I have a Sprint Wireless plan. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh. I know it’s not the best coverage and certainly not the best service. But the reality is that my phone is used way more as a handheld network device than a phone, and you can’t beat unlimited data for $15/month. That’s why I stay.

As a part of that data plan I get Sprint’s Picture Mail service. In theory, this is supposed to let me send and receive pictures and videos as part of text messages. In practice, it lets me easily upload photos to Sprint’s Picture Mail web site and send and receive web links to those images. It’s a lousy implementation intended to drive traffic to their site so you’ll buy prints and stuff there. But I don’t use it much and it let’s me get pictures from people on networks with real MMS services. Close enough.

Now, if I didn’t have a data plan, they’d charge me $5/month for Picture Mail. So I was surprised when I got the bill this month to see a $5 charge for Picture Mail as well as a $1.83 charge for a picture Kim sent me “before I signed up for Picture Mail”. This clearly warranted a call to their customer service center.

I spoke to a very nice girl, and when I explained the situation, she confirmed that I was entitled to Picture Mail without the additional charges. She credited my account and apologized for the inconvenience. “Easy enough,” I thought to myself with unwarranted optimism.

But after hanging up, I noticed a message on the phone indicating that I had canceled my Picture Mail service. Hmmm… I wonder. So I opened the application and tried to send a picture as a test. Sure enough, it pops up asking me if I’d like to subscribe for $5/month. If I say no, it won’t let me use the service. If I say yes, I’m gonna see that $5 charge again next month. So I call back in.

I got a different girl who was also very pleasant. I explained the situation and she apologized for my misunderstanding, but if I want Picture Mail, I’ll need to pay the $5. I assure her that I’ve spoken to at least two other people who told me it was included in my data plan. Further, I’m looking right on their website where it says the same thing. She again politely assures me that I am mistaken and this has always been their policy. She wants to know if I’d like to add the $5 service.

I’m getting a little irritated at this point. I tell her I am not paying any extra for the service, and that if she cannot help me then I’ll hang up and call back in and get someone who knows what their plans really are. She asks me to wait for a moment.

Twenty seconds later her cheerful voice returns to the line. She informs me that since I’m such a valuable customer that she will enable the service on my account at no additional charge. I ask if this is just for next month, and she assures me that this is forever. Riiiight… because I’m such a good customer.

What turnip truck does this chick think I just fell off of?

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