But this really made up my mind:
Reference Number: [REDACTED]
DATE/TIME: 2013-06-25 11:xx:xx
Your Sprint chat transcript
Megan: Thank you for visiting Sprint. What questions can I answer for you today?
You: Hi Megan, my question is, does Sprint offer anything less that the Everything ___ plans for smart phones? I ask because I have a plan now that has a ton of minutes in it that I never use.
You: I'd rather pay for the data, and a much smaller amount of minutes and texting.
Megan: I am sorry, the Everything Data is the most economical plan we've for smartphones.
You: See, it's the word economical that gets me. Ting and Virgin have plans that more match my actual usage that would range between $55-70/mo versus the $167 I'm paying now.
You: Is there anything that Sprint can do for me to match what they offer?
Megan: I can understand your concern. However the Everything Data is the most economical plan we've with Sprint.
You: I see... For my record, I have two lines with different contract lengths left, what would be my liability for early termination?
You: Are you able to provide an "exact" dollar amount?
Megan: I’m happy to pull up your account and take a look at that for you.
Megan: What is the account's primary telephone number?
[ACCOUNT DETAILS REDACTED]
Megan: Thank you, one moment please while I pull up your account.
Megan: Thank you for holding.
Megan: I appreciate your patience!
You: no problem
Megan: If you cancel your [REDACTED, WIFE] line you need to pay $180 as early termination fee.
Megan: If you cancel your [REDACTED, MINE] line you need to pay $100 as early termination fee.
You: ok, that line has longer to go, so that makes sense
You: ok, so as of today, that's $280. If I go with a new provider, at only say $60/mo, I'd have that fee paid off in approximately 3 months.
You: I'm assuming those fees go down the closer I get to the end of the contract? If so, by how much?
[YOUR TL;DR; MOMENT RIGHT HERE, SPRINT'S TERMINATION FEE POLICY SPELLED OUT, underlining added by me for emphasis]
Megan: From the 15th day of service to the end of the sixth month, the Early Termination Fee will be $350. When you have 17 months remaining, the Early Termination Fee will decrease by $20 with each additional month of service. With 5 months remaining until the end of the term, the ETF is only $100 if you decide to discontinue service.
You: Ok. Thank you. You've helped me formulate a decision that I need to confer with my wife.
Megan: You're welcome.
Megan: Are there any additional questions I can help with today?
You: Not that I can think of at the moment. Please attach a copy of this conversation to my account. And have a wonderful week. Thank you for your time. :)
Megan: You can have a copy of this chat conversation sent to your Email address by clicking the envelope icon in the upper right hand corner.
You: I will do that, thank you.
Megan: Thank you for visiting www.sprint.com.
Megan: My name is Megan and it has been a pleasure assisting you. Have a great day.
You: Take care, Megan :)
Megan: Bye and take care.
She was helpful, courteous, patient, and I have no complaints on this conversation, aside from their ridiculous prices, which is not HER fault. But my mind is made up... Ting uses the same network (they buy it from Sprint, which is kind of ironic on some levels), so the service should be the same, but $100 cheaper /mo.
Time to say "Ting, how you 'doin?"
[UPDATE: Easiest carrier change I've ever done! And I got to keep BOTH numbers I had with Sprint even though one is from Detroit. The number portability act makes that possible. I had to have Ting start the process to pull the numbers from Sprint so I could keep them, which meant giving them my social security # and the account pin at Sprint. This always makes me cautious by nature, but I know why they did it. They had to have proof that I was indeed switching to a new carrier, and not some scammer trying to steal my service.
TIP: DON'T CANCEL YOUR PLANS/ACCOUNTS BEFORE YOU START WITH A NEW CARRIER, otherwise you'll lose your number. If your account is closed or grossly overdue, they have no obligation to let you keep your number!
Meanwhile Sprint responded to my tweet about switching:
Sprint being acquired by a Japanese telecom [warning: video] only AFTER I switched (this isn't new news, but it was news to me, I was clueless), and that they'd be offering new plans soon, but the new plans are still too expensive, and I'm done with constantly having a contract hovering over my head. Too Little, Too Late]
(use promo code at http://chat.ting.com to help out the Kevin Pollak Chat Show if you want, it's worth $25 bucks to you, and Kevin has a great podcast if you haven't listened to/watched it yet, DO IT! When that one stops working, use mine, you get $25, I get $25: Referral)