Still Not Done With Sprint

It’s been a few months since I’ve written about the long distance debacle I suffered at the hands of Sprint and GTC Telecom. My complaints to the FCC had fallen on deaf ears. No response.

A few weeks ago I decided to give it another try.

Months ago I had filed a complaint against Sprint over their long distance practices. Since that time I have heard nothing more. Can you tell me the status of my complaint, please?

They replied.

Good morning Mr. Fox

Your complaint was referred to Public Utilities Commission of Connecticut on 12/28/04. Connecticut handles their own slamming complaints in the State of CT. The FCC does handles slamming complaints for certain states. You can contact the PUC of Connecticut at:

1-800 382-4586


Thank you.

No! My complaint had to do with Sprint’s actions once they found out this was a mistake, not the slamming itself, which I believe was a series of unintentional human errors.

I followed with this.

My complaint concerned the bad faith actions of Sprint after they knew I had not actually signed for their service, not the specifics of the slamming. As such, this is an FCC concern, not one for my state.

It is possible you have confused separate filings I made – the first one which was referred to my state and did concern slamming. Unfortunately, I do not have each individual letter I sent to the FCC in front of me. However, the complaint I am asking you to look at concerns Sprint’s objectionable actions was accompanied by full documentation, including copies of correspondence and bills.

I respectfully request you revisit this, since during Sprint’s actions they relied on their interpretation of FCC rules to allow them to act in bad faith.


Geoff Fox

Again, they misread… or didn’t read my letter, because I got back.

Dear Consumer,

The only complaint that the Federal Communications Commission has on file from you is your slamming complaint, received December 24, 2004, assigned file number 04-S88892, which was referred to the Connecticut Department of Utility Control for processing on December 28, 2004.

If you continue to have a complaint against Sprint, other than that mentioned above, you will need to re-file it with us.

For information on what your rights are and how to file a complaint with us, visit our web site

I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I was going nuts. The concept didn’t seem so difficult for the FCC which deals with phone companies all the time. I gave it one last try.

I want to make sure we’re on the same page. Here is the letter I am referring to. Is this what you consider a slamming complaint? My complaint has nothing to do with the switching of carriers, but Sprint’s actions after they knew this error was not caused by me.

This is important, because Sprint felt your rules gave them the ability to charge me for these calls even after they knew it was not my doing. Further, when the State of Connecticut did not act quickly in responding to my complaint, your rules allowed Sprint to act as if I didn’t make a complaint at all!

Will you please read my letter and let me know.

Geoff Fox

I attached the long descriptive letter I had sent months ago (and was published here)

It wasn’t long before I got a reply.

Good Afternoon, Mr. Fox;

Your complaint listing your concerns regarding Sprint’s practices has been forwarded to me. I will be discussing them with one of our staff attorney’s to see if the Commission could take further actions in regards to these complaints to ensure that any consumer found in the same predicament is treated fairly.

I will keep you abreast of any develops or decisions that are made.

Best Regards,

(name withheld)

Consumer Mediation & Policy Specialist

Policy Division

Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau

Wow! Exactly what I wanted to hear.

This is no assurance that action will be taken. Sprint is big enough to make systemic change difficult at best. But maybe I will be heard. What was done to me was probably done to others as well. That’s what should perk up the FCC’s ears.

When a company tries as hard as Sprint does to isolate the public from managers and officers who are authorized to make decisions or take action, it’s worth being persistent. At least to me it is.

There will be follow-ups

Blogger’s note: Early on, this thread became a ‘category’ on the blog, meaning you can read it all in real chronological order by clicking here.

Is Enya Gonya?

My long distance phone tsuris took on an additional wrinkle when I got a note from Sprint… welcoming me as a long distance customer! Hello? I never called Sprint or asked to be changed.

I called Sprint. All they knew was I was being charged $.40 per minute and owed around $40! Oh – they couldn’t help me unravel this… but if I changed to them they’d pro-rate me to $.05 per minute (I’m paying under $.03). I’d have to commit for 90 days. Isn’t that extortion?

It was getting ridiculous. Call after call after call to GTC Telecom went unanswered. I have spent at least 4 hours, maybe more, on hold to them. I have heard more Enya music on hold than any human should be subjected to.

Lucky they get a good rate on their 800 number.

I decided to give it one more try at 3:00 AM EDT. I figured it was too late for Easterners to call… and getting late for most of the West Coast. It paid off. Within ten minutes I was on the phone to India and speaking with Andrea.

As with Keith the last time, Andrea is probably not her real name. For some reason these outsourcing companies feel we’ll be reassured if at least the name rings American… even if the accent and speech patterns don’t.

Andrea was wonderful She was calm, polite, seemingly concerned. She was the Stepford wife of customer service agents.

I want to complain about her, about my interminable wait, about the Enya music on hold… but she was totally disarming. And, she said she’d take care of everything.

I’ll report back. I’m not shy.

Never Ending Long Distance Saga

Remember my long distance problems? My service was broken, then fixed and now… now I’m in a real pickle. How could things deteriorate so quickly, so totally? And yet they have.

I have plenty of time to tell you the story because I am on hold, again, waiting for the next available agent at GTC Telecom. My call is important – though not important enough to hire people to answer all the calls.

Recapping, a few weeks back I lost all in-state long distance service. A call to GTC told me how to fix that by calling my local phone company and whispering the magic letters. It worked OK, just not in the direction I wanted. I lost ALL long distance service, in and out-of-state.

Another call to GTC instructed me what to tell my local phone company to really fix the problem. I had long distance service again. I was a happy camper.

Then, this week came the letter from Sprint welcoming me as a customer! Uh oh. Who signed me up with Sprint?

Sprint, as it turns out, is the underlying carrier for GTC. I don’t claim to be a telecom genius but I think GTC buys in bulk and resells to folks like me. My calls go through Sprint but are billed by GTC.

For the past three days I have attempted to get in touch with GTC. The first time I got an announcement telling me not to even bother holding on and got summarily disconnected. The next time I did get connected but ran out of time before I reached a human. I waited until later that night, between newscasts when I’d have some free time. By the time I finally gave up the phone’s timer said I’d been waiting 61 minutes.

Right now I am on hold again. The readout shows 19 minutes.

Thankfully, at work I have a speakerphone. This makes the wait nearly acceptable. I can do other things, like write in the blog.

While waiting the last time I looked at GTC’s website.

Additionally, some customers who have line (PIC) restrictions established with their local service providers were not successfully switched to our new network. As a result, they may now be out of service for their toll calls. Our customer response team has attempted to reach these customers in order to lift the PIC restrictions on their lines and provision them to our new network. If you are out of service for your toll calls, Please contact us directly. Contacting your local service provider may result in your being placed on what is known as the open network, with toll calls being billed by a third party at traditionally high rates. GTC Telecom will be unable to help you with a third party bill.

Hold on! That’s what they told me to do… and what I did.

The same few songs keep repeating on GTC’s hold system. It’s some new age psychological torture.

Twenty six minutes now and smoke is pouring from my ears.