NBC Boston Responds: Free iPad Deal From Sprint Goes Wrong for Man on Fixed Income

You purchase a new smartphone and think you’re walking away with a great deal – until the first bill arrives. That’s the problem our Responds team recently took on for one of our viewers.

Marvin Johnson bought a new phone at a Sprint store last fall, and with a promotion, got a free iPad and virtual reality gear with a 3G plan.

"When I walked out of there with my iPad and virtual reality gear I said ‘I have two grandsons who already have their Christmas presents. I have a new phone.’ I felt pretty good. I thought that I had got a fantastic deal. I really did,” said Johnson.

But when his Sprint bill arrived, he owed a lot more money than expected. He realized he was being charged for the iPad and gear. 

"I was getting charged approximately $70 dollars more a month and I’m on a fixed income," said Johnson.

Marvin tried to fix the problem, reaching out to the store manager and making numerous calls to Sprint, but he couldn’t get the issue resolved, and had to pay the high monthly bill, because he needed his phone service.

"I called them probably twice a week for a good two months," said Johnson. "Then I decided that calling them was basically not going to get me anywhere and then I chose other means."

He contacted NBC Boston Responds, asking for help and we got it for him.

"I called NBC Responds and this is no lie, within 24 not even 36 hours, I got a call back from the executive offices of Sprint," said Johnson. "They gave me credit for the iPad and virtual reality gear and they gave me all my money back."

In a statement, Sprint told NBC Boston: "After researching, we determined unfortunately he was not set up on the right service plan in order to receive the promotional offer. We deeply apologized to Mr. Johnson, adjusted his account and provided a full refund."

He got $500 dollars back and his monthly bill is now reduced.

"If I ever have another problem with any consumer issue I am definitely going to call Leslie," added Johnson.

Just a reminder: when buying a new phone or signing up for a promotional offer, make sure you always have a copy of your contract and go over the details of it before leaving the store.

If you have a consumer complaint, you can reach us at 1-888-521 NEWS or at Every call and every email will be answered. 

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