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Old 02-07-2010, 03:46 PM   #1
monkeyboy
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"Administrative Charge"???

Probably an old topic, but I just noticed that we got dinged an additional $5/mo for "Administrative Charges" -- just started in January. Its $1/line and nary a word on what "administrative charge" means or why it is justified...

Its getting ridiculous... We pay $8/mo in "fees" that are not taxes, not gov't mandated charges, etc., just items that Sprint feels like offloading, without any given reason. I suppose nothing to stop them from charging another $20/line/mo for "charges"...

Seems like the FCC should force carriers to incorporate any such charges into the rate structure...
===
I just read the Sprint "explanation" of the Administrative Charge (AC)...
Quote:
The Administrative Charge is applied per line, per month by Sprint to help defray various costs imposed on Sprint by other telecommunications carriers, including, but not limited to, charges imposed by local telephone companies for delivery of calls from our customers to their landline customers and for certain network facilities and services we must purchase from them. The Administrative Charge is not a tax and is not an amount we are required to collect from you by law. The Administrative Charge and the components used to calculate this charge are subject to change from time to time.
which basically says "We can make the AC anything we want, we can add a whole bunch of "components" into the AC as we please, we can change it at any time. But one thing that is in the AC is how much we want to recoup call termination charges from you... OUTSIDE the PLAN RATES that you ALREADY pay..."

Shouldn't call termination charges be already included in the plan rates that we pay??? Anything to prevent Sprint from all of a sudden putting new phone subsidy costs into the AC in the future?

Jeez... got me thinking... hmmm... they just add the new feature of AnyMobile to Sprint's Everything plans... shortly after they jack up the AC to recoup many millions of dollars more from their customers. Anybody think that this new AC is paying for the AMA feature that Sprint just added ?

Last edited by monkeyboy; 02-07-2010 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:06 PM   #2
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Yes, its a seriously old topic.

Every time Sprint raises a fee, they let you go ETF free, in spite of the language they put in the agreement. They were also offering a $20 a month credit for resigning one line for 2 years. $5 offset by $20 nets you a $15 savings over sprint changing some terms.

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Old 02-07-2010, 04:15 PM   #3
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Well *I* know that you have a 30-day window to leave, ETF-free, but even I didn't catch this pretty big fee increase til after the 30-day window. And many folks wouldn't even know that about this ETF-free window. And overall it is not what I would consider to be a "fair" business practice. And there seems to be no real limits on just how far Sprint can go with this practice.

From my point of view, it should be *illegal* for a carrier to change its non-gov't mandated fees within the contract period -- "illegal" would mean "breach of contract". And the consequences of breach of contract for a carrier should be more serious than just "we'll let you leave without an ETF". There should be fines place on the carrier. The notion that a customer is not subject to costs and damages if he/she has to leave a contract due to a breach on the carrier's part is obviously false. If a customer has to pay an ETF for breach of contract, so should a carrier...
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:19 PM   #4
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It's not exactly a breach because written into the contract is the clause that the contract can be changed at any time.
I guess you could say if Sprint were smart they would do like Verizon Wireless and make the changes apply to those that are new or upgrade their phone, giving no way to get out ETF free.

BTW has anyone noticed if these charges change based on how calls you make or receive from non-Sprint customers?
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyboy View Post
Well *I* know that you have a 30-day window to leave, ETF-free, but even I didn't catch this pretty big fee increase til after the 30-day window. And many folks wouldn't even know that about this ETF-free window. And overall it is not what I would consider to be a "fair" business practice. And there seems to be no real limits on just how far Sprint can go with this practice.

From my point of view, it should be *illegal* for a carrier to change its non-gov't mandated fees within the contract period -- "illegal" would mean "breach of contract". And the consequences of breach of contract for a carrier should be more serious than just "we'll let you leave without an ETF". There should be fines place on the carrier. The notion that a customer is not subject to costs and damages if he/she has to leave a contract due to a breach on the carrier's part is obviously false. If a customer has to pay an ETF for breach of contract, so should a carrier...
The simple facts are:

Sprint advised us all on the December bill that their was a change to the terms and conditions as of 1/1/10 as well as an increase in the administrative fee on the same date.

Depending on what your bill cycle runs, you may still be able to leave ETF free if you desire. If your bill cycle is anything after the 9th, you would have had the change effective as of that date and still be able to leave ETF free. If your bill cycle was the 1st thru the 8th, your pretty much out of luck.

