With the AT&T tilt sitting on my desk in a state of complete uselessness, I decided I was done with AT&T and would move to a different carrier and a temporary phone, and wanted to find the cheapest and easiest plan I could find.
Already being a Sprint PCS Connection Card Plan holder (I use a Sprint mobile card for wireless internet on the go) I decided to look into their plans, and found them to be less expensive than T-mobile and Verizon. I began the process of purchasing my new phone and plan until another error message hit my computer screen.
A friendly live chat window popped up, and a person named Samantha greeted me. I copied the chat log and am posting it below because it provides some insights into another mobile carrier's pitfalls, as well as some the non-disclosed information that carriers try to slide by those who don't have the time to read the small print.
7:46:41 PM Samantha
I will be happy to assist you with your order.
7:47:06 PM Samantha
You can add the phone order to your existing account in the checkout process.
7:49:20 PM Stephanie
yes, that is what I was trying to do, but an error message kept popping up
7:50:26 PM Samantha
I apologize that you are having difficulties. What is the error message?
7:51:15 PM Stephanie
no problem, just went through it again
7:51:19 PM Stephanie
Please resolve the following error(s) in the Monthly Billing section.
* P2k Account Validation FIelds
7:54:32 PM Samantha
I apologize for your inconvenience, however this error occurs when the account number has not been converted to the new billing system.
7:54:51 PM Stephanie
ok, what does that mean?
7:56:07 PM Samantha
That means that you are on our old billing system, and your account has not been changed over as of yet.
7:56:41 PM Stephanie
7:56:42 PM Samantha
We hope to have all the account switched over by the end of December.
7:56:51 PM Stephanie
okay, what does that mean?
7:57:02 PM Stephanie
so I have to go into a store?
7:57:12 PM Samantha
You can order as a new customer.
7:57:35 PM Stephanie
but why would I want to do that?
7:58:56 PM Samantha
In order to receive the most savings for your new phone and service, you would want to complete your order online.
7:59:02 PM Stephanie
how much would I save?
7:59:07 PM Samantha
I do apologize for the inconvenience you've encountered on Sprint.com this evening, however there are just a couple additional steps to take in order to complete your web order as a new account.
7:59:29 PM Stephanie
what is the difference in savings to order online?
7:59:30 PM Samantha
Which phone are you ordering with us this evening, Stephanie?
7:59:49 PM Stephanie
the LG rumor
8:00:32 PM Samantha
You will end up paying $99.99 for the Rumor rather than only $49.99 since you would not receive the *Web Special* pricing; a promotion only available on Sprint.com.
8:01:32 PM Samantha
Also, if you can return to your shopping cart page before completing your order, I can give you a promo code which will give you a $50 credit on your first or second bill showing your new line.
8:02:06 PM Stephanie
well, that is nice of you, that would be for a credit to my calling charges?
8:02:58 PM Samantha
That would be a $50 credit toward your calling plan. This would appear on the first or second invoice that shows the line of service you're ordering with us tonight.
8:03:22 PM Stephanie
okay, and just confirming, there would not be an activation fee if I go ahead and do this?
8:03:58 PM Samantha
That is correct. Your order for another line of service will include free shipping as well as the free activation.
8:04:08 PM Samantha
The credit I've offered this evening will not effect your current savings in any way.
8:04:14 PM Stephanie
8:04:48 PM Samantha
If you could scroll to the bottom of your checkout page, you should see a button "Return to cart" this will take you straight to your shopping cart where you will enter the promo code for your $50 credit.
8:05:17 PM Stephanie
I see the promo code box
8:05:53 PM Samantha
Wonderful! In order to provide you with this promo code, may I please have the first and last name as it appears on your Sprint account, Stephanie?
8:06:01 PM Stephanie
8:06:48 PM Samantha
Thank you very much! Your promo code is 50RWC01 (with both 0 being numerical). Please be sure to enter this code manually as it sometimes does not get accepted with you copy and paste.
8:07:08 PM Samantha
Once you enter the code, you'll want to click on the blue "Apply" button before returning to your checkout.
8:07:49 PM Stephanie
8:08:06 PM Stephanie
I can see the $50 savings "for later"
8:08:32 PM Samantha
Wonderful! That means the code was successfully applied, and you can now return to your checkout.
8:08:42 PM Samantha
For web chat sales tracking records, may I have the confirmation number once you have completed your order?
8:08:58 PM Stephanie
8:09:40 PM Stephanie
I have to give my SSN again?
8:09:52 PM Samantha
That is correct.
8:10:04 PM Stephanie
but I am already a customer with you
8:10:42 PM Samantha
I do understand, however your account is currently under our old billing system, and not yet on our new billing system. This is the reason you received your previous error.
8:11:02 PM Samantha
We are hoping to have all customers converted to our new billing system by the end of December this year.
8:11:27 PM Samantha
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, however, to avoid the P2K error, you'll want to complete your order by creating a new account.
8:11:44 PM Stephanie
okay, so it says my credit was approved
8:12:12 PM Samantha
Now all that's left is to complete your final checkout screen.
