Is Sprint PCS Incompetent in Handling Billing Errors and Customer Service?

  • Thread starter chroot
  • Start date
In summary: I got a bill for $1,363.14. I called and the lady on the other end said that I owed $1,363.14 and that I would have to pay it or go to jail. And she hung up on me. I called back and talked to another lady and she told me the same thing. I told her that I already had my insurance information and she said that I could fax the information to her if I wanted. I faxed the information to her and she said that I owed $1,363.14 and that I would have to pay it or go to jail. I told her that I didn't have that kind of money and she said that I
  • #1
chroot
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So, let's just say I'm pissed off with Sprint PCS. No, really... let's just say that if I knew where the Sprint customer service people worked, I would drive over there and do something very, very illegal to all of them.

Here's the story. I used to be a Sprint wireless customer. I got annoyed with them because they kept screwing up my bill -- I wouldn't even get a bill until after it was due, and was always paying $5 late fees and what-not.

So, almost two years ago, I switched to Verizon wireless, and took my phone number with me. All just fine and dandy... until six months later, when I receive a letter from a collections agency demanding that I pay them $1136.55 for a debt to Sprint PCS.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but an $1136.55 seems to me to be a peculiar amount of money for a single month of cell phone service.

Two years ago, I spent almost an entire day on the phone with Sprint customer service, after listening to dozens of mindless zombie mouth-breathing moron customer service reps who asked me over and over how I'd like to make arrangements to pay them, before finally being sent to their fraud department.

The fraud department determined it was a billing error. Apparently, even though I had a 2500 minute plan, was current on payments, and did not go over my minutes, Sprint had charged me as though every single minute I used that month was overage. In the language used by the fraud case manager, I had no "bucket of minutes" to pull from. So, 2,067 minutes, all of which should have been free under my plan, were all in fact billed at 40 cents a minute. Adding tax and fees and all that crap, the end result was a $1136.55 phone bill, not a dime of which I actually really owed.

Well, I thought that was the end of it -- yay, the Sprint people finally realized they were in error -- until I recently started taking a good look at my credit report again, and I realized that the collections agency still thinks it's a valid debt, and has damaged my credit. I want to find a Sprint PCS employee, any Sprint PCS employee, and stab them in the face.

So I spent another three hours on the phone yesterday, mostly on hold, still being asked how I'd like to make arrangements to pay.

I've had another case opened with the fraud department, and hopefully someone competent will actually call me in the next few days. I suspect that no single person in the entire Sprint PCS operation actually understands anything at all.

I'm contemplating calling the collections agency, though I can't imagine they'd be much help. After all, they have a copy of my Sprint PCS bill, and thus think the debt is valid -- even though the bill looks totally wacky and is obviously screwed up. Anyone who can read should be able to see that it's screwed up, in fact. I got charged $0.00 for the $39.99 monthly plan, the bill doesn't show me having any minutes available, unlike every other bill, and it shows 2,067 minutes of "overage minutes used," even though it shows no minutes used on the plan. In short, it's all messed up, and it's obviously all messed up.

Yet it's still going strong, two years later.

If anyone actually read all this, I thank you deeply.

- Warren
 
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  • #2
Same thing happened to me with MCI. I was supposed to be on an International calling plan for calls to Italy for .24 cents a minute (this was a few years back). They charged me $3.95 a minute, racked up over a thousand dollars in one month. After countless hours of speaking with brain dead reps, I finally got a "supervisor" that realized the plan hadn't been added to my account and would re-rate the bill and credit me for the overcharge.

WRONG. MCI refused to correct the mistake, even though I had proof I had signed up and even though a supervisor had agreed to the credit. I argued with them for months. They shut off my account and referred it to a collection agency. When I told the agency what happened, they told me this happened all the time and sent the account back to MCI & never got contacted by the collection agency again, but MCI never did correct the billing.
 
  • #3
If it helps, I'm dumping sprint when my current contract runs out (3 months).
 
  • #4
I feel your pain. At one time i had to go to the emergency room because i had a serious condition developing in my eye. I gave them the insurance information that my University provides me with. After filling out all insurance information and mailing everything to the correct places i keep getting bills from the Hospital saying i have to pay this amount. I call over there and no one ever picks up the phone, telling me to leave a message, like that's the kind of stuff to leave a message about. After i go over there to straighten everything out, eventually i get a letter again saying i owe this and that. I can't stand incompetence at this level, it bothers me so much. :mad:
 
  • #5
Someone fished an MCI letter out of my trash and joined under my name from somewhere in Mexico a few months ago, and made a few, not too expensive, long distance calls. As soon as I got the bill I called them and convinced them it wasn't me. They agreed not to charge me for the calls but insisted I was still an MCI customer until such time as they were informed by some other service that I was their customer. They are still trying to collect some 8-9 dollar fee for the month I was fraudulently signed up for MCI long distance.

