Issues with Sprint and the Galaxy SII Epic 4G

I really hate to resort to a blog post to complain about a company’s business practices, but I feel like I have honestly tried everything I can to privately resolve this issue between myself and the companies involved.

I am now writing a blog post about this in hopes that it accomplishes a couple things:

1) I hope that someone googling “problems with Sprint Galaxy II” will find this and know they are not alone and benefit somewhat from the hours I have spent dealing with Sprint’s customer service, and

2) That Sprint will reconsider it’s current business practices and really start providing the good service I felt I received from them several years ago back when I signed my first contract with them.

Here is my story.  It is very long even though it does not contain the hours and hours of conversations between Sprint and I, but I have included all the important details in hopes that it covers everything you might have experienced as well:

I signed a 2 year contract with Sprint in April of 2012 and paid $100 for a Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch.  I had researched the phones in my price range and chose the Galaxy II because of it’s processor speed, large screen, sound quality, etc.

I was very satisfied with my phone for almost a year!  It was very durable and it worked very well.  The only issue I had was that after a few months, I started getting a battery message about high voltage and my phone would get extremely hot and the battery would drain quickly.  When I called Sprint, they said they had never heard of this.

I decided to google it and I found others had the same issue and the problem was thought to be that the charging port got dust in it and it needed to be cleaned out.

This issue happened sporadically and while it was extremely annoying when it happened, I dealt with it.

Sometime in that first year, I noticed a very slight crack in the screen.  I am not sure how it happened.  I was sad that I had a crack in my screen but assumed responsibility, even though I kept my phone in a protective case.  The phone still worked very well despite the crack and even the touch screen worked very accurately.

Then in April of 2013, a year after I had purchased my Samsung Galaxy II and many months after I noticed the screen crack, I started having issues with the battery life and the power button.  The menu that comes up when you hold the power button in (the device options including: Power off, data network mode, airplane mode and restart) starting popping on and off without me even hitting the power button, and the phone would sporadically turn itself off, even with a fully charged battery.

I took the phone to a Sprint service center.  Sprint said that my battery needed replaced and because I have insurance they replaced it.  They would not look at it at all though because of the crack in the screen.

I was sure that my power button issues and battery life issues were not a result of any physical damage done to the phone, but Sprint was very strict about their policy of not being allowed to look at a phone with physical damage.  I would need to make a claim with Assurion and pay a $100 deductible.  I was very upset because I knew the issues were not related to the cracked screen and also, the deductible had been increased from $50 to $100 since my last contract!

(I was later told by a Sprint Customer Service rep that the reason they cannot look at a phone with physical damage is because Sprint has a contract with Assurion that says any crack over an inch long must be reported to Assurion and the $100 deductible must be paid.)

I took the new battery but that new battery quickly drained as well.  When I took the phone back into the store a week later, they looked at the battery and said it was a bad battery and they gave me yet another new battery.  Guess what? Yes, that too drained and I was still having the phantom power button issues, phone turning itself off, and overheating.

I finally gave in after much conversation with Sprint via phone and online chat, and made a claim with Assurion and paid my $100 deductible.

I received my new Galaxy II the next day.

The new phone had the same issues.  My new replacement Galaxy II was overheating and the battery was draining quickly.  I also noticed that I did not have any service at my house.

I called Sprint.  Sprint explained that they were doing work on the towers to improve service and that is the reason I was experiencing no bars!  They said that since I just received the phone 2 weeks ago, I was still within the 30 day warranty period with Assurion and that I needed to call them and have the phone replaced.

(Please note: after hours spent on the phone and on the online chat with Sprint Customer Representatives, I continued to be very patient and kind.  I was even told by many reps that they greatly appreciated how I was handling the frustrating situation and they all said they would have lost it by that point.  I believe in treating the call center reps kindly as they are only following protocol and I believe in most cases they are trying to help to the best of their ability.  With that being said, I had a mostly positive experience with Sprint Customer Service reps both on the phone and online.  The way they tried to help was very satisfactory.  My complaint is the policy that Sprint itself has with dealing with problems as I will go on to relate.)

I called Assurion.  I got a very rude representative.  I explained that Sprint had already approved a warranty exchange.   He was very condescending in the way he spoke to me, even though he had all the notes in front of him of what I had already stated and explained to Sprint and was demanding that I call from another phone so that he can run tests on it.  I could not call from another phone since I do not have another phone, and Sprint already said, the phone is an issue and approved the replacement.  He refused to help me.  I finally asked him to speak to his manager.  The manager agreed to skip the diagnostic test as a “courtesy” and agreed to send me a new phone, a new battery and a new charger.

I received the replacement (my third Samsung Galaxy II in less than a month.)  I put the phone in a protective case and placed a new screen protector on it immediately after I took it out of the box and before I used it.  I started to use the phone and the menu bar kept popping on and off.  It was annoying but I ignored it at first.  It was sporadic and didn’t happen all the time.  I wondered if maybe the screen protector was doing it, even though the screen protector was specified for Sprint Samsung Galaxy II phones only.  After a few days, the menu popping up (as if I was tapping the menu button repeatedly, even though I wasn’t) was getting really annoying.  I decided to reset the phone.  That didn’t resolve the issue. I finally removed the screen protector, assuming that had to be the problem.  The menu bar still kept popping up.  My schedule was extremely busy that week and honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was to spend more time on the phone with Sprint and Assurion again!

