The cellular phone companies have some of the worst customer service of any company. In fact, in a recent survey, 2 of the 3 worst-rated companies for customer service were cellphone companies. Recently, I got another chance to go head-to-head with Sprint PCS, which surely has the worst of all in my experience. If you want to skip to the point of this story, here it is: Keep records of your phone calls with companies, especially cellphone companies.
Because I moved to a new place with weird reception, I had to switch my phone coverage from Sprint to Cingular, so I transferred my phone number away using number portability. I didn’t cancel my account at Sprint because I wanted to see how good Cingular was, and reserve the option to go back to Sprint if I needed to.
Well, Cingular worked out great, so I called Sprint last week and asked them to cancel my account. They told me it had already been canceled last month (apparently it’s automatically canceled when you transfer your number away). I said great! I don’t have to pay the extra month of service I didn’t use. They agreed and we started wrapping it up.
But then they told me my account had a $160.00 charge. For what, I asked? Wait for it…
“An early cancellation fee.”
Yeah, right. I knew I didn’t have a contract, and I had negotiated out of an early cancellation fee a long time ago. Cellphone companies make a lot of money from trying these shady moves, hoping customers will get frustrated, give up, and just pay.
Unfortunately for them, since Sprint started trying to rip me off 3 years ago, I keep records of every call I have with them. The customer-service rep was very polite, but insisted she couldn’t do anything to erase the charge, even after she read my entire account history.
Really? I’ve heard this tune before, so I pulled out these notes I had taken last year and politely read them aloud to her:
Spoke to Joseph (x211XX).
I switched from a $35/month plan: 350 mins + 180 bonus recurring minutes…
to a $60 plan: 800 mins + I keep the recurring 180 minutes. Also keep 8pm evening time. Noted that I am in the middle of my billing cycle, so I will be charged for the 2 weeks I’ve used so far, and my new billing cycle ($60/month) will begin tomorrow, on the 13th. No contract, no cancellation fee.”
As soon as I read these notes out loud, I witnessed a miraculous change in her ability to waive the fee. Within 2 minutes, my account was cleared and I was off the phone. Amazing!!!!! Thank you madam!!!
I’m tired of companies taking advantage of people who get too worn down to fight back. Keep records and watch all their BS evaporate next time they try to hustle you.