Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dear Sprint

Dear Sprint-

It's a shame it's come down to this, because at the core I do like you. Your plan prices are reasonable, you have unlimited data (if my phone could actually utilize all that w/o shutting off... it can't), and your store employees are generally nice. HOWEVER, let's chat math, shall we?

I bought my HTC Hero in June of 2010 from you. It cost me around $100 on sale when I signed up. However, it quickly lost all real value when the Evo came out. So... I think you got a fair shake getting rid of it. In fact, I'm sure that's why the salesman tried to sell me on it in the first place. I've used it happily for all these months, but now, in order to get my email to sync I have to hard reset it every 3 weeks. It's NOT manageable, nor reasonable.

Monthly, I pay $8 for insurance. Plus, if I file an insurance claim that's $100 deductible. SO, to replace my phone with a refurbished replica, which would still be so outdated people laugh at me when I bring it in for service... that will cost me 8*16 months = $128 + 100 = $228.

If I'd like to trade the exact same phone in to your buyback program... you'll give me $25. A $223 difference in value depending on who is holding the phone?

In addition, if I do trade in my phone for $25, I need a new phone, right? Well... I have 140 days until I'm 'eligible' for that. SO, a comparable phone that utilizes my data plan etc. will cost me ~$450-800. Twice what I paid for my original phone, and I'm sure 1000 times what they pay in the 'buyback' program for the same phone.

Well... faced with those options, I could just cancel my contract for my prorated rate of $120. And resign up (or go with another carrier... probably Verizon)... get the same damn plan, and an iPhone for $99. Because you are willing to subsidize those phones by about $450 PER NEW CUSTOMER in order to draw away a small % of those on AT&T and Verizon instead of retaining those who already realized you offer a good value.

I'm in business school. I'm focusing in strategy. I'm also in policy school. I'm focusing in evaluation. I've done some evaluating, and from both sides, this disrespect and disdain for your current customers is bad business strategy, and bad policy. Additionally, after talking to 6... yes 6... customer service reps today on the phone AND in a store, I've realized that even they acknowledge that this phone is a piece of crap and outdated, and that your policies are pretty resoundingly unfriendly to customers. More than one person tried to help me, as a customer, get around your poor policies when it's a reasonable request.

I'm not a consumer advocate. I'm just a very busy dual masters degree student who also works part time and runs a consulting group... you know... for fun. I have shit to do, and need a phone that does it. You are now not just an irritation but in my way of getting things done... and that's a stupid place to put yourself.

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