april 18, 2011 05:25am
One thing that really burns my buttocks is poor customer service. Especially for a service that is somewhat costly to begin with and from a company that has far greater resources to correct the issue that I do. And even more especially a company that forces me to drive the effort to resolve it without regard to the value of my own time and efforts. I hate feeling abused!
My anger is with Sprint. I've been a customer of theirs for about 5 years, since they acquired my previous provider, Nextel. I have three cellular phones and two broadband devices with Sprint and have been generally happy with their services. As a matter of fact, I have spoken of my satisfaction with them to many of my friends and during some of my stage performances. As I said, I've generally be satisfied and have enjoyed interacting with their employees whenever I've had an issue or concern.
In retrospect, it wasn't the best start: I originally had a Nextel phone but added a phone from Sprint after thier acquisition and for a while received bills from both. Then I started getting two Sprint bills which was really confusing and financially problematic. Sprint was not helpful at all as I tried to get the two bills merged. First, every time you call, you have to explain the problem to every single person that you talk to (a real waste) and you can't even get to a supervisor (where you will have to explain it again) until you've cited it to the lower-tier support people. And if you lose your connection, you have to start all over! In trying to get the billing issue resolved, Sprint told me on two occasions that I had to drive to one of their "non-franchised" stores to sign paperwork transferring responsibility (from me, on one account to me, on the other account). I spent about $100 in gasoline and about 50 hours on the phone or driving before it was resolved. And despite, my request, I didn't receive any credit on my bill for my time and efforts.
But since that time, I have had a pretty good relationship with Sprint and have "sang their praises."
During last year's Christmas season, I purchased a Sprint MiFi 2200 broadband card. I already had a broadband card on another account but this would allow me to connect several laptops and it wouldn't "tie up" a USB port, either.
It worked great for a while but back in March, at a horror convention in Kentucky, the battery was dead and it didn't charge when I connected it to the charger. Fortunately, I had a backup broadband connector on another account and was able to get my work done. As many of you know, I was at two other events on the subsequent weekends so I didn't bother with that device.
At the beginning of April, as I was getting ready to leave for a convention in Ohio, I called Sprint to find out if I could get the card replaced and was told that i would have to take it to "an authorized Sprint Repair Center". I put the card and charger into my laptop bag and, a few days later, drove to Cleveland. But after that convention, I called Sprint to find out where I should take it as I approached Columbus.
After waiting for my turn at the counter, I was told that the Novatel charger that shipped with the device was no longer working and the tech gave me a "generic" charger that "should fix the problem". That night, at a hotel in Circleville, I plugged in the chager and the light came on. IBut when I tried to use the MiFi card it wasn't found by my laptop. The next day, when I unplugged it from the charger, the battery was still dead so I went to the "authorized" shop in Circleville. I was told that the charger that I was given wasn't compatible with the device and the tech gave me a USB cable to power the card. I was able to access the Internet but when I disconnected the cable, the device died, too so it wasn't charging. On my way back through Columbus, I stopped at that same store to see if I could get a compatible charger. They did not have one and said that I would have to get it from Sprint. They offered to order it but since I was just passing through, I declined.
A couple days later, once I was back at home, I took the device down to my local "Authorized Sprint Repair Center" and was told that they would try replacing the battery first, so they ordered a new battery which necessitated my driving back to the store when the battery came in. It turns out that the battery cover was also misplaced during that visit.
When they replaced the battery, I was able to use my card until the battery died. The generic charger didn't recharge it so I called Sprint again.
This time I was told that I had to make a claim with the store in Ohio to get a charger and with the store in Seabrook, NH to get a new battery cover. I was also told that they don't ship chargers or battery covers and that the entire unit would have to replaced. I asked to speak to a supervisor and after a moment, the tech told me that they would ship me out a replacement unit.
Last weekend, I was away from home and wanted to access the Internet, I had both broadband devices in my laptop bag and used the USB device. But it reminded me that I hadn't received my replacement MiFi Card so I called Sprint and was told the card was shipped and delivered already. When I said that I hadn't received it, Sprint gave me the 800 number for UPS and the tracking number. When I called UPS, I was informed that the package was delivered to a different address, in a different town. I went out to see if I could recover the mis-delivered package and realized that I shouldn't be running around to "strange" houses, making these inquiries.
I called Sprint and told them that UPS told me that they delivered the package to a different address and was told that it wasn't their fault because they addressed the package correctly to UPS. I was told that Sprint had no further responsibility and that I had to make a claim with UPS. Of course I was asked if Sprint had successfully resolved my issue, today -- what!? The tech asked if I wanted Sprint to follow up with me the following day. and I asked, "To what purpose? I mean aren't you telling me that Sprint is no longer involved!? Will that change tomorrow? He then told me, "No. Thank you for calling Sprint," and hung up.
I called UPS and they assured me that the package was, in fact, delivered to the correct address on the package; and that Sprint, as the shipper, would have to make the claim.
I was livid and asked for a supervisor when I called back. I refused to go through everything with the lower-level support tech and demanded to be escalated to a supervisor. And then I vented! The supervisor told me that she would send me out a replacement and would make the claim with Sprint. I told her about all of the crap that I felt was dumped on me, the customer and the fact that I was unable to access the service accessed by the device and would like a credit. she told me that once the issue was resolved, a credit could be determined. I hung up felling much better.
Yesterday, my package was delivered to the wrong address, again. At least this time, it was just delivered to the wrong apartment but there was no further information available from UPS. So on this cold, rainy day, I found myself walking around, between my building and the other, knocking on doors until I recovered my package. And when I got home and opened it up -- no charger!
I called UPS and I was informed that they gave me a $50 credit on my account so that I could buy another charger. I gusess they now want me to contact Novatel to purchase it myself.
Sprint assured me that I am a valued customer. Frankly, I'm not feelin' the love. And I am really disappointed in Sprint.
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