Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Phone Saga: Part Duex

As if on cue, I had to chat with Sprint today about a screw up on their end with my billing.  (I say "on cue", because last years "Phone Saga" blog entry was dated July 25th.  Can't make this stuff up)  I have edited out some of the more boring parts.

You: Hi, so I picked up an air rave, because the signail was weak in my home, and there was an activation fee on my bill this month as a result
Clara T.: let me explain it to you.
Clara T.: The activation/upgrade fee is a valid one time charge that is applied for setting up a new line or upgrading to a new device. This fee offsets the additional costs associated with the upgrade transaction (logistics, phone set-up etc.) Sprint offers it's phones at the lowest possible price by subsidizing a portion of the cost.
Clara T.: As much as I would like to help you, I am afraid, this is a valid charge. This is a fee that Sprint charges for setting up a new line or upgrading to a new device.
You: Nope. I was told by the person in store that there would be NO activation charge whatsoever
You: and that if there was, to contact sprint to have ti removed
You: It was a signal booster for my home because the service has been less than stellar recently
Clara T.: I have checked and found that the airave device was purchased.
You: Given... I did not purchase it
Clara T.: Ok. Please allow me a few moments.
You: make it very few... i am at work
Clara T.: Sure.
Clara T.: Since a new line was added and device activated on it so the contract was renewed. That is the reason there is a charge of $36.00
Clara T.: I recommend you contact the person that made the promise to discuss the fee waiver. I can't promise they will be able to waive the fee because there are currently no promotions in progress.
You: Can you make calls out? I would like to give you the person's name that helped me.
Clara T.: I apologize for the inconvenience caused. I am arranging a callback for you.
You: no, I want YOU to pick up the phone and call her
You: Carolina M******
You: 281-***-****
You: 281-****-**** is her cell
Clara T.: I am sorry but we are authorized to communicate via chat.
Clara T.: Do not worry at all. We have other options for you as well.
You: Do me a favor
You: look down at your desk
You: is there a phone sitting there?
Clara T.: No, there is no phone.
You: lies
You: I am waiting for you to take the fee + taxes off my bill
You: I know how this works with you guys... I go around and around for DAYS, and talk to 6-7 people and have to explain the situation at least that many times
You: I went into the sprint store because my phone would not work due to poor signial at my house....
You: they told me "Oh you need an airave device"
You: I say, "ok, what's that going to cost me"
You: "oh nothing sir. Because of the outage near your home, it won't cost you anything"
You: Me: "nothing?"
You: her: "NOTHING"
Clara T.: Be assured that there are no charges for the device. The $36.00 fee is for the line activation.
You: I asked her "Will there be an activation charge, or an early termination fee if I bring it back early"
You: her: "no sir... it will cost you nothing... use it as much or as little as you want"
Clara T.: I have checked the account notes and found that there are no notes on the account to waive off the fee.
You: I can't help that she didn't do her homework... what I am saying is that she TOLD ME MANY TIMES, after me asking MANY TIMES that there would be no money changing hands as a result of me carrying that device out of the store
Clara T.: I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused. I would request you to contact the same store and person and get the account notified to waive off the fee. When the account is notified reagrding the waiver it would be waived off.
You: but I am asking you to do that... are you capable of even doing this to begin with?
Clara T.: When the account is notified to waive off the fees we would do it for you.
You: ok, lets pretend... I am walking into a store where you're working
You: I say "Howdy, my phone does work at my house. There's no signal"
You: to which you respond:
You: (this is where you *actually* respond as you would in the store)
Clara T.: I understand and apologize for the inconvenience caused.
You: do you understand? because I am beginning to suspect that you might not
Clara T.: I understand.
Clara T.: Let me discuss your case with my supervisor.
Clara T.: I am trying my best to resolve your concern.
You: was your supervisor graced with a phone?
Clara T.: If you want I can arrange a callback for you from a supervisor.
You: Nope, I want you to talk to your supervisor, and if necessary call the number i gave you earlier, and get this fee (plus taxes) off my account
Clara T.: I have discussed your case with a supervisor. For the inconvenience caused and as one time courtesy I offer you a credit of $18.00. This is the maximum I can offer from my side.
You: Nope... not even close... the fee was $36
You: plus the associated taxes
Clara T.: For the inconvenience caused and as one time special consideration and courtesy I am applying a credit of $37.00 on the account.
You: getting closer... The taxes on the fee were closer to $8...
Clara T.: The taxes are applied on the full bill. There are no taxes for the activation fee. I have refunded the fee with taxes only.
Clara T.: You can view the bills online.
You: Then why was my bill ~$44 dollars more than it usually is?
Clara T.: Do not worry at all. I have applied the credit of $44.00 to your account.
You: when will I be able to see that on the account?
Clara T.: It would be updated on the online account within 2 hours.
Clara T.: Be assure that the credit has been applied on the account and the total due balance on the account is $177.18
You: I have "been assured" before, and that led to this conversation...
Clara T.: Please click on Pay Now option and check it now.
You: are you noting the account regarding this conversation?
Clara T.: The previous due balance was $217.83 and now the updated balance is $173.83
You: it shows 177.18
You: 07/25/12 Billing Related Adjustment $-40.65
Clara T.: Please log out and then login again.
You: I already did that
Clara T.: You would be able to see the full adjustment of $44.00
Clara T.: Please do it one more time so that you see the full adjustment.
You: 07/25/12 Billing Related Adjustment $-40.65
Clara T.: The full adjustment of $44.00 has been applied on the account.
Clara T.: Be assured.
You: hummm... heard that before
You: are you noting that account?
Clara T.: Yes, the account has already been notated about the adjustments made.
Clara T.: Be assured.
You: and you're putting in there that if I pay a dime over 173.83 this month that the rest should come out of your pay check?
Clara T.: Yes, the updated due balance on the account is $173.83.
Clara T.: I have checked and found that the credit of $44.00 has been already applied on the account.
You: ok, I have no reason to believe that you are lying... our relationship up to this point has been nothing, if not pleasant...
You: when I pay 173.83 this month, I will trust that whatever is leftover will be taken from your paycheck
You: As long as you are true to your word, Clara T., and that you've already noted the account for the $44 credit, than I will consider this issue resolved. If I have to call or chat about this issue again, I can assure you that Sprint will never again see another DIME of my money again. I have been a loyal customer for close to 7 years, and it's inconceivable that I have have had the issues that I have had with you guys.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Phone Saga

