Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

Sprint wants me to buy an iPhone

Jerry Stratton, November 7, 2007

Apple hasn’t convinced me to buy an iPhone yet, but Sprint sure is trying hard. I thought it was amusing when they tried to send me a $115 service credit to re-up with them for two years. That’s nearly three months of service with them. I have never seen a promotion that big in all the years I’ve been with them. I didn’t take advantage of it, because I don’t want that kind of a long-term contract. I was tempted, because I mostly haven’t had problems with Sprint except when I have to use their crazy-slow web site. I wrote before that I’d be renewing my contract for a year, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

I just received my bill today and it has $50 of overcharges on it. I know what they’re from: the office calling me on my personal phone instead of my work phone during the fires last month. So I’ll need to submit those charges for reimbursement. Unfortunately, Sprint recently stopped providing a full invoice in their paper billing; no problem, I think, I’ve used their on-line pages before to view the invoice, I’ll just log in and print it out. Maybe by now they’ve fixed the problems with their site.

Problem 1
For at least the third time since I’ve joined with them, they’ve changed their account system, so I have to set up a new account.
Problem 2
When attempting to set up the new account by way of the old account, it text messaged me a secret code… and then didn’t ask for the code. Their server simply stopped responding.
Problem 3
It no longer accepts my old account, so I try setting up a new account. This appears to work fine. However, the new accounts apparently don’t include invoices. That requires yet another setup. After entering my account number, it tells me that if I don’t remember my PIN, I can enter the last six digits of my social security number. But… I do remember my PIN. It just never asked for it. So I start the process over thinking maybe I missed it. No, there is definitely no option for entering my PIN.
Problem 4
So, against my better judgement I give it the last six digits of my social security number (and my zip code), and then it says, “We cannot process your registration online. Please call Customer Care at 800-639-6111 to register for nextel.com”. So I call them. The person on the phone has trouble, too, but finally tells me “the engineers are working on it. It will be ready for viewing in an hour.”
Problem 5
No, it isn’t ready for viewing in an hour.
Problem 6
The main screen keeps saying “Changes Successfully Made. The changes to your online profile have been successfully saved, but will not be visible in My Sprint until you restart your session. If you would like to see them now, please sign off and re-enter your credentials to get back to My Sprint.” That sounds great—except its not in response to any action on my part. I just happened to be going to the main page. Also, the only thing that happens after I follow those instructions is that the message goes away.
Problem 7
When it finally accepts my information and asks me to create a new PIN for this account… the submit button doesn’t work. Cancel comes up, but I can’t submit. So I click cancel, thinking to start over. It then shows me the account I was just entering. Still no invoice. It isn’t until I get back to Settings & Passwords that it gives me that “Changes saved, please restart” message again. Sure enough, after logging out and logging in again, I can finally see my latest bill.

Throughout the whole process, I couldn’t stop thinking about that wonderful, easy, iTunes transfer screen. If Sprint wants to keep me as a customer, one-time gimmicks won’t cut it. I’d be much more likely to stay with them if viewing my invoice were at least as easy as firing up iTunes to transfer my phone number to an iPhone account.

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