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Bad ESN issue


evancg
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Posting on S4GRU because there are a lot of smart Sprint fans around here...maybe someone has a suggestion.

 

Mid January 2013, I bought a GSIII on eBay from someone who appears to be a re-seller. Verified a clean ESN and activated the phone.

In mid May 2013, I upgraded to an HTC One and called Sprint to verify the GSIII ESN was free then sold it online.

Today, the buyer contacted me and told me he couldn't activate it - Sprint says the ESN was bad.

 

I used the online chat with Sprint and the first rep, thoroughly confused by what I was trying to tell her, finally told me I "requested an advanced replacement of the device and never returned it, so it was marked bad". I explained to her that wasn't me, that must've been at least one or two owners prior, but before I could get more information from her, I had to leave.

 

I chatted a second time, and the second rep never mentioned the advanced replacement issue - just stated it was showing as a bad ESN. I explained the situation and she said said I would receive an e-mail in 24 - 48 hours indicating if they could clear the ESN.

 

It didn't sound very promising. I tried chat again today, and they made it sound like no record of the previous days conversations existed and I started over. They told me to call customer care. Customer care told me I couldn't do anything, and I spoke with a supervisor who could only tell me her name is Sarah, and that I shouldn't buy phones on ebay. She started cutting me off and I asked for a manager, and of course she said no one was available but someone would call me back.

 

Now I feel like I'm stuck. I asked Sprint twice (January and May) if the ESN was clear and was told yes, but Sprint claims it was tagged bad in February (had anyone at Sprint bothered to tell me I would've returned it to the eBay seller then). Now it's too late, the eBay seller has no record of the original owner, and at this point I'm going to be out $300.

 

Any suggestions? Contact numbers for someone helpful at Sprint? Online help and customer service telephone number just gives me the run around...

 

Evan

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Look at what time you made the phone calls. Everytime you call sprint it is logged what time and that's why they tell you it may be recorded because it is recording. There's proof of that go through that and you'll get somewhere because they lie to you.

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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There's no record of my May call because I just called and asked about the ESN of the phone - i called from a land line and just went straight through the prompts to customer care to check the ESN. My account wasn't involved in that call so they don't show record of it :(

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How on earth can they mark a phone as a bad ESN after you activated it?  How can someone have it replaced when it isn't active on their account, but on yours?  I would not take no for an answer.  I'd keep calling.

 

If the ESN was bad when you went to activate it, they shouldn't have let you activate it.  If they went to replace to someone else after you activated, they should have verified that the device was still active on their account.  This is ridiculous.

 

I agree that there is a lot of risk buying a phone off Ebay.  However, your risk should have ended the day you activated it.  You can go back on people using PayPal to get your money back when someone sells you a device with a bad ESN without declaring it.  However, since the transaction was six months ago, I'm not sure if those protections are still afforded to you.

 

Sprint needs to start an investigation on this.  Because they need to go after the person who previously had the device and take actions against their account if they are still a Sprint customer.  They will be able to tell in 5 minutes that someone reported it after you activated the device.  You can probably even provide them evidence of the sale from EBay or PayPal.  And Sprint should reinstate the ESN, once they conclude the investigation.  Because it doesn't cost them anything to reinstate it.

 

Robert

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I have always had the best results working with Account Services and the manager or lead.  Also I have found the best time to call is during the 9-5 business hours. I am not sure but I have found the managers during this time are able to do a little more.

 

Good luck. Don't quit

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Dont take any crap off of them about ebay. There is nothing illegal or unethical about the resale of these devices.

 

It actually sounds like an old issue with fraud has re-emerged. There is/was an issue in prior years with TEP and advanced replacement being used to illegally obtain devices without any customer knowledge. The only relevance ebay had here is that someone kept record of your ESN. This phone may have been used for the replacement, or it may have been the replacement. Sprint has in the last 12 months busted one 3rd party retailer in the kc area for scamming devices and ebay resale. This could have easily come from that bust. Someone with proper system clearance will be able to research the history, but thats neither ecare nor front line care

 

Sent from my Note II. Its so big.

 

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Just an update - I guess what happened is someone requested an advanced replacement in January, and that's the phone I eventually got. Since Sprint never received the original "defective" phone back, February 28th was the date the ESN on the replacement phone was marked lost. Once it was deactivated from my account, the bad ESN went into effect.

 

I'm still rising through supervisor levels on the phone (how many levels are there? feels like a bad video game...). No one has given me a department or telephone number to call. Everyone just keeps repeating the same information (it was a replacement device, it's property of Sprint, it can not be activated, etc). Seriously, is getting their $250 phone back a bigger deal than my $240\month family plan? I just don't understand why no one on any level of customer care seems to care or want to help.

 

(And I HATE being the "FIX THIS OR I LEAVE" kind of guy, but honestly if this winds up costing me $300, as much as I've been enjoying my Sprint service lately (and we don't even have LTE here yet), it would just leave such a bad taste in my mouth I don't know that I could stay...)