So, this was too big to not write about.  Melissa and I recently got new phones, but not without a little blood, sweat and, yes, tears.

It all started last Wednesday while Melissa was with a friend at our community pool.  Being a fairly modest person, Melissa wears shorts with her swim suit, and said shorts have pockets. As you can probably guess, the pockets are handy for carrying things, and yes, this includes her cellular phone.  Trouble is, that an electronic device, such as a cell phone is not impervious to water, and when they meet, it spells disaster.  I got a call from Melissa (from the aforementioned friends phone) informing me that she had in fact gotten into the pool with her phone in her pocket, and that her phone was, in fact, now defunct.

This is where I spring into action.  Having previously begged Sprint for an early renewal, and being told that I would need to call to make it happen, I picked up the phone to discuss options with them.  The original plan was to renew my contract, and give Melissa my old phone.  They promptly honored my request for early renewal on my phone, and informed me of the options for Melissa's line.

Like any good consumer, we had insurance on Melissa's phone.  The deductible for this insurance was $100.  The customer service lady (#1, for the purposes of listing later), said that we could also "Buy Up" her contract for $75, and she could get a new phone. There were many benefits to this: Melissa HATED her current phone, so this would allow her to get something that would work a lot better for her, and it would put our contract renewals in sync (they were previously about a year apart).  While the "Buy Up" was the slightly more expensive option, it was certainly the better option, long term.

So, the next day, (because we waited too long on Wednesday, everything had already closed), I decide to stop off at Sam's to see what kind of deals they had.  The phone Melissa picked out there was $25 ($100 from Sprint directly), and the phone I wanted was $175 ($200 form Sprint).  Good deal, right?  So I tell the person (#2) there, that I would like to make a purchase.  However, due to the fact that Sprint's system crashed as we started the process, I was not able to ask about all of the fun stuff that we were going to do, nor make said purchase.  I go home, defeated.

