Back in December, I bought a new Samsung Epic 4G phone. This phone was the replacement for my previous phone, the Palm Pre. I liked my Pre very much, but I had incredible hardware issues with it, which caused me to end up replacing my phone 6 times in about 14 months. All I wanted was the ability to move off of my Palm Pre to another phone that would give me less issues and get that phone at the subsidized price. It seemed fair, after the grief I went through with the hardware issues I had with the Pre. It took a bit of work, including having to threaten to leave Sprint and speaking to their retentions department in order to get them to allow me to change my phone. I was not asking for a free phone and I was going to extend my contract by 2 years anyway.
So after finally being allowed to buy a new phone, I started looking for a new one and settled on the Epic. It’s a nice phone, it has the features I want and it is 4G ready. My hesitation was that I would increase my cell phone bill by $10/mo for the 4G service that was not available at the time. I was assured by the Sprint employee that 4G service was going to go live in our area by the first week of next month. Well, that did it for me. I bought the phone and I’m not sorry I did buy it. It’s a great platform and it fits my needs well.
Later on, towards the middle of January, I find myself at the Sprint store again. I was there with my wife because she was having trouble with her Palm Pre, not really a big surprise. Since I was there, I inquired about the fact that I wasn’t receiving my 4G service and it was well past the first week of January. I was told that there were some delays and that things were back on track and 4G service would be available towards the beginning of the next month. Are you seeing a pattern yet?
So today, instead of going to the local Sprint store, I decided to see what answer I would get from an online chat operator. Below, for your reading enjoyment is the chat transcript. I’ve only removed my personal info.
Your session ID for this incident is 2264290.
02/23/2011 12:58:26PM System: “Please wait and the next available account specialist will be with you shortly.”
02/23/2011 12:58:46PM System: “If you are chatting today for Technical Support, please call 1-888-211-4727.”
02/23/2011 12:59:06PM System: “If you are a corporate business customer and need assistance with your account, please call 1-800-927-2199.”
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM Session Started with Agent (Sammy K)
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM System: “Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Sammy K.”
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM ME: “I want to know when 4G service will be available in my area. I’m getting pissed because every month, the sprint store employees say the same thing, “It’s coming soon, we expect it to be next month.” And the next month, it’s the same song and dance.”
02/23/2011 12:59:48PM ME: “Hello.”
02/23/2011 01:00:01PM Agent (Sammy K): “Hello.”
02/23/2011 01:00:47PM ME: “Do you see my question, or do I have to repeat it, and if so, what is the point in requiring people to ask a question before starting a chat?”
02/23/2011 01:00:48PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please provide me your area ZIP code to check this for you.”
02/23/2011 01:01:00PM ME: “XXXXX is my zip code”
02/23/2011 01:01:09PM ME: “(insert City name, State).”
02/23/2011 01:01:27PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please allow a few moments to check this for you.”
02/23/2011 01:01:40PM ME: “No problem.”
02/23/2011 01:03:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have checked the details and found the 4 G services will be available in your area within first week of the next month.”
02/23/2011 01:03:47PM Agent (Sammy K): “Our technicians are working on this.”
02/23/2011 01:04:06PM ME: “Ironically, that’s what the sprint store employees have been saying since December.”
02/23/2011 01:04:07PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:04:25PM ME: “I’ve been paying $10 extra a month for service I’ve not yet received.”
02/23/2011 01:04:37PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:05:30PM Agent (Sammy K): “The 4 G service will be available within the first week of the March.”
02/23/2011 01:05:46PM ME: “I bought my 4G phone with the understanding that I would have 4 G service in less than a month and it’s getting frustrating.”
02/23/2011 01:06:12PM ME: “Is there anywhere as a customer I can go to see the progress, where it’s available and not available?”
02/23/2011 01:07:05PM ME: “I’m sorry, but since you’ve echoed almost exactly what the sprint store employees have been feeding me since December, I have a hard time believing.”
02/23/2011 01:07:39PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:08:21PM Agent (Sammy K): “Our technicians are working on the 4 G service and it will be available in your area very soon.”
02/23/2011 01:08:27PM ME: “I don’t want apologies, I want answers or a way to find out for myself. Is there someone I can talk to that will have a better answer?”
02/23/2011 01:08:57PM Agent (Sammy K): “Can I arrange a call back for you?”
02/23/2011 01:09:18PM ME: “Yes.”
02/23/2011 01:09:46PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please provide me the phone number on which you want a call back.”
02/23/2011 01:10:40PM ME: “You can call me on my cell, XXX XXX XXXX”
02/23/2011 01:10:59PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please allow a few moments to arrange a call back for you.”
02/23/2011 01:11:28PM ME: “Thank you.”
02/23/2011 01:11:33PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have changed you plan effective from today.”
02/23/2011 01:11:39PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please disregard my last statement.”
02/23/2011 01:14:09PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have arranged a call back for you.”
02/23/2011 01:14:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “You will be contacted within 24 hours.”
02/23/2011 01:16:15PM Agent (Sammy K): “Is there anything else I may assist you with today?”
02/23/2011 01:17:26PM ME: “not at this time. Thank you.”
02/23/2011 01:17:42PM Agent (Sammy K): “Have a nice time ahead.”
02/23/2011 01:20:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “I know your time is valuable and I would like to assist you in resolving any question you have today. Would you like to continue chatting with me today?”
02/23/2011 01:20:57PM Session Ended
Once again, I get the same old song and dance, but this time I just got a monkey on the other end who was trained to click on macro buttons instead of give real answers.