Sad, but true. Worse, Sprint refuses to talk about it.
The story began on the launch day of Instinct. We asked Sprint pre-launch if some plans, such as SERO, would be permitted to activate on Instinct. The only answer that we received officially was that “store employees would be trained on this”.
However, on launch day, customers with any SERO plan could purchase and activate an Instinct. As it turns out, only the $99 SERO Unlimited plan was supposed to be used with Instinct.
Sprint has decided to contact each Instinct owner with a SERO plan and give them a choice: Either change plans, or return the Instinct. Sprint’s about-face has given Instinct similar black eyes that Apple’s iPhone suffered with activation issues. Both devices have special plan limitations aimed at boosting carrier revenue, and forcing customers off of less-expensive plans.
Probably the worst thing that Sprint has done about this situation, is refused to talk about it. Sprint has refused to respond multiple inquiries from PhoneNews.com in regards to this debacle. Customers are receiving inconsistent information. It is important to note that SERO plan holders are typically the most informed and savvy Sprint customers, ones that are the most informed about smartphones and the competition (such as iPhone).
PhoneNews.com has independently verified the situation with a retail Instinct and a standard SERO plan. In addition, members of our forums have confirmed the internal errors which led to this situation.
Update: Sprint has responded to our coverage, which we have outlined in this article.
37 responses to “Sprint Kicking Customers Off Instinct (Updated)”
Big deal, many carriers do this, they are in it for the revenue, why else – its a for profit company. The name of the game is plan changes… report on some real news.
Tbagz, this is actually the first time we’ve ever encountered this in five years of reporting. What other situations can you cite where a carrier has forced a customer off of a current phone that they have successfully activated?
I eagerly await your reply.
seriously though, this is garbage. i just got the phone as a gift and i was about to go activate it but now i dont think i am. might as well turn around and sell it on ebay. common sprint, just let the few have their trinkets. you have lots of customers coming over. lets play the grandfather rule and let us enjoy the new phone so we can brag to our iphone friends on how slow that phone is compared to this one……
“Sprintâ€™s about-face has given Instinct similar black eyes that Appleâ€™s iPhone suffered with activation issues.” This is a complete overstatement. A required plan change does not take anything away from the incredible features on this phone. AT&T customers had to change for the iPhone and to get all the features of this phone it made sense for Sprint to require activation to the Simply Everything plans. It is disappointed to see this negative a reaction to a Simple plan change.
…Also sites like this have ruined the SERO plan by finding ways around the log-in screen and therefore negatively affecting the program for all the people who are truly extending this offer to friends and family. Now the prices will probably go up in the future with the release of newer devices. I am fan of all the tech news, but stop knocking what should be widely looked at as a privilege… not a right of passage to owning Sprint.
I think itâ€™s Great that Sprint is doing this, all those people with SERO canâ€™t say they didnâ€™t know.
I read about 20 items and alot of them from sprint before the phone came out that you could not use SERO.
All the people that try to scam sprint, if you are really tech savy you would already know this….
PS love my instinct
Those SERO customers should’ve waited, they were the main ones told it would be a no go
There are only 5 plans the instinct will work on the 450,900 or simply everything individual plan, or 1500, 3000 talk/message/data share. If you are arent on one of those plans then you can not have the instinct. Its good for some but not all. Also sero is changing there pricing soon so it wont even be worth going on.
Clarifying a couple of things…
1) Anyone can sign up for Sprint SERO. Sprint has routinely issued email addresses, such as firstname.lastname@example.org which permit anyone to sign up for a SERO plan. These emails change, but are specificially made to allow the general public to get a SERO plan, should they chose to do so.
2) Some have indicated that SERO customers “should have waited”. That is not consistent with what Sprint had officially told us. They told SERO customers to go to the Sprint Store on launch day, and their plan would be checked by store employees. And guess what? The system said that SERO plans were permitted.
I hope that clarifies some misconceptions that have come up in the comments so far.
