Just to lead off - if you need support from Sprint, go to their live chat. That link is mostly a bookmark for me, because it's not on their web site anywhere. Certainly not in the "Contact Us" section. If you get on the phone, you'll be there for an hour or so, and they're not nearly as good at solving problems. The retail stores are worthless, even though customer support reps will tell you to go there. Don't bother.
Nov 2 - I upgrade my old iPhone 5 to the new iPhone for Life plan. This will get me a shiny new iPhone 6+ with no money down, and actually save money on my bill, especially with the "loyalty discount" I would get for being a Sprint customer who upgraded.
Nov 6 - I get my new iPhone 6+, but I cannot activate it from the iPhone setup or Sprint's online portal. Thanks, guys. They also can't swap the line when I call customer support since I'm on the phone with them. I go through chat support, and they get the new phone activated.
Nov 7 - Well, shit. They activated it with a new number and added a line to my account. That's not what I wanted. I've had the same number since high school - not exactly time to give it up now. I get on chat again, and they port my old number to the new phone, but the rep tells me to call back because another department has to cancel the additional line.
Nov 14 - I call back to disable the unwanted new line, and the rep informs me that the iPhone for Life contract is tied to the physical device, so they cannot deactivate the line unless I return my iPhone 6+ and they exchange it for a new one. In the meantime, they'll put a $900 charge on my account until they get the old one back. Oh, and I have to call back to another department to get the bill delayed, or they'll cut off my service because of the $900 charge.
Nov 22 - My service gets suspended. Thanks guys. I get back on chat support and get the payment delayed. Again. My phone gets reactivated.
Nov 26 - Sprint emails me a confirmation that the old device has been received, and they will process it and take the ridiculous charge off my account soon. I'm thinking 3-4 days, I mean, how long could it take?
Nov 30 - My shiny new iPhone 6+ gets stolen. Fucking San Francisco - I'm really starting to hate living downtown. This is the second phone I've had stolen in two years. Believe me, Find My iPhone is worthless. They can narrow it down to an apartment or street corner, but the cops can't go after it because that's not specific enough. The device gets wiped or something within a few hours, and is never heard from again.
After the last one got stolen, I got Sprint's "Total Equipment Protection" plan for $11 / mo just in case this sort of thing happened again. I got in touch with Sprint support, who directed me to another company that manages that part of the plan - Asurion. Enter a whole bunch of identifying info, create an account, and it turns out there's a $200 deductible on their plan. $11 / mo * 12 months + $200 = $322. Great. Well, cheaper than a new iPhone. Sort of.
They email me and say it may take 1-3 days to ship the replacement. I buy a Skype number, because I have no phone and I'm paying for a Sprint account I can't use.
Dec 1 - Asurion emails me to say the 6+ is on backorder, and it may take 7-10 days to ship the new one, and they will provide updates via voice mail. Are you kidding me? My phone got stolen and you'll keep me informed by voice mail ?
Dec 4 - I got my old iPhone 5 back. I had given it to a family member, who shipped it back to me. I was ready to do without, but they insisted.
I drop by the Sprint store to get the number switched back to my old phone. They tell me my account is suspended pending a $1200 charge. What the fuck? I thought we had already been over this. Then they tell me that even if they get that cleared up, I would have to pay $36 to get the old phone activated, then another $36 for the replacement 6+ whenever I get that. We're up to $322 + $72 = $394 now. Still no ETA on that.
I explain the story so far, and they literally sit me down at on the phone and call customer support, who offers to put me on hold for 30 minutes. I cannot believe how much bullshit this is. I leave.
Chat support has worked much better, so when I get home I go online with them. It takes over an hour, but the results are acceptable. They tell me the returned phone charges will show up on Dec 10, and create a payment plan so they can delay the charges until after then. But (and you knew one was coming) the plan is separate from the account, so I have to get back in touch and argue about it more when the charges are reversed.
After an hour, my representative can no longer deal with me and sends me to her supervisor. He gets my number reactivated on my old iPhone 5. He swears up and down there will be no extra line or extra charges, but would you believe them at this point?
Dec 8 - still no update on the replacement phone. I call in to Asurion, and they tell me they meant 7 to 14 business days. I ask if I'm likely to get the phone by Dec 18 when I'm leaving town for the holidays. Their rep tells me it might be shipped by then. So there's a pretty good chance my phone will be sitting on my doorstep (or returned to sender) over my Christmas break.
At this point I'm trying to figure out if there's anything else I can do. If I try to leave Sprint now, it looks likely I'd be digging a deeper with contract cancellation fees, another device to return, etc. I asked Asurion about getting a different phone. I'm honestly thinking about and Android or Windows phone, because having a shittier phone might be worth not having it stolen again. Alas, no dice. They will only ship me the replacement they don't have on the timeline they don't know.
Maybe bankruptcy is the way to go here? I honestly don't know.