Love the service, not the bills.

Spent hours over the last couple of days trying to decipher my second bill from magenta. Had no idea anything could be so convoluted! Finally figured it out after spending hours looking at it online. Saddest part? In order to download a pdf version for my personal files, I had to text with support. Now that I know how and where to get it done, I have documented it for future reference.
I will give credit where credit is due – the chat was positive. The agent on the other end knew what to do, we were just hindered by technology. The configuration of the online chat session wouldn’t allow me to move around on the website. Every time I tried to follow the directions from the chat agent, I would be redirected back to the support page that I had used to access chat support. I understand why this was happening, but think it is kind of a lame configuration on the part of the website owners.
No worries. As my father used to say, ‘that didn’t stop old Cisco.’ I was undeterred. Once I realized what was happening with the chat client session, I opened up a second, alternative browser that I could use to follow along with the instructions from the chat agent.
Positives – we were able to get to the core of my issue.
Negatives – maintaining multiple browsers in view in the itty bitty screen of my laptop made viewing everything difficult.
After solving the downloading of my bill issue, I spent some time deciphering what was really in this obnoxiously long and confusing bill. I think I was a bit spoiled from being a yellow customer for so very long. The reason I never had to deal with their no-service organization until after I left, their bills were clear and concise. It was easy to find and interpret the information provided on their bills.
This is not the case with the new provider. There are charges on my bill that are rightfully there, but not easily understood.
The main purpose for the switch was to save money on service when we upgraded our devices. Based on the analysis done before the switch, this should be a no brainer.
Reviewing the convoluted bills after the switch, I am not seeing any savings, actually it appears to be costing.
After spending hours surfing the community for explanations about all of the things on my bills, I finally figured it out. For the record, the information that I needed is not on the bill. There are charges on the pdf version of the bill that have absolutely no direct link to the line items in the details.
The web view provided me the information that I needed to see so I could understand what was being charged. The old school accountant deep in my soul is having a difficult time with the reconciliation. It just bothers me when there are ‘other charges’ on my bill that don’t add up from the line items in the details section.
When all is said and done, the math works, but not by using the bill itself. This makes me long for the good old days of the obf when they regulated how the bills were formatted and mandated that all of the information be clearly and accurately calculated.
I don’t know if there are any current regulations mandating accuracy in billing statement or not, but it sure seems there ought to be.
Bottom line –
In order for the online billing system to reconcile the payments that I have made, entries are made in the billing summary section of the pdf bill. Because I took advantage of their interest free installment plans for the purchase of the new devices and the installment plan charges are not included as separate line items on the pdf bill, there is a serious discrepancy when I tried to reconcile all of the summary items. The ‘other charges’ as listed on the detailed bill will never reconcile. As the consumer, I have to be aware of this and keep track of what I have paid on my own. Knowing this, I am able to reconcile the bill using the data available online. Seems like a lot of work with little to know benefit.
The easiest fix is to pay off the installment plans that I didn’t really want in the first place. My next bill will have similar issues. We had two separate installment plans. I paid the smaller of the 2 in full as part of my activities doing this billing reconciliation. After the next bill cuts, here in the next few days, I will pay the other installment plan in full. Hopefully, we will finally see the savings promised by changing carriers. Right now, the switch has been costing us. Here’s hoping!

Churned Customer Contact

Part of my rant yesterday was about how BofA could have kept me as a customer. Well, I was way too thoughtful to them. The only response I have heard from them is the reminder that my account balance was below $25. To which I say, ‘Duh!’  In our relationship, I continued to communicate with BofA, thinking someone, somewhere might care.  Wrong!
Sprint, on the other hand, has sent me a note asking me to provide my feedback. Now I know this isn’t much, but it is something. At least I have the opportunity to tell them what went into my decision.

The way I see it:
For over a year now, I have been less than pleased with the performance of my EVO Shift – HTC device. In my job, I am surrounded by technology. It is hard to miss. If you are missing it you aren’t paying attention and maybe you shouldn’t be there.   HTC had acknowledged a bug with my android version and their sense user interface and they had chosen not to fix it.  Fine and dandy.   HTC can be replaced.
I started looking around. I bought an ipad. I like the ipad. Made me at least consider an apple product in my arsenal of data processing tools. I was shopping for hardware.  I was already thinking about upgrading.  Not to be ‘bleeding edge’ but to consume the services that I am already purchasing.  Thanks to the amazing world of technology, this is an anticipated expense.

I remember being thrilled when Hesse took over at Sprint. I was pleased as punch that he was going to make a change. He did. There is no arguing with that fact. He made his mark.  The information systems are better. The tools available for the end-user consumer are marvelous. I appreciate you paying attention to the details that matter to the buyer.  However, it was the coupling of these tools and my domain knowledge that prompted my move. I was paying attention to the noise in the marketplace.

Hesse gave me the tools to analyze my purchase.  I watched as Sprint moved from paper-only to awesome end-user personalization.  The key being the end-user’s individual knowledge.  I liked being able to log in and look at what I wanted to look at, when I wanted to look at it.  I think the difference is I know what I am looking at.  Any service provider bill can be the most confusing thing in the world if you don’t know what you are looking for.  I have some tips on how to decipher the bill so that it matters and Hesse helped to simplify the system available to do the analysis.

I have some constraints when it comes to choosing a wireless service provider.  Sprint was the last of the big 3 that I would even consider.  I was seriously considering going prepaid.  Prepaid doesn’t have the stigma that it had not so long ago.  Some of us choose prepaid so we have more control over the spending.  I see it more as a frugal choice, as opposed to the loser choice that I used to associate with prepaid cards.  Guess the marketing from that product launch is still stuck in my head.

Along comes Legere.  I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan when it was first announced he was at the helm when T-Mobile went public.  I was resistant when I first saw the marketing.  The commercials with the cowboys actually turned me off.  But I follow a number of blogs about changes in the wireless industry, all utilities, actually.  I see wireless service as a utility in my life, because I can’t imagine life without it!

It was the perfect storm.  I hated my device.  Not the hardware, the firmware.  Sprint has provided me the tools to look at what I am getting for the money I am spending for the services I need.  Legere changed the game.  Now Hesse is providing me the opportunity to tell him how I feel.  Kudos to Sprint.  Too bad you waited until I churned, before you asked.