That's peanuts compared to Warren's thing, but demonstrates the same basically illegal tactic of charging people for things they don't owe and hiding behind a vast screen of "corporate" confusion to prevent you from clearing it up.

All the companies who behave this way should be put out of business, pure and simple.
 
  • #6
It just never ceases to amaze me how people tacitly assume anything their computer screen tells them must be correct. Why doesn't anyone ever realize that the information in a computer system is no more reliable than the brain-dead moron who typed it in last week?

Why are the people who actually make the important decisions -- like sending a bill to a collections agency -- always completely unreachable by the customers whose lives and credit they are destroying?

- Warren
 
  • #7
For $1100, it may be worth sic'ing your local TV station on them.
 
  • #8
Heh. We'll see if going through the fraud investigation AND working with the collections agency makes any difference. I suspect they at least have contact with the people who actually make decisions at Sprint. Failing that, I will probably file suit.

- Warren
 
  • #9
zoobyshoe said:
That's peanuts compared to Warren's thing, but demonstrates the same basically illegal tactic of charging people for things they don't owe and hiding behind a vast screen of "corporate" confusion to prevent you from clearing it up.

All the companies who behave this way should be put out of business, pure and simple.

It's called criminals. Not the company, but actual criminals. This country is plagued by criminals and corporations need ways of making sure they aren't just excusing criminal activities to an extent. Hell my parents were alerted to a bunch of credit cards being activated and they had this little problem finding out what was going on. Of course, turns out 2 stupid women had stolen their mail and used hte information to get credit cards. The women were caught and they had been doing this all over town using dozens of peoples identities to get cards.

3 months probation.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

Remember to take a little anger out on your "neighbors"
 
  • #10
My local TV station has language on their website that makes it seem like they would be all too eager to go after Sprint on my behalf. What a strange system we have in place...

- Warren
 
  • #11
russ_watters said:
For $1100, it may be worth sic'ing your local TV station on them.
Actually, it should be handled by either the State's Attorney General or consumer affairs office. AG is probably better.
 
  • #12
Yeah, but the TV station will probably get it done in a day, with no effort on my part. Going through the government will probably take two entire days of forms and crap.

- Warren
 
  • #13
I'm trying to figure out why you're being told to go through fraud investigation. The only fraud is on their part...it's not like someone else used your phone or ID or that you tried to do something fraudulent.

I'm all for the idea to sic the TV station on them!

If they do finally agree to fix the problem, insist on them putting it in writing. You'll want something in writing anyway so you can send it to the credit reporting agencies to clear up your credit history with them.

Otherwise, yeah, Astronuc's advice to call the state AG sounds good to me. Or call everyone and see who fixes it first!
 
  • #14
If the fraud department determined it was a billing error, and it was, (the rep that set up your account forgot to apply the correct plan, same as my case), the fraud department would do nothing further, they only handle fraud. It would have been up to you to then call billing and explain to them that the correct plan had not been applied to your account and get it applied and a re-rate done. Unfortunately you are correct, these people aren't human. They can't think, they read scripts and can't understand logic, so you would have just wasted your time.

You only wasted one day. I spent MONTHS explaining this to MCI and e-mailing them copies of my confirmation of the plan and they STILL didn't fix it.
 
  • #15
Yeah, but I can't calling billing, because all they know how to do is say "How would you like to make payment today?"

Hell, 3 out of 4 of the dozen or so reps I spoke with couldn't even FIND the documentation on my account made by the fraud deparment. They have no idea how their own computer system works.

I'm most frustrated by the whole "manager" concept. That is, when you get upset, or they have no idea how to do what you want them to do, they put you on hold to speak to their manager. Instead, some other brain-dead moron gets on the phone, asks you the same questions, and repeats the same responses, verbatim, like a goddamn Speak-and-Spell. The new guy is clearly no more competent than his supposed subordinate -- maybe even less so -- so I strongly doubt that anyone in a call center actually knows anything. If you call the 800 number, all you get is a run-around between the same brain-dead morons. But... they never publish the phone numbers of anyone who can actually help, because they don't want you calling them.

