In today’s installment of the continuing story about Sprint and the ongoing revenue loss, we’ll look at the most recent information I have dug up on the internet and through my sources both at Sprint and from the Brooklyn community. One of the scams worked with data cards where people paid a dealer a onetime “fee” of $150 to $400 per data line and the customer supposedly would never have to pay Sprint a dime. One was a dealer in Lakewood, NJ and as I recall, he may go by the name of “Shlomo”.
I was not able to dig up much information on him but I did find information on a store in Brooklyn, later determined to be known as “Cellular 4 Less”. There are a number of other stores across the country with the same name and I should make it clear that those are not connected to this bunch in any way that I know of. Here are a few snippets of what I found.
This was written on 4/23/2009 on a website discussion: “There is a new deal out of Boro Park. One time fee of $200 up front for 1000 minutes and unlimited text. Your monthly bill will be $2.50 a month. Must have pre-existing phone. For internet and Blackberry service more money is required up front but the monthly fee stays the same. If upgrading a plan in middle of contract it continues where its at does not start a new 2 year contract. I want to know if any one used him and their satisfaction level is. The name of the store is Click 4 Cell. It is exclusively for Sprint I think.”
I was not able to find much information on “Click 4 Cell” other than it was one of the apparently dozens of small shops in the area that seemed to be part of the “scam Sprint” conspiracy as they like to refer to it as. As for the plan mentioned before, this was the infamous “JC Plan”, discussed heavily on sites like Sprintusers.com and it was one of the glitches possibly designed and/or released by the terminated employee of Amdocs, the company that manages Sprint’s billing system. Sprint caught this within days and suspended access to the code, but not before it was placed on hundreds of lines. Many of these ended up a couple of accounts where the owners turned around and sold the phones and plan to others for hundreds of dollars a pop. Some customers were contacted and told they had to change but many managed to once again, slip through the cracks.
When the issue of Sprint catching on to this game and forcing changes came up, another poster wrote: “i spoke to a dealer who said he set up many plans and even when sprint sent out those letters the last two times, they never followed up on it. They sent letters out but never canceled anyone's plans.”
This was partially because Sprint’s account services department sabotaged the effort to cancel people or automatically change their plans in order to keep lines from going off the books. The letter told these customers that they had a set number of days to change the plan or terminate their service. If they did not contact Sprint, Sprint planned to change all lines to new plans by running a program that would accomplish that. However, some of the people assigned to the project suspiciously got reassigned before anything could be done, thereby nullifying months of research and planning.
Here’s a quote from a person who got caught. In this case, the plans had already been locked down so there was no real way for them to revert back once Sprint’s Executive Services department forced a change: “I got one of these plans, after six months sprint told me my rate was not available and they bumped up to $60 bucks a month instead of ten. Now Im stuck with $60 a month or $200 termination fee and I lost my upfront money that I paid to guy next to shomer shabbos. They said they can fix it for $150 but they are not guaranteeing how long it will last”.
Shomer Shabbos is a 24 hr synagogue at 53rd and 13th streets in Borough Park in Brooklyn. There is a store called “Cellular 4 Less” which is at 5308 13th Street which is between 53rd and 54th Streets, right next to Somer Shabbos. In this New York Times article, it identifies both the owner (Mendy Handler) and the manager of the store (Sol Oberlander).
Mendy Handler is listed as the point of contact for Congregation Koson http://www.charityblossom.org/nonprofit/cong-koson-brooklyn-ny-11219-mendy-handler-113576639/, just blocks away from the store.
A lot of the larger accounts setup with Sprint that were hugely unprofitable and manipulated were under the names of yeshivas and other non-profit groups, as well as businesses which seemed to exist only on paper. It is not known if these establishments were aware of and/or profiting from these scams but the preceding information seems to hint that at least some of them were.
Strange how these people have no issue with scamming Sprint as well as possibly members of their own community who may or may not know what they are doing is certainly a Chillul Hashem and possibly illegal.