John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Second Prize Is 500 Additional Anytime Minutes … Third Prize Is You're Fired.

Many of us Sprint customers received a letter at the beginning of this month declaring that our Sprint account will be canceled on July 30 due to the amount of roaming we are doing. The letter stated that they believe that another carrier will be able to serve us better and that we are recieving the boot.

“… This is the icing on the top as far as Sprint Customer Service goes. Why on Earth I can’t get coverage at the United States Military Academy, 40 minutes away from New York City, is a mystery to me. I had a cellphone the entire time I was in Iraq with a Middle Eastern company. I payed LESS to call home and keep in touch from the other side of the world than I do now with Sprint to call within the country. It also did not matter if I was in a major city or out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, I ALWAYS had full coverage. Never had a dropped call, and the customer reps of that company spoke better English than those with Sprint do.”

An anonymous U.S. soldier who had his Sprint contract terminated for excessive domestic roaming

nowthatsbetter.gifHere’s a novel, albeit labor-intensive, way of ditching your Sprint contract to get an iPhone. Call the company’s customer-support center relentlessly until it terminates your service. After a recent internal review, Sprint canceled the contracts of 1,000 customers because they’d been making far too many calls to its support centers. An astonishing move for a company that’s been on a campaign to shirk its reputation for abysmal coverage and even worse customer service.

But not nearly as astonishing as its decision to waive the termination fees of the customers it fires. (It will be even more astonishing if the company agrees to pay $200 in termination fees to each of the customers, as Mindy Bockstein, chairwoman of New York’s Consumer Protection Board, has asked). “Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information,” Sprint explained in a letter to some of its customers. “While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs…”

Apparently, Sprint is finally finishing its pioneering work on DCRM (Dissociative Customer Relationship Management) systems …

Now, in all fairness, the 1,000 or so subscribers whose contracts Sprint canceled accounted for 40,000 calls per month–according to Sprint. And, really, 1,000 isn’t such a large number when compared to Sprint’s total user base–about 53 million. Finally, Sprint insiders say these problem costumers were truly pains-in-the-ass. “These were the customers that had nothing to do but call us every single day demanding credit,” a Sprint employee told Consumerist. “And they were getting it because customer care was getting exhausted from arguing with them. So, a nickel at a time, these customers were collecting literally thousands of dollars in credit balances. … Ten months of calling customer care and telling us how badly they hated us and threatening to cancel to get more credits… And one day we say, ‘OK. We’ll credit your balance, waive your contracts and you’re free to be happy.’ And then they don’t like the ink the letter was written with. Kills me. I’d be devastated if I got a letter like that from a company I do business with. But if I hated them I’d gladly walk away in a situation like that.”

I suppose you might. Especially if you truly had problems with Sprint’s service that you were having trouble resolving–which, given the company’s reputation for lousy customer service, is a distinct possibility.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work