I'm really considering the whole local TV sic-em thing. I know it's sort of underhanded, but I'm sure it'd work. Nothing I can do or say seems to even matter.

- Warren
 
  • #17
Pengwuino said:
It's called criminals. Not the company, but actual criminals. This country is plagued by criminals and corporations need ways of making sure they aren't just excusing criminal activities to an extent. Hell my parents were alerted to a bunch of credit cards being activated and they had this little problem finding out what was going on. Of course, turns out 2 stupid women had stolen their mail and used hte information to get credit cards. The women were caught and they had been doing this all over town using dozens of peoples identities to get cards.

3 months probation.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

Remember to take a little anger out on your "neighbors"
No, you're missing the point. MCI agreed it was fraud by some unknown person, didn't charge me for the long distance calls themselves, yet decided to treat me as an officially signed up long distance customer and charge me some kind of base rate for simply being a long distance customer. I NEVER SIGNED UP WITH MCI! THEY DON"T GET TO CHARGE ME SQUAT!
 
  • #18
chroot said:
Yeah, but I can't calling billing, because all they know how to do is say "How would you like to make payment today?"

Hell, 3 out of 4 of the dozen or so reps I spoke with couldn't even FIND the documentation on my account made by the fraud deparment. They have no idea how their own computer system works.

I'm most frustrated by the whole "manager" concept. That is, when you get upset, or they have no idea how to do what you want them to do, they put you on hold to speak to their manager. Instead, some other brain-dead moron gets on the phone, asks you the same questions, and repeats the same responses, verbatim, like a goddamn Speak-and-Spell. The new guy is clearly no more competent than his supposed subordinate -- maybe even less so -- so I strongly doubt that anyone in a call center actually knows anything. If you call the 800 number, all you get is a run-around between the same brain-dead morons. But... they never publish the phone numbers of anyone who can actually help, because they don't want you calling them.

I'm really considering the whole local TV sic-em thing. I know it's sort of underhanded, but I'm sure it'd work. Nothing I can do or say seems to even matter.

- Warren
I can help you, maybe. I just helped another customer with their residence account recently, it was ugly though.

The rep kept saying "that plan isn't on their account.

I'd say, that's right, that's why the bill is wrong, the plan is SUPPOSED to be on the account.

Rep:"Well, since it's not on the account there is nothing I can do" Would they like to place an order to add it?

Me:Yes they would and pro-rate the calls back to when the account was changed 2 months ago.

Rep:Oh, I can't go back, the plan wasn't on the account then.

Me: Right, because it was left off in error.

Rep: so would they like to add it now?

Me:Yes and re-rate all of the calls back to when the account was changed 2 months ago.

Rep: let me see, no, no plan code was on the account two months ago.

Me: LOOK. I was on the phone with this client when they placed their order because they were afraid something would go wrong. I heard the entire order being placed. I have copies of e-mails to the client confirming the plan. Would you like me to send them to you, do you know who I am?

Rep: Ok, I've added the plan and re-rated the charges and they will be getting a $385 credit on their next bill. Is there anything else I can do for you today?
 
  • #19
You work for Sprint or something, Evo? I'm confused.

- Warren
 
  • #20
chroot said:
I'm most frustrated by the whole "manager" concept. That is, when you get upset, or they have no idea how to do what you want them to do, they put you on hold to speak to their manager. Instead, some other brain-dead moron gets on the phone, asks you the same questions, and repeats the same responses, verbatim, like a goddamn Speak-and-Spell.

The next attempt at calling, as soon as you get a live person, tell them right off the bat that this is a long-standing problem, and you need to speak to a supervisor...they might quibble a bit, but just keep insisting that you've already been through it many times and they won't be able to help, just connect to a supervisor. When they connect you to their supervisor, ask them directly, "Are you allowed to make a decision that sticks?" If they even hesitate at that, then, no, they can't. Ask for their supervisor. Just keep working up the chain until you find someone who can say they are allowed to make a decision that sticks and reverse all charges AND provide documentation stating that. You'll probably sit on hold longer and longer as you work your way up the food chain, but there is someone there, well-protected behind a wall of morons, who actually should be able to help, it's just a matter of being patient enough and insistent enough to talk to that person. Or just let the TV reporters do that for you. With this going on so long, I don't blame you at all to want someone else to just deal with it for you...let someone do it who gets paid well to deal with the aggravation.
 
  • #21
Moonbear said:
Just keep working up the chain until you find someone who can say they are allowed to make a decision that sticks and reverse all charges AND provide documentation stating that.

