simple process, with only 8 or 52 repetitive questions.

At last, it was done.

He had just one last question. Would I like an upgrade?

Why not? Yes! Of course!

I want Sprint to upgrade their !@#$%^&* customer service. Just kick it up a notch — from, say, “atrocious” to “abysmal” — and I’ll be ecstatic.

But I sure won’t call back to tell them that.

11 responses to “Slow Slog With Sprint

  1. Wow…believably unbelievable. ;-(

  2. Chou Chou Merrill

    You sure made this come to life…I feel like slapping someone!!

  3. Hope Napelbaum Clark

    That was a painful story to read but so true for any company you call for assistance . No one wants to help and you have to push fifty million buttons till you try to figure out who to contact ir maybe they just hope you will get so frustrated you will just hang up. Plus it seems no one speaks proper English at any of these so called customer service centers so it’s very difficult to communicate what your needs are.

  4. Sprint: the CB radio of cellular service.

  5. One day I called my home number from work. A very lovely sounding woman answered with “UBS, how may I help you?”. I apologized that I must have dialed the wrong number, and hung up. I though it was possible that in my haste I had dialed incorrectly. I was certain of the number since it has been the same number I have had for over twenty years, and my grandparents had it for decades before. In fact having the same number since they gave out numbers in that format. So I dialed again, and I got the same lovely woman at UBS. Now I was certain something was wrong. I dialed 611, the good old repair line, to get the matter resolved. When I entered the number I was told, “That number belongs to a different company, here is the number to call.”
    I called the number given and was informed that I had called the Business service and I should have called the Residential service by a very snotty woman. Transferred to the residential service I explained the problem the technician briefly performed his wizardry to proclaim, “Ah, the problem isn’t in our network, you have to call the other phone company” Okay, it seems a bit odd to me that I should have to track down other company but I was game. So I called the number given…
    I explained the situation again to this new person and was dutifully told that they would not do anything for me, since I was not a customer of their company. That I had to call my phone company and tell them to initiate a call to them. I explained that I had called my company, and they told me to call them. They told me they didn’t care because the other company as my service provider has to call them. I said fine, back to the first company…
    And I went through the explanation yet again. The person grunted sympathetically, and told me there was nothing he could do. The problem was in the other companies network, they weren’t handing the call off to my phone company. Since they never got the call, there was nothing they could do. I explained that the second company told me I had to have my company initiate the trouble ticket with them. I was told “That isn’t how it works.” I asked if there was someway that he could have his engineers talk to their engineers, he told me no. I had to call the other company.
    I called the second company again, I explained again. I was told again that my phone company had to call them. They would not accept me calling them because I wasn’t their customer. I hit upon the idea of asking, “Well, the service at work is provided by your company and it doesn’t work correctly, shouldn’t that mean you will fix it?” Apparently not, since I am not the person who signed up for the service at work, I can’t ask them to fix a problem in their network. I was a tad irate at this point.
    Using the powers of the Internet I found a phone number allegedly for the President of the second company. I wasn’t going to mess around any longer, straight to the top. So I called, I left a message explaining the problem and the horrific service thus far.
    I decided to call my company one more time, and I got a nice young woman who tried very hard to be helpful. She was earnest, she was calm, she actually tried to get in contact with the other company, but to no avail.
    While waiting for the president’s office to call me back I thought I would try one last time through normal channels. I am persistent. I explained yet again, I was told yet again they wouldn’t do anything, and then I got the kicker, they asked me if any one else with their service had the issue. I was dumbfounded. They wanted me to find out if any one else in their network was having trouble with the service they provide. I gave a rather snide answer.
    Eventually the office of the President did call me back, and they took all the information down. They looked into it. The short version is they can’t do anything until my phone company calls them.

    They won, I gave up. After hours and hours on the phone, or rage and frustration at the staggering incompetence, I just gave up. I have no idea if I can call my home from work yet, I just use another phone.

  6. Luisa Francoeur

    Jacques, try contacting The Haggler at the New York Times. This sounds like it will be right up his alley.
    I was waiting to tell you, Dan, to do that but luckily you were finally able to resolve your issue.

  7. Thanks for the heads up, now I will know not to ever use Sprint 🙂 At & T is just as bad and also Time Warner…who does that leave?

  8. Just to make sure Sprint saw my post, I tweeted @sprint. Several hours later, @sprintcare tweeted back: “We’re sorry you feel that way. Please feel free to let us know if there’s anything that we can assist you with today. KJ”

    I wanted your assistance several hours ago. You were MIA. Sorry — this faux apology doesn’t cut it.

  9. After reading this blog post, I called AT&T to cancel a number on our account (was waiting until out of contract on that number). On hold for 2 minutes to get an operator, 4 minutes later cancelled, and email confirmation received immediately.

  10. Michael Calise

    of course the best part is your call is important and we appreciate your patience – just for the fun of it try the gas company. always…….keep a bottle of Jack Daniels next to your phone

  11. Nora Ephron would have had a field day with this, akin to “The Six Stages of E-mail”.