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  1. #1
    John Navas
    Guest
    <http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/10/ap3901076.html>

    New York's lead consumer advocate is asking Sprint Nextel Corp. to
    pay a penalty to wireless customers it is terminating because they
    called customer service too often.

    Reacting to news that Sprint has told about 1,000 customers they will
    lose their wireless service on July 30, the New York State Consumer
    Protection Board suggested the carrier pay those customers $200 each
    - the amount the customers would have had to pay if they had
    prematurely ended their two-year contracts with the company.

    The Reston, Va.-based company, with operational headquarters in
    Overland Park, Kan., said it will zero out the customers' accounts
    and not charge any termination fees. But Mindy Bockstein, the board's
    chairwoman and executive director, said that's not enough.

    "These former Sprint customers will have to purchase new phones and
    incur other expenses and inconveniences if they want to continue
    receiving wireless service," Bockstein said. "Sprint Nextel should do
    more to improve the quality of its customer service and this is a
    good place to start."

    [MORE]

    --
    Best regards, FAQ FOR CINGULAR WIRELESS:
    John Navas <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cingular_Wireless_FAQ>



    See More: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers




  2. #2
    BruceR
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers



    Paul Miner wrote:
    > On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 01:18:14 GMT, John Navas
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> <http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/10/ap3901076.html>
    >>
    >> New York's lead consumer advocate is asking Sprint Nextel Corp. to
    >> pay a penalty to wireless customers it is terminating because they
    >> called customer service too often.
    >>
    >> Reacting to news that Sprint has told about 1,000 customers they
    >> will lose their wireless service on July 30, the New York State
    >> Consumer Protection Board suggested the carrier pay those
    >> customers $200 each - the amount the customers would have had to
    >> pay if they had prematurely ended their two-year contracts with
    >> the company.
    >>
    >> The Reston, Va.-based company, with operational headquarters in
    >> Overland Park, Kan., said it will zero out the customers' accounts
    >> and not charge any termination fees. But Mindy Bockstein, the
    >> board's chairwoman and executive director, said that's not enough.
    >>
    >> "These former Sprint customers will have to purchase new phones and
    >> incur other expenses and inconveniences if they want to continue
    >> receiving wireless service," Bockstein said. "Sprint Nextel should
    >> do more to improve the quality of its customer service and this is
    >> a good place to start."

    >
    > This reaction seems like little more than grandstanding. Which major
    > carrier isn't providing heavily subsidized phones these days?


    Seems only fair that if Sprint elects to terminate early they should pay
    the customer the same penalty that th customer would pay if they elected
    to quit. "But that's not in the contract," you correctly point out. One
    of the jobs of the Consumer Advocate is to level the playing field where
    a single customer has no negotiating juice. Let's see how they prevail.
    I showed up for a dental appointment one Saturday and his office was
    closed. When I called them on Monday they were very apologetic. I
    pointed out that had I been the no show they would have charged me so
    since they were the no show they should clean my teeth for free. They
    did.





  3. #3
    Scott
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    "BruceR" <[email protected]> wrote in news:4695966b$0$9007
    [email protected]:




    > "But that's not in the contract," you correctly point out. One
    > of the jobs of the Consumer Advocate is to level the playing field where
    > a single customer has no negotiating juice. Let's see how they prevail.


    They won't prevail- all Sprint has to do is point to a number of similar
    instances where other carriers have unilaterally ended the contract terms
    with a subscriber (think network conversions) and then cry prejudice for
    being singled out.





  4. #4
    Steve Sobol
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    On 2007-07-12, John Navas <[email protected]> wrote:
    ><http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/10/ap3901076.html>
    >
    > New York's lead consumer advocate is asking Sprint Nextel Corp. to
    > pay a penalty to wireless customers it is terminating because they
    > called customer service too often.
    >
    > Reacting to news that Sprint has told about 1,000 customers they will
    > lose their wireless service on July 30, the New York State Consumer
    > Protection Board suggested the carrier pay those customers $200 each
    > - the amount the customers would have had to pay if they had
    > prematurely ended their two-year contracts with the company.


    Didn't someone just suggest exactly this here in the Sprint newsgroup?

    I think it's a good idea.




  5. #5
    clifto
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    Paul Miner wrote:
    > They should be glad they aren't charged the ETF.


    I can assure you that if some company not only terminated my service for
    such reasons but also tried to charge me the fee the contract specifies
    for *my* breaking off the relationship, it would take me about thirty
    seconds to tear some lawyer away from suing his own mother for watery
    soup and to sic him on that company.

    --
    Postulate a group whose intent is to destroy the United States from within
    via anarchy and bankruptcy. The actions of the United States Congress are
    completely consistent with the actions one would predict from such a group.



  6. #6
    Dennis Ferguson
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    On 2007-07-12, clifto <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Paul Miner wrote:
    >> They should be glad they aren't charged the ETF.

