I just sent this letter to the CEO of Sprint to tell him how his company permanently lost me as a customer.
|May 1, 2007|
|Gary D. Forsee, CEO|
|2001 Edmund Halley Drive|
|Reston, VA 20191|
Dear Mr. Forsee,
|Order number: [elided]|
|Sprint phone number: [elided]|
|UPS tracking number: [elided]|
Because of your terrible service, I decided after ordering a phone through your Web site that I wanted neither the phone nor the Sprint account. I therefore refused delivery of the phone, as instructed by your customer service representatives. Months later, you still haven’t refunded the charge on my credit card, and you’re still billing me for an account I never activated. I want you to give me my money back and make the billing stop. Furthermore, I want your word that Sprint has not been reporting me to the credit agencies for non-payment. If you have, I want your word that you have notified all the credit agencies that those reports are incorrect and should be removed.
If you do not resolve this problem to my satisfaction within thirty days, I will file suit against Sprint and you personally for the amount of the charge on my credit card, for the cost of postage for the several letters and bills I’ve returned to you and for this letter, and for the cost of ordering credit reports from the major credit agencies to verify that you haven’t been reporting me to them as delinquent. Furthermore, I will lodge complaints against Sprint with the FCC, the FTC, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, and ask the consumer advocacy reporters at all of the local television stations and newspapers to publicize my problem and help to get it resolved.
Please read on for all the details of my experience with Sprint. They say that 96% of customers you lose won’t tell you why they left, even if you pay them. Pay attention… I’m the other 4%.
On January 29, I decided that I wanted to purchase a PPC-6700 phone from Sprint Nextel.
I visited five Sprint Nextel retailers, three of which are listed on your Web site as exclusive Sprint Nextel dealers. None of them had the PPC-6700 in stock, nor could any of them tell me where I could get one. Finally, while visiting the fifth retailer, one of the exclusive dealers, I saw a Sprint Nextel employee take out a PPC-6700 and start using it.
I approached her and asked where I could get one. She responded that the PPC-6700 isn’t really being sold anymore, that sometimes you can’t even get it by ordering through the Web site, and that she had heard rumors that it was soon going to be discontinued and replaced with a new model.
You shouldn’t advertise a phone on your Web site that none of your retailers actually sell. Your retailers shouldn’t be so ignorant of your product line that they don’t know when to tell a customer that he isn’t going to be able to find what he’s looking for. You shouldn’t advertise a phone on your Web site that’s essentially obsolete and about to be replaced with a new model.
I then decided to consider the Moto Q instead. I asked the store manager whether he had one I could look at. At first he said yes, but then he said, “Oh, gee, no, I’m sorry, I had one this morning, but it’s been sold.” Your stores should be able to handle the simple task of having phones in stock for when people want to buy them.
The next day, January 30, I decided to order a Moto Q from your Web site. I ordered the phone through your business site, since it’s for my job.
While putting together my order, I used your chat service to work with a sales person who identified herself as Meghan. This service was quite useful and was the one bright spot in all of the negative experiences I’ve had, although even it wasn’t free of problems. In particular:
- During our chat, she offered to give me a $50 credit on my first monthly statement. Unfortunately, the instructions she gave me for claiming the credit didn’t work, since they were apparently tailored for your personal site rather than your business site, and she was a bit confused when I gave her my order number ([elided]) for her to issue the credit, since she said she wasn’t expecting a six-digit order number. Nevertheless, she said that she entered the credit into her system and it went through. Who knows, maybe it actually did, although it’s moot now.
- The chat service claimed that a transcript of my conversation would be emailed to me upon its completion. In fact, I received no transcript. I also received no transcript of a second chat I had the next day with another Sprint Nextel employee (described below).
When I examined the order receipt I received in the email after placing my order, I discovered that the $150 in “instant savings” your Web site said I would receive on the phone was not shown. The next day, January 31, I embarked on an effort to try to find out why.
I started by using the same chat service to inquire about why the reduced price did not show up on my receipt. After chatting with me for a few minutes, the agent informed me that he couldn’t help me and gave me a phone number to call.
The agent at that number couldn’t help me, and transferred me to a second number. The agent at that number couldn’t help me, and transferred me to a third number. The agent at that number couldn’t help me either, and transferred me to a fourth number. I waited on hold for more than twenty minutes before finally getting to speak to someone, who informed me that she couldn’t help me either and all I could do was wait until my phone arrived and then call back and try to get it straightened out. In short, I chatted on-line with one person and spoke on the phone with four others, and none of them had any idea how to help me.
Later that day, I tried one more time, this time by calling the number on my order receipt. Finally, someone was able to help me. The agent with whom I spoke informed me that my order would be activated and shipped the January 31, and that the email order receipts don’t show instant savings, but my credit card would in fact be charged the correct, reduced amount. Your receipts should show the price that people are actually going to be charged for their phones.
Apparently, the reason why the other five people with whom I spoke couldn’t help me is because they’re all agents for your personal phones division and I had placed my order through your business phones site. It would have been nice if at least one of them had recognized what was going on and told me the right number to call for help.
I called again February 1. I was informed that my order still hadn’t shipped, wouldn’t ship until the next day at the earliest, and wouldn’t get to me until some time next week.
My phone should have been shipped the day I ordered it. At the very least, it should have been shipped the next day. Furthermore, I shouldn’t have been told by an agent that my phone would ship on January 31 if that wasn’t true.
The phone was finally shipped. I had to again to confirm this and get the tracking number. You should email customers the tracking number when their orders ship.
By this time, I was completely fed up with Sprint, and I wanted nothing more to do with you. I therefore called your customer service department to ask what to do if I’d changed my mind about the phone. They said I should refuse delivery, and when the phone was returned to them, they would reverse the charge on my credit card and close the account. I did as they instructed.
A couple of weeks after doing this, I received a letter from Sprint asking me to call you because certain information was required to close the account (i.e., the “Get the customer to call us so that we can try to convince them not to cancel their account” letter). I sent back the letter, indicating that I had no intention of wasting more time talking to Sprint, and they should just close the account and stop bothering me. I received no reply. You should not have sent me this letter. You should simply have closed the account and refunded my money as promised. When I sent back the latter and told you that, you should have listened and closed the account and refunded my money as promised.
Over a month after I returned the phone, the charge still had not been refunded to my credit card, so I contacted the credit card company and disputed the charge. The credit card company contacted Sprint. You told them that the charge was valid and refused to acknowledge that I had refused delivery of the phone. The credit card company therefore reinstated the charge.
You continue to send me bills for this account, which I continue to return. I received another one yesterday.
Today, after once again being bounced around on the phone from person to person and waiting on hold for over half an hour, I finally reached someone who claimed that she might be able to get the charge refunded and closed the account ([call reference details elided]). We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually happens.
Contrast all this with my experience with Cingular, which I chose after giving up on Sprint. I ordered a phone through their Web site on a Sunday, and it shipped two days later. They sent me tracking instructions by email when the order shipped. After ordering the phone on-line, I happened to pass by a retail Cingular store, so I decided to buy the phone there and return the on-line order. The sales associate at the store was helpful and knowledgeable, the phone I wanted was in stock, and I walked out of the store with a working phone a half hour later. I refused delivery of the on-line order when it arrived, and a credit for the full amount appeared on my credit card less than a week later.
I am the IT Manager for a successful and fast-growing high-tech start-up. I am responsible for selecting cellular phone vendors. After the experience I’ve had with Sprint, you can be sure that my employer will not be giving a penny to Sprint.