Friday, which I have off, Melissa and I load up to go pick up some new phones and then run some other errands.  We go BACK to Sams and talk to person #3.  He was actually pretty helpful, but informed me that he could not do the "Buy Up" program, and that I would have to go to the store for that.  However, since he could upgrade my line, we decide to do that there, but we actually put Melissa's phone, on my line.  Remember that Melissa's phone choice was $75 cheaper there?  So we upgrade my line with Melissa's phone, with the intent to switch the ESN's once we got her line upgraded with MY phone choice.  We then leave Sam's with her phone, destined for the Sprint store.

Melissa was not smiling in this situation.
Just wanted to make that clear.
Upon arrival at the Sprint store, we are greeted with the promise of a 15 minute wait.  Now, we have our 1 year old with us, who is quickly becoming a handful.  We decide to stick it out and hope for the best.  About 10 minutes in, this gem of a sales person comes to get us (This is person #4).  We start explaining what we would like to do, and about half way into the explanation, he glazes over and has this befuddled look on his face, not quite sure what to do, having never heard of the "Buy Up" program.  Upon talking to his "manager", elects to have ME call Sprint to figure out the next step.  At this point the baby is getting hungry, my wife getting angry, and I am trying to make sure that neither one melts down.

I get person #5 on the phone at the Sprint store.  They go through the notes and then, after being on hold for a while, inform me that since I was more than 10 months away from my contract renewal on this line, that they could not do the Buy Up program.  I was VERY irritated and proceeded to tell them that we have already made some moves on this based on what person #1 told me.

It's worth taking a brief sidebar and noting that while on the phone with Sprint person #4, the "befuddled gem" at the Sprint store LEAVES, for what I can only assume is his well deserved lunch break.  He LEFT. Walked out the front door. NEVER saw him again.  Priceless, right?

After a 30 minute conversation (I remember looking at the timer on the phone, 30:13 when I hung up), I convinced them to make an exception and allow the renewal.  She informs me that her manager would process the request and that it would take 20-25 minutes to do it, but that we could then come back to the store and get the phone we needed.  We will call her manager person #6, because he plays an important role, as you'll soon see.

We leave the store, my wife VERY, VERY angry and ready to go sign a contract with AT&T.  I convince her that $600 in early termination fees is not really a good idea at this point (that, and everyone knows AT&T sucks).  So we go back to the house, switch out some laundry, and then go to a different Sprint store.  Melissa stays in the car with the baby, feeding her Cheetos while I run in and take care of what should, at this point, be a quick errand.

I go in and am quickly greeted by person #7.  I ask him about upgrading my wife's line (at this point I don't see the necessity of explaining EVERYTHING to him).  He looks up the account only to inform me that she's not eligible for an upgrade at this point.  How can that be, you ask?  I asked too, and did not get an answer.  His suggestion was that I should call Sprint and ask them to make sure the change was processed and viewable in their retail system.  FINE.

I pick up my phone and call Sprint, now talking to person #8.  I actually talked to this person for the least amount of time.  After explaining the situation to her, she places me on hold for about 10 minutes, and then I hear the "cheery" voice of person #9.  He informs me of the same facts that #5 (The first call from the Sprint store) told me and I told him that I had already been promised that it would be taken care of within 20-25 minutes.  He tells me that he would put in another request, but that it could take 24-48 hours to process through that department.  At this point, remember that I am in the Sprint store, and I am NOT happy.

#9 tells me multiple times that there was nothing he, nor anyone in his department could do but wait for the request to be processed.  I loudly inform him that when my wife leaves for her trip in the morning, that she would have a working cellular phone in her hands, and that I did not care if it was a Sprint phone, AT&T phone, or Verizon phone (at this point, I was not bluffing).

He then asks me how much the other person told me the "Buy Up" would cost.  The first figure I heard was $75, but #8 told me that she thought it would be $140.  I told #9, that the first figure I heard was $75 (absolute truth).

#9 puts me on hold, for what felt like an eternity (Actually the whole call was about 28 minutes), and comes back and tells me that he processed the request, and it should now be visible in the Sprint store's retail system.  I politely thank him for his time and got off the phone.  10 minutes later, I was heading out the door with the second phone in hand.