    >
    > I can assure you that if some company not only terminated my service for
    > such reasons but also tried to charge me the fee the contract specifies
    > for *my* breaking off the relationship, it would take me about thirty
    > seconds to tear some lawyer away from suing his own mother for watery
    > soup and to sic him on that company.


    If you have signed a Verizon agreement (I haven't looked at the others)
    what you signed says:

    AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE WILL APPLY IF YOU CHOOSE TO END YOUR SERVICE
    BEFORE BECOMING A MONTH-TO-MONTH CUSTOMER, OR IF WE TERMINATE IT EARLY
    FOR GOOD CAUSE.

    That is, the ETF may apply if they terminate you, not just if you
    terminate them. Verizon's "good cause" includes, but is not limited to,
    the following:

    You agree not to resell our service to someone else without our
    prior written permission. You also agree your wireless phone won't
    be used for any other purpose that isn't allowed by this agreement
    or that's illegal. You agree that you won't install, deploy, or use
    any regeneration equipment or similar mechanism (for example, a
    repeater) to originate, amplify, enhance, retransmit or regenerate
    a transmitted RF signal. WE CAN, WITHOUT NOTICE, LIMIT, SUSPEND, OR
    END YOUR SERVICE OR ANY AGREEMENT WITH YOU FOR THIS OR ANY OTHER
    GOOD CAUSE, including, but not limited to: (a) paying late more than
    once in any 12 months; (b) incurring charges larger than a required
    deposit or billing limit (even if we haven't yet billed the charges);
    (c) harassing our employees or agents; (d) lying to us; (e) interfering
    with our operations; (f) breaching this agreement; (g) "spamming," or
    other abusive messaging or calling; (h) modifying your wireless phone
    from its manufacturer's specifications; (i) providing credit information
    we can't verify; (j) using your service in a way that adversely affects
    our network or other customers; or (k) allowing anyone to tamper with
    your wireless phone number.

    That covers just about everything. The thing the Sprint customers are
    being terminated for is probably covered by (c) or (e) (not that the
    "good cause" they terminate you for needs to be listed). (h) probably
    covers the things people do to their Verizon phones to restore features
    that Verizon removed.

    Oh, and then there's

    WE EACH AGREE TO SETTLE DISPUTES (EXCEPT CERTAIN SMALL CLAIMS) ONLY
    BY ARBITRATION.

    which kind of limits what your lawyer can threaten them with. They've
    covered themselves pretty well.

    Dennis Ferguson



  7. #7
    Todd Allcock
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    At 12 Jul 2007 02:39:06 +0000 Paul Miner wrote:

    > This reaction seems like little more than grandstanding. Which major
    > carrier isn't providing heavily subsidized phones these days?


    Perhaps, but to be fair, what about a Sprint Blackberry or Treo owner?
    He might have paid $200-400 for his subsidized phone, and would have to
    pay a similar amount to get essentially the same phone with a new carrier-
    the Sprint CDMA model is incompatible with T-Mo's or Cingular's GSM, and
    Verizon (like Sprint) refuses to activate phones sold by another carrier,
    even if 100% compatible.

    Now if Sprint is also willing to refund what a customer paid for their
    high-end phone, fine, but I have a bit of a problem with this "firing
    customers" idea when they're under contract. Sprint was happy to sign
    them up and never gave them a customer service call limit. If they want
    to terminate them after the contract is up, and/or stop them from renewing,

    fine, but they didn't break any rules- CS is 24/7 and free according to
    all the brochures.
    I better way to handle the "problem" would've been to flag the accounts
    so when they called CS about an often lodged complaint, the reps could
    just explain "we've already tried to satisfy your needs on this
    particular issue and were unable to. In the interests of customer
    service we'd like to offer you the ability to end your contractual
    commitment without any penalty should you choose to..."

    If CS "stonewalled" these 2000 customers with the above script, they'd
    get the message and cancel on their own.




    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com




  8. #8
    BruceR
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers



    Paul Miner wrote:
    > On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 05:00:01 +0000 (UTC), Steve Sobol
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> On 2007-07-12, John Navas <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>> <http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/10/ap3901076.html>
    >>>
    >>> New York's lead consumer advocate is asking Sprint Nextel Corp.
    >>> to pay a penalty to wireless customers it is terminating because
    >>> they called customer service too often.
    >>>
    >>> Reacting to news that Sprint has told about 1,000 customers they
    >>> will lose their wireless service on July 30, the New York State
    >>> Consumer Protection Board suggested the carrier pay those
    >>> customers $200 each - the amount the customers would have had to
    >>> pay if they had prematurely ended their two-year contracts with
    >>> the company.

    >>
    >> Didn't someone just suggest exactly this here in the Sprint
    >> newsgroup?
    >>
    >> I think it's a good idea.

