Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sprint: Buy a New Phone, Lose Your Old Photos

I sat on this story for a while as I waited for some good news from Sprint, but since none is forthcoming, it's time to post my caveat on MY blog for a change.  The short of it is if you are using a Vision Pictures account from Sprint, unless the folks at the company that hosts this service have gotten a little brighter, you would do well to make sure you have copies of your photos somewhere offline before you buy a new phone.   Believe me, I know this from experience.


The Story:

In June, I changed from a Nokia PM-6225 phone to a PPC-6700 Pocket PC Phone. I'd had a Vision Pictures account I'd been using for about two years, and when I called up to order the 6700, no one bothered to tell me that my Pictures account would be deleted, since the new phone couldn't use the account. When I discovered a week later that I couldn't access the account, I started calling. There were the usual incorrect answers and misguided attempts to help, but I was persistent. A Sprint tech implied by a question that it wasn't wise of me to have some pictures only on the server, but it seemed perfectly logical to me: I was still with Sprint, so had no clue that they would kill my account without my request; I'd had access to the photos from any location where I had internet access; and servers are backed up. Why WOULDN'T I have thought to trust Sprint and their cronies to keep my photos safe? I had to go through several layers of people before someone told me she'd submit a request to recover my pictures and have them shipped to me. I had to wait 6-8 weeks for the disc, which never arrived. When I called them, I was told that no one contacted me, because my pictures were unable to be recovered.

I'm upset about the loss of vacation and other photos, but even more incensed that the customer service people didn't think it was important to warn me that I would lose the photos I'd cared enough about to upload. From my discussions with reps, it became quite obvious that this had happened before, so someone should have had the consideration to say something. I could have grabbed my photos and called back to order the phone, and there would have been no anger on my part.

Then there's the issue of their immediately creating a new Pictures account after deleting the old. It seems silly and inefficient to me. My phone number didn't change; why would my Vision Pictures account?


How I feel about Sprint now:

I'm still annoyed by the loss of my photos and by Sprint's callous disregard. I keep reminding myself that at least I have EVDO without paying the ridiculous prices other providers charge. I also remind myself that I don't have the service outage issues I've witnessed my friends having. If the other companies ever lower their prices for data, I might find myself seriously regretting Sprint's bad behavior just as I was committing to a new 2-year contract, but, for now, even if I could change, I see no real reason to do so. Even so, the level of trust I afforded to my mobile provider has decreased.