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Old 01-12-2005, 07:53 AM   #1
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Sprint cell phone trap from hell!

I really cannot believe this is legal. I haven't had any trouble with anyone else. This is what happened, I would appreciate anyone else's advice and sharing of experiences to see what I can or should do.

In March 2003, I got a 2 for one cell phone deal with Sprint with a one year contract. The contract was up in March 2004. I kept the service anyway. Last fall, I started having trouble with one of the phones. I asked them if I could get one of those deals where you sign up for another contract and get a free phone, like other companies have, and they said I would have to buy the phone first and then wait 6-10 weeks for the rebate! I told them I couldn't do without the money that long and what happened to the 'she's new' commericials saying new people weren't special, everyone was, they'd give a new person the phone free NOW but I have to do the fucking rebate shit? That sucks! So I decided not to renew the contract and live with the phones.

However, my husband's phone totally passed away. I called them up and asked them to drop it from the bill since it didn't work, and they told me I would have to sign a new 2 year agreement on the other phone if I did that since it was a change in service! I said, WTF? Do I get a new phone with this new contract, and they said no! I just couldn't cancel a broken phone without being obligated to a new contract, how fucked up is that??

So I kept the broken phone on there and payed anyway so I wouldn't have to be trapped in a new contract if I found a better deal, which I did. I found another company that gave me a free phone with a one year contract so I replaced his phone with that one. So all I had was the one, and it was acting up too. Just before Christmas, they cut me off for late payment. They then told me I was going to have to pay what I owed in back bills ($189) plus an additional $80 for next month's service which was not used yet since no phone was working. I told them at the time I could not afford it. I got a second free phone from the other company and said shit on them (I have talked to other people, this other company is NOT like that)

So I had 2 new phones and better plans with the other service, all I needed to do was drop Sprint so they'd stop charging me. Every time I called them to cancel, they'd accuse me of being under contract and I'd say, uh, no. Then they tried to convince me to stay and when I said no, they transfer me to a 'specialist' and tell me there is a long wait. I was either cut off or gave up before I ever got to this person.

So last night I finally got the person. It was worse than I thought! They informed me that I cannot cancel without bringing the account active again, which means paying them everything I owe, including the $80 I never used! I told them I would pay the past amount but NOT the new bill for Jan. service which was never used. He goes, well we always bill a month in advance, and I said, but I never used it, the phones don't even work and were turned off anyway, how can you charge me for something I never used, that's like charging me for a chair I didn't buy! He insisted I had to pay the entire nearly $300 bucks just to get it 'active' so they can cancel it, and if I don't they'll keep billing me for new service every month until I do, even though the phones don't work, and if I don't pay they will turn me over to collections and put it on my credit report! I cannot believe what an unfair communistic trap this is! What can I do? Ever heard of this?
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Old 01-12-2005, 08:44 AM   #2
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Its sounds screwed up but it doesn't matter if the phone is working or not if you have a contract...you are paying for the service not the phone. If you have a 2 year contact with Sprint, you could go those whole 2 years and never use the phone but you would still have to honor the contact. Because you bought and actually own the phones, its kind of like asking your internet provider to stop billing you because your computer isn't working.

And some companies have it written into the fine print that if you don't contact them before your current term expires, they automatically assign you to another 1 or 2 year term, which is probably what happened to you. If you take one phone off the plan, you still have to honor the time remaining on the contract.

And that instant rebate thing with Sprint does only cover new customers...I tried to use it when we needed new phones and I had to pay for the new phones in full and wait 8 weeks for the rebate. They don't mention that in their commercials but its it written in tiny print on the brochures in the Sprint store.

I don't know if there is anything you can do about this...normally when you owe back charges, they disconnect your service but you still get a monthly bill so you're kind of stuck. Does your contract have an early termination penalty? You better check on that because they might tack that onto what you already owe if you manage to get them to let you out of the contract.

I feel for you...dealing with cell phone companies make me crazy
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Old 01-12-2005, 08:48 AM   #3
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My contract expired in March of 2004 though I got stuck keeping the first broken phone's service because they told me to drop it would mean I'd have to sign another contract, I couldn't believe that either! But I didn't want another contract so I kept the dead phone on the bill until the second one broke too, then I knew it was time to go.

They always accuse me of having a contract first thing when I try to cancel, but when I tell them I don't have one they look and admit I don't. They didn't say anything else about being bound for any length of time or anything. I can't believe this can be legal. I'm going to have to go over their heads.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:06 AM   #4
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I think these companies go out of their way to confuse people so much, they just give up and pay them what they want

I just tried reading the fine print in my own Sprint contact and the only thing I can clearly determine is that you can cancal at any time but have to pay $150 per line.

If they tell you that you don't have a current contract, I would go to www.sprintpcs.com, look up your account details and verify that and put all of this in writing...start complaining and hopefully you will get better results than you have with the customer service people on the phone.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:20 AM   #5
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I know for a fact the contract I signed in March 2003 was for one year, and they do not deny this.

Thanks, I will try what you said, while I agree they do try anything thinking most people won't fight them and they will just shut up and pay them, there is also another type of person (like me) who will not shut up until it's straightened out, or they give me what I want just to shut me up
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:26 AM   #6
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I'm the same way...when they put me off or give me the run around, I'm even more determined to get results and usually do.

Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:38 AM   #7
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Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:55 AM   #8
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If you're not under a current contract, (and since they agree to that fact, so thats your first hurdle), you are able to cancel your service at any time, and they have to honor that request. A lot of companies will try to keep you and make it a pain, but they must legally cancel you if you wish.
This notion of having to reactivate the account to then deactivate it sounds to me like a load of BS.
You need to take the offensive, call their customer service and demand(politely) to speak to a supervisor. Explain that you intend to pay the back charges of $189 and have been attempting to cancel the service since December (any documentation of this would help you if you have it), and will not pay for January since you asked to be cancelled prior to that service beginning.
They can't bill you for service not used, so in essence you can at worst be billed only until today if you get cancelled, they can't bill for the whole month of January, only the first 12 days.

If you don't get properly taken care of, it doesn't hurt to mention you will call the attorney general's office to straighten the matter out, its amazing that peoples' tunes will change when they realize the person they are dealing with won't just roll over and aquiesce to further screwing.
good luck.
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:05 AM   #9
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That's what I thought, they might try it because the average person will cave in and do what they say and shut up. But I am not the average person I will not shut up (as you guys well know) so I will try again when I'm not feeling so burned out. Thanks.
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:39 AM   #10
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sprint is evil.

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