    >
    > It doesn't make any sense to me. As of a few years ago, I believe it
    > cost carriers over $400 to acquire a new customer and get them set up.
    > If you turn that around and charge customers $400+ to start a new line
    > of service, then yes, refund part of it if the customer is cut loose
    > within a certain period, but with the current business model I see no
    > justification at all for paying a (bad) customer to leave. They should
    > be glad they aren't charged the ETF.


    They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where was
    the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?





  9. #9
    BruceR
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers



    Paul Miner wrote:
    > On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 05:57:41 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> In article <[email protected]>,
    >> "BruceR" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>> They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    >>> often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where
    >>> was the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?

    >>
    >> And what if Sprint actually screwed up their bills so much that such
    >> a level of calling was necessary and prudent?
    >>
    >> Shouldn't we as consumers be able, unilaterally, to say to Sprint et
    >> al., "You are a bad business to do business with, you've proven it
    >> time and again, so our contract is null and void"?

    >
    > Of course not. If you want a contract that's written that way, start
    > your own wireless carrier and offer it.
    >
    >> Unilateral contracts are a nice concept for the corporation, but if
    >> they push on that they'll get pushed back on. "We can do anything
    >> we want, you just have to pay us money until we tell you you don't
    >> have to"--that's not a contract, that's crazy.

    >
    > Agreed, but no one was forced to agree to it, were they? That goes for
    > any of the wireless companies.


    I think that's why the NY Consumer Advocate is getting involved. What
    Sprint is doing is not in the contract and customers didn't agree to it
    so it's just bullying. Believe me, as a business owner myself I'm all
    for keeping government out of my affairs but when a business that is a
    public utility takes advantage of a group of customers who have no
    voice, that's when a Consumer Advocate should step in to protect those
    who have no voice. Remember, judges can take any part of a contract
    they feel is unfair and toss it out as "against public policy" and, by
    law, any ambiguities are always interpreted against the party who wrote
    the contract.





  10. #10
    BruceR
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers



    Paul Miner wrote:
    > On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 23:37:49 -1000, "BruceR"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Paul Miner wrote:

    >
    >>> It doesn't make any sense to me. As of a few years ago, I believe it
    >>> cost carriers over $400 to acquire a new customer and get them set
    >>> up. If you turn that around and charge customers $400+ to start a
    >>> new line of service, then yes, refund part of it if the customer is
    >>> cut loose within a certain period, but with the current business
    >>> model I see no justification at all for paying a (bad) customer to
    >>> leave. They should be glad they aren't charged the ETF.

    >>
    >> They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    >> often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where
    >> was the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?

    >
    > I'm not defining bad, but Sprint apparently did. I believe it refers
    > to someone who costs the company more to carry than they generate in
    > revenue.


    And now it will be up to the AG's and Consumer Advocates to decide if
    there definition meets muster.

    On the other hand, if I found it necessary to constantly call customer
    service to resolve issues, I would probably be thrilled to get a free
    early termination so I could hook up with a carrier more to my liking.

    I like the idea a previous poster had where a constant caller could be
    politely told, "Sir/Ma'am, we just don't seem to be able to satisfy your
    needs and expectations so we'd like to offer you the opportunity to
    switch to another carrier with no early termination fee."





  11. #11
    Steve Sobol
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    ["Followup-To:" header set to alt.cellular.sprintpcs.]

    > They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    > often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where was
    > the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?


    It's not.





  12. #12
    Scott
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    Todd Allcock <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:


    > Sprint was happy to sign
    > them up and never gave them a customer service call limit.


    True, but they signed them up expecting to act somewhat close to a normal
    industry customer. Nobody would expect a customer that calls 40 times more
    than average. More than ten times a day (on average), month after month?
    My take is that they are these folks a favor- they are obviously too stupid
    to own a cell phone if they need that much help.


    > If they
    > want to terminate them after the contract is up, and/or stop them from
    > renewing,
    >
    > fine, but they didn't break any rules- CS is 24/7 and free according
    > to all the brochures.


    And costs the business about a dollar a minute. So, I see three options for
    Sprint:

    1. Continue to take the loss month after month and lose millions of
    dollars a month.

    2. Keep the customers and simply pass the costs of serving them to every
    other subscriber through price increases.

    3. Get rid of the dead weight.

    Only one of the three options has any benefit to the customer base.


    > I better way to handle the "problem" would've been to flag the
    > accounts so when they called CS about an often lodged complaint, the
    > reps could just explain "we've already tried to satisfy your needs on
    > this particular issue and were unable to. In the interests of
    > customer service we'd like to offer you the ability to end your
    > contractual commitment without any penalty should you choose to..."
    >
    > If CS "stonewalled" these 2000 customers with the above script, they'd
    > get the message and cancel on their own.
    >
    >


    And they still lose money taking the time to explain that.