The problem is that the "food chain" doesn't really doesn't work that way at all. When they put you on hold to speak to their manager, another person, equally incompetent, eventually gets on the line. Trust me, I spent two hours on the phone with them last night and didn't speak to a person with more than four neurons the entire time. And yes, I kept asking over and over for a supervisor, for someone who actually had the authority to help me, etc. They kept giving me the same phone numbers to call, over and over again. The best were the morons who told me I should call the same number I was currently talking to them on.

Or just let the TV reporters do that for you.

They're not going to call the customer service number. They're going to call the headquarters switchboard and get directed to the PR department, and then they're going to raise hell and make threats. They have much greater authority than I do -- which is pretty sad, considering *I* was the customer.

- Warren
 
  • #22
chroot said:
They're not going to call the customer service number. They're going to call the headquarters switchboard and get directed to the PR department, and then they're going to raise hell and make threats. They have much greater authority than I do -- which is pretty sad, considering *I* was the customer.

- Warren
I suppose YOU could call the PR department, and ask if they are prepared to talk to the reporters you'll be contacting if you can't get your problem solved NOW. :biggrin: :devil:

Don't know if it will cheer you up or make you feel worse to know you're certainly not alone, and the problem is not new.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues/2000-09-14/news.html

Though, it looks like they don't even care much when reporters talk to them. There was another USA today story where the reporter told customer service they were going to write a story on the service while trying to get a phone fixed, and they still didn't seem to care!
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/lamb/0012.htm (Just ignore all the Error 404 broken links to ads...the story is still there if you scroll down...it's old too.)

Or, just google Sprint PCS customer service and see what comes up. I don't think it's what Sprint really wants to show up all on the same page as their contact information. :smile: I'm so glad someone warned me not to get Sprint back when I was choosing a new cell provider.
 
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  • #23
zoobyshoe said:
No, you're missing the point. MCI agreed it was fraud by some unknown person, didn't charge me for the long distance calls themselves, yet decided to treat me as an officially signed up long distance customer and charge me some kind of base rate for simply being a long distance customer. I NEVER SIGNED UP WITH MCI! THEY DON"T GET TO CHARGE ME SQUAT!

I was mainly talking about chroot yo
 
  • #24
Moonbear said:
Don't know if it will cheer you up or make you feel worse to know you're certainly not alone, and the problem is not new.
Well, perhaps it gives me hope that the collections agency will take care of me. For the first time in my life, I actually had a decent conversation with a collections agency. They were nice to me. In fact, they were downright... sympathetic. It makes me wonder how often they've seen this kind of thing.

- Warren
 
  • #25
chroot said:
Well, perhaps it gives me hope that the collections agency will take care of me. For the first time in my life, I actually had a decent conversation with a collections agency. They were nice to me. In fact, they were downright... sympathetic. It makes me wonder how often they've seen this kind of thing.

- Warren
I think someone already mentioned it earlier, but just in case, with the collections agency, if you just tell them that you're still disputing the charges because they are erroneous, they can't (or at least shouldn't) pursue it further, and are supposed to just kick it back to the company, Sprint in this case. I'm sure they are much more sympathetic to someone who's being polite and informing them that the charges are in dispute than to someone who is just whining they don't have the money.

You just have the worst luck with old bills resurfacing when you've already paid them, don't you?
 
  • #26
Moonbear said:
I'm sure they are much more sympathetic to someone who's being polite and informing them that the charges are in dispute than to someone who is just whining they don't have the money.

They seem like reasonably nice people. On the other hand, they've already damaged my credit as much as they legally can, without ever having told me, for the last two years.

You just have the worst luck with old bills resurfacing when you've already paid them, don't you?

You don't even know the half of it, Moonie. :frown: I am cursed, apparently.

- Warren
 
  • #27
warren, that sucks.

i vote call the news.

i can't sleep, (i even took sleeping medicine wtf..) and i was laying in bed thinking about cell phone companies actually. so what are they charging you for? i was trying to think of how cell phones worked, is there a big switchboard somewhere? what kind of trouble is it to connect a call? how does distance affect things? like, my family pays close to 200 every month on our cell phone bill (family plan) its pretty riddiculous i think. i can't figure out why it costs so much. anyone know?

call the news. the more bad press the company gets, the fewer people who'll buy them, demand goes down, so do their prices. then all the other companies lower prices to stay competitive. deflation goes down, it rains gum drops and rainbows while pixies dance around and the world is a better place.
 
