About that smartphone

Galaxy S3I’ve already written about my misadventure into the world of smartphones. There’s an ending to the story now. Yesterday I returned the damned thing — lock, stock, and 2-year, $100-a-month contract. The writing was on the wall and had been since the first day, when it took the Sprint store a full four hours to sell me a phone and set up an account. That was the opening salvo in a fusillade that went something like this:

  • Friday – 4 hours to get phone and new account
  • Discovery that it’s not the phone I specified
  • Saturday – Return to the store to pay in full in advance to have correct phone shipped from warehouse
  • Monday – Discovery that name on account has been misspelled
  • Wednesday – Second phone finally arrives, but manager handling exchange is not at work
  • Thursday – call to make sure manager is in before driving out to store for third time
  • Arrive at store to find manager in the middle of an audit and get referred to the original clerk to handle exchange
  • Explain to clerk that account name is misspelled; she says manager must have changed what she originally entered — even though it was misspelled on receipt she generated on Day One
  • Friday – still unable to access my Sprint account with either new phone or computer; wondering what else the clerk might have entered incorrectly
  • Try to call Sprint national support and after five minutes of voicemail menus, end up with dead air and still no human
  • Send email to Sprint support for help getting into account and get cryptic letter with instructions — which don’t work
  • Check fine print to see if I can still return phone and cancel everything. Not about to pay out a $2400  contract for service like this!

Then came the last straw, the very last 10-ton straw: The phone rang! My very first call! Only my son had the number. Half dressed, I charged down the hall from the back room, enjoying the pretty ringtone, and just missed the call. Okay, check the log, see who called … it was an anonymous out-of-state phone number that was, according to the Internet, a persistent, annoying robof*ing debt collector!!

I was so angry when I finally got to the Sprint store Saturday morning that I dared not speak except to tell the manager to cancel everything. It didn’t help that he then spent some 20 minutes talking to someone at the warehouse about ordering a “return kit” so he could return the phone to the warehouse. (I can’t imagine why he had to do that while I stood there fuming and cooling my heels instead of after I left.) There will be no refund until the warehouse receives the phone and processes the return.

The phone itself was great, or probably would have been when I learned how to use it. But as rarely as I even leave the house, much less use a phone, it was a breathtakingly unjustifiable expense. Especially considering how utterly incompetent Sprint seemed to be, from top to bottom. I was not going to pay that kind of money for two years more of that kind of “customer service.” The high blood pressure and headaches it induced would kill me long before the contract expired!

Most likely I’ll be returning to TracFone. Their newer phones are fancier than the old one I gave up, and I can’t find another pay-as-you-go plan that doesn’t also charge monthly access fees of some kind. Naturally the model I most want seems to be sold out nationwide, but anything would be a step up from my old TracFone. I lost more than 1000 accrued minutes when I let that phone go, and then I lost a really nice easy-to-remember number when I dropped Sprint, because I hadn’t already decided on a new carrier.

As on Day One, I had a splitting headache when I got home on Day Eight. The beautiful white Galaxy S III is gone (sniff) but so is the most awful buying experience I’ve suffered through in many years.

Sprint did get one thing right — a 14-day return period.

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But the story doesn’t end there …



Categories: Media, Sci Tech

39 replies

  1. Gracious, that was hard work! No new phone, hen?

  2. I feel your pain, PT. Having been through phone hell all too many times with AT&T I had made a mental bookmark in my brain that when our present cellphone dies I am going to investigate a simple one I saw in an ad from Sears (of all places!) Now I have not tried this personally but it sure sounds good. It’s an inexpensive phone, no fancy gimmicks, no damn contract at all, and a straight monthly charge. I assume you can even go to a Sears store and see one. Here’s the link, and good luck!

    http://www.consumercellular.com/savings

  3. I’m incredibly sorry for your awful experience with Sprint. As a previous 10-year customer, I have had my fair share of problem with them. They are the absolute worst when it comes to customer service and I would highly recommend you not judge owning a smartphone by your experience with one company that sells them.

    • Oh, the phone itself was amazing. Absolutely. But the idea of me spending $100 or more per month to have one was really ridiculous to begin with. I’m just lucky I was able to get out of the contract. There are other carriers if I ever change my mind. Verizon is supposed to be the best around here.