    >
    >





  13. #13
    Scott
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    "BruceR" <[email protected]> wrote in news:4695f669$0$3125
    [email protected]:


    >
    > They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    > often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where was
    > the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?
    >
    >
    >


    Read the media articles again- they are bad customers because of their
    inability to take "no" for an answer. Asking for information off somebody
    else's account, continuing to call after being told multiple times that
    their issue was resolved, being told that there was nothing more that
    Sprint could do for them and their problem... number of calls was simply a
    flag and not the sole criteria for cancellation.

    It wouldn't surpise me to find that a good number of the customers
    cancelled were the type that continually hounded CS for two months of free
    service to compensate them for the inconvenience of having to dispute a
    $1.29 directory assistance charge or some other ridiculous request.



  14. #14
    Scott
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    "BruceR" <[email protected]com> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    >
    >
    > Paul Miner wrote:
    >> On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 05:57:41 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"
    >> <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>> In article <[email protected]>,
    >>> "BruceR" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service
    >>>> too often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but
    >>>> where was the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up
    >>>> front?
    >>>
    >>> And what if Sprint actually screwed up their bills so much that such
    >>> a level of calling was necessary and prudent?
    >>>
    >>> Shouldn't we as consumers be able, unilaterally, to say to Sprint et
    >>> al., "You are a bad business to do business with, you've proven it
    >>> time and again, so our contract is null and void"?

    >>
    >> Of course not. If you want a contract that's written that way, start
    >> your own wireless carrier and offer it.
    >>
    >>> Unilateral contracts are a nice concept for the corporation, but if
    >>> they push on that they'll get pushed back on. "We can do anything
    >>> we want, you just have to pay us money until we tell you you don't
    >>> have to"--that's not a contract, that's crazy.

    >>
    >> Agreed, but no one was forced to agree to it, were they? That goes
    >> for any of the wireless companies.

    >
    > I think that's why the NY Consumer Advocate is getting involved. What
    > Sprint is doing is not in the contract and customers didn't agree to
    > it so it's just bullying.



    http://nextelonline.nextel.com/en/le...cy_popup.shtml


    Our Right To Suspend Or Terminate Services

    We can, without notice, suspend or terminate any Service at any time for
    any reason, including, but not limited to: (a) late payment; (b)
    exceeding an Account Spending Limit (“ASL”); (c) harassing/threatening
    our employees or agents; (d) providing false information; (e)
    interfering with our operations; (f) using/suspicion of using Services
    in any manner restricted by or inconsistent with the Agreement; (g)
    breaching the Agreement, including our Policies; (h) providing false,
    inaccurate, dated or unverifiable identification or credit information,
    or becoming insolvent or bankrupt; (i) modifying a Device from its
    manufacturer specifications; or (j) if we believe the action protects
    our interests, any customer's interests or our network.


    I would point to (c), (e) and (j). Any one of the three applies here
    and they all appear in T&C that each customer signs off on when they
    start service.



  15. #15
    Scott
    Guest

    Re: NEWS: NY Agency Wants Sprint to Pay Customers

    "BruceR" <[email protected]> wrote in news:46960462$0$24759
    [email protected]:

    >
    >
    > Paul Miner wrote:
    >> On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 23:37:49 -1000, "BruceR"
    >> <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>> Paul Miner wrote:

    >>
    >>>> It doesn't make any sense to me. As of a few years ago, I believe it
    >>>> cost carriers over $400 to acquire a new customer and get them set
    >>>> up. If you turn that around and charge customers $400+ to start a
    >>>> new line of service, then yes, refund part of it if the customer is
    >>>> cut loose within a certain period, but with the current business
    >>>> model I see no justification at all for paying a (bad) customer to
    >>>> leave. They should be glad they aren't charged the ETF.
    >>>
    >>> They're a "bad" customer just because they call customer service too
    >>> often? I can understand it if they didn't pay their bills but where
    >>> was the limit on calls to CS outlined in the contract up front?

    >>
    >> I'm not defining bad, but Sprint apparently did. I believe it refers
    >> to someone who costs the company more to carry than they generate in
    >> revenue.

    >
    > And now it will be up to the AG's and Consumer Advocates to decide if
    > there definition meets muster.


    I wonder what New Yourk's position is going to be if they find out that the
    total number of state residents involced is fifteen or less?

    >
    > On the other hand, if I found it necessary to constantly call customer
    > service to resolve issues, I would probably be thrilled to get a free
    > early termination so I could hook up with a carrier more to my liking.
    >
    > I like the idea a previous poster had where a constant caller could be
    > politely told, "Sir/Ma'am, we just don't seem to be able to satisfy your
    > needs and expectations so we'd like to offer you the opportunity to
    > switch to another carrier with no early termination fee."
    >


    So telling them over the phone is better than sending them a letter?

    >
    >





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