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My Sprint EVO 4G LTE Chronicles -- open letter to local Sprint store

Discussion in 'Sprint' started by fattank, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. fattank

    fattank Member
    Thread Starter

    A letter I recently sent to Sprint (with a few more identifying details):

    In what can only be deemed luck so exceptional I should have bought a lottery ticket instead, I've received 4 consecutive defective HTC EVO 4G LTE devices within my 14-day return period at a local Maplewood Sprint store before being told today after my final exchange at around 12PM to leave. The devices had an assortment of hardware defects, all of which were limited to the screen (although one had a remarkably crooked internal camera lens as well). In all cases, the representatives assured me they could see the issue and offered a replacement. Each time I felt incredibly guilty for making the exchange. Statistically speaking, of course, it is also extremely unlikely for consecutive devices to display obvious defects, especially in my 6 years of experience with flawless HTC-manufactured devices. And yet, this is, incredibly, the case for me as vouched for at the time by each rep I approached.

    Each device had a different set of flaws. Each flaw is easily noticeable in specific, common viewing conditions. I easily noticed each without looking for it within a day of owning the phone. The first device came out of the box deeply-discharged and required minutes to charge to a bootable state. Once booted, it displayed a thick line of discoloration stretching up the screen most easily noticeable when viewing anything of relatively solid dark color. The second device exhibited bright light leak and a crooked internal camera lens, the third displayed a large number of stuck/dead pixels, and the fourth displayed 1-2 dead pixels and bottom bright-phase light leak. The last was an exchange received in-store, where I immediately pointed out the 2 problems with the fresh device after trying it out there. Although I've never experienced anything like this before, I talked to members of online forums who assured me that their devices did not display such issues (with picture proof) and that my particular Sprint store must have received a batch of defective devices for which quality control was notably absent. According to a Sprint rep who talked to the manager, "Yeah, turns out it's actually a known problem here that this phone tends to have screen problems and dead pixels and stuff a lot." I was somewhat dumbfounded by this for various reasons, but let it slide.

    At the time of the final exchange, a man who I assume is the manager came out of the back room and told me the following (I've tried to recapture his words as closely as possible): "I'm sorry for the issues you're having, but it's time I put a stop to this. You've been wasting our time and blowing through our inventory. No other customers have reported issues this many times. You'll have to go elsewhere for any other services, because this store will not do anything more for you." I then asked him whether or not he looked at the phone or believed the issues to be imaginary (I have picture proof for one of the issues, and a stuck pixel is obvious even to the untrained eye against various colors). He claimed that regardless of the issues, I should take it up with HTC, the manufacturer of the devices, instead of wasting his time. (Contacting HTC is good advice, and I've already started to pursue this recourse.) Regardless, he went on in response to my questioning as to why my defective device couldn't be returned or exchanged. "With that many consecutive issues," he retorted, "you'd have to be literally scrutinizing every device and trying to come up with...you know, anything. It just doesn't happen." Now, this particular statement confused me, since other reps had verified the defects I pointed out and one even said "it makes a big difference" when he compared devices 2 and 3 for light leak. The stuck pixels were obvious to another rep, who looked at device 3 displaying dark backgrounds. I'd taken each device home after receiving it, expecting it to be fully functional after a cursory glance revealed that the previous issue had vanished. I took a few more minutes to compare the final device in-store, however, where I discovered and immediately pointed out its two defects.

    Although I can somewhat understand his position, I am extremely dissatisfied with the manager's rudeness and his order to leave the store (I've never been ordered to leave a store before -- though I've never encountered such an incredibly, blatantly rude manager, either). Before this order was issued, however, I told him I was slightly dissatisfied by the implications of his statements like "it doesn't happen" and "you have to be literally scrutinizing every device trying to come up with for...you know, anything," to which he responded in accusatory fashion rather than in apology or even dismissiveness, "no, you're the one who said that. I didn't say that. It's your opinion." The use of ad hominem, non sequiturs, and other fallacious argumentative tactics coupled with an extremely rude tone certainly do not befit a professional in his position. In the entirety of my University career, I had yet to encounter an individual of this particularly foul behavior within a professional setting. It was an eye-opening -- and spirit-crushing -- experience.

