Dear ABC News Fixer: I own a small business and used Sprint Nextel cell phones for many years. My problems started about a year and a half ago. My company's cell phones began dropping almost every call. Every day, for months and months. We really struggled as a sales force, since we rely on our cell phones to present ourselves, take orders, etc. It was embarrassing to have to call people back, only to drop them again.
We phoned Sprint at least 50 times. They always said they were working on the towers in our area. Well, our area seemed to be EVERYWHERE. We finally had to give Sprint notice that we would be forced to look for another provider if these issues weren't resolved.
When we tried to cancel, they wanted early cancelation fees of $80 on one phone and $50 on the other. I pleaded with them that I was a longtime customer and it wasn't fair to penalize me for services not rendered. The customer service rep's reply was: "Tough -- you have to put up with our problems until they are resolved." I immediately thought, "How could any company operate this way?" I asked to speak to her manager; she refused and hung up.
I phoned back and after I re-explained the situation to another rep. He hung up on me.
Since we switched phone companies, it's been a breath of fresh air. However, we are in collections for these Sprint fees and I'm getting several calls a day. I phoned three attorneys and all say the case is too small. To me, it's not the money, it's the principle.
- Michael Pollini, Bensenville, Ill.
Dear Michael: You're not alone in your complaints about Sprint's service in and around the Windy City. Sprint acknowledges that there have been "temporary service disruptions" in the Chicago area as it upgrades about 1,100 cell sites to provide better 3G and 4G LTE service.
The local work is expected to be about 95 percent done by April or May, says Sprint spokesman Lloyd Karnes. Nationally, the vast majority of Sprint's upgrades are expected to be done by the end of 2013.
If you're a glass-half-full kind of guy, you'd say, "Fabulous. Faster 4G is gonna be great!" If you're not, you'd be more like: "Service disruptions, my eye!"
But to your point, the ABC News Fixer understands you not wanting to pay to get out of a service contract in which the service hasn't been up to par.
The good news for you is that after we told Sprint about your experience with their customer service call center, they apologized for what happened and waived all the termination fees.
Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.