Sprint — lied to me about service and refuse to refund my money
I purchased a Blackberry Bold phone from a Sprint store in Santa Monica the day before I left to move to South Africa. I specifically told the store salesman that I would be in a remote part of South Africa and needed an international phone compatible with South Africa's phone networks. I said I needed a fully functional Blackberry because I would need BBM, internet, etc. (all the things you buy a Blackberry for, in essence). I also told him I wouldn't be signing up for a contract, as Sprint does not offer service in South Africa, so it didn't make sense to opening up a new contract, so I would have to buy the phone full price. I was assured by the salesman that yes, the phone would work perfectly well in South Africa, and yes, all the Blackberry capabilities would be fully functional. All I needed to do was to put a SIM card in for the South Africa network and all would be great. However, when I arrived in South Africa, I found two things. First, the phone did NOT work as promised (it is NOT compatible with South Africa's networks, and it ONLY works properly as a Blackberry in the US with a US Sprint contract), and second, that in order for it to work AT ALL, I needed to activate it first in the States and could only do so if I signed up for a Sprint contract. Funny, that was NOT what the salesman told me. In fact, he told me the complete opposite.
I contacted Sprint via email to let them know the problem, and they told me that they were sorry I was misinformed and that since it was within the 30 days, I could return the phone to the original phone for a refund (minus, of course, restocking fees). I told them I could not return the phone by mail, as I live in the South African bush and do not have access to a nearby post office or a car to get to a post office. I told them I would be returning to the States in January and could return the phone then. They assured me that I should have no problem returning the phone, even though it was beyond the 30 days, because of my situation. I never called the store or Sprint during this time because I had NO WORKING PHONE!
I returned to the Sprint store in January and was informed that they refused to take the phone back because it was beyond the 30 days. They did not care that I had been assured that I could do so by Sprint, or that their employee lied to me, that the phone did not work overseas as promised, and that was why I needed to return the phone. The employee, by the way even recognized me, said hello when I walked in, and said that he remembers the conversation we had about the phone, but did NOT admit to lying to me about it. I spoke to the store manager, who stated that because the phone could make phone calls, it was fully functional, and they could not take it back. I reminded him that it could make phone calls ONCE IN A WHILE, and that those phone calls were often dropped if they even went through, and oh, by the way, I bought a $450 BLACKBERRY because I needed a BLACKBERRY, not a crap phone that I only wanted to use for phone calls. I specifically bought a Blackberry because I needed all the Blackberry bells and whistles, and THEY DID NOT WORK IN SOUTH AFRICA! Again, the manager refused, standing by his statement that it was past the 30 days.
I have since contacted Sprint several times about this in hopes that they will contact the store and force them to refund me for their misinformation and mistakes. They have refused. Sprint has simply pushed me around from one representative to the next, and with each I've had to retell the story and once again get pawned off onto another representative who says they will contact a supervisor and handle this. As of yet, nothing has being done. The last person I spoke to said that again, because it is past the 30 days, they can do nothing, and that she will send me an email form I can fill out with details of the situation, which will, considering the rest of my experience with this situation, do nothing but waste more of my time.
There is something Sprint certainly CAN do that they refuse to do. This company makes MILLIONS of dollars every year. They have a customer with a LEGITIMATE complaint and who has been jerked around for MONTHS now with no resolution. The company and store can absolutely make an exception to their 30-day rule, especially since I have been contacting them since a week after I purchased the phone to let them know about the problem, and told them right off the bat that I could not possibly return the phone within the 30 days, and ESPECIALLY because they told me that that wouldn't be a problem, and that this whole thing is a result of one of THEIR stores lying to a customer and then refusing to take responsibility for their actions. Keep in mind, up until that point, I'd been a Sprint customer for ten years. Clearly they aren't too keen on customer service and taking care of loyal customers.
It is now almost six months since this debacle began, and I am still stuck with an expensive phone I cannot use, and a company that refuses to take responsibility for their poor behavior. I highly recommend that anyone who has Sprint service never go to the Santa Monica store. I also recommend you get a different wireless provider, as Sprint has some of the worst customer service I've EVER experienced.