    What's more, he attempted to make me leave before returning my active device or memory card. Furthermore, in what could only be viewed as an act of spite from my standpoint, he took my SD card which I had placed on the rep's counter prior to returning device 3 (no such external memory card comes with the LTE) and proceeded to thoroughly erase all information on my physical memory card without my knowledge or consent. He then withheld my phone (with card) from me until I was forced to explicitly request he give them back. I lost hundreds of pictures and captured video since my last backup, in addition to the backups of my text messages and various downloaded music and documents since I purchased the memory card years ago. This is a destruction of data and digital property performed behind my back on my own personal storage device on my own phone which I had to request he return to me before being kicked out.

    In sum, the manager would not listen to my evidence or reasoning or answer any of my questions (with anything but accusations, that is) and instead rudely forced me to leave the store without returning my active device or wrongfully-cleared SD card to me. After being forced to request my property back and leaving extremely hurt and confused, I realized I've never been so wounded and personally humiliated by a company before in my life. This mistreatment, contempt, and bullying of the highest order were not warranted or necessary. A refusal of service should be given (if it must be given at all) with a concise, reasonable explanation free of accusation or malice. Accusing a customer of "blowing through stock" and "wasting his time" (I never even requested to see him) with real, obvious hardware defects he dismissed as "literally scrutinizing every phone" based on imaginary statistics that "it doesn't happen" (even though it obviously did) is absolutely uncalled for, especially given Sprint's publicized promise to accept returns if it's "not quite the right color red," to say nothing of significant, noticeable hardware defects. I have few qualms with the fact that a manager is knowingly and willingly supervising the sale of a series or batch of devices known to be defective in high numbers; however, I do take major personal issue with the fact this individual refused me service in such a horrifying manner and treated me with behavior the likes of which I never imagined, in addition to clearing all of my personal data from my own external storage card and withholding my phone (and card) while asking me to leave. All without apology, and I am still without a reasonably defect-free device. Given the unprecedented plight to which I was subject at this store, I came in this morning a dissatisfied HTC device owner, but left with such personal trauma that now calling myself a dissatisfied Sprint customer would be a laughable understatement.

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  2. heavychevy

    heavychevy Android Expert

    I almost left sprint because of crap like this. Horrible quality control from htc. Exactly why i will not buy another htc device until they fix those issues. i really thought sprint had changed their customer service for the better, seems like they still have a lot of work to do.
  3. mikem0269

    mikem0269 Android Expert

    Ive had problems with some sprint NON CORPRATE stores before I called sprint and complained. They sent me to a corp. store and I have always been taken care of in a timely and prof. manner. This was due to a charging prob on my daughters og evo and when we took it in to a non corp store the kid that looks at the phone said the charging port was torn completely off the board ( phone 3 weeks old) and it was abuse not warr. I looked at him and said if that was the case the port would be loose when wiggled with the cord. The only responce i got was i could buy a new one at the reg $549.00 price but i needed to decide quick because they were closing for a party.
    When I called sprint they said they had several complaints and were in the process of pulling their line from the store. He then put me on hold and called the nearest corp store and sent me there. I was in and out in 15mn with a new phone.
    fattank, strider70 and dustwun77 like this.
  4. marctronixx


    Thread moved to Sprint forum.
    Rxpert83 likes this.
  5. Bnice

    Bnice Guest

    I understand the frustration but don't blame Sprint on the count of a manager not knowing how to manage the situation. This kind of unprofessionalism can happen in any establishment. I think you did right by writing to sprint and notify them of what transpired. I would notify HTC as well, my experience with HTC have been positive, no device is defect free and as a consumer you have the right to have your device built properly, function right and work accordingly.
    KENNECTED, IOWA, NYCHitman1 and 2 others like this.
  6. CriticalCritic

    CriticalCritic Android Expert

    Agreed. The few Non-corporate stores I have been to (about 4 of them) have all been terribly unhelpful and even rude when I present anything to them that is not a handful of cash (save one, that I used to frequent but never purchased anything). The 2 corporate stores that I have visited were always a pain to deal with due to their wait times, but they were friendly and helpful once I did finally get to speak to someone.

