The Sprint – Samsung Quandary

TL;DR – if you are a Sprint customer, or bought the Samsung Galaxy S7, have a back up plan for when it breaks.

On April 19, at about 11pm, my 5 week-old Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge screen flickered, then went out.

I hadn’t dropped it, it was charged (not full, but at least upwards of 50%) and it hadn’t undergone any stress or anything similar. I realized that I could still *hear* the phone functioning. I was reading on it, and I could hear and feel the haptic feedback when I made a scrolling motion on the screen. Upon locking, I was able to unlock with my fingerprint, but still no display. Sometimes it would flicker, slightly, like green or pink lines down the middle of the screen, but nothing to which I could respond.

I did some research and found out that it wasn’t an uncommon problem with this particular phone. Many people were able to fix it by doing a soft or hard reset (various combinations of holding down one of the volume buttons + power + home), but it didn’t work for me. This didn’t work for me.

I bought the phone outright. My husband changed our contract since, like everyone, we don’t like paying more than we need to for frivolous services, and our options are now to either *lease* phones for 2 years or purchase them outright. With the new phone, a case, screen protector, I spent upwards of $900. So when I went to the Sprint store, after having done research to see that this was a known issue with the phone, I was expecting helpful answers.

Sprint DGAF

You can see where this is going, right? Welp, the Sprint store did not know how to fix the issue. So these were my options, as presented to me by the rep:

  • Since the phone was so new, Sprint didn’t have any refurbs with which to replace it. And it would take at least a week, if not more, to receive one (apparently, NO stores keep them in stock).  It would also cost me $100 for this new phone, plus a $35 activation fee.
  • Since the issue was with the device, and Samsung offers a one year warranty, I could call Samsung, send the device in, and they would mail it back once repaired. The rep said this typically takes up to 2 months. MONTHS.

While these were both hard enough to swallow, I’m leaving for a work trip tomorrow, and not having a phone isn’t viable. Sprint doesn’t have loaner phones, and they weren’t able to offer me a different refurb that was in stock to use in place of mine. My options?

  • Buy a new phone.  And pay all associated charges (activation, restocking if returned, etc)
  • Activate an old phone (of which we have none, since we always sell them back when we upgrade).

Literally, those are the option the rep gave me. I was a little stunned. My husband and I have been with Sprint for years. We’ve autopay-ed since we both had Samsung Galaxy IIIs. We’re super low maintenance, this is the first time we’ve had a major issue with a phone, so we’re not repeat complainers or anything like that.  It just really sucked to feel like we had invested this time and energy with this cell provider, and when something bad happens, it was like,

How can we make money off of your misfortune *cue Mr. Burns style laugh*

So, needing a phone, and lacking the resources to activate an old one, I bought a new one. I did further research and found out that Samsung *actually* aims for 10 days, including airtime, to receive, fix, and return devices. I have two weeks to return this other phone to Sprint, and I’ve already tracked down an old Galaxy III from a friend I can use after I return from this trip.

Samsung = Polar Opposite

Working with Samsung was a dream compared to the Sprint store. I was able to complete the request via their online chat, and they emailed me a UPS shipping label within minutes. I dropped it off at the UPS store that day, and through the tracking information, I can see that it was dropped off at their dock at 11am on Friday, April 22. I can also track it through Samsung’s system as well, so I’ll have a timeframe as to when to expect it.

Learn from my frustrations. Have a plan for when something goes wrong with your phone. Be prepared to shell out some cash. Don’t expect empathy.

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