I’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.
But the story doesn’t end there …