    The worst, IMO, is Sprint's phone reps. I had a similar situation to the OP with the Samsung Moment (granted, I'm pretty sure 100% of those devices were defective since I went through 6 of them in a row with the same defects). When I got up to the manager level of their customer service department I was treated rudely and told, something along the lines of, accept the defective device or pay the early termination fee to switch carriers because they weren't going to allow me to swap for a comparable device.
    IOWA and fattank like this.
  7. Citizen Coyote

    Citizen Coyote Android Enthusiast

    That's terrible. I've read your posts on the Evo 4G LTE forum, and the defects you've described are not normal (as other have pointed out and you note in your letter). I think you did the exact right thing by contacting Sprint directly, hopefully you'll get some agreeable resolution to this. I specifically only deal with Sprint corporate stores because of horror stories like this, and I recommend you do the same from now on (if you stick with Sprint, I wouldn't blame you for leaving after this shoddy treatment).

    Make sure you post a review of that store on Yelp, Google, and other online sites so others can hopefully avoid your fate, or at least go in to the store fully informed of what lurks behind the walls.
    fattank likes this.
  8. bearballz

    bearballz Well-Known Member

    Well I hope you contacted Sprint Customer Service and talked to another manager about the treatment you got. I to would've been suspicious if someone came in within a 14 day period and returned the same phone 4 times. But if you said that the damage was apparant and the service reps agreed with you then you should have every right to exchange the phone.

    But there's also a right way and wrong to handle the situation and that was definetly the wrong way. I had to exchange the Evo 4G LTE 3 time due to various issues and finally got an SIII. BB swapped them right out and the SIII is working great.

    Honestly though if anybody treated me like that as well as take my phone and erased the SD card I would of been on the verge of coming to blows with this jerk. I also would have called the Police.
    fattank likes this.
  9. kkelly

    kkelly Lurker

    I can sympothize with the OP. I went through seven E3D's before my eighth one finally turned out to be a good one. Different problems with them. My first one quit charging and started flashing the red and green led lights until it went dead. The second one wouldn't connect to evdo 3g. the third one was a referb., it would abnormally reset 1-3 times a day until after a month the display went totally black. the next one went into a non-stop bootload cycle after a week. Then I had camera isusses. One of the replacement phone wouldn't work out of the box. the last one that I brought back had a horrible green tint issue with the camera and a problem with the digitizer. When I brought it back to the sprint store(non-corp) the manager saw me walk in and immediately asked if I was taking pictures at the sun again. I was infuriated, but took a soothing breath and calmly explained that I wasn't taking pictures of the sun, but rather in normal sunlight conditions. I have not felt the same way about Sprint or HTC products since. He had the nerve to ask me to give him high survey marks if surveyed about my visit to the Store. LOL
    fattank likes this.
  10. fattank

    fattank Member
    Thread Starter

    Hey guys, update to the chronicle here!

    I sent a few emails and did the Google review that you suggested (never heard about Yelp, though, so that's also a good tip). :)

    Then yesterday, on a whim, I decided to try a different store (corporate this time, I believe) in Rosedale. I received a totally different response and a defect-free unit. The reps there said they've very rarely seen this device come in with problems, which is much different than what the Maplewood store said about "many" devices having screen issues.

    The huge different in treatment (and a functional device on the first shot with the new store) led me to see what a huge contrast there could be between stores and actually made me feel even worse about the first one. I had almost begun to think, "Well, maybe that's just how the wireless world works." I'm glad I went to Rosedale.

    So I decided to call Sprint Customer Service today and carefully (and good-naturedly) described the treatment I'd received. On the same day, I received an email back from the CEO's office email account pledging that Sprint will be looking into it and following up with me if necessary. The rep on the phone said I did the right thing by sending the emails immediately, and jotted down some notes of his own about my situation he promised to pass on to the "committee." Good news, I guess!

    At the very least, he says, my report might be able to help other people who happen to face issues with the defective stock or that particular manager (or asst. manager). I eagerly await any followup that might be forthcoming from the company.


