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Paycheck Chronicles

Seriously, Sprint - Help a Girl Out

I am so frustrated right now, I can hardly stand it.  We have been out of the US for  65 days now and I am still unable to cancel/suspend my Sprint account.  Admittedly, I have not spent time working on it every day, but I have put forth a significant amount of work and I am beginning to feel that Sprint is purposely thwarting my efforts.

When we first arrived, I spent an extremely long time in an online chat with a lovely young man at Sprint.  I explained my situation and he was quite helpful.  He even pointed out that we could put the account on a military hold, but he couldn't do anything to my account through the online chat.  I would need to telephone.

As we were in the Navy Lodge at the time, and still working on the whole internet telephone thing, I  purchased a NEX phone card.  I figured out how to use it (the directions were, well, poor), only to discover that you can't call toll-free numbers with an NEX phone card.  Back to the internet I went, and in another online chat, I was told that there aren't any toll phone numbers to call Sprint.

Next step, I tried calling the customer service number that Sprint lists for Italy.  According to my Italian cell phone (Vodafone), the number listed is a wrong number.  So much for that one.

By this time, I knew that I was headed back to the States, and figured that I would sort it out while I was there.  I called the Sprint number and was told that I would need to be transferred to the newly created military department.  The gentleman there started asking for all sorts of information that I did not have handy, such as my husband's UIC, and informed me that due to their new policies, I could not put the account on hold without all the required information.  Foiled again!

Once back in Italy, I gathered all the required information and thought that I would try again.  A bit of time passed, as happens when you are moving, and today I was motivated by Bargaineer's challenge to spend 15 minutes doing something positive for my finances.  I figured that saving $140 per month on a service that I wasn't using would be a good use of my 15 minutes.

First, I had to purchase some Skype credit to make a telephone call to a toll number.  Once I got that organized, I called Sprint and asked to be connected to the military department.  I was transferred over, only to receive a message that they have certain hours, Monday through Friday.

I really hate to be whiney here, but seriously?  I have been putting forth a significant amount of effort to cancel and/or suspend my Sprint accounts, and I've finally gotten so far, and your military department is only open during US business hours Monday - Friday?  Yeah, I'm sure that is highly convenient for those military folks who are calling from all over the world, stopping whatever it is that they might be doing to jump through 27 hoops to get through to you.

We have been loyal Sprint customers since the last time we moved back from overseas, nearly 10 years ago, and I always figured I would stick with Sprint when we came back (even if I can't get an iPhone with them.)  I was quite looking forward to the convenience of having my phone accounts in suspend, ready to be reactivated if we have the opportunity to make a trip home.  However, I've now given Sprint around $280 of money for service that I can't use, and they are making it impossible to put it in this great deal, military suspension mode.

Hey, Sprint, stop making this so hard for me.  Either let a regular representative help me, or making your military department be open more hours.  Set up a regular, toll telephone number for those of us who are unable to call toll free numbers.  Let me make changes to my account using forms of communication other than telephone:  email, internet chat, telepathy, whatever...  Stop making your customer service so darn unfriendly.

Update 31 August 2010: Posted a negative tweet (at twitter) and lo! Sprint responded. Hoping for resolution.

Update 1 September 2010: Emailed Sprint as twitter response instructed. They want me to email personally identifying info, including social security numbers, plus they will only do military suspension for 24 months. Um, we're here for 3 years. I guess we will have no choice but to close our account. Sorry, Sprint - you're losing our business.

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