All Services Are Negotiable

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Hypocrite Speaks

Believe it or not, my new cell phone bill arrived with an even higher balance of $390. I was expecting this one to be about $60 + tax and random fees. In my last post about this travesty, I was very direct in saying that I would not waste my own time adjusting my bill again. Well, call me part of the problem.

I had the best of intentions when I set out to settle this issue this morning. Without a desire to disrupt my wife's cell phone usage (or cause her the inconvenience of having to change numbers), I decided to track down a new provider and go buy new phones today. When I called, Sprint however, I happened to land one reasonable, competent rep (of perhaps two) who explained to me the issues with my account practically before I even mentioned them. As the words started their departure from my mouth, I heard from the other end of the phone, "Oh yes, I see it. Your whole account is messed up."

Turns out there was a ton of stuff (promotions, charges, etc.) from my original plan on the account that had never been removed when we switched to the new plan. Also, Sprint recently changed their plan codes, and as noted in previous posts, none of the three reps I spoke with in my previous calls applied the new code to both phones in my plan.

Autumn did, though.

Then she backdated the whole thing to the beginning of this fiasco and removed the late fees accrued from my underpayment of last month's bill--which she should have, but the fact that I didn't have to bring it up further cemented my confidence in her ability to straighten out my plan. Autumn also volunteered a precise, reasonable explanation for certain other idiosyncrasies with my statement, which I asked about on all of my previous calls, but never received a satisfactory explanation for.

All told, I ended up with a credit of $317.07 for this month's bill, which is right smack in the range of what I expected, so I went with it. We'll see how things pan out next month. Don't let me down, Autumn...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's Rarely Without Maintenance

I might as well just say it. Why beat around the bush?

Sprint sucks.

I got my new billing statement this month. This is the second one now since my plan upgrade back in July. This is also the second consecutive month that Sprint has managed to infuriate an otherwise patient, even-tempered man.

Somehow they managed to charge me even more than they incorrectly charged me the last time. You might ask yourself, "How can that happen?"

Here's how. All it takes is:

  • Neglecting to add one of the phones on the plan to the plan (even though the customer has already called and had this corrected once before), for a total of $97.20 in overage charges.
  • Neglecting to add that second phone for free (even though the customer has already called and had this corrected once before), for a total of $20.00 in additional charges.
  • Silently upgrading the customer from his $69.99 plan to a new $89.99 plan, for a total of $20.00 in additional charges.
  • Finally, providing the customer no option but to receive his website password by text message, despite the fact that he does not subscribe to that service, for a total of $0.20 in additional charges.
Thirty minutes later, and things have been corrected. I may sound calm and collected now, but I assure you, Sprint is plenty aware that:
I will not be doing this again. The next time I call, it will be to terminate my relationship with Sprint.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Insurance--Primo Ripoff (Pt. 2)

So I talked to my insurance carrier today, and learned several valuable lessons.

First, the rep was very open about the fact that they are willing to make retroactive changes to your policy, depending on the type of change. Specifically, if your car has been sold or totalled (as was my case in Pt. 1), they will freely make retroactive changes and cut you a check. This only makes sense, and would likely incite riots if untrue.

Second, my current carrier must just have really bad rates for the type of coverage I need, because they weren't able to do much for me. Their loss.

I spoke recently with a friend who knows the insurance industry very well, who told me that since I deal directly with the insurance carrier, instead of through an agent, the odds of me getting any real deal were pretty slim. Great insight; proven, at least in part, correct. See, if I had an agent who received a commission based on my policy, s/he would be much more interested in appeasing me, given his/her stake in my business.

In the end, I raised my deductible to gain some savings, but rest assured that I will be hunting for two things in the coming months:
  1. An insurance carrier that has much more competitive rates for my insurance needs.
  2. An agent to represent me with the carrier. This will not only give me a face to discuss my policy with, but will also give me significantly more leverage in the event that I need to make changes to my policy.