Early Termination Fees: "Sprint Destroyed My Trust"

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Springfield, ILMany cell phone customers are learning even if they have been with the same carrier for years, they may still be charged an early termination fee for canceling their service. Thomas H. says he canceled his service because his life depended on his cell phone and his coverage was not dependable. Despite that, he was charged $600 in early termination fees.

Cell Phone DistrustThomas says he was a Sprint customer for seven years and chose Sprint because its cell phone service had decent coverage where he was traveling for work. For most of those seven years, Thomas had no problem with Sprint and even got Sprint cell phones for his parents that were billed to him.

However, since becoming a Sprint customer, Thomas developed Parkinson's disease and is now on disability. He does not work and does not have a landline: his entire phone system, up until recently, was based entirely on Sprint's cell phone service.

One day last November Thomas lost his cell phone service. He was unable to make or receive phone calls and also unable to check his voicemail. [Thomas was at his parents' at this point, four hours away from his home. Sprint later argued that because he was in a roaming area, there was no guarantee of service, but Thomas says he has never had cell problems in that area before. He also says that during the time he had the cell phone problems, no one at Sprint ever offered this as an explanation.]

Thomas spent the next two days trying to reprogram his phone so it would work, but no matter what he or the Sprint technicians tried, his phone would not work. Eventually, the technicians gave up and told Thomas to take his phone to a service center. He did, and after three hours at the center, the technician, who was an independent contractor and not a Sprint employee, said that the problem was with Sprint's network, not with the phone. Essentially, there was nothing Thomas could do to fix the problem.

That would not have been so bad, if Sprint had fixed the problem. But Thomas says that not only did they not fix the problem, they refused to communicate with him about what the problem was and what was being done to rectify it.

"I wasn't mad, I just wanted my phone fixed. Three weeks from the date of the problem, I called Sprint and asked about my phone again. Their technician took my phone number and transferred it to a different phone and it still wouldn't work. Their determination was that the problem was on Sprint's end and the only thing I could do was get a new phone number. I couldn't even access my voice mail to get important information off of it.

"I am disabled: I have Parkinson's disease. If I need medical assistance for any reason, I have to get help through my cell phone. In the three weeks that the phone wasn't fixed, Sprint destroyed my confidence that they could provide me with a phone service that was dependable. Their phone service failed me when I really needed it.

"Somewhere in that three weeks, I thought someone could have said, 'We know there's a problem, we'll get it fixed.' I got nothing, so I made the decision that I had no choice and went to a different carrier. I changed my Sprint number to AT&T and then called Sprint to cancel."

Thomas was then told that he would be charged a $600 early termination fee ($200 per line for his and his parents' phones) for canceling service, despite having been a customer for so long. He applied for a waiver to that fee but Sprint refused to budge. Thomas has so far refused to pay the $600 termination fee and the account has been sent to collections.

"All I wanted was some communication and Sprint wouldn't communicate with me. They talked more to me about my owing them money than they would talk to me when I was a customer needing to have my service fixed. Sprint destroyed my trust by refusing to communicate with me. I knew they had a high cancellation rate and now I understand why. Their communication with their customers is terrible. They kept me in the dark."

Customers are now filing class action lawsuits against companies like Sprint, alleging that their early termination fees are unjust. If you have been charged an early termination fee that you feel was unfair, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Reader Comments

Posted by

I canceled my sprint, because every payment I would make my bill never went down! I canceled March 23rd, 2019 and they are still charging monthly service. ????
They said return the phones and my bill would go down, instead of going down it went sky high! I filed a law suit!

Posted by

I've been a Sprint customer for six years. Never had an issue until the start of 2012. My old phone died, Sprint no longer had batteries for it, so I went kicking and screaming into a 4G phone. I checked reviews and it said the phone was a good one so I took the plunge. Of course with my new phone, comes the two year contract. No problem. Until my phone repeatedly dropped and blocked calls. My cell is my only phone and at home, I have terrible service. It repeatedly has interference, drops the calls and so on. I was on the phone with customer service who did updates. Still had the problem. More updates. Still the problem. To the store I go. Same problems. Customer service again. Same problems. Then the phone begins to freeze. On an important call with my daughter about my granddaughter having just had a seizure, the phone disconnected and froze. You have no idea how close the phone came from going out the window of my car. Sprint told me since I didn't have full insurance they could not swap the phone since it had been more than thirty days. Despite the fact that my first issues had begun the first week I had the phone and was patient enough to try to work with them. After four months back and forth, I upgraded my insurance and they swapped the phone out. I have my brand new HTC Evo 4G phone only to find out Sprint doesn't have 4G service and lo and behold, my new phone is doing exactly the same thing as the other one did. I talked to someone at Sprint again today who told me the network was having a 1.2% drop ratio but my phone was showing a 20% drop ratio. And I'm paying $100 a month for this thing. I want to cancel but then they'll slap me with the early cancellation fees. They won't upgrade the phone unless they want to be "nice" after I've swapped another one or two times and have the same trouble. This is ridiculous. I bought this phone from their store in good faith that the items they were selling were going to work properly. Having been a customer for six years and now having to endure this has been a nightmare. My mother hates to even talk to me on my phone because it's always breaking up or dropping the call. What the hell is wrong with Sprint? FYI, my one niece also has Sprint but not the same phone, and she has the exact same issues.

Posted by

Again if you haven't already done so you must sue sprint in small claims court. A lot of people do just that if you search the web and usually sprint will relent on receipt of a proper demand letter. Complaining in online forums will not help you at all, nor will complaining to sprint or the debt collection agency (against you may also successfully sue in small claims if you were harrassed 5x a day incidentally and may also gain substantial damages from).

Complaining in court will help you, and get you the relief you need from sprint and its debt collectors. You may be entitled to damages far in excess of whatever expenses you had it may be well worth it for you.

Posted by

October 2009 got business account. I was assured my bill would be $219.00 per month for 1 blackberry and 4 $10.00 phones. No surprises and no penalty. Or pmt. If I had to suspend the phones. Sure enough in July I got a letter from sprint telling me thanks for changing my sprint services and I would now be paying $750.00 . I told them none of the phones were being used. I told them I didn't change my service or data plan.!!! They would not change it back. Since they breached contract I refuse to pay more if they are not in use. And I refuse to pay $1000.00 early termination fee for a contract they changed. After almost a year of me complaining and then having the debt collector call 5 times a day. But not one supervisor would hear me out and find a solution.

They are ruing my credit!!!!!!!!

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