The instinct has 5-8 compatible plans and the reason sprint made it that way is because of the coding when u activate the phone is diffrent from any other phone sprint has made and requires speical provisioning code for anything to work on the phone, so if you tried to place it on a regular plan nothing will work.Another reason sprint has so few plans for that phone is because they don’t want the customers to keep calling in for credits for overages on data,voice,and txt, like customers do with regular plans.personally I believe its a smart business move on sprints part, and why not go ahead and pay 99.99 for unlimited everything because no matter what carrier u have your phone bill will be 100.00 or more if signed up for a plan with all the feature and serivces that the simply everything has to offer.so don’t let that stop u from purchasing a great phone, and people STOP BEING CHEAP!!!!
Skip, the only technical reason that Instinct needs a special plan, is that Instinct uses text messages to communicate visual voicemail. Even that isn’t so much a technical as an intentional limitation. I’m not going to Monday Morning Quarterback the financials of doing that… I’ll let Sprint’s quarterly results hash that out.
The thing is, SERO plans now have unlimited text messaging, which is why it made sense that all SERO plans would be compatible with Instinct. That also explains why some internal communications for Instinct’s launch green-lit SERO plan compatibility. And, that also explains why half of Sprint thought SERO was okay on launch day… and the other half didn’t.
I mean please, wireless carried ask people to upgrade thier plans all the time – when renewing contracts. Out with the old in with the new. It’s an awesome phone, from a GREAT carrier. If you want it get the plan that goes with it.
And Christopher this might be the first time you have reported on it but, its not the first time its happened.
I work for VoiceStream corp yeras ago and they used similar tactics when they were bought by T-Mobile, they had new phones and in order to get them you needed a new plan. They called people and asked them to upgrade or cancel.
Sprint is a fantastic company with a GREAT service, stop hatting.
main issue here is that if sprint was limiting the plans that the instinct could be activated on, all reps should have been clued in… if they were gonna back pedal on sero, they should have just not allowed the activations in the first place.
This is the first time this has been encountered, so there are bound to be mistakes. This is just typical of the abysmal customer service issues Sprint has shown in the past, and this issue proves that they are not fixed yet (but they are getting better). I’ll grant you inconsistent information error on Sprint’s part, but they absolutely have a right to tie any plan they want to that phone. AT&T set the standard with the iPhone and that seems to be okay with the iPhone users (I’m basing this on the ungodly amount that have been sold). If you want to play, you have to pay sometimes and the ultra cool phones will not get the ultra cool discounts. If Sprint did this with every phone then I would definitely have a problem with it.
Just one person’s opinion. Good luck to you SERO folks. I hope it works out for you.
sprint never said it would work on sero period….
Read the launch info they clearly stated that sero users would have to change plans…..
ill try to find it again and post a like its not sprints fault there are scammers out there
Who’s scamming here? I don’t get why you keep saying that.
We just posted verbatim what Sprint said to us about SERO before launch. If they weren’t clear on it internally, how is that a scam?
nothing sprint does surprises me anymore.
lol @ â€œstore employees would be trained on thisâ€
SERO sounds like a bad idea more and more everyday. Why would a company offer discounts to only those people “in the know”? Then, why do they offer this same group something even more unique that is supposed to cost everyone else more? Then, why continue to offer a special prices to the group of customers that bi*ch the most?
If I were in charge at Sprint, I’d cut off SERO ASAP!
Just to add more fuel to the fire; sprint’s sero plan was a great idea, but has become a welfare system of sorts. The most demanding self important customers ( and resource hogging) are paying far less than all any other person on any other carrier.
So by ppl like me, who pay full price for their plan are subsidizing the sero program. Get rid of it.
Anyway. Sprint should have had their act together, but the solution, eventhough you may not like it is perfectly reasonable. Either return it or get a different plan. Att forces you to get a different plan with the iphone and EVERY carrier FORCES a customer to have a different data plan if they want a blackberry
So chris please get over yourself and stop spouting nonsense.
I don’t see him spouting nonsense, if if was told SERO would work with the phone great but I never saw it said anywhere that was true. Chris says he was told 1st hand though
if it isnt for sero, there is NO other reason to be on sprint for me. sprint isnt offering sero to purposely lose money, theyre doing it because theyre desperate to keep customers. im currently trying to get sprint to terminate my sero account as we speak. cutting off sero would mean sprint would lose loyal customers. but theyre used to that already. at this point i honestly want to pay more to another carrier. sprint is a disgrace. honestly jeff and ljbad4life, as a sprint and sero user, i wish they would cancel sero, especially my account.
