Rant on corporate incompetence

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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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Evo
Mentor
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 refered 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. Chi Meson Science Advisor Homework Helper If it helps, I'm dumping sprint when my current contract runs out (3 months). -Job- Science Advisor 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. 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 untill 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. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member 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 russ_watters Mentor For$1100, it may be worth sic'ing your local TV station on them.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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

Pengwuino
Gold Member
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.

Remember to take a little anger out on your "neighbors" :grumpy:

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
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. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member 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 Moonbear Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member 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! Evo Mentor 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. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member 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 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. Remember to take a little anger out on your "neighbors" :grumpy: 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!!!!!!! Evo Mentor 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?

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
You work for Sprint or something, Evo? I'm confused.

- Warren

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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.

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Gold Member
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

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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.

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 [Broken]

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 [Broken] (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. :rofl: I'm so glad someone warned me not to get Sprint back when I was choosing a new cell provider.

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Pengwuino
Gold Member
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

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus