How Sprint PCS Loses Customers

Ever since I hooked up my Vonage phone the amount of time I spend on my cell phone has dropped dramatically. Since 1998 my cell carrier has been Sprint PCS. I like the quality of their service and have never had trouble using my phone during the dozens and dozens of trips I have taken in the past seven years. Since I was not using my cell phone as much as I used to I realized I was just throwing money down the drain, continuing to pay $50+/month for 500 minutes. My last three usage statements show I’ve barely used 200 minutes a month. I figured it was time to call Sprint and change my plan.


Me: Hi, I'd like to change my service plan.
Sprint: Absolutely. I can help you with that.
Me: I've found that I'm not using my phone as much so I'd like to change the plan I have with Sprint.
Sprint: We currently show that you have the $45 Free & Clear Plan. Would you be interested in our new Fair & Flexible Plan? It's $35/month and you get 300 Anytime minutes and each additional 100 minutes costs $5.00.
Me: That sounds good. Are there any fees involved with switching plans?
Sprint: There are no fees but we do require a 2-year contract agreement.
Me: That sounds odd. I've been a Sprint PCS customer for over 7 years. Why are you locking me into a 2-year plan when I've been such a good and loyal customer?
Sprint: I'm sorry sir. I understand where you're coming from but that's our policy.
Me: I understand. I'm not blaming you. You're not responsible for the company's policy. It just seems strange to me that Sprint is treating their best customers like they are brand new and don't have a history with Sprint.
Sprint: I'm sorry sir, but the best I can do is offer you 5% off your monthly bills for the next year, but we still require you re-sign a new 2-year contract with us.
Me: Please let me speak with your supervisor.
[On hold for a while...]Supervisor: Hello Mr. Barrett. I understand you have asked to speak with me about our company's policy.
Me: Yes, I've found I'm not using my cell phone as much as I used to and would like to change my plan. But the rep I spoke with tells me I am required to agree to a new 2-year contract just to switch plans. I've been a customer with Sprint since 1998. I'm very happy with the quality of the service I get but am not happy at all with the service plan contract. Why are you treating your loyal customers this way?
Supervisor: Yes sir, that is our policy. I understand your complaint but I cannot change our policy. The best I can do is offer you the $35/mo Fair & Flexible Plan with a 1-year contract.
Me: That is not acceptable. I have been a customer with Sprint for over 7 years. I should not be required to sign a new contract just to switch plans.
Supervisor: I'm sorry sir, but we cannot change our policy.
Me: I understand. It's not your fault Sprint treats their loyal customers this way. Unfortunately, I am going to have to cancel my account with Sprint and find a new carrier that has a more fair and flexible (ahem...) service agreement. Goodbye.

So I actually haven’t cancelled my account yet since I am still researching the competition. I need a new phone as well since the Sanyo SCP-5150 I’ve been using for almost 3 years is on its last legs. I’m taking recommendations.

It just floors me that Sprint wouldn’t bend over backwards to keep a loyal customer like myself. I had no intention of cancelling my service with them but their policies are so predatory and unfair that I am going to cancel my service on principle. Companies like that shoudn’t be allowed to be in business.

Update: During my research I came across two very good web sites that help the prospective cell phone buyer figure out which phone best meets their needs. The first is PhoneScoop, a blog-like site that breaks down the phones and carriers based on technology, service plans and features. Their Phone Finder section is pretty intuitive but unless you know exactly which features you want it’s difficult to choose. The second site I found is called MyPhoneFinder from MyRatePlan.com. It presents a very intuitive Flash-based interface that automatically adds/removes phones based on features. I took it for a few spins and I ended up being recommended to buy the Sharp TM150, a 1.1 megapixel cameraphone that is essentially free with a 2-Year T-Mobile contract agreement.

Update 2: A reader sent me a link to this site called SprintUsers.com, which is very beneficial for people who still use Sprint PCS as a carrier.

Update 3: Please read my more recent post about Cell Phone Hell.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at April 27, 2005 02:44 PM