I finally called Sprint.  I had two main issues with this third phone.  I was still not getting any data, even in a downtown area.  I was not getting any service bars at home and even away from home, I was dropping calls, and finally the menu glitch which severely interfered with any touchscreen actions.  After I spent several hours on the phone with Sprint techs it was finally explained to me that there is a known issue with Sprint and Samsung Galaxy II phones since the latest Samsung update.  After looking at my record, the tech told me that all the issues I had going back to the first phone were all known and documented issues.  He advised me not to replace my current phone with another Galaxy II.

I wanted to know my options with Sprint.  They were:

1) Exchange my current Galaxy II for another Galaxy II and see what happens (but again he strongly advised me not to because this would not resolve the issues I was having.)

2) Exchange my Galaxy II with an HTC Evo or an HTC Evo Shift

3) Participate in the new Sprint One Up plan where I can upgrade my phone with no money down but I would still be paying for the new phone monthly.

4) Do an early upgrade and renew my 2 year contract.

My complaint is that none of these options seem either reasonable or fair.

Why?

1) For starters, I purchased my Samsung II with a 2 year contract.  Had my phone continued to work the way it did before the update, I would have been very happy with the Samsung Galaxy II for the length of my contract.

(2) Had Sprint told me, before I replaced my first phone with Assurion for $100, that there were known issues with the Galaxy II and agreed that it was not because of the crack, I would NOT have paid $100 to get another Galaxy II!

(3) Before I purchased the Samsung Galaxy II, I had done research on phones, including the HTC Evo, and decided that the Samsung Galaxy II was a better phone, and therefore, I spent the extra money to have the Samsung Galaxy II… NOT THE EVO… the EVO is NOT a comparable exchange!  I feel that if there are phone problems within my contract period that are out of my control and not my fault, good business practice would be to replace the phone with a truly equal device, not a phone of lesser quality (eg… smaller screen, slower processor, camera quality, etc)! If they cannot replace the phone with a truly equal phone, they should replace it with a slightly better phone!

(4) One up program? What? Why should I have to pay to get another phone within my contract when my phone issues are not my fault and not fixable??

(5) And finally early upgrade with a contract renewal? That’s laughable!  I am stuck with this contract until April of 2014 unless I want to pay a hefty fee.  Sprint must be crazy if they think that after all of the time I have spent trying to get a fair resolution, not to mention the fact that they are behind in data technology and I can’t get service at home anymore, that I would even consider renewing my contract with them!!!!

I spent much time on the phone yesterday with Sprint customer service. I was transferred several times and finally to a very wonderful representative who seemed as desperate as me to get a fair resolution.  She asked me what I wanted.  I said if they truly could not get me into anything other than an HTC Evo, that I would accept the HTC Evo but that I also wanted my Assurian $100 deductible refunded.  She agreed that this was a fair request but still thought I should get a better phone, not one of lesser value, so she put in the request to management for the refund along with a Galaxy III.  I waited all day for a response.  She was so wonderful that she called me a couple times during the day to reassure me they had not forgotten me but to update me on what was going on.

Finally, late last evening, I got a call saying that they were willing to give me a $50 refund and the HTC Evo.

I was so tired I said,  “I am not really happy with that, but if it’s all you can do, I’ll take what I can.”

Today, I decided to tweet about it.  I have been on Twitter with Samsung and Sprint for the last couple of hours and realized that it was really a waste of time. Neither one was very helpful.  Samsung denies that there are any known issues even thought I sent them this link from Sprints Customer forum: http://community.sprint.com/baw/message/572289

My next step is to post this article in hopes that it causes Sprint to take some action and also to send this as a formal complaint to Sprint.

Sprint, I have read your replies to the numerous customer complaints on Twitter @sprintcare.  You are behind in the market when it comes to service and data.  While you have exceptional customer service representatives, it doesn’t really matter if your policies regarding how you handle phone issues are unfair.  You are going to lose a lot more customers and you only have yourself to blame.  It’s ashame.  I used to sing your praises to all my friends. It seems that though you once had a bad reputation, you made positive changes, but sadly, you have sunk back into your old ways.  I will not be renewing my contract and I will be telling anyone who listens about my awful experience with you so they don’t have to experience what I did and waste countless hours trying to get a resolution that will never happen.

Have you had similiar issues with Sprint and the Samsung Galaxy II?  It doesn’t seem fair that customers who are stuck in a contract should have to settle for unacceptable options.  Make your voice heard in the comments below!

…waking up for homeschooling

I am not a naturally structured and organized person.  I tend to fight routines… but the fact is, I need structure and I need routines.