    PS: 7 E3D's? Oh my gosh, all at the same store, I imagine?
  11. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Android Expert

    It's a real shame when I see so much effort wasted on a screed against one company when they apparently have never heard of the concept of the franchise. Practically every store that carries the name of a big retail chain is actually owned by individuals or smaller companies that are separate entities from the chain that they purchased a franchise in. It's like when people blame the President for stuff that Congress does. Somewhere our educational system has failed us because people are supposed to know stuff like this. When I went to school, this was taught in the classroom.

    At an even more basic level I'd have thought that it's self-evident to most everyone that each of us are different. We're not robots, we're people, and different people act differently. It's human nature. Who doesn't know that?

    I have long since lost count of the unacceptable retail experiences I've had, mainly because I don't think it's productive to carry a chip on my shoulder. One event that I do remember was with a McDonald's franchisee. I could have gotten all worked up and done something rash like boycotting McDonald's. Does anyone think that I would have been the winner if I had done that? By denying myself a product that I want from time to time, while nobody notices? As it happened, I had the presence of mind to record the incident on my phone, and sent the video to McDonald's headquarters. I didn't ask for anything, and I didn't get anything, but the franchisee lost their McDonald's franchise due to complaints including mine. When the new franchisee took over, I had no more problems and everybody got what they deserved.

    I think it's common sense to remove personal files and property before returning an item to a store, so I must say that the OP bears the bulk of responsibility for that misunderstanding. If you're grown up enough to have a cellphone, and to install accessories into it, you should be grown up enough to take care of the same. And you should be mature enough to accept your own failure to back up your data. Seriously now!

    Nevertheless if the manager took personal property and refused to return it after it was made clear whose property it was, that's something that the owner has every right to seek a remedy for. That's what the police are for. Now in this case I don't see any place in a long and rather bombastic post where the owner of SD card made any effort to say "by the way, that's mine", which could have prevented a lot of drama and disharmony. I bring soft drinks into stores that sell the same ones all the time, and have never had a problem at the checkout counter because I always remember to say "I brought this in, so please don't ring it up." Well almost. The one time I forgot, the cashier promptly took it off my bill after I asked nicely.

    When it comes to Sprint stores, I have favorites. I live in Wisconsin, but I prefer to shop at a Sprint store in Illinois near my mother's home. When I lived in Illinois I preferred this store to another Sprint store that was closer to my home. I can't say I had any bad experiences at the other stores; I just think the staff at my preferred store are better equipped to meet my specific needs which are beyond the scope of the average cellphone buyer. I don't think the other Sprint stores are sub-par; I think my preferred store, which is in an affluent neighborhood, gets more customers like me. So I pick and choose. No problem.
  12. MissJennell

    MissJennell Android Enthusiast

    I hate hearing things like this. I am the manager of a NON CORP store. We have great customer service in my store. I make sure of that. We do have people leave mad but it is for things that I have no control over. I love my job and I love my customers. Even the ones that yell at me.
  13. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Extreme Android User

    I am sure MissJennell can confirm...customer satisfaction is a REALLY BIG DEAL with Sprint moving forward.

    you did the right thing to send the information in...but don't let that wrong guy at the franchise store paint the wrong picture of Sprint...
  14. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    that was very well written.

    and it was terrible.. horrible how you were treated by that manger.

    i would send this to the CEO Dan H. email.. they seem to take care of these matters very well.
  15. Thefoodman52

    Thefoodman52 Android Expert

    Fire 'em. They obviously don't want their job that badly. Why else would they drive business away and give customers a reason to leave the company?
  16. droidcentric

    droidcentric Well-Known Member

    I was threatened with physical violence by a regional manager and also spoke to someone supposedly from the CEO's office.

    Do you think Sprint itself or the third party that owns the stores that Sprint manager oversees actually took any action?

    From my understanding the CEO's office is just another call center that logs complaints and tries to make customers feel they actually give a damn. Everyone who drops Sprint gets contacted by the "CEO's" office as part of their bleed prevention program. Used to be the retention department would try very hard to retain valued customers. But that has apparently been transformed into the take a piss on the loyal customers department.

