Glenn Engstrand 2011-03-12
Here is a follow up to the original story. Even though I notified them of termination of service both verbally and in writting, they continue to attempt to charge my credit card and email me that they may have to discontinue service if I don't pay. Ha, ha, what a complete joke.
Sprint, the Cell Phone Carrior Who Couldn't
On Monday, Jan 25, my phone was no longer able to access data of any kind (text, email, data, web) over the Internet. My plan is advertised as having unlimited data.
By that evening, I was no longer able to log in to my account over the web. This is the error message that I encountered when attempting to log in.
error finding acount for MIN 4155771246: error finding account for MIN 4155771246: [EJB:013073]finder/ejbSelect 'findByMIN' has returned more than one value. We were expecting only ONE value. See EJB Spec 10.5.6.1, 10.5.7.1.
I attempted to contact Virgin Mobile USA (owned by Sprint PCS) several times via their web site.
On Tuesday, Jan 26, I called and spoke with a representative from their support group. He explained that he could not help me and that he would escalate the problem. He said that there was no problem with payment or credit card processing. He said that my service would be re-instated in 48 hours.
Instead, my phone number was canceled. People who called the number got a message saying that the account was no longer in service.
I called the support line again on Friday, Jan 28. I was bounced from one representative to another until they finally hung up on me.
On Saturday, I returned to the Sprint store in Larkspur, CA where I purchased the phone and had the account activated back in November. Although the sales representative was authorized to sell me this account, she somehow had no authority to close that same account. So, I was on the phone to the Virgin Mobile USA support line again. After two people and forty minutes, I was finally able to reach Mary who was supposed to be able to deactivate the account. She put me on hold several times before she admitted that she could not deactivate the account but that she would contact the finance department to make sure that my credit card would not be charged.
I think that you would agree with me that losing all capability on the phone for an entire week through no fault of my own is a clear violation of the terms of service on the part of cell phone carrier Sprint PCS.
This is a prepay plan where I paid $240 for a phone that only worked for two months. There is nothing physically wrong with the phone itself. It is a problem with Virgin Mobile software as run on their servers. They were unable or unwilling to fix the problem. No one seemed to have the authority to do anything about re-instating my service. It took the sales representative about ten minutes to set up the account back in November. None of the ten people that I dealt with could get my phone to work in a week's time. Why couldn't they just create a new account and tie my phone number to it?
When I asked Mary about them buying back the phone, Mary claimed that the store would have to buy back the phone. The sales representative in the store claimed that the Virgin Mobile USA organization would have to buy back the phone.
In the end, what was supposed to be a prepay plan featuring 300 minutes and unlimited web, text, and email for $25 a month ended up costing me $150 a month.
Sprint PCS clearly is a company that believes in the culture of no accountability where the customer gets fed a bunch of big lies and then passed off from one employee to another. I was never told that they could not fix the problem and if I didn't pull the plug, I suspect that I would still be waiting for a working phone for years.
While I was waiting on hold for Mary to tell me that she couldn't really close my account, I had plenty of time to read the marketing collateral in the Sprint store boasting that theirs was somehow rated the best in customer service. I suspect that they could solve their problems if they devoted a fraction of their marketing and store decorating budget to building more infrastructure and to empowering their employees to do more problem solving than just shuffling customers off to the next representative.