Sprint 30 day trial period - Con
Radio Shack would not allow a Sprint phone to be returned because it had over 30 minutes of talk time and was therefore considered a used phone. This was after my daughter figured out that the Bryant, Arkansas Radio Shack store manager had misrepresented the phone upgrade rebate. Perhaps the store manager also misrepresented the phone return policy? I can find nothing in the current Sprint Terms of Service that says that a phone cannot be returned if it has more than 30 minutes of talk time. We finally did receive the rebate after 3 months of calling and Emailing Sprint and visits to 2 different Radio Shack stores. Update: I have received feedback that the return policies may be different depending on whether you buy a phone at a Sprint store, Radio Shack, or from the Sprint web page. Also a Sprint rep told me that the mail in rebates were a wide spread problem, so now they are all instant rebates. However, I still see some mail in rebates on the Sprint web page.
Long Distance - Pro
There are no long distance charges unless you have a plan without unlimited roaming and make long distance calls while roaming. Most other wireless phone companies have this same policy.
Upgrading to Family Plan: Price is misleading - Con
Add a phone for only $10 per month? This only applies to people who already have a Family Plan. If you have an individual plan, you will have to change to a more expensive family plan. You will likely be paying more than $10 per month extra, and your overage minutes may be more expensive.
Family Plan members can have a local phone number wherever they live - Pro
Tonya was able to have a local phone number in another state and still be on our family plan. When she moved to New York she was able to change her phone number to a New York number and the same for a move to Texas. This makes sense, unlike other companies that would require Tonya to have an Arkansas phone number even though she does not live in Arkansas.
Data & Data Roaming - Pro
Data (internet) now works in many roaming areas, although the speed may be slower. Sprint has been a leader in offering data connections for phones, phones as MODEMs, and PC data cards. A few notebook computers are available with Sprint wireless Modem built in. Sprint seems to offer services that would allow customers to rely soley on their wireless service without the need of a wired phone or cable TV connection. However, their terms of service prohibit usage of these devices in only one location. Perhaps in the future when more bandwidth is available, they will try to compete with wired phone and cable TV service.
Data - Con
If you use your phone for internet without an unlimited data plan, you are likely to run up a big bill for data usage. This is probably the same for most wireless carriers.
Customer Service - Pro
It is easy to add a phone or upgrade if you are out of contract. Customer Services Reps are usually polite and do not argue with the customers. If you ask for a note to be added to your account about any changes, you can usually call back after you receive a wrong bill and get it corrected. Usually wait times are less than 10 minutes.
Customer Service - Con
It is difficult to cancel a phone. I was initially favorably impressed with Sprint customer service. However, I came to realize that sometimes what I thought was resolved or changed was not. As I learned more about Sprint's plans and policies, I realized that I was sometimes getting 2 or 3 different conflicting answers about almost anything. If I told the representative that what they were telling me conflicted with what I was told before, they would sometimes figure out that their first response was wrong. More often than not, they would maintain that they were correct and that the other representatives were wrong. Recently it was almost impossible to talk to a supervisor. I have been told that the supervisor is not available, but I can leave a voice message. I have tried that and not received a call back. When calling the toll free Sprint number, I was often disconnected. It seems that this happens to me at least 1 out of 4 calls -- sometimes 2 times in a row. This is especially frustrating when you have been on the phone a long time, and think you are almost done. Then you have to start the process all over. I almost always call customer service from a wired phone, so I suspect that some of these "dropped calls" are actually hang-ups.
When I visit a Sprint store, I am usually told something different than the 3 or 4 stories I have been told by customer service via phone or via Email. If it is not in the notes, Customer Service will probably not believe you when you call to say that your bill is different than what you were told it would be. My brother David spent 80 minutes on the phone with customer service trying to get them to turn off text messaging so that he would not have to pay for receiving unwanted messages. In April 2007 there was an option on the Sprint "manage account" page to let you turn off text messaging. It did not work for me, and I can no longer find that option.
