Monday, July 29, 2013

Sprint TOS update and saving on my cell phone bill

I was finally able to cancel my phone without causing incurring the ETF that Sprint wanted to charge.  However,  they would not allow me to cancel my wife's phone for the same reason because she just got her phone last November (I got my phone in October 2011).  This means that I was able to transfer to my phone to and changed my wife's plan from a family plan to one of their new individual plans until it makes sense to cancel her's altogether.

I am ok with this for one reason.  Switching over to ting seems like a risk and switching my phone first, allows  me to test the service before we switch over both of ours.  The main issue is Sprint didn't charge for roaming data (since their network sucks, this is probably a necessity) and ting basically does not allow it.  However, after a week of using, I'm happy to say I haven't noticed much of an issue.  Roaming calls still go through and are free still, so that was my main concern.   My bill is tracked by the amount of usage I actually use so the less I use data, talk or text for a month, the lower my bill and I can also set alerts to tell me I'm approaching certain limits.  I'm figuring my usage will end up costing me about $31 - $42 per month + charges, which is much cheaper than we're paying for my wife's plan.

I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Value of Customer Loyalty

Yesterday, I cancelled our service with DirecTV.  This is a letter I wrote to their CEO explaining why.  I doubt I'll get a response but you never know.

Mr. White,

I am writing to inform you that I have cancelled my service with DirecTV after being a loyal customer since March 2004.  The reason I am leaving is one of cost.  However, if it were not for the way DirecTV and many other cable and information/phone companies treat long-term loyal customers I probably would not even had considered leaving DirecTV.

I was paying approximately $105 per month to your company for service that included HDDvr on two TV's in my household, one of which was a 20" standard definition TV.  When I called your customer service line to cancel my service, all of a sudden discounts were available to me that would have reduced my bill by $35 per month.  However, I had researched the issue enough by then that I had found that purchasing Roku boxes for each of the TV's and adding one service would result in me saving approximately $95 per month.  

What was more disturbing is that if I were a new customer, I would have been offered the same service or more for a savings of $70 per month (see for ultimate package which you are now offering to new customers for $34.99 per month).  If this had been offered to me when my last contract was up, there is no way I would even thought of leaving DirectTV.  Instead, I decided to pay an extremely questionable and excessive $340 early cancellation fee just to get out of my contract and will never be a DirectTV member again because of your exhorbitant fees.

I wonder if your executive team has ever done any research on the cost of gaining a new customer versus losing a long-term customer.  The fact that you've not had to pay for a single service technician to come to my house and/or done anything except collect my money for the past 8 years makes me doubt it.  The fact that your company and many like it choose to put new customers above long term loyal customers seems backwards.  When even insurance companies are realizing that long term loyal customers are better and are reducing fees/premiums for them every year, might make you think that your business strategies might benefit from some more analysis and insight.

Thank you

UPDATE:  Just talked to Sharon at DirecTV.  She researched and found that I received the new HDDVR because there was a technical difficulty with my old one and that was the reason I accepted the new HDDVR even though I was not even placing it on a TV with HD capabilities.  She said they will be refunding my $340.

Thanks to this post @snappyliving for giving me the information to call their office.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sprint lawyers need to retake contract law

I was on the phone with Sprint for about an hour on Saturday.  I called to have my service terminated while they waved the Early Termination Fee (ETF) based upon a change in their Terms of Service (TOS) that I wrote about previously.

They actually had someone from the escalations department contact me.  I think she was a bit exasperated and sounded like she had been fielding these calls for most of the day.  Nevertheless,  I noted two interesting things during our conversation.

  1. She did not even realize that this change was in the contract.  She nearly called me a liar for saying it was different because the only thing the Sprint Lawyers had evidently prepared them for was the WiMax issue.
  2. She insisted it was not a change that was material or adverse because the Sprint attorney's had told her it was not.  Evidently, they have no bias.
She outright refused to waive the fee and actually said that I should hire an attorney if I wanted to.  Based upon comments I've been reading online, it seems Sprint is in lock down mode and does not care how many customers they piss off.

BTW, it's not as if my wife and I are fly-by-night customers as we've been with Sprint for about 8 years.  If they don't respond to me soon, my next move will be to contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sprint TOS change, Can my Contract be Voided?

I have Sprint cell phone service and have been waiting for my contract to be up in order to possibly change my service over to  One interesting bit of legalese is that if Sprint materially changes their Terms of Service, you are allowed to get out of your contract without being charged an Early Termination Fee.

Well, they changed their TOS of July 1 and I noticed they added this bit:
Call time for a single call may be subject to a maximum duration and may be automatically terminated if the maximum duration is exceeded. Rates that vary based on the time of access will be determined based on the location of the network equipment providing service and not the location of your Device or your Device's area code (if applicable).
By adding this, they are allowing themselves to basically say a call that was an hour and spanned over a time period where rates are different (nights vs. days), can be split up over the two different time periods.  I would say, changing how my rates are possibly calculated is a material change and should be subject to allowing my to get out of my TOS.  What do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2013

DBS Approved!

I got word that I was approved by my insurance company and my DBS has been scheduled for early August.  I will update with information after I go through more of the process and have more information.

I'm figuring I won't show my surgeon this video until after everything is done and I'm cleared.