8:13:40 PM Stephanie
okay, the total previously was $49.99, and now it is $75.36, is the additional amount for tax?
8:13:45 PM Stephanie
on the phone?
8:14:22 PM Samantha
That is correct. The taxes are calculated for the original cost of the phone. Also, if you added any accessories to your order, this will change your total.
8:15:40 PM Stephanie
okay, and I would like to port my AT&T number over, but I purchsed the account and phone 2 days ago and thus did not ever get a account #
8:16:27 PM Samantha
What you'll want to do instead of choosing to bring a number to Sprint in checkout; which will ultimately delay your order is, under "Let Sprint Determine Your Number" enter a local landline number.
8:16:47 PM Samantha
This will allow us to assign a temporary number to your phone which allows for phone activation, and to determine your calling area.
8:17:07 PM Samantha
Once you receive your phone, you can have your AT&T number ported over through Customer Care.
8:17:41 PM Stephanie
okay, except I only use a cell, no landline
8:18:18 PM Samantha
You can enter *any* landline number. You can use a work number, or even a number to your favorite restaurant.
8:18:38 PM Stephanie
8:20:16 PM Stephanie
the terms & conditions state "a minimum term either 1 or 2 years" which am I signing up for?
8:20:57 PM Samantha
That information has not yet been updated, Sprint now only offers 2-year service agreements.
8:21:42 PM Stephanie
so the terms & conditions are not correct?
8:21:56 PM Stephanie
what is the early termination fee?
8:22:07 PM Samantha
The information is correct aside from the fact that the "1-year" term has not yet been removed.
8:22:40 PM Samantha
Early termination currently is $200.00 for each line of service canceled that is still under contract.
8:22:52 PM Stephanie
thanks for all of this information, by the way, I appreciate it
8:23:03 PM Stephanie
does it say that in the terms?
8:23:13 PM Stephanie
the $200, I didn’t see it
8:24:02 PM Samantha
Yes, the termination penalty information should be included in the terms and conditions. I still have my form that came with my phone and it lists the termination penalties with Sprint.
8:24:33 PM Stephanie
It just states: Your exact Term Commitment and Early Termination Fee may vary based on the Services you select and will be disclosed to you during the sales transaction.
8:24:49 PM Stephanie
yet nothing has been disclosed
8:25:12 PM Samantha
There are quite a few terms and conditions. I feel sure somewhere in there the cost will be listed as that is what is stated on my Sprint form with the terms and conditions.
8:25:13 PM Stephanie
just curious about that
8:25:43 PM Stephanie
when I receive the phone, so not when I purchase, only after when I get the bill?
8:25:47 PM Samantha
We will be changing the termination penalties around the first of next year however to be prorated based upon how close to the end of contract you are when you cancel service.
8:26:17 PM Stephanie
oh, fun, do you know what it will be at the first of the year? Appreciate your patience
8:27:08 PM Samantha
The cost will be prorated and our customer care agents are the representatives who will hold that information.
8:27:25 PM Samantha
How is your checkout coming along, Stephanie?
8:27:32 PM Stephanie
prorated depending on how long you have been with Sprint?
8:27:48 PM Stephanie
am waiting on Sprint internet to refresh the page
8:28:03 PM Samantha
As we've discussed, it's prorated based upon how close to the end of contract you are when you choose to cancel service.
8:28:19 PM Stephanie
ok, makes sense
8:28:23 PM Samantha
What is showing on your checkout screen currently?
8:28:34 PM Stephanie
8:28:44 PM Stephanie
There were errors processing your request. Please verify your information and try again.
8:28:52 PM Stephanie
is the screen which just came up
8:28:58 PM Samantha
What information is highlighted in red?
8:29:28 PM Stephanie
8:29:40 PM Stephanie
just submitting again and now processing once again
8:30:00 PM Samantha
When you entered the local landline number, did you click on the blue "Locate Area" button?
8:30:18 PM Stephanie
it's saying "please wait until your order is processed"
8:30:37 PM Stephanie
yes, did click on the blue button
8:30:38 PM Samantha
So you see the processing bar with steps 1-4 and a progress bar?
8:31:01 PM Stephanie
I think went thru because just saw an email from Sprint, but still is "order processing"
8:31:12 PM Stephanie
progress bar is 1/4 done
8:31:24 PM Stephanie
says "submitting data"
8:31:29 PM Samantha
If you would, go ahead and open the email from Sprint, and let me know what is in there.
8:31:54 PM Samantha
You may be able to go ahead and close your browser, but please don't until we've determined whether or not your order has in fact processed.
8:31:58 PM Stephanie
says I am registered with Sprint
8:32:08 PM Stephanie
and I can access my account online
8:32:19 PM Samantha
Did you receive an order confirmation number in that email beginning with "ws-bbcc"?
8:32:34 PM Stephanie
8:32:43 PM Stephanie
is that the number you need?
8:33:00 PM Samantha
That does mean that your order was successfully submitted to Sprint, and yes ma'am that is the order confirmation number that I need.