I think my long distance problems are now solved. If you haven’t been following, you can read all the details here. Good lord, dental work is less painful!
On Friday I spoke with representatives of the Connecticut DPUC and Sprint. Though the DPUC had dropped the ball, and admitted so to me, I think Sprint’s actions are more troubling.
I have decided to follow up with a complaint to the FCC, which is detailed in a letter linked just below this entry.
From: Geoff Fox
I am writing this email to lodge a serious complaint against Sprint Telecommunications, specifically their long distance service. I have attached copies of my bills and correspondence.
Though my particular problem has now been solved, I believe Sprint’s policies may have unfairly charged other people for services Sprint should not have been billing. It seems, based on my experience, that Sprint is doing this even though they know that I, and these other customers, became Sprint customers through a series of unfortunate errors.
Even then, Sprint was unwilling to easily correct these mistakes.
In my particular situation, many companies and people dropped the ball. There is blame to go around. However, Sprint’s actions stand out, as you will see.
Last fall, GTC Telecommunications (my long distance provider) changed their underlying carrier from MCI to Sprint. During the changeover, at my local phone company (SBC Communications), there was an error made. One day I tried to make a long distance call and found I had no long distance service at all!
I called GTC Telecommunications and after waiting hours (literally hours) on hold, “Keith” told me how to regain my long distance service. I called SBC Communications and before long I was back in business.
Then my first bill came from Sprint.
I immediately called, then wrote Sprint. I also called GTC Telecommunications. Somehow, my billing had been transferred to Sprint instead of GTC Telecommunications. Though it was exactly the same service, on the same lines, with the same equipment, it was now approximately ten times more expensive and billed by the wrong company.
The people I spoke to at Sprint had already received calls from other GTC Telecommunications customers. They knew what had happened and what was going on. They told me so.
Before long I received a letter from Sprint asking me to file a complaint with my state’s DPUC. I did immediately. As I now know, the Connecticut DPUC did not report this to Sprint. The director has now apologized to me both by phone, and in a note I received Saturday.
However, even without official word from my DPUC, Sprint already knew about this problem with many of their customers. They had even given the name of a person to contact at GTC Telecommunications to their customer service representatives. I continued to receive bills from Sprint for this long distance service, with a notation that I was past due. My wife began to worry this might affect our credit rating.
I contacted Eric, ID 672, at GTC Telecommunications. He in turn called Sprint. When I spoke to Eric again, he told me Sprint had decided not to take any action on my calls. They were not budging. Eric said Sprint did know about this problem with many other customers.
Sprint knew I was not really their customer and had only been assigned to them by error and without my permission. They had been told this in my letters and they had similar experience with their other customers. They knew enough to give their operators a contact at GTC Telecommunications. Mine was by no means an isolated incident.
Finally, this past week, I contacted the Connecticut DPUC by email and phone. Barney Spector, director of the Consumer Services Unit of the DPUC then spoke to Corey Outland at Sprint (866-866-7496) who contacted me and finally re-rated my calls to their proper pricing.
Because of Sprint’s reticence in correcting a problem they knew to exist, I was forced to spend hours and hours on the phone. They also forced others from GTC Telecommunications, Connecticut DPUC and the F.C.C. to needlessly address this matter costing all of us time and money.
I believe the following steps should be taken by Sprint:
1) Sprint should pro actively re-rate the calls from other GTC Telecommunications customers who came to Sprint under similar circumstances and refund any money to those who have already paid their $.40 per minute rate.
2) Sprint should formally apologize to me, by postal or e-mail, informing me of how they have changed their policy for similar situations in the future.
3) The F.C.C. should sanction Sprint in any manner appropriate and the commission should revisit its rules to move the burden in this sort of case from the consumer to the carrier. Sprint has shown they are not willing to act in good faith when they know there is an account error. These errors were made without my involvement, yet I had to fight to fix them.
With each and every contact, everyone I spoke to at GTC Telecommunications, SBC Communications and the Connecticut DPUC tried to help. It was only Sprint that kept this problem from being resolved easily and quickly. Their customer service representatives, though pleasant, were not given the power to solve my problem nor could they provide me with the name and phone number of someone at Sprint with that power.
I reserve my right to file this complaint through the F.C.C.’s formal process if there is not a satisfactory response from Sprint.