Seriously, Sprint – Help a Girl Out

I am so frustrated right now, I can hardly stand it.  We have been out of the US for  65 days now and I am still unable to cancel/suspend my Sprint account.  Admittedly, I have not spent time working on it every day, but I have put forth a significant amount of work and I am beginning to feel that Sprint is purposely thwarting my efforts.

When we first arrived, I spent an extremely long time in an online chat with a lovely young man at Sprint.  I explained my situation and he was quite helpful.  He even pointed out that we could put the account on a military hold, but he couldn’t do anything to my account through the online chat.  I would need to telephone.

As we were in the Navy Lodge at the time, and still working on the whole internet telephone thing, I  purchased a NEX phone card.  I figured out how to use it (the directions were, well, poor), only to discover that you can’t call toll-free numbers with an NEX phone card.  Back to the internet I went, and in another online chat, I was told that there aren’t any toll phone numbers to call Sprint.

Next step, I tried calling the customer service number that Sprint lists for Italy.  According to my Italian cell phone (Vodafone), the number listed is a wrong number.  So much for that one.

By this time, I knew that I was headed back to the States, and figured that I would sort it out while I was there.  I called the Sprint number and was told that I would need to be transferred to the newly created military department.  The gentleman there started asking for all sorts of information that I did not have handy, such as my husband’s UIC, and informed me that due to their new policies, I could not put the account on hold without all the required information.  Foiled again!

Once back in Italy, I gathered all the required information and thought that I would try again.  A bit of time passed, as happens when you are moving, and today I was motivated by Bargaineer’s challenge to spend 15 minutes doing something positive for my finances.  I figured that saving $140 per month on a service that I wasn’t using would be a good use of my 15 minutes.

First, I had to purchase some Skype credit to make a telephone call to a toll number.  Once I got that organized, I called Sprint and asked to be connected to the military department.  I was transferred over, only to receive a message that they have certain hours, Monday through Friday.

I really hate to be whiney here, but seriously?  I have been putting forth a significant amount of effort to cancel and/or suspend my Sprint accounts, and I’ve finally gotten so far, and your military department is only open during US business hours Monday – Friday?  Yeah, I’m sure that is highly convenient for those military folks who are calling from all over the world, stopping whatever it is that they might be doing to jump through 27 hoops to get through to you.

We have been loyal Sprint customers since the last time we moved back from overseas, nearly 10 years ago, and I always figured I would stick with Sprint when we came back (even if I can’t get an iPhone with them.)  I was quite looking forward to the convenience of having my phone accounts in suspend, ready to be reactivated if we have the opportunity to make a trip home.  However, I’ve now given Sprint around $280 of money for service that I can’t use, and they are making it impossible to put it in this great deal, military suspension mode.

Hey, Sprint, stop making this so hard for me.  Either let a regular representative help me, or making your military department be open more hours.  Set up a regular, toll telephone number for those of us who are unable to call toll free numbers.  Let me make changes to my account using forms of communication other than telephone:  email, internet chat, telepathy, whatever…  Stop making your customer service so darn unfriendly.

Update 31 August 2010: Posted a negative tweet (at twitter) and lo! Sprint responded. Hoping for resolution.

Update 1 September 2010: Emailed Sprint as twitter response instructed. They want me to email personally identifying info, including social security numbers, plus they will only do military suspension for 24 months. Um, we’re here for 3 years. I guess we will have no choice but to close our account. Sorry, Sprint – you’re losing our business.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Sharon

    All you have to do is call the nearest military installation and ask to be connected to your previous bases operator. When connected to the operator tell them you need to make a 1-800 call and they will make the call and connect you.

  • Invoke the military clause if they don’t want to work with you. All cell carriers have to let you out of your contract due to military duty. Sometimes mentioning that you want to cancel your service is enough to get them to do what is right.

  • Andi

    Also, you should be able to be refunded the two months you have been trying to get this accomplished with proof of orders taking you overseas.

  • Cancel the account all-together and then open a new account when you return stateside. Sprint gave us a run-around too. We put our account on “military hold” before we left the states, only to find out that the account will be reactivated in 2 years with the closest plan available to your old plan. Since we may or may not return in 2 years, we closed the account. A letter with a copy of a photo ID was not enough, we still had to call during US business hours to close the account. The “military hold” has really no benefit unless you will play a huge penalty to cancel the contract and are definitely going to be using the service again in 12 months.

    • Will

      I know this thread is a bit old, but I would like to add something to this comment. It is not necessary to cancel right away and get an ETF (Early Termination Fee) just because you are going to be gone longer than 24 months.
      The time your phone spends on military suspend still counts against your original contract term. So, if you know you are going to be out longer than the 24 month limit you can simply suspend the line until the contract is up and then cancel with no penalty at that time. Then, when you return you can sign up a new account if you like or shop around for a better deal.

  • Perri

    I’m so sorry you’ve had such a difficult time. I’ve forwarded this to someone at Sprint asking for assistance. Since we don’t have your contact information someone should be contacting you via this site. Thank you.

  • Lauren

    I feel you sister. Sprint did the same thing to us when we were stationed in England 3 years ago. Being in the military should have waved the cancellation fee but because I did it over the phone and they didn’t have a copy of our orders AT THE TIME OF CANCELLATION they charged us $250. They refused to refund us the months of payments while I was arguing with them, And this was all after we thought we suspended the account in store BEFORE we left. I will NEVER deal with Sprint again and I recommend anyone in the military to choose another carrier. There are enough out there.

  • josh

    I agree you. Sprint does not want you to leave their contract (which is how they get the money). I would not recommend sprint to any military personnel because you will have a difficult time dealing with their company when you get deployed.

    I myself will be leaving overseas in less than a month and it took me 3 weeks to get Sprint to waive my ETF.
    Either way I would’ve paid it the ETF anyways because I will never pay the a dime ever again.

  • Whelp, looks like Sprint will lose our 15 year business. My husband is deployed till 3/14 Afghanistan. Was told by their MIlitary dept he is not on some military website as active duty or deployed. Told them I have his orders. they said can’t use the orders. Asked me if I could contact him. Really?? He’s DEPLOYED! NO I CANNOT CONTACT HIM. THanks, Sprint. When my contract is done, so am I.

  • grandma Linda

    Don’t know if this is specific to Sprint, but am having the same issues with T-Mobile. They want the $200 Early
    Term. Fee, plus grandson still has to pay for the stupid phone! Their fine print says the time spent suspended does not count against the number, plus a suspended account hangs on to the number so it can’t be ported to a carrier that actually has service at his duty station!