Some of my bad experiences with Sprint were due to bad customer service. I think good customer service is the thing that defines a good business, and unfortunately it is often lacking at Sprint. Bad customer service is Sprint's biggest problem in my view, although there have been a some times when everything went smoothly.
Contact Sprint via Email
You can Email Sprint with questions and requests to change your plan. This sometimes works out well, but the answers from E-Care are sometimes wrong or incomplete. They sometimes seem to read only the first sentence of your Email. Also they do not always make requested changes (maybe because they did not read past the first sentence). When you call customer service, they are unable to see what E-Care told you. There seems to be no feedback to the E-Care reps that they are mistaken about what they are telling customers.
Update July 2007: The last few times the E-Care reps seemed to read my entire Email (all of 3 to 5 sentences). They understood what I was asking, and I was usually satisfied with their responses. If I had a further question for clarification, they answered the question. However, what they told me sometimes did not agree with what showed up on my bill.
Years ago when I first became a Sprint customer, I got very frustrated that I wasted so much time going to the Sprint store or calling customer service over a period of 3 or 4 months before until they finally got my bill right. It still may take 3 or 4 months for Sprint to get my bill right, but now I expect that, and I do not waste so much time dealing with it. Sending an Email or two after receiving an incorrect bill wastes a lot less time than calling and being hung up on or being transferred multiple to times to people who cannot help me except to transfer me to somebody else who still cannot help me.
Contact Sprint via Chat
This is a neat idea. You chat with a Sprint rep online, and they Email you a copy of the chat afterwards. I was not able to type in the chat window, so it was not useful to me. If certain plug ins or a certain browser is required for this to work, they should tell you that.
Billing - Pro
You can usually get a credit for billing mistakes if you have enough patience.
Billing - Con
When you make a change in your plan, the bill may not reflect the change, or have an incorrect change. It may take several calls or Emails over a period of 2 to 4 months to correct it. If you add a phone and share plan minutes, your are supposed to get the same plan on that phone as you have on the other phones including things like unlimited roaming and early nights. You would think that billing could get this right because it is standard Sprint policy. You may have to call customer service and ask them to give you the same plan on the new phone as you have on your other phones.
I would think that Sprint would be able to handle common changes that people sometimes need to make, but it seems that my bill is almost always wrong for a few months after any routine change with my plan or phones. These are some of the billing errors that happened in 2007.
Contracts - Pro In November of 2007 Sprint changed their policy of requiring a contract extension when making any changes to your plan. You still have to start a new contract when buying or adding a phone at a discount price.
Contracts - Historical
It seems that Sprint saw the light on this issue. It used to be that most changes would extend your contract an additional 2 years even if you were not buying a phone at a discounted price. This was my argument against their prior policy.
"I can understand that when Sprint sells me a phone for a discounted price, I have to agree to a 1 or 2 year contract. At the end of the contract, I will be eligible for an upgrade rebate when I purchase a new phone. That makes sense. It is like making payments on the phone. What I do not understand is why Sprint insists that I extend my contract when I change to a different plan (especially a more expensive one). I also do not understand if my phone breaks and I activate an old phone, why I have to extend my contract and my rebate eligibility date? Sprint did not sell me that old phone at a discount. I already had it. Maybe Sprint sold me the old phone years ago, but any discount was paid already. I also do not understand why I have to even have a contract if I add an old phone as an additional line. Again, why do they need to treat me as if I had bought a new phone at a discount? What if the old phone turns out to have a bad battery? I have to either cancel the line and pay the $150 early termination penalty, or buy a new phone with no discount. I remember when you could just buy a phone with no discount and have no contract with Sprint. If you pay the full price for a phone, why do you even have to have a contract? What changed? It almost makes a person want to just get a prepaid phone."
Thank you Sprint for finally stopping the unfair practice of extending the contracts just because a customer changes their plan.