My old cellphone developed an annoying affliction. Since St. Patrick’s Day, when someone called me, every so often they got the following message:
The PCS telephone number you’ve dialed is temporarily not in service.
Message 262. 3.
Since I dial my own phone number to check my voicemail, I also started hearing the message occasionally. Too occasionally. Usually it would happen when there was a significant gap of time (a few hours) between incoming calls. When someone dialed my number again, they’d most likely get through.
The only problem with always-on voicemail is that it conditions us to expect to ALWAYS get through. When you get a unexpected message like the one above, people think I didn’t pay my cell phone bill, or my phone number is no longer good. And they don’t always try to call back. Which means just like that, Sprint has begun providing me with an unacceptable level of service.
But I couldn’t determine if the problem was my trusty but ancient, monochrome Samsung SCH-A460, or if there was an issue with Sprint’s network. Predictably, tech support was little help. In the end, they suggested I get a new phone. I was long overdue for an upgrade, and apparently I could get a $150 rebate with a new 2 year contract. Yay. Let me take this opportunity to say that I HATE CELL PHONE CONTRACTS.
I shopped around, but in the end I really just wanted a cellphone that made phone calls. The only improvement I could imagine would be finally having the ability to send and receive text messages. So though I cooed at the Motorola phones offered by T-Mobile, I ended up sticking with Sprint, having 7 months still left on my current 2 year contract. Plus they had a decent looking phone, actually their only decent looking phone, on clearance for only $19.99, the Samsung PM-A840.
I was hoping I’d get the phone for free with that $150, long time customer “New for You” rebate program, but it turns out in a feat of devious marketing, the $200 clearance rebate that brought the phone cost down to $19.99 was actually same as the “New for You” rebate. And then as if to add insult to injury, they charge me 8% sales tax on the full price of the phone even though the rebate was instantaneous. Is that even legal? So I ended up paying $37.59 for my shiny new phone. And they tack on trial “PCS Vision” services I can’t decline unless I call customer service in a few days. What a scam. At least I got a new plan for the same price with 100 more minutes.
And guess what. The annoying message that started off this whole process is still happening. Except now I can receive text messages.