Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Off-Grid Pre Guy Goes Diva?

Earlier this evening I came upon this thread in the PreCentral Forums that troubled me on many different levels:

So here is my most recent story. After my Off-Grid with the Palm Pre went a bit viral, and after I posted a positive battery review today, I contacted Sprint today to talk to them about the fact that my elegant and dainty wife smashed her Samsung Highnote in the van door.

I had contacted Sprint a week ago fearing such a thing and asked if I could get insurance on her phone and they told me "no" since I was past the thirty days. I understand (I have insurance on the Pre).

So, wifey puts the phone down in the van hatch and slams the door down on it. Our fault completely, I understand.

So I call Sprint for a little "what can we do?" talk, and they said... NOTHING. $150 is the cheapest phone, you will pay full retail, any questions?

I said, "you know, maybe you can help me out... get me a cheap $50 phone (what I paid for the Highnote originally) or something?". NOPE. Full price bucko, and we never heard of Salty Off-Grid. So I say, "Fine, I think I will just cancel and maybe go elsewhere". Fine they say, Call Customer Service to cancel. I thought I was talking to customer service, but I am informed I am talking to some International Service center. So then I get Juan Carlos at Sprint Customer service. He is very understanding, but tells me if I will pay the full smack for the $150 phone, he can rebate me back something like $90 or so. And I'll have to pay full bill up front. Now I am just kind of pissed because I have really put some time and effort into trying to help the Pre (which I totally believe in) succeed. So I said, "You know, no. I think I'll just go ahead and cancel. I'll write a new review entitled "Palm hits a home run but gets strangled and raped by Sprint rounding third". So he says he'll talk to his manager and forwards me to the manager who is not in the office.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the ranch... Palm twitters me and offers to try to make things right (YAY PALM). Still waiting to hear. Frankly Sprint ought to give me a big bushel basket of Palm Pre's to hand out to neighbors and friends for all I've done for them.

Maybe we can start an online protest and Jesse Jackson them into helping a fella out. Sprint hates me because I have a big beard. Beardism. That is it.

What is wrong with these people?

Michael Bunker (Salty Off-Grid)

A number of things about this post rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, how many people have written favorably about the Pre and don't expect any kind of preferential treatment because of it? Here are the facts as I understand them:

1. His wife broke her Samsung Sprint phone
2. He called Sprint and was informed he had no insurance, and wasn't eligible for upgrade
3. He opted to cancel both of their service because he couldn't get a cheap phone.
4. He decided to post about it on a forum and made some out-of-left references to being raped and Jesse Jackson.

In the course of the thread, a few more tidbits of information are revealed. First of all, while Michael vehemently claims that he wasn't looking for special treatment, and just wanted to cancel his account, his Twitter account clearly shows him reaching out to Palm (which he also denied, claiming that they contacted him).
Now, if you wonder why this kind of thing gets under my skin, its because it creates the kind of powderkeg situations that led to the Leo Laporte-Michael Arrington dust-up that occurred last month. And I'm not the only one who has a problem with things like this- the FTC now has bloggers in their sights because of exactly this type of behavior.
As much as Michael may say that he didn't expect anything from Sprint or Palm, clearly he did. Why didn't he reach out to Samsung, the makers of his wife's damaged phone? Because he fully expected to cash in on the positive things he had written about Palm and Sprint. And the next time Michael has something to write about the maker of his truck for example, I hope he isn't surprised when we look for what payola he's looking for next.

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