Sprint’s Marketing Department – Destroyer of Dreams

22 May 2009
Author: Joel The Great  |  Category: Rants  |  Comments (8)  |  Add Comment

Sprints Marketing department has ruined my day like a kid who didn’t get the Red Ryder B.B. gun he so wished for.

How you may ask?  Well let me tell you…A long time ago, at a gadget convention far far away…  Palm announced and showed off the very cool looking Palm Pre. (The phone I’ve kind of blogged about recently).  Well as we grew closer to a release date I decided I really liked the phone and would love to have it.  Being the Geek that I am I couldn’t wait for the release date to be announced.

Well they finally announced when it would be available, and how much and I was very happy and excited!!

While waiting for the Palm Pre release date (still a few weeks away), I read some things online about it here and there, and learned more of what it would and wouldn’t have.  That was all fine and dandy…until I saw a sentence I couldn’t believe..

This will not work with the SERO Plans!

What is a SERO Plan you ask?  A while back sprint had a Sprint Employee Referral Offer plan.  It was a discounted plan for friends and families of Sprint employees. It included ALL of the following for $30 (plus taxes/fees) per month:

  • 500 Anytime Minutes
  • Unlimited txt messages
  • Unlimited mobile data (Web)
  • Unlimited mobile to mobile 
  • Nights and weekends starting at 7pm

Standard stuff, but great price.  Unfortunately they did discontinue that offering a year or so ago, sorry.

So today I gave good ole Sprint Customer Service a call to check this and see what was going on.

After a few holds transfers and the like I was informed that the Palm Pre would not work on my SERO plan.  To get the Palm Pre I would have to sign up for one of their Everything type plans at $60 a month.   Twice what I currently pay.  I complained that this didn’t seem right and I got escalated up to a voice mail. I did not leave a message and decided to check a different route to get answers.

I used their Email Us link and filled out a quick web form. 

My basic question was Why and/or how could it not work on my current plan.  What was the reason that I had to upgrade to a plan that has the exact same features as my current plan, but at twice the price?

After 4-5 email transactions between a support drone named Rosie, I finally got an answer to my initial question.  

The first few responses I get did not specify why I had to change to a new plan, just that it was required.  Then the fun response of my plan “is not compatible with the Palm Pre.” 

So I asked how it was not compatible and finally got the truth out of them:

The Palm Pre Palm phone is programmed to be activated with some specific plans only.  The phone is not compatible with all the plans.  Therefore, to activate  Palm Pre on your phone, you need to change your plan.

Being a reader of The Consumerist, I was not happy with this answer and decided to take this up the chain to Executive Customer Service. 

I called Executive Customer Service thanks to a number provided by The Consumerist and got to talk to Veronica.

After explaining the situation and spending some time on hold I found out what was going on.  The Palm Pre (And Extinct) on Sprint, are not allowed to be activated unless they are on certain (higher priced) plans.  EVEN IF I BOUGHT THE PHONE AT FACE VALUE OF $550!  This decision has been made by MARKETING, and there are no plans to reverse this condition anytime in the near future I was informed.  I expressed my disapproval and how it really isn’t the best way to treat a loyal, and up to this point, Happy Customer. She apologized, let me know there wasn’t really anything we can do and the conversation came to an end.

So now thanks to Marketing at Sprint I’m left with a choice to make.

  • Upgrade to a new plan and end up paying $360 more a year to have a cool phone
  • Stick with my current plan and pray and hope someday I would be able to have the phone I’ve been wanting
  • Tell Sprint to fuck off and get the new iPhone like the rest of the mindless sheep later in June

I hate all three options. For the moment I’ll stay with Sprint, at least I’m saving $200 by not buying the new phone.


8 Responses to “Sprint’s Marketing Department – Destroyer of Dreams”

  1. Azar Says:

    Give it about 3 to 6 months. SERO plans get activated for these new touch phones after about that amount of time, or at least that was the case for the instinct.

  2. Joel The Great Says:

    I hope they let it on the SERO plan eventually…but the many CSR’s I spoke with said the Instinct is still not allowed on the SERO plans. Bastards.

  3. Viktor Says:

    You would probably be happier with a Benjamin pump up instead of a Red Ryder (spring operated Daisey) bb gun.
    Having worked in some aspects of marketing, I am astonished that that dept has so darn much pull. Usually Marketing comes up with this “wonderful” idea and the bean counters modify it to make the most money.
    Not only make the most money but also make the largest number of customers the “happiest.” Understanding that you can’t please everyone all the time.
    My cheap – rotten phone service (Century Telephone) has leaky lines that sometimes produce enough static to trigger a vist from the police for “911-hangup calls.” The modifcation two to Alexander G. Bell’s original is-of course a land line.

  4. Look a cyborg! » Blog Archive » w00t! Three day weekend for the win Says:

    […] they’re going to pull the same BS they are pulling with the Palm Pre though.  (Covered here [new window]) I have the SERO plan mentioned in that post and have zero interest in paying more […]

  5. Justin Says:

    SERO is a terrific deal. Unfortunately it doesn’t make Sprint much (any?) money. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s the aim of most companies. So if you want the hottest phone since the iPhone, you’ll have to pony up. That’s Sprint’s prerogative, and frankly, their owners would agree it is the right call.

    To clarify, you can activate the Pre on any Everything plan, including an Everything Plus plan, the new version of SERO (EDRP). Yes, it is still more expensive than SERO but a better deal than you’d ever get an iPhone on.

    Your complaint is like when a cable company adds a big swath of HD channels and then *gasp* asks you to pay for them in order to view them. It’s a new offering, not included in the previous agreement. You get to either pay up or live without.

  6. Joel The Great Says:

    I have to disagree with you (of course). I know they are out to make money, and I am fine with that. This (and supposedly the Instinct) are the only phones with this restriction. Right now they offer an HTC Touch Pro, which does pretty much everything the Palm Pre does, just different form factor and such. Yet I can get that on my plan with no problem. So I can get one of the newer, hot phones, just not that one.

    It is not like the cable company scenario you described. What you described has the cable company adding a SERVICE. I would understand paying more for extra services. But in this situation my service is not changing, just the item I use to access the service.

    What I want is a new phone, which I am not asking for free, I want to pay for the new phone.

    This situation is more like if a cable company offered a new cable box to access the same service, but won’t let me buy the cable box unless I pay more for the same service I was already getting.

    Another analogy: It’d be like if the water company wouldn’t let me buy a specific faucet unless I payed them more for the same water it was going to use.

    The point is the device is something I buy, and I own, and I get to personalize. It would be MY phone, not Sprints. Even if I paid them the full price for the phone, they still won’t let me use it to access the same service.

    If they were adding some specific service that I didn’t already have to the plan, then I would understand for the need to change. But that is not the case.

  7. Sprint.com - Now That IS Funny | JoelTheGreat.com Says:

    […] I wrote HERE, Sprint is pulling a dick move (Definition) with the Palm Pre and SERO Plan holders…well […]

  8. Sprint - Doesn't want you to buy the Touch Pro2 | JoelTheGreat.com Says:

    […] So Sprint, we meet again.  Today Sprint has released a new phone, with all kinds of bells and whistles. Last time they did it, they decided to screw me out of it (As I wrote about here). […]