  • #28
Gale said:
i vote call the news.
I agree. Now that SBC, AT&T, and Bell South have all merged, such that Cingular wireless is now entirely under the "new" AT&T banner, Sprint is suddenly in a very vulnerable position. A bad publicity episode will hurt them immeasurably. The station will do it at no cost to you. Sprint gets a kick in the groin, heads will roll internally, and you get to laugh as their stock falls.

Edit: if the local station does a good job, it could feed national news. Just imagine!
 
  • #29
chroot said:
Yeah, but the TV station will probably get it done in a day, with no effort on my part. Going through the government will probably take two entire days of forms and crap.

- Warren
One of my clients is a school in a big warehouse that was converted to offices and such and they were having problems with the tenant above them (city of Phila voting booth storage), so they sic'd the local Fox affiliate on them. After several weeks of harassment, my client had to put the fox on a leash.

She had no regrets.
 
  • #30
It doesn't matter who the provider is, I have worked for several of the largest and it's the same at every company, trust me. Sprint's consumer PCS customer service is notoriously bad, but so is Cingular's & Verizon's, it's just luck if you don't have a bad experience.
 
  • #31
Evo said:
It doesn't matter who the provider is, I have worked for several of the largest and it's the same at every company, trust me. Sprint's consumer PCS customer service is notoriously bad, but so is Cingular's & Verizon's, it's just luck if you don't have a bad experience.

I've only once had a problem with Verizon's customer service, but that was due to confusion about my wanting text messaging blocked, and they blocked outgoing text messaging (apparently that's the popular option that parents call about to keep their kids from sending messages), but I needed incoming messages blocked due to text message spam! It took several calls, but the billing department was never a problem, they always promptly reversed the charges for the incoming messages with just a brief explanation from me about them being spam. The problem was with the technical support people who couldn't seem to press the right button on their computer to block the messages completely. On the fourth call, it was done right, and that person even explained how I could do it myself online (I've never found their website easy to navigate, and it was even more difficult back when I was on dial-up, so never found that on my own)...that made it easier to turn it back on at conferences when I couldn't hear anything on the phone over the noise of the crowd, but could read text messages, and then turn it off when I got home again.

Anyway, since then, I've never had a problem with them. They're the local provider for landline services here too, and the only challenge is getting through the menu to get to a live person, but if you can actually get a live person, then they can handle everything quite quickly and easily. I'm never simple when it comes to calling plans...I was sure I'd run into problems when I signed up for a calling plan on my landline that seemed to include everything for cheaper than my long-distance bill alone at my previous address...and I get unlimited long-distance calling for that flat rate...BUT, I didn't want call-waiting; I don't like when other people use it, and even if I ignored it, it still gives that annoying beep when someone's trying to call, and with voicemail, anyone else trying to call while I'm on the line can leave a message that I'll get as soon as I'm off the line, so I just wanted them to leave out that feature. No problem. I really, honestly, expected it to be a problem...I was sure I'd get my first bill and see that I wasn't really getting the package plan because I dropped a feature, or to start getting call-waiting beeps while on the line, or just to have some sort of problem, because I've just come to expect problems when I ask for something customized.
 

Related to Is Sprint PCS Incompetent in Handling Billing Errors and Customer Service?

1. What is "Rant on corporate incompetence"?

"Rant on corporate incompetence" is a phrase used to describe a passionate and often critical speech or written piece about the failures and shortcomings of corporations in terms of their decision-making, policies, and practices.

2. Why is "Rant on corporate incompetence" a frequently discussed topic?

This topic is frequently discussed because corporate incompetence can have significant consequences, not only for the companies themselves but also for their employees, customers, and society as a whole. It is also a topic that is often relevant to current events and can spark strong emotions and opinions.

3. What are some common examples of corporate incompetence?

Examples of corporate incompetence can include unethical business practices, poor management decisions, failure to adapt to changing market trends, and lack of transparency or accountability. It can also refer to instances of negligence or disregard for the well-being of employees, customers, and the environment.

4. How does corporate incompetence affect society?

Corporate incompetence can have a significant impact on society, as it can lead to financial losses, environmental damage, and social inequality. It can also erode trust in corporations and the economic system as a whole, potentially leading to widespread disillusionment and social unrest.

5. What can be done to address corporate incompetence?

There are several ways to address corporate incompetence, including implementing stricter regulations and oversight, promoting ethical and responsible business practices, and holding corporations accountable for their actions. Additionally, consumers can use their purchasing power to support companies that prioritize ethical and competent practices, and employees can speak out against misconduct and advocate for change within their organizations.

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