  4. Shiver…what a nightmare…there is a limit to what you can put up with…especially when all you want is to make phone calls! Hope the right phone finds your hand!

  5. Ah, that’s a bummer. My husband, who until he got his new phone was essentially a Luddite, absolutely loves his Droid. But you got to go with what works for you. I personally like the iPhone, the Droid, the Blackberry – whatever. I like ’em all. But, I get my smart-phone through work (meaning: I don’t pay the bill). 😉

    However, my husband does have to pay for his and, yes, it is expensive. For him, it is worth it.

    • I’d buy the phone in a second if someone else would pick up the monthly bills. But without a spouse, a job, teenagers in the house, or any other compelling need to stay in touch 24/7, it just doesn’t make much sense. (I can say that now that the fever has passed. 🙂 )

  6. Holy cow, what an ordeal! I’m so glad I’ve never had those problems with my carrier. I hope whatever you choose doesn’t give you another headache

  7. Ugh, sorry you had to go through that. I’m actually thinking, seriously, about getting that same phone – but I am T-Mobile. My phone is the Cliq – over 2 years old now and just giving me problems. Drops calls, and starting to act weird. It sounds as though your Tracfone is perfect for you. If you’re happy with it, then keep it.

    • That phone is a thing of beauty. You’ll love it.

      • Yeah, I’m going to go tomorrow. I will be just down the street after I get my regular massage. I go every two weeks for half and hour. I stay in my clothes – no oil in other words. And he works on my triggers points and works out the knots that have built up over the two weeks. I’ve been doing this every other week for nearly a year and a half. When I don’t go, for whatever reason, I can really tell.

        But the T-Mobile store I like is not far from there… so… I’m ready for a phone change. This one served it’s purpose, but time to go away.

  8. Really sorry to hear that. I hope that your new phone and contract will work like a dream 😉

  9. Reminds me of Lily Tomlin as Ernestine on Laugh-In…”We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company!”…And that’s the truth!

  10. Well, I did it. Got myself a Galaxy Siii – and LOVE it! I’ve been playing with it all evening – have hardly touched my computer. Mainly setting it up, figuring out what is where, and downloaded the only game I like to play. It’s a card game, “Euchre.” If you do decided to go back to this, it really is great. I will be able to cruise the internet when I go to bed at night before I fall asleep. Or check my blog when out and about. And so on. But like you said, if you’re home most of the time, then it is probably a big waste of money, cuz they’re not cheap.

    • I’d buy it in a heartbeat, by itself. It’s the $100 a month contract that kills me. I’m not having much luck finding anything else though. Have found out all the TracFones sold for this area run on AT&T, and I’ve confirmed numerous times that here, AT&T is the worst and Verizon is the best coverage-wise. It sure had a lot of potential, like being able to get to iCal (my calendar). The kids put me onto Evernote for notes, and it looked awesome for someone like me who stashes notes everywhere. I was also loving FlipBook as a way to browse the news. And I’d uploaded a lot of songs to Google Play. Anyway, enjoy your new toy!

      • Thanks! Yeah, I found the calendar last night and saw it’s my google calendar. I’m just amazed at how far phones have come since i bought my CLIQ two years ago. Back then, it was one of the more advanced and better phones. LOL… the TMobile lady that helped me was amazed that my phone was still in one piece after so long.

        • I looked up the Cliq. It’s a lot nicer than my old TracFone. In fact, it looked a lot like some of the “new” TracFones I was considering. TracFones are almost always older models that retailers no longer sell. That’s why they’re so cheap.

        • I’m so addicted to my phone now! There’s just so much there! Actually, there was quite a bit with the Cliq, too, but the screen was too small for me, and it was much slower. So I would just wait until I could get to my computer.

  11. Dear grandma, i’m very sorry to hear abt this awful, unfruitful xperience. I can’t imagine how disappointing the whole unfortunate events might be. Anyway, perhaps just take it as if it miht not yet b the right time for u to have the phone. Once the time is right the universe will conspire to get you an evwn better gadget without you taking so much trouble for it 🙂

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