Buh-BYE Sprint - Nextel wireless contract!
October 10, 2006 11:05 AM   Subscribe

PSA: Want to get out of your Sprint - Nextel wireless contract without paying a penalty? Thanks to the fine print in their contracts, Sprint must give many that option— but only until Oct. 31st. (USAfilter)
posted by spock (16 comments total)

 
I've always had good service with Sprint, the only real problem for me being the 2 year long contracts which just seem so gratuitously binding. Any recommendations for a new phone company?
posted by my homunculus is drowning at 11:34 AM on October 10, 2006


So instead of paying an early cancellation fee in cash, you can pay it with hours upon hours of time spent arguing that they invalidated their contract.

Then some more hours arguing with the credit report agencies, after Sprint accuses you of being a deadbeat.

Sounds awesome.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:35 AM on October 10, 2006


Tacos Are Pretty Great: You just have to convice Sprint that the change relates to "a material term of the agreement and that change has a material adverse effect on you." No one is suggesting just stopping paying the bill. I suspect someone trying this would get offered a free text messaging package in order to stay.
posted by exogenous at 11:59 AM on October 10, 2006


I've always had good service with Sprint, the only real problem for me being the 2 year long contracts which just seem so gratuitously binding. Any recommendations for a new phone company?

I'm not sure if sprint will let you do it, but you don't need to cancel your service when you cancel you're contract. Just call and tell them you want to get out of the contract only.
posted by delmoi at 12:18 PM on October 10, 2006


Are you sure delmoi? I recently got back into a contract with them after having their service without contract for three years (it made more financial sense to get a new plan). I would love to get back out of the agreement while keeping the same pricing.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:27 PM on October 10, 2006


Are you sure delmoi? I recently got back into a contract with them after having their service without contract for three years (it made more financial sense to get a new plan). I would love to get back out of the agreement while keeping the same pricing.

There's no legal or technical reason not to let you go back to being a 'free agent'. The only reason not to let you would be to make it more of a pain in the ass for people to get out of their contracts.

Certainly couldn't hurt to try...
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on October 10, 2006


i want to call and do this, but what's the point really?

i have to have a phone. the phone i have only works with sprint. are the competitors really any better?

i guess i'm just pissed at sprint because 1) it took me 5-6 hours to get an "instant" rebate, when the treo first came out. 2) everytime i've had a hardware problem they say it "isn't covered under warranty", even though other people i've known have been covered under warranty with the same problem.

let's face it... it's all about how you interact with that one person at the store or on the tech support line with these companies. and it's just way to easy to for the honest customer to lose because of all the dishonest customers that give the company a "reason" to distrust.
posted by eli_d at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2006


eli_d: theoretically your phone will also work with verizon, but whether or not they will activate its ESN on their network is questionable. they might be able to figure out that it was a sprint phone and then may not activate it...
posted by joeblough at 3:23 PM on October 10, 2006


everytime i've had a hardware problem they say it "isn't covered under warranty"

That's not just Sprint. I had the same problem with Verizon, to the point where they practically kicked me out of the Santa Fe Verizon store for suggesting that they ought to fix the serious problem I had with my one-month-old phone.

I eventually got a new phone by trying another Verizon store. I get the feeling that customer service varies wildly between stores. Also, when you turn in your phone, do not tell the person behind the counter specifically what's wrong, even if you've already figured it out. "durr, my phone don't work" got me much better results than "hey, it seems to me that the phone is acting like the headset is plugged in, even when it isn't". They are much more likely to claim that you did something to break the phone if you seem to have some idea of what's wrong with it.
posted by vorfeed at 3:35 PM on October 10, 2006


Ever since I moved I've been wanting to get rid of my Sprint number and just use the local one my boyfriend gave me on his plan. This link came along at exactly the right time, because soon I'll be making payments on a Macbook. Thanks for the link.
posted by Saellys at 4:22 PM on October 10, 2006


When I worked for AT&T Wireless, you couldn't just "cancel the contract" as delmoi mentioned. I think he's probably wrong about that. You were allowed to cancel your service *and* your service agreement without a penalty if rates/etc changed. Customers were sent a notice about pending changes in their monthly statement and they had 30 days to call up and cancel if they didn't agree to the changes. But they had to cancel the service if they didn't agree.

Sprint may be different, but I doubt it. Wireless carriers love those costly "early termination fees." How much? Back then, it was $175. If the subscriber DIED, we were supposed to ask if there was a family member or friend that would be willing to take over the service agreement. I always cancelled out the last bill and waived the ETF. Yes, I got bitched at by management for it once or twice, but I really didn't care.

Your best option is to call them and ask and escalate it if necessary.
posted by drstein at 4:30 PM on October 10, 2006


You can't cancel contracts w/o hefty fees, and if you try to get a new contract after the current is up you will *have* to get a new 1 or 2 yr contract. Thats how the providers make their money.

One thing you should *definitely* do if your contract is up and you are a good customer is call up and say you want to cancel. All the providers have retention departments that can make you really good offers to try and keep you, if you are a long time customer who makes them money. They can usually at least match new-customer deals from other providers, ie free phone(s) + a contract at a reasonable rate.

Regarding the actual FPP, I would probably rather just sit out the rest of the contract then have to deal with arguing the fine print with sprint customer service for hours on end.
posted by rsanheim at 5:20 PM on October 10, 2006


I'm pretty sure that the Sprint reps have been made aware by their superiors that they must let customers out of contracts if said customers mention the rate hike as the reason for cancellation. They'll definitely do what they can to keep you (depending on your profitability, and they likely have a tool that will calculate your net worth to them on the spot), but you shouldn't have to argue about the fine print. Just let the poor rep run through his list of save offers so he won't get dinged by QA if they're monitoring the call, and you should be free.

I can vouch for drstein's statement about having to offer the Change of Financial Responsibility for deceased customers. (Former ATTWS employee, hated every minute of it.) Gave me the willies and I refused to do it. I even had a lady tell me she was canceling because she herself was being "canceled" (i.e., terminal cancer). Ugh. When the account holder was deceased, the company didn't charge the ETF and didn't require a copy of the death certificate. Clever customers would occasionally notice this loophole and get out of their contracts early with no penalty.
posted by cdavis at 6:27 PM on October 10, 2006


I tried this, but becaus I had Vision plan they came back and said no. So I cancelled anyway, $150 poorer.

(I got the phone for programming, and it doesn't need a service plan to load programs onto, unlike Sprint's Java phones).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:35 PM on October 10, 2006


Or you can go prepaid and avoid this whole shitty mess.
posted by aerotive at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2006


Sprint sucked almost as badly as Verizon. Or perhaps more. It was hard to see clearly through all the shit that was dripping off them.
posted by cytherea at 7:58 PM on October 10, 2006


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