More cell phone thoughts…
This weekend I answered a question from Nicolas in the Bronx, New York. He wrote: “I am done with Sprint!:” The gist of his question was wanted s to cancel his contract and pay their $200 early termination fee to be rid of them. He wondered if this would affect his credit score. Was it worth sticking with an unsatisfactory contract for another 2 years to prevent any penalty?
I said, no. If he paid the $200 early termination fee there would be no nick on his credit report or credit score. He lived up to the terms of the contract.
I’m at work today, and an alternative answer from a listener in Nederland, CO came in by email. It relays an intriguing experience, and a different approach. I thought I’d share:
An alternative answer to a broadcast question I heard on KCNC, Sat. 1/10/09, 12;30pm concerning Sprint cellular.
Someone asked you your thoughts regarding Sprint. They were fed up with the service, wanted to drop the contract, pay the $200.00 early termination fee, and were worried about their credit score. I agreed with your advice, but I have some other info that might be helpful.
I don’t know how similar their situation is was to mine, but the first thing that almost anyone can do these days (I’ve heard this advertised by several cell companies, its probably available by all of them) is : they’re offering to pay the $200.00 penalty/contract termination fee; if you switch to them. (Just like the regular landlines used to ). The next thing I found out, is, when I wanted to terminate my Sprint contract, it was because I was having all kinds of trouble with the service, fed up, sounds like the person who asked.
When I called Sprint for the umteenth time, technical (after failing to correct problem for 6 months) sent me to sales, sales credited me the 6 months of service I had paid for that didn’t work. Upon further problems, talking with technical, I said I was gonna drop their service (as sales had told me I could with out termination fee, and since I was technically in their “roaming area” I had never been bound by contract in first place).
Technical said, “I shouldn’t tell you this, but if you you tell sales you’re going to drop service, they have authority to offer you all kinds of discounts, and will do whatever they can to make you stay. Just tell them “…all the problems you’ve had, you want to drop (but wish you didn’t have to).. can’t afford their monthly fee anymore, etc.”
Initially, I had a package that included 200 anytime minutes, free unlimited nights and weekends from 7pm to 7am, free 7pm Friday to 7 am monday, free long distance and free roaming, for 29.99 + tax. (You can’t get this package anywhere anymore, I don’t think.) My monthly bill was around $34/month. (I don’t text or use phone to do any Inet stuff, and I was given a free camera phone when I enrolled. After threatening to cancel & talking with tech (the discounts I was given were ongoing) the same service magically cost $23/month including tax.
Some time, maybe 8 months later, I noticed a few 25 cent roaming calls charged on my bill, and was told roaming was no longer free. Same with free nights & weekends. I never agreed to this plan change, and canceled immediately. (this change would have also negated contract).
Long story short, depending on why your so fed up with them, you may be able to get a refund of many months of bad service (and then in a subsequent call) there may be many ways to get out of contract without paying the $200.00. Talk to technical first (they know nothing about sales amounts) but sales knows nothing about tech (and tech keeps records of all complaints, every time you’ve called them. Tech told me about asking sales for refunds of bad months, sales told me about canceling w/out fees cause I was in roaming area…even when I was getting free roaming.
The company switch (like to ATT or Verizon…) that offers to buy out your contract, are ads I’ve seen lately….and there’s a zillion services where you don’t have to promise or sign any contract anymore. Please pass this along to your frustrated sprint questioner. (As far as credit, I have been unemployed since a disabling medical condition, get a whopping $500.00/month, have collections all over the place, medical billls I can’t pay,(and I don’t get any additional aid because my husband nets around 24K a year.) And I still get 0% credit cards offers in the mail. Go figure? (Please withhold my name and number)
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.