LOL james is pretty funny,
honestly people like that have fun at tmobile
The Instinct is an okay phone. If I had to choose between the iphone and Instinct, I would go with the iphone. However, I have a SERO plan and love it. Using the Mogul right now, and canâ€™t wait till the HTC Touch Pro hits the streets. The Touch Pro wonâ€™t have any special plan requirements and is a better phone anyway. Itâ€™s funny how a lot of non sero sprint customers are so negative towards sero users. Itâ€™s not our fault you pay 100 or so a month for a plan we only pay 35 to 50 bucks for.. lol
FYI, we received email today (I’m in retention) that says we have now changed policy and will allow customers to choose from any one of the 5 everything plans for the Instinct and stay in the SERO program. Hope this helps to clear up some confusion.
sprint reported $253 million loss in operating income during Q1 and lost 700,000 customers the previous quarter. now thats funny omegah. nice try tho. and yes i will have fun at tmobile or at&t
[…] Along with banning Instinct, and retroactively kicking customers off of Instinct… Sprint has hindered SERO plan holders […]
I think SERO should go; it has generated a group of users that hurts Sprint’s reputation and service quality.
Awwwww… Poor jeff.. You tried and can’t get SERO huh? lol
My wife and I were both on the $30 Sero plan for just under two years (I am an ex Sprint employee that used my own email address to get the account set up under my wifes social) and the plan was really not that great. Sure I got 500 min and unlimited data and pic/video mail but had to pay for text messaging. So our bill was $90 before taxes. I went to a corporate Sprint store on 6-19-08 and upgraded to the Instinct. The rep told me he could not sell me the phone due to the plan I was on so we called care from the store and changed over the the new 1500 FP. We now get an extra 500 min and 7pm nights as well as Navigation which I would have to pay for on the old Sero plan for $40 more a month. To me that is not a bad deal at all considering no other carrier can touch that plan and it is open to everyone. For years Sprint has been the bargin basment carrier and Dan is now trying to changing all that. People out there (including myself) have been mooching off Sprint for years and now they are putting restrictions on certain things eveyone is upsat which I understand. The fact is if you don’t like it….don’t get that phone or change to another carrier where you can pay even more that the plans Sprint is trying to change people over to. I have saves thounds over the years using Sprint and for that reason alone don’t mind pay an extra $40 now. Anyways thats my rant and sorry for any spelling errors running short on time….gotta get back to work…lunch break is over
If they sold phones to incompatible plans then that sucks. However, the “they” in this case isn’t really clear to me. I used to sell phones in college and I know that RS, BellSouth, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, it didn’t matter where but all the sales folk (myself included) were like used car sales men. Not to mention that any knew phones/technology no one every really knew the whole deal because we were trying so hard for comission. Anyway, I see that the “official” word could have been for the employees to notify the SERO customers that they would have a certain amount of time before a switch was required (a month or whatever). Probably sales staff failed to push that info and now Sprint is offering free refunds. Pretty good deal I imagin, especially if the SERO customer’s “official” contract stated the plan requirement… Anyway, sales people suck, we all know this.
What I could say is a problem is that they left it up to their sales staff to communicate this. Perhaps they could have known a problem would have occurred. As for their plan requirement in general, why would they sell a phone, advertise all the features it could have, then let it go on plans that only allow talk or text..? That is the kind of $*&# everyone used to complain about. False advertising, etc…
And a quick note about picking a carrier. The main thing is, “WHO SUCKS THE LEAST”! Then it is, “who sucks the least in your area” mixed with a “what phone do I like the most”. Many people base their selection off of customer support. That is as dumb as watching a horible movie released by say Sony Entertainment then choosing never to watch a movie produced by them again. Oh, and telling all of your friends and family what horrible movies they make. Well that’s not fair, let’s make it 3 or 4 of the movies released by Sony Entertainment. BUT to make it totally fair, lets put out every single movie released AND the person is picking the movies with a blind fold. THAT would be a similar situation.
