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How Much is Customer Service Costing You? (Part 2)

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(If you haven't already, reading part one first will be helpful. A quick summary is that I've run into a couple of customer support problems this week.)

The other problem that I've had is with my cell phone, the Palm Treo 700P. I've had Palm Treo's from when the Sprint Treo 300 came out. We are probably talking close to 6 years now. In general they are great devices. They get me out of jams whenever I'm on the road and need a little information from the Internet. They allow me to text message a lot quicker than most. They provide me with music when I'm at the gym. It's the music listening that's been giving me a problem. The audio jack on the Treo line is notoriously bad. Perhaps it's because it has to do double duty of being used for MP3 listening as well as handling a hands-free headset, I'm not sure the exact reason. The problem is that the phone gets stuck thinking that a headset is in, when it's not. Thus it routes all sound through the mic and not the receiver. This means that the only way I can talk to someone is by plugging in a headset. It is pretty well documented in the Palm forums and this TreoCentral sticky thread. Two separate entrepreneurs have even made it their business to fix this commonly occurring problem. One came up with a software fix, while the other has a hardware one. I've had the problem on every Treo I've purchased, but it usually resolves itself quickly. This time it didn't.

Happily my phone still has a month left of warranty, but it's been a nightmare trying to get it honored. I originally went to the Sprint repair store as this is what I've always done in the past. They've taken it for a few hours and tell me if there's a problem. In the past it's been very easy to get a new one once they evaluate the phone. This time they simply referred me to Palm to get the warranty taken care of. Going to Palm's website, they clearly refer you back to Sprint. It's a pretty fun game. I eventually got to Palm's warranty and started a trouble ticket with them. I then found the right person at Sprint (after getting passed through 5 different people) who made all the problems go away. Nicole authorized shipping a brand new one out to me. Now I'm supposed to send the old one back, but I haven't gotten the "return kit" yet. It's only a couple of days, but what happens if it doesn't come? Do I call up Sprint and talk with customer service again to give them back my broken device? Haven't I spent enough time at this point that I shouldn't have to chase them down to return their property?

Last updated on August 1, 2011.

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5 Responses to “How Much is Customer Service Costing You? (Part 2)”

  1. Jim says:

    If I were in your shoes, and the return kit never arrived, sprint would probably not get the device back. If it was really a big priority for them to get it back I’d assume they would have asked you to return it to the store, or sent the return kit as a higher priority.

    “Return kits” are pretty big now-a-days. I just recently had a ‘run in’ from gateway. They said the kit would arrive in 2 – 3 business days. I got it 3 weeks later. Maybe someone should explain the difference between 2 – 3 business days, and 2 – 3 business weeks to the gateway customer support staff.

  2. Rich Slick says:

    It’s been a horrifying year for me as it relates to customer service on so many issues. I’ve had problems with credit cards, returns on merchandise, local phone service, DSL service, Cable Internet Service, Satellite TV service. With a population that is top heavy toward seniors and aging day by day I fear the situation will get much worse before it gets any better. There are simply not enough young workers interested in working in a customer service role any more, everyone wants to be a manager, director, or vice president.

  3. zen says:

    What happened to me a couple times – Apple said they’d send a box FIVE times – I receieved 0 boxes. Took it to a store. Verizon said I’d receive a box three times – I received one box after they tried to bill me $300 for not sending the phone.

    Moral of the story – you’ll get billed, you’ll refuse their stupidity, and *then* you’ll get a box and a credit.

  4. plus6 says:

    I have the Treo 650 and had that happen twice with getting stuck in the headphone mode. The first time it happened I brought it to Sprint and they replaced it. The second time it fixed itself with a reboot I think. The 650 is my first Treo and I am hooked!

  5. suse says:

    i have a palm (locking up when i hit contact & powering off and on randomly!) AND moto q that has completely locked up. i went to the sprint store where i was told they were not responsible after 30 days because i didn’t BUY INSURANCE (at $7 a mo.!!). i’ve had both 4 months. motorola says i have to go the sprint store first to get it “approved,” sprint did nothing but hand me an 800 number to nothing-ville. i have been on the phone with sprint every single day for 3 weeks, 4-5 hours at a time speaking to someone in the BLASTED PHILLIPINES. after a while, they just tell me they are mailing me a new phone and hang up on me. of course, it doesn’t come and there is no record of it. there is also no way to speak to anyone in the u.s. (or someone that speaks 1/2 ass english, for that matter!). if i can’t get the store to listen, and get hung up on by the phillipines — what can i possibly do?? after 54 minutes once today, she again said, “what is your name?” i said, “you’ve got to be kidding.” i don’t think it computed. there seems to be nothing i can do. they have me caught between a rock and a hard place!! any help??

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