What Are The Benefits Of Being A Sprint Premier Silver Customer?
There are none! The end. Really though. Sprint have always been behind on their phone selections. All the other major carriers have always had larger selections and, arguably, better phones compared to Sprint. It wasn't until the past year where it was actually a good thing to be on Sprint. Sprint was the first major carrier to roll out its 4G network and they started to get really good phones. Their family plans were still better than all the other carriers as as far as value go, they gave the most bang for the buck with their everything data and simply everything plans. In the past, being a Sprint Premier customer means you could upgrade to a new phone every year instead of every 2 years. Now Sprint has pull the rug from under us again with their tiered Sprint Premier benefits.
It seems that every time Sprint takes 2 steps forward, they take 1 step back. This, not only makes their customers angry, but it's also dishonest and makes their competition look a whole lot better.
Before we look at the scam known as “Sprint Premier”, lets look at their $10 “tax/surcharge/4G” mystery fee. When the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G came to Sprint, in order to get these hot new phones, you had to pay an extra $10 fee. Sprint justifies this surcharge by calling it a “Premium Data Fee”. Since they're so keen on misleading its customers, lets define what constitutes “Premium Data.” At first people suspected that this was just a clever way of saying “4G Fee” or 4G Tax” but we later learned that this was not the case. Sprint said it wasn't a 4G charge but it was assumed because the only phones that required that fee was the Evo 4G and the Epic 4G. Both 4G phones. Alright, call it whatever you want Sprint. It wasn't until earlier this year when Sprint pulled the rug from under us.
It's Not A 4G Tax.. Promise
It turns out, Sprint wasn't lying to us. They proved that the Premium Data Fee was definitely not a 4G tax. Effective January 30th, 2011, Sprint extended this $10 fee to ALL smartphones. Yep, that means BlackBerry smartphones, Android smartphones, Windows Mobile, etc will all have this $10 fee. “WOW...” is what most Sprint customers were saying. This applies to new contracts, new phone activations, and new line activations. So if you are on contract, don't upgrade or add a line unless you are willing to pay that $10 fee. Sprint can justify calling this an add-on fee instead of a base because they still have people buying dumb phones. Pay attention to this fee. I'll talk about it later.
Let's get down to business. The Sprint Premier “perks”. Previously, Sprint extended these so-called perks to their customers. First, there's the “Complimentary 6-Month Plan Check-Ups.” Basically, you get a call from an Indian person saying, “This plan is a perfect fit for you!” Second, we have “25% Off 2 or More Accessories.” A coupon? How exciting. Next is their “Anniversary Rewards.” This ranges from free ring tones to extra minutes. You mean I get 100 extra minutes added to the 1500 I hardly ever use? Gee, thanks Sprint! Then there's the “Just Because Extras.” This is basically spam. They send you contests and sweepstakes that you have to enter like those spammy Publisher's Clearing House junk mails. Next, we have “First-to-Buy Occasions”. This means you can have first dibs on their new phones. YAWN... Then there's “Sprint Premier Connections.” Honestly, I don't know what this entitles. It just sounds exclusive without explaining anything. The next one is a joke. “Sprint Premier Community.” A stupid online forum where Premier customers go to complain. I can buy a domain name for $10, hosting for $40 a year and open up my own whiny forum. The last one is, quite frankly, the only perk worth mentioning. “ANNUAL UPGRADE!” With this perk, you can upgrade your primary line every year instead of every 2 years. Granted you have to renew your contract, if you are happy with Sprint, this is an excellent perk.
Here Comes The Slap In The Face
I've paid my bills in its entirety on time every time for a year. After 6 months, they sent me mail saying that I qualify for Sprint Premier benefits. I skimmed through it and only found the early upgrade worth remembering. It wasn't a big deal but it was a nice perk to offer. Earlier this week, I received a rather touching letter from Sprint. On the send-to address, they mentioned, “For our Premier customer:” Aww... I feel so special. Little did I know, I had just received a “dear John” letter. “Effective April 1, 2011, Sprint Premier will be updating to two levels of benefits.... your account meets the criteria for Sprint Premier Silver...” I scrolled through their little chart, I notices all of the useless perks were the same for Silver and Gold members. One thing was different was the upgrade perks. Silver customers get an upgrade every 22 month while Gold Premier customers get an annual upgrade.
The marketing of Silver is bullshit. Basically, I'm just a regular customer now and they don't have the heart to say so. Grow some balls Sprint! I have the Everything Data Share 1500 plan which is $129.99 base. I need to have the Everything Data 3000 or Simply Everything Family Plan in order to qualify for Gold Premier. Remember that $10 fee? If I had 5 lines on my account, all with smart phones, it would come to $239.99(129.99+$50[smartphone fees]+60[$20 per line after 2 lines]= $239.99) plus tax/surcharges! I still would not qualify for their Gold perks because of their fine print. It states that the qualifications have to be before add-ons.
With the additional $10 Premium Data Fee for all smartphones and this tiered Premier benefits, Sprint is making it easy for customers to leave. Yes, you can call this a rant but I don't care. How many straws does it take to break this camel's back? From the looks of things, it's not much more. Sprint could've handled this situation a lot better. Just be honest with your customers. Make the $10 Premium Data Fee part of the base fee and offer rebates for dumb phones. No one is going to leave happy with a dumb phone. Just raise their base price and no one will be complaining about “4G tax.” Another mistake is sending me a letter saying that I qualify for Silver under their new conditions. This is an insult to my intelligence. Those perks are garbage and the only one that matters is the early upgrade. Stop hyping yourself up Sprint. You guys are acting likes these lame perks are the cures to cancer or something. “Ooohh, 25% off 2 accessories? I better thank my lucky stars!” We all know that Verizon is expensive. The difference is they don't hide it. Sprint is being underhanded this past year. First, the $10 data charge and now an insulting tier Premier plan? I regret ever signing up with them. Just level with your customers. There are no benefits for being a Premier Silver customer. Don't sugar-coat it.