With love and doubt,
[…] to the Samsung Instinct, Sprint did not address the matter of customers being kicked off of Instinct, however they have made some improvements. SERO customers can now switch to to a Simply Everything […]
Zac, the only “they” in this equation is Sprint. All the phones in question were bought and activated inside of Sprint corporate retail stores. Sprint is solely to blame for this debacle.
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That sucks that Sprint has decided to hide it and actually go after these individuals (how many?) unless they don’t want to set a precedent that others will use as leverage to get it on their SERO plan as did others.
I thought I was semi-clear, first, I didn’t really know the background behind the issue. I was stating that Sprint’s corporate offices passed down the memo that SERO plans would ultimately not work but if the customers choose so, they could purchase the phone with a requirement that they change plans within x amount of days. Not all of the Sprint store sales employees passed the information down to the customers. So, whether Sprint’s corporate offices should have known that it wouldn’t work OR the sales staff aren’t the brightest bunch, Sprint IS to blame.
All I was doing was breaking it apart just a bit. I do that when people start to think that issues like this are some evil scheme… Kind of like the dude who posted under yours with his “go after these individuals” like it was some conspiracy against them.
Oh well, it really is like I said though, which one sucks the least..?
The problem is, Zac, that Sprint is not telling the whole truth about SERO’s compatibility with Instinct.
With unlimited messaging now a part of SERO, there is no valid technical reason why Instinct would not “fully work” on SERO. In fact, we proved that it would when they were activated.
This is merely a financial ploy to prevent SERO plan holders from using Instinct. And, they got caught when they accidentally allowed SERO plan holders to activate Instinct, providing technical proof that it would “fully work”.
I suspect that is the main reason why we cannot get any comment about Sprint kicking SERO owners off of Instinct. Anything they say (without changing policy) would just dig a deeper hole.
You’re gonna BELIEVE Sprint? You might as well wait till your kids are grown before their customer service reps answer your calls. It takes months to get them to realize you aren’t doing business at THEIR convenience. They’re worse than AT&T, and just as devious in sales techniques.
This actually happened to me… Before I ordered the SERO, I called customer care and spoke with TWO reps – each one told me the Instinct could be activated on the SERO plan because it has unlimited data. The Instinct was also available on the SERO site for new activations and upgrades. So I ordered it online, and when I received the phone, I tried to activate it and they wouldn’t – they told me I either had to go on the $69.99 plan or the $99.99 plan. After speaking with multiple reps, and even escalating to presidential escalations – my only 2 options were to change plans or to return the phone. I chose to return the phone since the only reason I’m with Sprint is because of the SERO plan – it’s the best deal around. Couple weeks went by, and yesterday morning I got a message on my voicemail telling me that my most recent phone return (which was the Instinct) is not eligible for a refund.. WTF?!?! I called and inquired about this, and right now it’s under investigation… so who knows when this will be finally resolved. And now I even hear rumors that there will be a special SERO plan coming out just for the Instinct… OMG if that’s true I’m going to be SO PISSED off at Sprint for putting me through this hell just to find out that they could have done something. If I was told from the beginning by those 2 Sprint reps that the SERO plans aren’t eligible to have the Instinct on them, I would have never ordered the phone and put myself through all this.
Okay, I can more see your point now. The only thing I can really say is about, well how you put it “they got caught when they accidentally allowed SERO plan holders to activate Instinct”.
If Sprint did make a mistake at some point whether advertising, sales staff, corporate, etc. and they discovered that they would be loosing money with a SERO customer having an Instinct, what should they do? I know that especially with large corporations we think we can demand this or that, and claim false advertising, etc, etc. Hell I do it myself. But seriously how far do they have to go to fulfill the mistakes? Usually it is a refund or something similar, correct? As of right now what are they offering?
And those of you on SERO, I would understand that you would be unhappy about being misled or felt excited only to be left down but would you expect a company to pick up a portion of your tab and loose money just for your service? This really reminds me of how my 3 year old acts if we talk about going to the park and it rains. I understand that it is very different especially because it involves your time, gas, patience. All in all, we can’t just demand that we deserve everything, or can we?