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Unauthorized Ringtones Still Ringing

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Olympia, WANathan is frustrated and annoyed with Sprint. The giant wireless carrier refused to take unauthorized mobile content charges off his bill, and worse, it charged a late payment fee for the ringtones that Nathan and his wife never even purchased.

It all started when Nathan put his wife's phone on his account as a second phone line when her contract expired. They went to a Sprint store and talked with a customer service representative.

Cell Call"He explained that we could get free downloads of ringtones and could pretty much customize her phone the way we wanted for the next 30 days," says Nathan. "My wife Helen downloaded ringtones over the next few weeks and at the same time, she was mailed some information that said her ringtones would expire if she didn't renew within 30 days. She didn't renew and left it at that.

But when the next month's bill came due it was about $50 more than our regular charge, which is about twice what I expected. We resolved one part of it (I'm in the military and Sprint has a deal with the military: we don't have to make any down payments and we get 15 percent off the phone bill, depending on our credit) and they waived the initial start-up fee from our bill for the second phone line.

But we still had to deal with the ringtones charges. I went back to the store around the time the bill was due and talked to the same customer service rep. This time, he said the complete opposite and denied what he said to us about the free downloads. We asked to see the manager; she came out to the front desk and sent this rep into the back of the store. She told me he was 'new' and 'didn't know what he was doing'. She blamed it on the employee's lack of knowledge. After that she pulled up my account and offered a discount on the ringtones because I was military. But that wasn't good enough: I wanted them off the bill. Period.

I don't care about a discount and I am not going to pay for ringtones. She said she wouldn't take it off the bill. Frustrated and annoyed, I walked out .

The following month, I paid our phone bill minus $50 for the ringtones. The next month I paid $123 for the plan (2 phone lines, 700 minutes of unlimited texting, free long distance and roaming, free nights and weekends) minus the $50 again. That's the long and short of it.

Third month, the bill was $173. I paid $123. I phoned yet again and said I'm not paying the full amount because I am not paying for the ringtones. I was directed to the same manager again. 'I'm sorry you aren't happy, but there is nothing we can do about it,' she said.

Next bill was $190. Again, I paid $123 and called. Someone explained that the charges I wasn't paying were considered a late payment so they were adding on a $20 late fee charge as well. That brings us to last month.

I realized what was going on and it was never going to end. I bit the bullet, went to the store and paid off the bill in full, for two reasons. My account has a $250 limit but at the rate that $50 charge ballooned into, our phone would have been cut off. In my job, I don't want to be training in the middle of nowhere without a phone or my wife not having a phone.

We didn't have an option, and it would cost $200 to cancel. And I often train around the backwoods of Fort Lewis so I need good contact. For those two reasons I am staying with Sprint but I want to pursue a lawsuit and get the $50 returned plus all interest that was charged.

I can't say anything else that would be appropriate in print. If a lot of people are beig screwed over this way, something should be done. Sprint may be a big business conglomerate but they need to get their heads out of their butts and do the right thing."



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