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.

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