Saturday, September 4

Why Sprint's service sucks — warning customer experience rant

It's about time I made a post on Sprint's horribly inhuman business practices. I've used their service for nearly three years now and while the quality of their product is good I've been consistently and plainly pissed off any and every time I ever have to actually do business with them. The quality of the human services (sales and support) are abhorrent and the way they treat their customers through their business practices is simply asinine. While they take the lead in mistreating their customers the below anti-human practices are becoming a growing trend in business. I'm just going to lay out a few bullet points of grievances in their service agreements alone. This does not included their license agreements which would take me a year to go through.

  • 2-year service agreement required in order to move to a flex minute plan
  • 1-year mandatory extension anytime you change your plan
  • ridiculous nickel and dime policy to "rent" ring-tones, screen-savers and other junk for $1.99 to $3.99
  • 2-year service agreement required if you want your anytime minutes to start at 7pm instead of 9pm
  • $250? or so termination fees
  • 5+ convoluted service plans for high speed data, each one of which cripples full access in one way or another so that no one fills all my needs
  • mandatory pay for "credits" towards renting ring-tones and screen-savers on each high-speed data plan
  • using a mail-in rebate system on phones in Sprint Stores instead of an instant rebate for the sole purpose of screwing with their customers

    Message to Sprint--
    I use between 600 and 1400 minutes a month. I don't like to spend my time worrying about how many minutes I use. I don't like to RENT my ring-tone, screen-saver, or other trivialities especially by using crappy web based cellular interfaces. I don't like having to debate needlessly and resent it being suggested that I buy two high-speed data plans in order to use a camera-phone and have full access to the web. I don't like being roped into long-term lock-in plans with high termination fees. I don't like being penalized for changing my plans.

    This all ads up two one thing. I don't like being generally screwed with EVERY TIME I attempt to do business with you and I don't like being F'd with when I'm paying you over $1400 a year. Clean up your customer service and clean up your anti-human business practices.
    --end message

    This was spurred by two things. a) my attempts after not talking to Sprint for over a year to upgrade my phone and service plan which were unsuccessful do to the above points and incompetence in customer service, and the following post on en-gadget which pretty much sums up what Sprint thinks of their customers.

    'Recycle' your Treo 600, get a measly 75 bucks from Sprint - Engadget -

    Update: Sadly using details in service agreements to increase lock-in, penalizing people with termination fees so they can't afford to leave, and using details embedded in both licenses and needlessly complex service plans are not only an increasing trend. in the service industry but are already the norm.

    Most service companies like Sprint use details in licensing and service plans to reap the majority of their profits. The norm in this industry is simply: "Give it away for cost and make it up on the penalties and hidden fees." If you haven't heard this before then let me welcome you to the new service industry.

    The complexity and inhumanity of licenses, support systems, and services are a problem that needs to be addressed as an aspect of the user experience. They are a vital part of the user experience and as such their abuse cannot be ignored when addressing the issue. In a world where ignorance of the law is no excuse deliberate obscurification of legal details is the new frontier for profit creation in the service sector.

    We live in a world where no one can read every service agreement and every EULA (end user license agreement) for even half of the services and software we use. In fact a team of lawyers couldn't adequately read and clear the license agreements and service agreements an average citizen agrees to in a given month.

    This is at least part of the draw of standardized licensing like the creative commons licenses, the GPL, and other open source licenses. We know what we're getting into, we know what we're agreeing to, and we know what our rights are because we've encountered and used these licenses before. In fact creative commons provides for each license in a "human readable" format in addition to the legal and "computer readable" formats.

    Rights are already being purposely buried in licensing agreements and service agreements. Standardized licensing will hopefully bring about marketplaces where awareness puts value back into the license. Standardized licenses are already discouraging bad licenses that abuse individual rights. Without standardized licensing the future will be a terribly in-human place.

    Relate link:
    If you are interested in more information see the following about the increasing trend in termination fees. Terminate the Terminator — Life Enhancement Products Presents: NeoFiles
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