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When speaking with Care reps, always get their Agent ID and their name. It lets them know you're paying attention. They have to give it out when asked. Every time you call, it's notated on your account. Store employees can pull up these notes too, with a little work. Just so you know.

 

When calling in, on the IVR (phone tree), pick "cancellations" and try to get transferred to Account Services. They are, in my experience, the only ones who can do anything at this level of "screwed-up-ness". That's a word now.

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It's funny, both supervisors I talked to said they aren't allowed to give out agent IDs.

 

I'm talking to account services now (a supervisor transferred me there after I explained the situation for a seventh time, because the previous transfer mysteriously disconnected).

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According to account services, the original account involved in all this was apparently involved in identity theft, and account services says they can't do anything either.

 

The supervisor in Account Services gave me the fraud departments telephone number (who is closed until morning) and I have to call them.

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Worst case email Dan Hesse's office and see what the Exec branch can do.  You should have been notified that a phone on your account had a bad ESN and been given options in February.  Further more you shouldn't have been told in May that it was clean.

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Anyone happen to have an email address or phone number for the executive office? Fraud department is giving me the run around now as well.

dan@sprint.com

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After having me on hold for literally 30 minutes (of a 90 minute call), the fraud department has to call me back. I also emailed dan@sprint.com.

 

So frustrating! I have really love my Sprint service recently and this whole thing is just so disheartening.

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Probably a little off the flow of this thread BUT in keeping with the TITLE of this thread I have to comment that I've had dealings with Sprint CS lately on two occasions where the service & end-result I've achieved couldn't be better...over the last couple of years Sprints CS (not chat, mind you) has gotten significantly better along with the know-how of the folks on the other end of the phone; I mostly avoid chat for the reasons discussed many places here and in other forums..sorry to the OP for his troubles..sometimes sheet happens

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There are some people at Sprint who doesn't care about customers. I called to get my iPhone 5 replaced because of the issue Sprint had with 3G intermittently disconnecting and was told that since I don't have insurance (they didn't have insurance at the time when the iPhone's were sold), they can't help me. That I have to go to Apple to get a warranty replacement. So I said, fine I will go there. But If Apple tells me that it's a sprint issue, then what do I do? and the rep told me, then you need to decide whether you want to keep Sprint as the provider. I couldn't believe what I had heard. Trying really hard to keep customers...

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So frustrating! I have really love my Sprint service recently and this whole thing is just so disheartening.

 

I dislike these general customer service threads on a web site that is/was supposed to be devoted to wireless network discussion.  To add fuel to the fire, I am almost certain that others in this thread will vehemently disagree with me.

 

While I am sorry for your plight, the problem does not reside with Sprint.  It resides with you and the seller of the handset that you purchased.  If Sprint chooses to go against its own standard fraud prevention policies and offer you remedy, then that is quite generous.  If Sprint chooses not to do, then you should not hold it against Sprint.

 

Instead, your legal recourse should be to pursue action against the seller.  If you are unable to do so, that is unfortunate.  But bad things do happen.

 

AJ

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Absolutely, this isnt a "kick sprint in the face" situation. It needs to be assigned a case number in executive services and the OP needs to remain cool and calm. It is sprint's voluntary choice to help free of charge. They could easily ask for compensation to clear the ESN, either the value of the device or a portion of the loss associated with the hot account used to get the device. If thats not what u want , stay calm

 

Sent from my Note II. Its so big.

 

 

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I dislike these general customer service threads on a web site that is/was supposed to be devoted to wireless network discussion.  To add fuel to the fire, I am almost certain that others in this thread will vehemently disagree with me.

 

While I am sorry for your plight, the problem does not reside with Sprint.  It resides with you and the seller of the handset that you purchased.  If Sprint chooses to go against its own standard fraud prevention policies and offer you remedy, then that is quite generous.  If Sprint chooses not to do, then you should not hold it against Sprint.

 

Instead, your legal recourse should be to pursue action against the seller.  If you are unable to do so, that is unfortunate.  But bad things do happen.

 

AJ

I beg your pardon, but I did post this in general - where we have discussions about BBQ, Verizon NSA controversy, and all sorts of other off topic discussions. I am really excited about Sprint launching LTE in Eugene, which is why I frequent this site, and I have found most of the users to be intelligent, friendly folks who might be able to provide suggestions. Additionally, I did my best to make the topic very clear and to the point, so anyone skimming the forums that dislikes these kinds of posts could easily skip it and not have to worry about it.

 

(Edit: I am not trying to sound rude in the above response, I honestly was trying to make sure this topic could be skipped by folks who didn't care - I just wanted some suggestions and help).

 

I have remained cool and calm with all but the most insulting of representatives (one said she wouldn't listen to me, and another told me I'm not allowed to buy a phone on eBay).\

 

And one of the vital points of this situation is that I activated the phone with Sprint in January, and they marked the ESN in February, but never bothered to notify ME. I'm sure they have the ability to see if the phone is active on an account. Had I been notified in February, I could work with eBay fraud and easily get a refund, and the seller would likely have better recourse (they were a re-seller, not the original fraudster).

