re: Love those cell phones

This came in with a lot of other e-mail. Almost every letter described the same type of problems
we had experienced.  Thought it would be nice to print one of the more a-typical e-mails.
I'd welcome ANYONE from any of the companies we've talked about since starting this column to reply.
I with approval of bartcop promise to post your reply in its entirety. In the meantime
don't feel like the lone ranger. Check out this story from one of our readers.
    - Cliff Downing

Oh my lord.  I thought I was the only one with massive cell phone problems.
Your experience was awfully familiar.  I won't go into great detail as it would be a real waste of bandwidth.
But in short, here's a few highlights.

Over ten years, I've tried them all.  GTE's service started good, deteriated into crap.
AT&T was outrageous.  On a six phone account, we uncovered massive overbilling - charging us
for equipment never purchased, actually _duplicating_ monthly charges over and over again.
I don't think in the year we used them I ever got a single correct bill.  I spent _hours_ on the phone
with them trying to keep the account in order, to no avail.
Nextel - coverage so poor was not considered for out needs.

Last but not least, dear, dear Sprint.  I don't know where to begin.
Their basic problem: blatantly advertising coverage areas that they don't
have coverage, and a vastly overtaxed network.  Bait and switch rates.
Draconian billing practices, including incidents very simular to yours,
'arrangements' made by their billing department which were absolute lies.
But what is the real capper is that Sprint has probably the absolute worst
customer service I have ever encountered in any industry, bar none.  Right
now, I am involved in a _four month long_ billing problem that, despite
_hours_ on the phone with Customer Service, have been unable to resolve or
straighten out.  They lie, they don't document prior calls, they are
uninformed, they are rude, and they employ people that obviously don't
give a damn. They know they have a sellers market, and that the businesses
they sell to usually absolutely have to have their phones in operation.
(Believe it or not, Sprint, most of us using these devices are not
fourteen year old girls e-messaging sleep-over gossip to each other...)

So why am I still with Sprint?  First, I'm in the process of relocating
from Austin TX to San Francisco, but will be back and forth a lot during
the next six months.  I just don't want to hassle with changing companies
right now.  And besides, I know from experience that they _all_ suck.
I just don't know if changing is going to make any difference.

What I would really like to know, and I've thought about this a great
deal, is why, why hasn't anyone filed a class action suit against these assholes?
Specifically, Sprint.  I would _love_ to jump on that bandwagon.

Do you know of any web site or other source that is attempting to document
and collect all these horror stories, not to mention the lame excuses and lies
these companies have been handing out?

Much of the horror is back and forth spitting, probably difficult to mount a suit over.
But Sprint, very specifically, has consistently advertised by way of their 'service maps',
and assurances from sales people, certain coverage areas that DON'T WORK or
flat out DON'T EXIST.  While in Austin, I ran a business where customers reached
our on-call people directly on cell phones.  I cannot begin to tell you how much
Sprints crappy service cost me in lost business.  (specifically, it was a bail bond business)
With our business, a disconnect is usually interpreted by the customer as a hang up - and
they call someone else immediately.  A single lost call could sometimes cost me as much
as $1,000.00+ in lost revenue.

I was told by a Sprint rep (on the phone, and anonymous) that the problem
in Austin was simple - they had over marketed the area, and they flat out
didn't have enough tower capacity, thus the continual dropped calls.  With
the cost of tower locations in metropolitan areas very high, the fact is
they had no room in their current business model to rush any more sites online.

It sure sounds to me like the grounds for a lawsuit.  It's called 'false, deceptive,
and fraudulent' business practices.  We have laws that cover it. Over the years, my god,
I have spent TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars with these folks, and gotten just literly
spit on in return.  I sure wish someone would rattle their chain.

Thanks for your article.

Richard H. Tavis

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