I write this in the off chance it shows up in one of those Google alert searches that someone over at Sprint may be reading.
I'll keep it pretty short.
I've been a customer of Sprint for 12 years now, for the most part I had been a happy customer. The only problems I had with Sprint was when I had to deal with customer service, the last time I had a customer service issue was in 2005.
I dropped Sprint last year for AT&T in order to use the GSM HP Pre 3 which I ordered at high cost from Europe. My Sprint Pre basically died early last year and I sat with a feature phone to fill the gap. Sprint charged me something like $100 or so to change to AT&T even though I was no longer in contract(paid full price for that feature phone). I think that was wrong but whatever I didn't care.
Fast forward to late last year/early this year - I'm still a Sprint customer - not a phone customer but a Mifi 3G/4G customer. I bought the Mifi almost two years ago primarily for on call type stuff. I hardly ever use it. I'd be surprised if I did 15GB of data transfer over the past 2 years.
Sprint sent me my usual bill, and it had some note about e-billing in it. Whatever, I paid my bill and didn't think about it. I don't like e-billing, I don't want e-billing.
Given I don't use the Mifi much it was about a month later that I tried to use it to find my service disconnected. Whatever, it wasn't that important at the time.
Later I got some letter saying Hey pay your bill to reconnect your service! I still didn't care since I wasn't using it anyways.
Later I got some collection notices from some collection agency (first time I've ever gotten one of those). So I figured I should pay. So I called Sprint - paid the bill and the first rep I talked to swore I was on paper bills and it must be a problem with the post office. I could see perhaps the post office missing one bill (I don't recall them ever missing any in the past 15 years), but not more than one. She swore it was set right on their side. So I hung up, not really knowing what to do next.
I logged onto their site and it clearly said I was signed up for e-billing. So without changing it back to paper I called back and got another rep. This rep said I was signed up for e-billing. I asked her why - she said it only would of happened if I had requested it. I told her I did not and she looked at the call logs going back SEVEN YEARS and confirmed I never requested it. I asked did Sprint do some kind of bulk change to e-billing she said no. I asked how it got set she didn't know.
I asked first I want to change it to paper billing, then I want some kind of notification whenever it changes. She said notification goes out via SMS. Well I am on a MIFI - no SMS here. She updated the system to send me notifications via the mail(I would hope their system would detect the only device they have for me doesn't support SMS and automatically use another method but No it doesn't). There wasn't more she could do, I was transferred to another rep who said about the same thing. They assured me it was fixed.
Shortly thereafter I got a paper bill, and I paid it like I always do, yay no more problems.
Fast forward more time (a month or two who knows) to today - I get another bill-like thing in the mail from Sprint. But it's not a bill - it's another one of those Hey pay your bill so you can get your service back things. Here I was thinking it felt like too much time had elapsed since my last bill.
Ok now I'm F$##$ pissed. WTF. I would hope that their system would say this guy stopped paying his bills once he was switched to e-billing so there is probably not a coincidence here. Obviously they have no such system.
So I logged onto Sprint again, and could not find the 'billing preferences' part of the site that I found earlier in the year, the only link was 'switch to e-billing to be green'. I didn't want to click it as I wasn't sure what it would do - I did not want to click it and have it sign me up for e-billing I wanted the transaction to be logged in a different way - I didn't want them to be able to say HEY you asked our system today to switch you.
So I called again, and sort of like my experience in 2005 I had a hard time getting to a customer service rep. But I managed to by telling their system I wanted to be a new customer and then asking that rep to transfer me to billing dept. On one of my attempts I hit zero so many times (sometimes works to get to an operator) that their system just stopped responding, sat there for a a good two minutes in silence before I hung up and tried again.
THAT rep then confirmed that I HAD requested to be set to PAPER BILLS earlier in the year but apparently the other reps forgot a little hidden feature that says "PAPER BILLS ALL THE TIME" or "PAPER BILL ON DEMAND". They didn't have ALL THE TIME SET. Despite my continuous questions of the original reps.
Despite how pissed off I was in both occasions I was very polite to the reps. I didn't want to be one of those customers, this time around it was significantly more difficult to keep calm but I managed to do so. But Sprint sure is trying hard to lose me as a customer. There's really no reason for me to stay other than I'm locked into the contract until September. On a device I hardly ever use (maybe I've transferred 150 megabytes the entire year so far).
Sprint is ditching the WiMax network (which is obviously what the 4G portion of my Mifi uses), they've neutered their premier membership stuff (as a 12 year customer I was and still am a member), they've bet their future on the iPhone(a device I will never use), they've messed up my billing twice in less than six months and then think I'm the bad guy for not paying my bills (well the reps didn't say that but it certainly feels that way when collection agencies start contacting me).
On top of that I've committed a lot of money to GSM Palm phones which means I pretty much have to stick to AT&T for the foreseeable future, if I want to use those phones. I suppose T-mobile is technically an option but the frequency differences make for a degraded experience.
There are so many other ways the situations could of been handled better by technology - the most simple as I mention - I don't pay the bill unless I get a paper bill in the mail. I don't like e-bills. Sprint did not make any attempt to contact me by mail or by phone (I'm not a voice customer anymore though I expect they should have my phone# as a contact number since it hasn't changed in 12 years) when they put me back on e-billing for a second time in six months.
I'm probably one of the well sought out customers - pretty low usage - but subscribe to unlimited plans because I don't like surprises in the mail and I don't want to have to worry about minutes in the event something comes up and I have a long phone call to make or something. I must be gold for their Mifi stuff since I almost never use the thing, but I still pay the $50/mo to keep the service up.
Will Sprint F*$@ up again between now and 9/5/2012 ? I'm counting the days until my contract is up, I really don't see what they could possibly do to keep me as a customer at this point.
I guess 1385 words is short for me.