 

THIS is where it IS a Sprint issue. Their lack of timely communication helped to create this mess - and when I spoke with them in MAY and someone told me the phone was fine, an apparent error on their part made it a bigger mess as I re-sold it based on that. So yes, the bad phone is not Sprints fault (nor mine), but they certainly had a couple areas where timing and communication were severely lacking.

 

There's plenty of fault to go around in a situation like this - if Sprint wants to charge me $100 to make the phone good, fine, we all suffer a little. I've worked in fraud, as a loan officer, and customer service, for many years. I've seen very ugly situations involving loans and stolen cars. This is minuscule compared to some of that stuff, for both me and Sprint. But it doesn't mean it's meaningless and asking for a little help is wrong.

 

Evan

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The Sprint fraud manager I was working with contacted me a second time and after speaking with management said they are releasing the ESN. I am so happy. I have really liked my Sprint service and even though it took two days and nearly eight hours of chat and phone time (hah, does that use my minutes? that's probably the most I've used my Sprint phone for telephone calls in MONTHS!), it's resolved.

 

He did note it's an extremely rare exception. I've learned my lesson - no more used Sprint phones from non-authorized retailers. I'll love my HTC One for the next two years or just buy a new phone outright.

 

Appreciate everyones help and suggestions (and moral support! seriously, this was stressing me out).

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I beg your pardon, but I did post this in general - where we have discussions about BBQ, Verizon NSA controversy, and all sorts of other off topic discussions.

 

And I will beg your pardon if I did not make my point clear.  BBQ discussions and the like add to the spice -- pardon the pun -- of the site.  But customer service issue threads do not.

 

One, they go against the charter of S4GRU, against what I signed on for as a valued contributor.  Two, they drag a site down, attracting the malcontents.  Just look at HowardForums, SprintUsers, and Sprint Community for examples.

 

If that is the route that S4GRU is headed, then Robert needs to make some executive decisions -- namely, to cash in, take the site commercial, and pay staff and contributors.  Customer service issue threads will grow and the negativity rampant within them will eventually overwhelm the mission of S4GRU.  I did not come here for that.

 

As for the technical issues underlying your situation, Sprint apparently does not flag bad ESN devices unless they are deactivated, then tried to be reactivated.  So, a device activated that is subsequently flagged as a bad ESN does not get detected as long as the account remains in good standing.  It is not a perfect system.  But, clearly, the seller of your device is the one who fraudulently tried to take advantage of that loophole.

 

AJ

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And I will beg your pardon if I did not make my point clear.  BBQ discussions and the like add to the spice -- pardon the pun -- of the site.  But customer service issue threads do not.

 

One, they go against the charter of S4GRU, against what I signed on for as a valued contributor.  Two, they drag a site down, attracting the malcontents.  Just look at HowardForums, SprintUsers, and Sprint Community for examples.

 

If that is the route that S4GRU is headed, then Robert needs to make some executive decisions -- namely, to cash in, take the site commercial, and pay staff and contributors.  Customer service issue threads will grow and the negativity rampant within them will eventually overwhelm the mission of S4GRU.  I did not come here for that.

 

As for the technical issues underlying your situation, Sprint apparently does not flag bad ESN devices unless they are deactivated, then tried to be reactivated.  So, a device activated that is subsequently flagged as a bad ESN does not get detected as long as the account remains in good standing.  It is not a perfect system.  But, clearly, the seller of your device is the one who fraudulently tried to take advantage of that loophole.

 

AJ

 

But that's just my point, I'm not generally malcontent. I agree, I avoid those sites because all people do is complain, but if you look at those, those who tend to complain, complain ALL the time. It's what they do. It's what they love. They want everything for free, they want to milk Sprint for every dollar they can. That's why I don't post for help there - they look for ways to scam Sprint.

 

I like Sprint. I want Sprint to succeed. I want them grow. And it honestly was stressing me out and physically making me sick to my stomach to feel like Sprint just didn't want to hear it. A lot of that came from the response I got from many of the representatives. I worked as a manager in a call center for four years and I know you get good and bad, but all I got was bad. That's why I eventually came here - partially to vent, partially for moral support, and partially for tips on which department might actually be able to help me.

 

No system is perfect. The seller of my device was the eBay front for http://www.waypharer.com/ (figured it out after researching it further) - so in all likelihood someone scammed them but I wound up being the fall guy. I champion Sprint to my friends and family, and to be the one who ultimately and solely suffers due to a giant loophole in the system was just leaving a really bad taste in my mouth (part of that is also the free coffee at work, but it's free, so I'm not complaining).

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I champion Sprint to my friends and family, and to be the one who ultimately and solely suffers due to a giant loophole in the system was just leaving a really bad taste in my mouth

Glad you were able to get the phone working. 

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