    I was insulted and told my business was meaningless by not one but three different people from retentions including a supervisor. When a rep from the CEO's office called and listened to my long list of complaints he apologized. When asked what Sprint would be willing to do to earn back my business he said "nothing" although they hoped to gain my business again in the future.

    Even after all the other garbage the cancellations dept refused to cancel my service (said they did but lied) and i had been out of contract for over four years. In the end AT&T ported me away which was the only way i was finally able to cancel and they even had the nerve to send me a final bill. I refused to pay what amounted to like $.20 pro-rated and threatened to sue in small claims. At first they demanded payment but after threat of a lawsuit and a brief hold the account balance was wiped clean.

    So don't hold your breath there will be no real followup made. If your lucky some low wage call center employee will ring you in a few days from the "CEO's office" and pretend you're a special sunflower. You will likely hear others in the CEO call center (maybe the man himself) talking to many other special sunflowers at the same time as you. It's hard to accept that we as consumers mean very little to big profit telcos. But they operate in a highly monopolized industry and know very well we have limited choices.
  17. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Android Expert

    Again, that's what the police are for. Call them, ask what they can do. If they say nothing, ask if they will at least enter it into the system and give you a case number to use in case it escalates. That much they must do, even if they don't want to. If you have a police report and a name, you can get a restraining order if you want to play hardball.

    Once you have your case number, get your own legal help. It's not worth wasting money on, but law schools and some private consumer protection companies might be able to help. At the very least you have documentation. Keep lots of documentation. Even if it's a hand-written journal of your calls and store visits, that can be used as evidence in court, which means it can be used as leverage without even going to court. The idea is to convince them that you're inclined to press criminal charges and sue. It also comes in real handy if they try to call the cops on you, or sue as a preemptive strike.

    Did you get their names? On the phone, I make it a rule to ask the name of whomever I'm talking with. You can say "my name is ___, what's yours?", say you have a bad memory, or use flattery to suggest that they'll receive a good evaluation. Whatever works. If they know that you have their name, they're more likely to be helpful, and if the go off on you, you have it recorded in your call log. See where I'm going with this?

    If it's a store employee, you can go back and look for the offending person, and read the name off their name tag. Usually there are business cards for the various staff where you can pick one up. Find this place and get one or two of their cards, and add it to your files, along with a written recollection of what happened. If you're afraid to go in, have a friend do it.

    The bottom line is that big businesses are ruthless bastards, so you must learn to be a ruthless bastard to companies. The more you have against them, the more likely they are to give you what you want to go away (or to keep you happy and paying).
  18. droidcentric

    droidcentric Well-Known Member

    Never stepped foot in a store or met the trailer trash who threatened me in person. This all happened over the phone which made it so much easier to not do something stupid (my blood was boiling) on my part. If it did happen in the store someone would have probably been seriously injured and it's very unlikely that person would have been yours truly. I have worked in protection for years as a bouncer, bodyguard, armed security and even played Narc sniffing out information for law enforcement. Unfortunately the manager advised me that he was untouchable and someone else in the company higher up advised me of the same thing.

    It made me pretty sick to the point i wanted to take matters into my own hands but that would make me just as bad. Instead of putting myself in a position where it might get me in trouble i took my money elsewhere and had my family to do the same. There was really no need for law enforcement because it was obvious this was just a punk. He made it very clear while accessing my account that he was going to save my personal info and yet never followed through (wish he would have) with his empty threats. I gave names, dates times you name it to the supposed CEO's office and they never did anything. My family put up with so many headaches while being loyal to Sprint and in the end all the company and it's great CEO did was spit on us.

    If you like dropped calls, missed emails, delayed text messages, bad support, airave required to make calls indoors, weak signals in general, slow data speeds and just all around terrible service for your money then Sprint is your best pick.
  19. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Extreme Android User

    You seem to be referring to a situation that happened years ago.. as mentioned, Sprint has made and continues to make a ton of improvements to staffing, customer service policy and the network.
    BenChase7 likes this.
  20. droidcentric

    droidcentric Well-Known Member

    Years ago REALLY??? Have you ever visited the SU Forums or how about the official Sprint forums which are both filled with constant complaints?

