Archive for September, 2013

My Sprint saga

Friday, September 6th, 2013

So, I’m rather unhappy with Sprint at the moment.

A few weeks ago, during a trip to CA, I somehow cracked the display on my 897 LTE. I didn’t do anything unusually abusive to it, I just set it down on a dresser and it spiderwebbed.

I called sprint, who said they could replace the display/digitizer for $150. Since I know the part is about $100, this sounded reasonable, so I took the device to them for repair.

They attempted a repair, and somehow managed to destroy the motherboard. The phone would just reboot cycle endlessly. They also managed to destroy – beyond any repair, not just filesystem damaged but chip totally useless, a 16G SD card with a bunch of useful data on it.

They gave me a refurbished phone in replacement, and I went about my business.

The first thing I discovered about the refurb phone is the camera wouldn’t focus. This suggested to me that it had been exposed to a transient shock of truly large proportions. The second thing I noticed is that every few days, it would hang in a very unusual way. The heartbeat light would continue to pulse green, but the phone would not respond to the power button.. nor, indeed, any other interrupts (i.e. USB, phone calls, etc). Sadly, the phone has no reset button and has a internal battery, so every time it did this, I had to take it to sprint to be power cycled. The first time, I explained to them that A: It was a refurb and likely had experienced a large G-shock at some point and B: they were not equipped to do component-level repairs on phones, as I saw no hot air guns, no magnefiers, no lights, no DSOs, none of the tools one would need to do such things – hence, they could not possibly fix it, so please give me a replacement. They refused, saying they would only replace it if the failure occured in their shop.

Well, after coming in three times to have it power cycled, they finally admitted, yep, we can’t fix it, yep, it’s broken. However, it would take them 1-2 !weeks! to get a replacement.

I asked about buying a identical device. None in stock. They had two floor models, but it’s against sprint policy to sell those. So I bought a vastly less powerful LG to use while they fix my phone. At retail price because I’m not eligable for a discounted device for another two months.

Now, I’ve been a sprint customer for 12.5 years. However, when my contract expires, I will be finding another wireless service provider. I *know* they all suck. But there has to be one that sucks less than this. Their ‘Total equipment protection’ is useless, because they give you refurb phones that have faults with them! I doubt if Sprint has *anywhere* that’s equipped to do repairs on the tiny surface-mount-and-metal-cans assembly of a modern cell-phone, so what they should do whenever a phone shows up with a reported intermittent fault is recycle it, because there’s no way they can fix it. But instead they send it back out the door to some unsuspecting customer who will then have to figure out A: what’s wrong with it and B: whether they can live with that.

P.S. Motorola, shame on you for not putting a reset button on a device powered by a internal battery. Computers crash. It’s a fact. I will admit that prior to sprint destroying my first 897 LTE it had never crashed in a way that I couldn’t get back from, but that’s still no excuse for doing something so boneheaded.