One email stood out amongst the rest:
Thanks to you (since Sprint has not notified me) I know that Sprint is cancelling their unlimited service. As I am a power user, usually well over 10 GB a month, the service is no longer as ideal as it was.
I went online to my account and noticed that in my “messages” box there was a notification that I had changed my account as of 10/13/11. I had not made this change so I called Sprint’s customer service and it turns out, they had.
Long and short of it, I requested to cancel my service. I had read your article regarding no penalty cancellations due to a change in the service agreement by the provider and I was shocked when the CSR tried to charge me an early termination fee of $175. I argued my point and she indicated that because there are other options, such as moving to a 10GB plan for $80, they could not waive this fee.
Is that true?
My response, excerpted in part from an excellent article by Tech ADHD read as follows:
- Contact Sprint Customer Care.There are several ways to do this; however, some methods are more effective than others. The first option would be to contact the normal customer service line by dialing *2 on a Sprint phone, or calling 888-211-4727. Sprint does have an Online Chat, but in almost all cases, the online rep will tell you to call to have the matter discussed.There are also several phone numbers listed online, given as direct lines to Retentions or Executive Services; I will not list any of them here, as it is questionable if these lines are actually more helpful. If you are interested in trying these lines, search online for them (many can be found on slickdeals.com, sprintusers.com, and xda-developers.com).
- When you get to an actual person, make a note of his/her name, then state off the bat that you wish to cancel your contract without an Early Termination Fee regarding a material change to the Terms and Conditions.If they ask you why you are cancelling, be firm and state that it is over this contract change. The rep may ask you to cite the specific changes to the contract that you are contesting; sometimes, they will even ask you to read from both the old and new contract. Give them as much information as they ask you for.Often, the rep will ask you to wait on hold after receiving this information.
- If the rep states that he/she cannot waive your Early Termination Fee because of these changes, or that Sprint can change the Terms and Conditions at will without penalty, quote the section of the Terms and Conditions I listed above.It reads, “If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if you: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made.”
- If the rep says that the arbitration clause is not material, state the quote from above from the Consumerist.That quote is, “In Cunningham vs. Fleetwood Homes of Georgia, reported at page 611 of the third Federal Reporter, volume 253, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that arbitration clauses are material terms to a contract.”
- If the rep still will not budge, make sure you have the name and ID of the rep you are speaking with, then escalate the issue.Ask to speak to his/her manager; if you are speaking to a manager, ask to speak to Retentions; if you are speaking to a Retentions rep, ask to speak to his/hermanager; if you are speaking to a Retentions manager, ask to speak to Executive Services. Each time you move up the chain, you will likely have to restate your case all over again; don’t let up. Be firm, but not rude; a rep will be less likely to help you if you are hostile.Also, each time you move up, remember to get the name and ID of the rep you are speaking with; you will want notes if you need to take the fight further.
If you are still not being helped at this point, you have two options before you.
- You can hang up and start the process over again; some customers have had to call several times before they can get a rep or manager willing to waive the Early Termination Fee. Persistence is everything; some reps are more helpful and willing than others, and sometimes it is just the luck of the draw.
- If you have called several times and not gotten a resolution, you also might want to consider notifying federal agencies regarding your issues. That includes filing complains with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, and your state’s Attorney General. If you choose to go this route, be sure to call in and run through the process one last time; when you reach an unhelpful rep or manager, state that you have filed complaints with these agencies. This may just be the breaking point to get them to cave.
Using Tech ADHD’s script, the MBR reader cancelled her service. If you decide to take this route as well, you should receive a confirmation number of the agreement to cancel without the Early Termination Fee.
If it’s not offered to you, be sure to ask for it as well as the representative ID and name to proactively counter any potential future miscommunications.