I have been homeschooling my kids now for 5 years and I have tried various ways to get our school work done.  I still have not found a routine that works for us and I think I am starting to realize why.

One of the “benefits” of homeschooling is that you don’t have to stick to the typical school schedule.  I especially appreciate this benefit considering that when my son was 5 years old, I would have to drag him out of bed every school day at 6:30 am so he had time to wake up, adjust to being woken up, eat, get dressed, and catch the bus by 7:20 for a 40 minute bus ride to a school that is only a 4 minute drive away. (Yes, I could have driven him, but let’s just say that getting in and out of his school’s tiny drop-off lot was a bad situation.)

Since we started homeschooling,  I’ve made many schedules that said we would start school by 8 or 9 am everyday.  Reality: it has been an extremely rare occasion that we have.  I usually let them sleep until they want, and then I make breakfast and we start by 10:30 or 11am. I’ve justified this for years internally because my kids just aren’t what you’d call “morning people”.

The other day, an acquaintance was telling me that her home-schooled daughter sleeps all morning and they usually start school around noon.  When I heard it coming out of someone else’s mouth, I really had an issue with that, especially when she said that it was because it was just impossible for her daughter to do school in the morning.

Anytime anyone says the word “impossible”,  the analyzing part of my brain goes to work. I started wondering how she expected her daughter to someday function in the real world, where a boss may require her to be at work at a morning hour. Sure there are plenty of jobs that you can start later in the day, but let’s get real.  What is really going on here? Is it really impossible for kids that are not “morning people” to adjust to a schedule where they are required to be awake in the morning?

I decided this year, things were going to change. I decided that after I got home and showered from my gym routine, I would wake the kids at 7:30 so they would have time to get up and have breakfast and be ready to start school.

Well, here we are, near the end of our second week of school, and though we have been pretty routined about getting the kids to bed early on school nights, I have yet to start school earlier than 9:30 am.

I was talking to another friend about this on the phone this morning and trying to figure out why this is such a task… especially because we know that if our kids were in traditional school, there would no option but to have our kids up and ready to catch the bus to be at school on time.

The truth became clear as we talked  and I realized the real reason this 7:30 am wake up call is not happening….. I ENJOY MY QUIET TIME IN THE MORNING!!!! (Ta da!!! Ding ding ding… we have a winner!!)

Yes, there it is! I love that time where everyone in the house is either gone or still asleep. I am too tired to do anything super useful, but it’s my time to just chill and do whatever it is I can’t do when everyone is up and demanding my time and attention.

Well, today after our conversation, I decided that I’m still determined to start school at a set time and I am still going to go for the 7:30 am wake up call, starting next Monday.  I think that quiet time for myself is very important, but I also know that personally, if I get those tasks that require more work out of the way … (e.g excercise, homeschooling, paying bills, etc) I will have more time later in the day to do more things I actually want to do and probably more brain power to do it than I do in the morning.

For the record, I don’t fault or judge anyone else’s decisions regarding how they set their schedules.  This is just me talking out loud about what I think will (hopefully) work best for my family.

We shall see!

… turning 40!

calm 40Technically, I just turned 39 four days ago, so I really have 361 days before I turn the big 4-0.

A couple years ago, when one of my best friends was turning 40, I remember wondering why she was pretty much freaking out. I didn’t get it because she still looked young and beautiful. Age is just a number, right?

And now here I am… I wouldn’t say I’m freaking out… I’m just amazed at how fast time really goes and the thought of how much faster the years are going to fly, kind of scares me!  It’s not really 40 that worries me, it’s all the years after.

We have no control over time. And in many ways, that is a good thing.  But something we do have more control over, is how we are taking care of these bodies of ours!  I read this great article, that ironically was published 4 days before my birthday, and I have to say, I am really glad that I have an entire year before I turn 40, to make some big changes!

Like the writer of the article I linked to above, I am pretty healthy and energetic, but I have definitely let my diet and exercise fall by the wayside of a hectic life and crazy schedule.  Even though many of my friends and associates say I look fit, I know I really have some work to do to.

Measuring chartYesterday I measured myself using this chart as a guide.  I plan to get those numbers WAY down by the end of December.  I have been running for almost 7 years, and I have learned that you can’t just strap on a pair of shoes and hit the road.  You really need a strong core to help you run well and prevent injuries.  Starting on the first of this month,  I have committed to a 30 day core challenge. 

I have also committed to going to the gym five mornings a week at 5 am to get my strength training in. Even though I’m not really what you would call a “morning person”, 5 am is the best time for me to go consistently. It’s a good time too, because then it’s done for the day! I’ve been doing this now for many years, but not consistently. This time I am telling myself to pretend it’s my job and that I don’t have a choice but to be to “work” on time!

I plan on losing weight by adding more anaerobic training to my schedule. Instead of focusing on my running miles, I will push myself harder to get my heart rate up and increase my VO2 max (don’t feel bad, I’m still in the process of learning what that means too) and becoming less wimpy.

So that’s the goal! I’ll be updating this blog with my progress, along with lots of other random things in my life along the way.