Virtually every public place was not equipped with its own Wi-Fi connection 11 or 12 years ago when Ron Thorstad ordered a mobile hot spot from Sprint to use with his laptop on trips out of state.
By the time they were, Thorstad was ready to cancel the service, but Sprint acted as if it was living in the past.
Thorstad, 81, of Verona, admits that he hadn’t used the hot spot for the last four or five years, noting, “anywhere I go now they have their own device to get on the internet.”
Nevertheless, out of habit or because they were only about $25 a month, he continued to pay Sprint’s monthly bills.
Finally over the summer, he decided it was time to officially log off from hot spot technology, and wrote “cancel” across what he thought would be his last payment to the telecommunications giant.
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It was, but not because Sprint was ready to sacrifice his business to the rapid march of technological change.
Instead, it continued to bill him, and trips to three different Sprint stores and multiple calls to the company couldn’t convince it to stop, although he didn’t make any more payments.
Thorstad shared his story in person one day during a visit to SOS headquarters earlier this month, and on Oct. 21, SOS contacted Sprint public affairs specialist Yui Namiki, who promised she would get on the case.
Thorstad reports that later that day or the next, he got a call from a “Belinda” from Sprint, who “apologized for all the runaround I’d had” and said his account was being canceled and his bill zeroed out. He said he asked for and later got confirmation of that in writing.
Sprint also does not appear to want his long-unused artifact from the long-ago 2000s.
Asked if he had returned the hot spot, Thorstad said, “they didn’t ask for it back.”