Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sprint PCS Wireless

The following is a story that will help me release frustration about my dealings with Sprint PCS:

Saturday, 12/30/06, I noticed that my phone had a strange message on it. (I have a Treo 700wx, and I'm currently using the EVDO high speed internet service for a trial 30-day period.) The message on the phone was "MSN Services cannot connect at this time." Ok, that's not a huge deal, whatever. Then I noticed that my phone was strangely quiet. Ok, not the weirdest thing ever, but I just spent my day running errands and reading a book.

Then on Sunday I went to Gustavo's house for New Year's Eve. He said that he had tried to call me several times during the day, and that none of the calls would get to me or my voicemail. I calmly started testing my phone. I couldn't call anyone, not even my voicemail. I tried to call sprint at 611, but that also was denied. The message I got was, "Your account cannot be validated. If you are a Sprint customer call *2." So I called *2 and found out that the office was closed for the holiday. *argh

So on New Year's I was planning on going up to J. Boal's house to watch some college bowl games. He emailed to say that he'd been trying to call me for 2 days (and you know I love to hear that). Before I drove up to Heber City, I tested my roommate's Sprint phone; it worked fine. Then I took some time to drive by the Sprint store, and it had employees in it. "Wow, I CAN get my phone fixed," I exhaled. I went inside, and they ask me for my account information to look at my status on their computers. They said, "The network (for their computers) is going really slow." No surprise, the network was obviously messed up. Eventually, after staring at my phone and account information for about 25 minutes, they said, "Oh, the (?) number is wrong." They inputted a mysterious number into my phone and told me that the phone should be up and running soon—2 hours at the latest.

I headed up to Heber, and enjoyed the games. I periodically tested the phone, but got a message about how I was roaming. I had to dial the phone number again to actually confirm that I wanted to roam. I didn't try to roam, because A) the potential for extra fees and B) I don't have anyone's phone number memorized.

So I was not happy. I took the phone back in on Tuesday to the local Sprint store. They said I must pay a technician $15 to look at the phone (notice that this doesn't guarantee success). I was like, "FINE." I came back an hour later to the store, and they said, "Ok, we're going to have to replace your phone. The old one is broken."

ME: "What???? I can pretty much guarantee there is nothing wrong with the phone. It makes more sense that the problem is with the network considering that I'm getting these recordings about not being validated and roaming."

EMPLOYEE GIRL: “Nope, we can't fix it, and this new phone is what you need. It'll be $55, is that what you want?”

ME: “WHAT? Ok, my phone doesn't have a problem except that the network is working with it. I really don't want to pay you $55 for a new phone when my old phone works in every way except as a phone. Even the EVDO internet works on it perfectly.”

EMPLOYEE GIRL: "I've never heard anyone complain so loudly about getting a brand new $700 phone for $50."

ME: [shocked by her audacity]...[continuing shock due to her dramatic MSRP misquote] ......"Ok, from my perspective, I have a “thing” that works, that I bought from your company for relatively quite a bit of money. Also the thing is quite new. I baby the thing: I clean it regularly in a special way, I never drop it, I don't let water get on it, and I don't let other people touch it very often, even. So your telling me that I have to shell out another $55 to fix a problem that is solvable within your system doesn’t make me happy. The system that I'm responsible for taking care of is not the problem."

EMPLOYEE GIRL: "Yeah, well your thing isn't working, and we can only give you a new one."

ME: "Look, I appreciate any special treatment that I'm getting, but I really don't feel that special. I feel like I'm getting ripped off."

E.G.: "Ok, look, let me see if you're eligible for an upgrade."

ME: "I doubt it; I've only had your service for 3.5 months."

(A few minutes pass as she stares into a glowing panel, and I wonder how I can avoid extra costs)

E.G.: "Ok, it looks like I can just give you the phone and only charge you the $15 tech fee."

ME: "Ok, I guess we can do that. Again, if I'm getting special treatment, I appreciate it, but I feel like I should be getting compensation, not paying more."

I then tested the new phone. If you are unfamiliar with phones-PDA combos, such as the Treo 700wx, let me inform you of a few things:
1) The phones-pda combos (or PANDAS as I nicknamed them) are able to do lots of things
2) Many users load third-party software on them
3) When you get a new PANDA you have to spend a fair amount of time reloading everything back onto them (everything is pretty fast except for loading third-party apps)
4) Imagine getting your entire computer replaced. It's sort of inconvenient to load all the stuff back onto it, and to customize it just how you like it. (It's not as bad as a full-size PC, but you'll get the idea)

Ok, so I made a phone call to my parents to test the phone, and IT WORKED!

The next day I got up and noticed that my phone had no text messages and no phone messages. I'm not super popular, but getting nothing over a few hours is pretty weird. I have some services set up that automatically send me txt messages to notify me of other things going on, so I thought that I'd need to call Sprint to fix my txt message service. I then noticed that suddenly my PANDA displayed that I have a voice mail. OK, I called to check, and I got the recording, "Your account cannot be validated." So I'm was pretty sure that my head was going to pop off. I thought, "I'm going to go down to the Sprint store now, and I will say something that makes it all better; but what to say??"

(This next paragraph might be confusing)

As I pondered on that topic, I decided to look at a list of potential comedy ideas that I keep stretched across 30 meticulously categorized MS Word files. I keep these files in a folder that synchronizes between my PC and my PANDA. Then my brain fluttered because I noticed that one of my files was missing. Then my stomach dropped because I realized that a handful of my newer files were missing. Then I realized that *GASP* the last six months of my beautiful comedy material was GONE! This was where I started to freak out (and you thought I was freaking out before), I put my head on the desk and closed my eyes. My mind produced an image of my comedy creations burning in a huge bonfire, screaming out in agony. The worst thing was that it was that I could have prevented the catastrophe. I'm not sure why the new PANDA synchronized with six-month-old files, but I did manually delete the files from my PC that were updated from the day before because they were set-up to synch with the old PANDA. I didn’t think I needed them anymore. I didn't bother checking to make sure that my new phone was synching with the newest stuff. I had even emptied my recycle bin. My mind was swirling down into bitter acceptance of my foolish personal disaster. Worse things could happen, obviously, but you don't want to spend months writing down everything you hear that is clever and funny, only to lose it. (The phone problem was taking a backseat to the new comedy problem.) "Where could I find the deleted files? Did I back them up somewhere else—hard copies?" I frantically searched for anything.

Then I googled “file recovery” and I found a trial program for that claimed it could recover deleted stuff. I desperately downloaded and installed it. I ran the program which took 30 minutes to give me some options. Eventually I located the files that I had deleted, which were the updated comedy files, including some personal narratives and other personal reports about life and such. Ok, I so then I felt ok. There was one new bummer; the only way to get them back into the normal file system was to pay $79 to the software developer. So I paid the money, and got a license code, and then I got back the deleted files. *Sigh of relief

Then I called Sprint Customer Care. A tech support person told me that it was a NETWORK PROBLEM! It only took like 30 seconds to fix, over the phone, and it required me to do nothing except wait and then soft reset my PANDA. After this other episode, my emotions were drained enough that I only negotiated to be compensated a little bit for the inconveniences: I got 100 free minutes and a $6 credit to my account.

So I have a new PANDA for free, but I didn't really need one. And now I need to load all my old software back on, and synchronize my PC files back with it.

What a day, what a day.

The moral of the story is to avoid local offices when you need network service.


Post a Comment

<< Home