As with most every contract you sign, you allow them the right to change the agreement, and as your recourse you can leave ETF free. Just like with many other companies, they bury the notices in fine print, or on the back of a page. To get that changed, you will need to get someone in congress to ensure all changes to contracts are clearly indicated and sent in a way so you know it is not junk mail and actually is important to read.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:03 PM   #6
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Recently added:
Administrative Charge Adj $0.99
Regulatory Charge Adj $0.40

These are the new charges on my bill that just came in today. Also, Sprint surcharges and Federal Fee's went up for a total increase of $3.14.
$30 SERO with $7 TEP = $44.92
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
The simple facts are:

Sprint advised us all on the December bill that their was a change to the terms and conditions as of 1/1/10 as well as an increase in the administrative fee on the same date.

Depending on what your bill cycle runs, you may still be able to leave ETF free if you desire. If your bill cycle is anything after the 9th, you would have had the change effective as of that date and still be able to leave ETF free. If your bill cycle was the 1st thru the 8th, your pretty much out of luck.

As with most every contract you sign, you allow them the right to change the agreement, and as your recourse you can leave ETF free. Just like with many other companies, they bury the notices in fine print, or on the back of a page. To get that changed, you will need to get someone in congress to ensure all changes to contracts are clearly indicated and sent in a way so you know it is not junk mail and actually is important to read.

Wrong.

What you've entered into with sprint is a bilateral term contract. It's an absolute rarity for such a contract to incorporate changes in terms. In fact, there's a lot of speculation that Sprint's contract isn't legal, because it's deceptive. Due to the wording, they essentially turn a bilateral contract into a unilateral contract, and unilateral contracts are illegal in all but the most rare of instances.

Now, I know you will want to compare this to a credit card contract, but thats invalid... cc contracts are not term contracts. They're self renewing monthly contracts, which impose no penalty on either side for cancelling the contract at any point. In the rare instance that a CC does attach a term to a contract (like in the instance of a 12 months same as cash offer), they're absolutely prohibited from changing those terms.

I'm sure your next step would be to defend adjustable rate mortgages, but again, it's not a valid comparison. The terms which may change are spelled out in very specific terms as to the frequency they can change and the amount they can change. They're also required significant additional disclosure when they DO change.... Finally, it's illegal to build a rate adjustment into a mortgage note that's under the restriction of a prepayment penalty, so again, the customer can cancel the contract (refinance) at ANY time without a penalty.. There's no sneaky 30 day window with dubious disclosures to circumvent the law.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badutahboy View Post
Wrong.

What you've entered into with sprint is a bilateral term contract. It's an absolute rarity for such a contract to incorporate changes in terms. In fact, there's a lot of speculation that Sprint's contract isn't legal, because it's deceptive. Due to the wording, they essentially turn a bilateral contract into a unilateral contract, and unilateral contracts are illegal in all but the most rare of instances.

Now, I know you will want to compare this to a credit card contract, but thats invalid... cc contracts are not term contracts. They're self renewing monthly contracts, which impose no penalty on either side for cancelling the contract at any point. In the rare instance that a CC does attach a term to a contract (like in the instance of a 12 months same as cash offer), they're absolutely prohibited from changing those terms.

I'm sure your next step would be to defend adjustable rate mortgages, but again, it's not a valid comparison. The terms which may change are spelled out in very specific terms as to the frequency they can change and the amount they can change. They're also required significant additional disclosure when they DO change.... Finally, it's illegal to build a rate adjustment into a mortgage note that's under the restriction of a prepayment penalty, so again, the customer can cancel the contract (refinance) at ANY time without a penalty.. There's no sneaky 30 day window with dubious disclosures to circumvent the law.
Just because a provision in a contract (claiming the right to raise any fee with no recourse) may not be legal, it does not void the whole contract.

Sprint has been operating as if they will let you go at any material change to the agreement. Simply put, they have the right to change the agreement, and you have the right to refuse to accept the changes and leave ETF free.

This would be closer to a credit card deciding that they were raising your APR, or adding in an annual fee. In that case, you inform them that you do not agree to the terms, close your account and pay off the existing balance under the old terms. Since Sprint will not allow you to continue under the old terms, your options are to leave or stay and accept the terms.

In the end, they inform you of the change and you have an opportunity to decline the new terms and leave. Since they give you a fee free out, the legal questions would be best left to a state AG's office to determine the validity of the terms and to sue over it.

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