A Gadget Guy’s Broken Heart

A few days ago I shared that I had decided to give it up for a Palm Pre on June 6th when it rolled out. As noted in my comments on that post and through my tweets on the same subject, I’ve spent a great deal of time on the phone with Sprint talking price plans. As of today, it looks like my first ever attempt at being “one of the first” to get a new smart-phone has been thwarted…and it’s breaking my gadget guy heart… But it’s also provided me with a decent customer service experience and a chance to  learn a few things.

Here’s the scoop, I walked into my local Sprint store and was told that I would need to upgrade all of the phones on my current account to handle the data plan that the Pre will require to operate in full bells and whistles mode. The only data plan currently available for the Pre. At first, I thought, “There’s probably a better price that ‘Mr. Personality’ at this particular Sprint outlet doesn’t know about.” So, off to Sprint Customer Service I went.

After many emails I found out that ‘Mr. Personality’ appeared to be right. This upgrade in plan is necessary for a Pre and represents about a $600 annual increase in my phone expense. Okay look, two of the phones on my plan only require voice and text, so
I don’t need the internet, video or the ability to stream TV on those
phones as it appears that is what the Pre needs…though I doubt it. In
addition, the monthly voice minutes would either far exceed anything I would ever need or go down across the
three phones. Now I realize that the additional expense is not all that
much (by early adopter standards) but I have a real hard time paying
for
something that I don’t need or won’t use. And within the current economic landscape,
paying for it is really foolish.

Not content with this email exchange I took Sprint up on an offer, made in one of the emails, to call them. Robert was incredibly helpful as he methodically dissected my plan and looked for the best possible way to get me as close to my current expenditure without services I didn’t need. Well, as hard as he tried, it couldn’t be done. Sprint is just plain set on pushing the increase in fees to all existing customers, no matter how long they’ve been with them or how many phones they have.

I applaud Robert for working so hard at this. The fact is that customer challenges will arise and how the company’s people handle it is the true judge of customer service. But, no matter how pleasant and helpful Robert was, a satisfactory rate was not to be had. Too bad.

Here’s some of what I learned from the experience, other than I’ll likely be holding off on the Palm Pre purchase:

  • Sprint customer service was generally positive. Robert even suggested that I wait and see what happens after the roll-out. Plans change once the bloom is off the rose. This, of course I know. But I had real gadget envy going.
  • There sure is a hell of alot of chatter about the Pre in the social media space.Though in all my tweeting about this on @plam_pre_for_me and my posts here, I received zero contact from Sprint or Plam, so they are either not monitoring the social stream or they have chosen not to reach out via that channel.
  • With this delay in purchasing the Pre, I can actually wait and see what the iPhone upgrades and rumored new AT&T plans could offer me. I may be able to move to the super-model sexy standard in smart-phones for less than I think.
  • My insistence on being logical does not allow me to be a “stand in line for the first one” kind of guy.

Oh well, my heart will heal. I’ll just have to continue saving myself for that perfect phone.

Speak Your Mind

*