October 18, 2006

...In which Sprint drops the ball.

So my cel contract is up for renewal. A few months past, really.

I've been increasingly unhappy with the service, and I've sort of been sniffing around to see what the deals are. Actually, I keep forgetting to swap before my bill comes up, and then I pay it "for one more month." (Someday I'll get around to simply procrastinating, but I have to put it off for now.)

At the same time, I've been wondering what kind of great deal my current carrier - Sprint - would offer me to stay. Last time I was up for renewal, they replaced my phone and added a 100 minutes.

And wouldn't you know it, they called. And they (or she) more or less spoke english. Fairly thick accent; I'm thinking they were calling from Bangladesh or someplace like that. I might have the gender wrong; what're the child labor laws Over There, anyway?

"Hullo, sur, this is Alalala with Sprint calling, how are you today?"
"OK, I suppose..."
"First, I want to assure you that this call won't count against your Minutes. This is a courtesy call that we initiated so you don't have to pay for it..."

Hmmmm. How long does she plan to talk to me, anyway?

"I'm calling because as a loyal Sprint customer, and we wanted to take this opportunity to offer you an exciting new plan that will improve your user experience and optimize your monthly fee!"

I hate it already. She didn't ask if I was pleased with my service, and she used really annoying buzz words like "user experience" and "optimize."

"As a loyal customer, I'm authorized to offer you a free new phone and an additional line of service!"

"Uh huh," I say. I expect to be offered a free phone and more minutes. Is she REALLY offering a single person a SECOND phone line? "...I'm sorry, line of what?"

"We're pleased to offer you another line of service to optimize your experience. What are the terms of your current plan?"

"500 minutes, at $49 a month."

"Yes. 500 minutes....yes. OK, we can set you up with another line, and at $59 a month you'll be getting a much better value to your Sprint experience . The phone is a -"

I cut her off as she's extolling the virtues of some Motorola uberdevice.

"By line of service, you mean.. another phone number?" I ask.

"Coorect, soor! A second line you can use as you see fit, with all the features -"
"But I don't WANT another line."


"I'm not happy with the service I'm getting NOW, why would I want ANOTHER line that I have no use for? Besides, I'm single. It's just ME, who's going to use the other line?"

"Well, um, sorry you're not happy.... the other line is a Great Bargain..."

"..That I have utterly no use for. I mean, the line I've GOT keeps cutting out and dropping calls, and voice messages sometimes show up a week after they're left. and you're offering me another line for more money." I'm starting to get a little testy. I mean, not only are they offering me something STUPID, they're trying to increase my RATE.

"Oh." I can almost see her scanning through the script for an appropriate response. Or maybe she's translating what I've said so far. "Well, we want to help you optimize the rate you're paying so you get more for your money! It's really a much better deal for you!

"No, it's NOT. Look, another line of service is hardly an attractive offer, when the line I've got isn't reliable..." I continue, prompting her. MORE minutes, SAME price, BETTER phone. C'mon, sweeten the pot....

"Well," she says,"you could use the other phone when the battery on the first one runs out!"

"I've never run the battery out," I explain. "That's not a problem I have.So that's no solution to anything. I don't NEED a second phone. I don't WANT a second phone. I'm one guy. It's just ME."

"Well....you'd really be optimizing, I mean, well, it's economical..."

"No, it's not. It's a fifth wheel on my car; I don't need it, it won't do anything for me. I'll put this bluntly; ANY PLAN that involves A SECOND PHONE LINE is NO DEAL at all."

"Oh." She's completely lost. Her script doesn't cover this AT ALL. He's an American, right? More is always better for Americans.

"Well....the..." she starts, hesitantly.

"NO SECOND LINES." I reply firmly.

I can't stand it any more. So I close the door.

"Look. You got nothing, I won't accept ANY deal that involves a stupid new line of service I don't need or want, I can't continue with a service that can't deliver my voice messages at least on the same day they were left. Do you have ANY offer for me that will make up for dropped calls, and messages that show up a week later."

"I... I'm sorry that...but the new phone....it's free...and you've got credit..."

"We're done. Forget about it. I'm going to find a new carrier that can offer me a better deal. One that DOESN'T," I say disdainfully, "involve a second phone line."

NOW she gets passionate "Well, I understand - I'm sorry about the problems - but if you DO change your mind and you WANT the Deal, call us back at this number ANYTIME!"

"Yeah. Great." Don't hold your breath.

So I've started looking around, checking for customer satisfaction, coverage, the whole deal. I even checked Sprint's own site, in case Allalalalala missed a deal she could have offered. The "great deal" for their "loyal customer?" It's the one they're offering to EVERYBODY.