    I keep every piece of mail on my system which is archived dating back over 15 years. So it's not hard to dig up the emails and post the headers just to prove you wrong. Adding to the fact this team that Dan now has in place did not even exist years ago.

    Btw if anyone wants the number to Dan's corporate complaint desk it's 757-223-3639

    Received-SPF: pass (mail192-va3: domain of sprint.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=; envelope-from=Dan@sprint.com; helo=plsasdm1.corp.sprint.com ;p.sprint.com ;
    Received: from mail192-va3 (localhost.localdomain []) by mail192-va3
    Received: from VA3EHSMHS033.bigfish.com (unknown []) by
    mail192-va3.bigfish.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id * for
    Received: from plsasen2.corp.sprint.com (plsasen2.corp.sprint.com
    []) by plsasdm1.corp.sprint.com
    Received: from plss4958 (plss4958.it.sprintspectrum.com []) by plsasen2.corp.sprint.com (Sentrion-MTA-4.2.2/Sentrion-MTA-4.2.2)
    Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 **:**:** -0500
  21. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Extreme Android User

    I thought it read as if the account had been closed for four years...I was looking more so for confirmation from you on the details. After reading over it a few times I think maybe you were referring to being an off contract customer for four years and they refused to terminate your service (or lied to you about doing so)?

    A recent study on customer service ranks them number 1 in improvements over the past 4 years.

    "#3 among America’s greenest companies (only telecom in the top 25) – Newsweek (Oct. 2011)"

    They recently also took #1 spot for buybacks of old cell phones, not only keeping them out of landfills, but proceeds go to towards helping the community (battered women's shelters, troops, children's programs)

    we all know about Network Vision

    definitely appears to be a company making changes for the better IMO

    Yes I have seen the posts, and I personally deal with the complaints every day.

    People like me are the solution to the bad rep Sprint has in customer service ;)

    I can't (and wouldn't) comment on your exact situation as I do not know the details. I can tell you that almost every problem has a solution...It's difficult at times to get to a mutually agreeable solution for many reasons that occur on both sides of the conversation.

    Weeding out the bad apples isn't going to happen overnight, and I agree it sucks for you to have gone through something with those individuals that left you feeling the way you do. They are making changes for the better though.
  22. MissJennell

    MissJennell Android Enthusiast

  23. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Android Expert

    No offense to you, but it looks like that punk won, and you let him. He got your goat but good!

    With your security training you should have had the presence of mind to not get played so bad, and be prepared with your own psych ops deal. Working with law enforcement should have taught you that a threat is a threat, and still a crime. And even though interstate threats are matters for the FBI and they're not going to do anything, reporting the threat to the local police is not only the right way to handle it, but might just make its way back to the punk through local authorities. You never know unless you try.

    It looks to me like you're still worked up over it. I hope you realize that you're only hurting yourself, and let it go. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
    BenChase7 likes this.
  24. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    what you said .. is good advice.

    but i am a little confused.
    how do you "let it go" but still seek revenge?
  25. droidcentric

    droidcentric Well-Known Member

    Sorry but your totally wrong about that one because going after some low wage telephone thug wont make the overall poor customer service any better. To me it seems the ones who defend the crappy service and lack of support always seem to either, live in just the right area, have a horse in the race or simply can't afford to actually pay for something better. I can afford to pay for my data (made that clear to Dan and his personal band of thieves) and have no complaints about doing so when i actually get to use what i'm paying for. Frankly if Sprint gave a damn about my business THEY would have done something. But instead they blew smoke up my butt and showed how little they actually care.

    I also have no idea how they could possibly get great ratings for customer service when the majority of all postings on the Sprint board itself (before they get censored/deleted) are completely contradictory. One person has claimed they have the satisfaction rating system rigged which could very explain it. I can say for certain that nobody ever contacted me from outside the company with any type of survey. Either way the ratings are not something that really matter to anyone but the marketing team because if they treat me poorly it matters now how great they might treat others.

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