A couple of weeks ago, I started a family account at Working Assets and switched S over from Verizon and me over from Sprint PCS. The switch-over was a little dicey partially because there were so many numbers involved and I think they had set us up a little wonky. I switched us over one at a time because I figured we'd have issues, so we were sufficiently prepared to have a phone out of service for a few days. I tried calling Sprint PCS to cancel my account and make sure everything was ok, but all the numbers I could find required a valid Sprint PCS number to get through to someone. Regardless, everything's great now, we have two new phones, we're saving about $20 because we have a family plan, and S can call me whenever she wants for free. w00t!
Today I got a bill from Sprint PCS with a $150 termination fee. I tried calling the telephone number on the bill and couldn't get through to anyone because you need a valid Sprint PCS number. I finally called 1-800-SPRINT-1 (their telesales number), got through to someone who was really annoyed because I called the wrong number, but she patched me through to Customer Service. Then I talked to a really patient and wonderful person who's name I don't recall. We worked through the timing of events and it turns out that my 2-year contract started on the next billing cycle and not (as the Sprint PCS representative at the store told me) when I paid for the new phone and switched over. Anyhow, bottom line is that I cancelled a couple of days too early. She put me on hold for 10 minutes or so and then when she came back she happily told me that they waived the cancellation fee after noting that I had been a good customer for 6 years or so.
From this I note the following things:
- It's good to have copies of the paperwork in front of you so that you can tell them all the specifics: bills, credit card bills, receipts, things you've signed, promotions you took advantage of, .... Sure they have stuff in their system, but I think the line-items in their system are somewhat open to interpretation.
- It's good to be polite and courteous. The person on the other end of the phone isn't responsible for the mix-up--they're helping you to sort it out within the bounds of the wonky system they're in.
- It's good to allocate lots of time for working through issues with big companies because it often requires talking to multiple people (keep logs of all chats and who said what), sitting on hold, and explaining the details again and again.
At the end of the day, everything seems kosher and I've completed one of the major tasks for "winter break". w00t!