Thursday, August 21, 2014


We need five more people on our phone plan. Kids, got any suggestions?
Who hasn’t seen Sprint’s kitschy commercials about adding on family members and near friends to get a small phone rate of $25? Sounds great, doesn’t it? I thought so too.  Commercials are misleading. At the end are disclaimers this is for only new service. You already have Sprint, and then you aren’t eligible. You could add someone new onto your phone and he could benefit, but there’s no real value until you hit seven people.

Why would Sprint do this? Each person receives a separate bill as stated in the commercial, several times. Great, you won’t be responsible for Cousin Edna’s bill. Around $25 is added onto each bill for taxes and other vague charges. At the cheapest rate, each person is paying $50, which is actually more expensive than the former family plan.  Each person pays a $35 activation fee. If you managed to coerce or bully ten people into joining that's $350 for Sprint. 

What if your daughter's boyfriend breaks up with her? Of course, you drop him from the plan or he just stops paying. Your rate automatically goes higher. You can't guarantee any of the people you put on your Framily plan will keep up their side of the bargain. They had no real investment; it's your plan.

I’ve been a Sprint customer for over a decade. Every two years, I get a new phone when I re-up for another two years, except this year. True, I only got the most basic phone, but it was free. This year I had to pay from $60 to $199 for my choice of a phone. This was with my upgrade too. You’re starting to see how Sprint is changing the game. They are not losing money. Even if you think you’re saving money, you’re not.

It is a highly sophisticated shell game. This is one of the reasons I split company with Sprint, but there is another reason, a huge reason, a $700 reason. My husband’s company would pay $150 phone bill reimbursement if it were in my husband’s name, instead, of mine. Sounds like a no-brainer, right. We spent four and half months trying to get the bill changed. Initially, we were told it couldn’t be done, but eventually customer service warned us of dire consequences before sending us long legal documents to fill out, scan and send back with our photo identification. We also conducted two conference calls with both of us on the line swearing we really wanted to do this. This took so long because the automated system would throw us out of the process forcing us to start again.

We spoke with people in the United States, who could understand what we were saying, but still the account was never changed as specified. I spent hours on the phone and online on this one simple matter. We lost over $700 in possible phone reimbursement. My frustrated husband started an account with a competitor in his name only.

I tried to make a go with Sprint with the two remaining family members. I wanted to downgrade our plan to call and text only with the most basic phones. The only phones they’d show me where Droid phones, despite my insistence I didn’t want one. Their basic phone package was still $140 dollars, which was what we were paying for three people.

Sprint was more like a disagreeable relative that I tried to get along with, but finally had to distance myself from for peace of mind. Yes, I did get the talk and text plan for $30 a line. I also snagged two phones for the grand total of $1.07. I went with Verizon who was willing to give me what I wanted and didn’t try to sell me up.

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