So lets recap:
Person #1 - Most helpful person in the bunch, though she did errantly suggest the buy up program that I was, evidently, not eligible for.
Person #2 - Indifferent; aside from having to wait for her for 5 minutes at the booth, and being slightly man-like, she was pleasant
Person #3 - Second most helpful person
Person #4 - Idiot, and apparently hungry
Person #5 - On the surface very helpful, but didn't follow through
Person #6 - Manager of #5, also didn't follow through.  Had he, we would have never had this great story to tell!
Person #7 - Salesman at the second Sprint store.  Nice guy, though a little dense
Person #8 - Lazy.  Pawned me off on some other department... probably to take lunch.
Person #9 - Bafoon: lied when he said there was nothing he could do.  Had to threaten to go to another company and not pay the termination fees to get him to do anything

Moral of the story: Even with all this: Sprint is still better than AT&T.

Monday, April 25, 2011


(8:44:16 AM) David Klotz: Let me ask you this
(8:44:36 AM) David Klotz: Is haha at the same level as lol?
(8:44:58 AM) David Klotz: Does one outrank the other?
(8:45:33 AM) Aaron Wagner: I think is goes (from lowest to highest): hehe, haha, lol, HAHA, LOL, HAHAHHAHAHAHA, LOL WTF LOLz
(8:45:50 AM) David Klotz: Sidebar... how many lols are truthful on avg?
(8:46:07 AM) David Klotz: But you left out ROFL
(8:46:44 AM) David Klotz: Or ROFLOLz
(8:46:45 AM) Aaron Wagner: we had that same conversation when I worked over at UCT... since we all worked within earshot of one another, anytime we lol'ed on IM, we knew whether or not is was BS
(8:47:15 AM) David Klotz: So what did your market research yield?
(8:47:34 AM) David Klotz: 50/50?
(8:47:35 AM) Aaron Wagner: ok, hehe, haha, lol, HAHA, LOL, ROFL HAHAHHAHAHAHA, ROFLOLz, LOL WTF LOLz
(8:47:56 AM) Aaron Wagner: I would say 60/40, 60 being BS
(8:48:55 AM) David Klotz: So the LOL is like the US dollar interms of actual value
(8:49:18 AM) Aaron Wagner: yeah... and it's worth less than it used to be due to inflation
(8:49:29 AM) David Klotz: Boom! Mindsplosion!
(8:49:30 AM) Aaron Wagner: IE. too many LOL's
(8:49:46 AM) Aaron Wagner: too few LOL worthy comments
(8:50:16 AM) David Klotz: Haha. Yes!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to use 4 monitors for lots of awesome

So, I got a new computer at work, and I pulled the old video card out of the old one.  It just so happened that the new one had room for another video card.  Sweet huh? So here is how you hook up and use 4 monitors:


  1. Web browser/IM Client
  2. This is the "Main" monitor, where I do whatever I am working on
  3. Outlook Email
  4. Netflix
So as you can see, the awesome is a-plenty in my office.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Example

Every so often, in my role as the university's "Manager of Website Operations" I get an email that stops me dead in my tracks, and the only thing I can do is screen-shot it and post it for the world to see and ridicule.  Today, I got one such email.

One of the most annoying things about email is people who don't know how to use it.  In today's case, we see the famous "I am too lazy to think of a subject AND a body, so I will just put my entire message in subject line".

Exhibit A (The name has been blurred to protect the stupid):

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CenterPoint For The Win

So last week I got a bill from Center Point Energy (our natural gas service provider).  Wait, let me back up.  Back in October we got a bill from them for ~$95.  This was especially concerning because it was a HUGE jump from our normal $20-25 bills.  Like an idiot, I just log into our bill pay and just pay it.

Now, when Melissa saw the bill, she was not aware that I paid the bill and was freaked by the sudden jump.  Thinking we had a leak, she called them and they had her read the meter.  She was happy to find out that they had OVER estimated our usage to the tune of about $73 dollars.  They then sent us an adjusted bill for the correct amount, which Melissa then paid.

A similar jump occurred in November, but neither one of us really wanted to go through calling them, so we paid the bill, realizing that they would find and correct the error.

So back to the bill I got last week.  It was for a CREDIT of $90.  Awesome, right?  Well this morning I open up my email to find another BofA alert for another CenterPoint bill.  I open it up to find that they adjusted my credit from $90 to $128.

So at this rate, I won't have another bill from them for 6 months.  Thanks CenterPoint... you're always on top of things.

I am attaching a screen shot from our bill pay, because, well, it's hilarious...

Made the first attempt at rooting my Android last night with no luck. Evidently Sprint patched the exploit used to root their phones. Bad sprint!