How do I get Sprint to break up with me?
October 28, 2011 7:20 PM   Subscribe

How can I get Sprint to dump me, instead of the other way around?

I want to break my Sprint contract. I have the "Everything Data" +450 minutes plan. My contract allows for unlimited data. However, I read in the terms of service the following:
"Off-network Roaming: The primary use of your Device must be for domestic purposes within the Sprint-owned network. Domestic means use in the 50 United States and U.S. Territories (except Guam). Sprint reserves the right, without notice, to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend service if off-network usage in a month exceeds: (1) voice: 800 min. or a majority of minutes; or (2) data: 300 megabytes or a majority of kilobytes. The display on your device may not always be on and will not indicate whether you will incur roaming charges. You can monitor usage online through My Account. Roaming is not available with single-band phones, or to customers who reside or whose primary use is outside an area covered by the Nationwide Sprint Network. Sprint may limit or terminate service if you move outside of the Sprint owned-network."
This seems to imply that if I go into roaming mode and use enough data (stream Pandora, watch Netflix) enough over the course of a month, they'll terminate my service. It seems too easy. It couldn't possibly be this easy. Is there anything I'm missing here? Some unintended consequence I'm not considering? Have you tried this?
posted by juniperesque to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just because they reserve the right to, doesn't mean they will.

And if they terminate your service, I doubt it will be any more favorable for you than if you did it - I would guess that the same penalties would apply.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:23 PM on October 28, 2011

Plus that seems to say if you are doing those actions out of the country... are you planning on doing that?
posted by DoubleLune at 7:44 PM on October 28, 2011

Not to threadsit, but...

If Sprint terminates your contract, there's no ETF. And, there is a button on my phone which allows me to go into "roaming" mode, so I don't think I have to go out of the country just to roam. I always thought roaming just meant using a signal that wasn't Sprint's.
posted by juniperesque at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2011

I always thought roaming just meant using a signal that wasn't Sprint's.

Looks like you're right on that. The "off-network" threw me off, but it's just redundant.

It looks like you are reading that correctly, and it just comes down to if they will actually do anything in response to your excessive roaming.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:09 PM on October 28, 2011

"Move" to an address where they don't have service.
posted by trevyn at 8:42 PM on October 28, 2011

Does roaming voice/data cost more? If so, how much more? How much will it cost you to incur their limit? Are you prepared to go 2x, 3x, 5x over their limit? etc.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:49 PM on October 28, 2011

I "roamed" with sprint for 2 years and they didn't make a peep.
posted by fshgrl at 8:53 PM on October 28, 2011

Sprint piggybacks on Verizon's towers, especially in outlying areas. However, at least in my area, Sprint covers pretty much everywhere. When I consult the detailed coverage map for my address, the areas marked off-network roaming aren't even inhabited. You might have trouble reaching them.

By far the easiest way to terminate a contract early is to look for "materially adverse" changes in the terms of service. These are concrete changes that are not in your favor, like a change in the price of individual texts from profane to obscene. They tend to come along pretty often, for instance there's one for Sprint mobile hotspot users right now. Keep an eye out at Consumerist, but some Googling indicated there might be one available for smart phone customers. Sprint's contract says you must, "(a) call [them] within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise [them] that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that [they] have made."
posted by wnissen at 10:21 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

I work for a cell company in the roamer/tech department, though not for sprint (thanks be to the gods...) We will cancel people for using more than 200 mb off network if they are repeat offenders, basically. I speak to folks all the time who live off network and do not get cancelled for whatever reason, probably because their data usage isn't that high.

Getting them to "fire" you as a customer is problematic at best. I don't know how they write their contracts but it is possible that if you are roaming off network they could cancel you and still charge the etf. How far out are you from your end of contract? It does look as though they prorate their etfs, so it may be worthwhile to go ahead and take the etf rather than mess about with a process that could take months, during which time you'll still be paying your monthly fee.
posted by ottergrrl at 5:26 AM on October 29, 2011

what kind if phone do you have? If its android, download a BitTorrent client and grab all the linux releases you can. If they care about their network, they'll kick you off.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:20 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can't. It's a marriage, boo (albeit a bad one).
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 7:38 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

for instance there's one for Sprint mobile hotspot users right now.

Not so much, unfortunately. Mobile hotspot is an addon service, so they can do whatever they want to it, and it doesn't count as materially adverse. The theory there is that you can just remove the addon with no penalty, and just carry on with the basic service. The law doesn't care whether the existence of uncapped tethering was your entire reason for entering into an agreement with them in the first place. Anyway, that's the way they explained it to me when I tried it.

I've heard that mobile providers have fired customers for calling customer service too often, but I don't know how true that is.

If you're going to try data roaming, I'd suggest you make sure it's unmetered and uncapped first.
posted by Kalthare at 9:06 PM on October 29, 2011

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