World's Dumbest Attachment

Sometimes you just have to roll your eyes at phone company stupidity. I'm thinking of the sort of thing like when AT&T started sending huge 45 page itemized bills to iPhone customers even though they had an unlimited data plan.

This month's "Where Did We Hide the Clue?" award goes to Sprint PCS.

I use Sprint PCS for my mobile phone service. Sprint recently moved to a new portal and forced me to re-register. Nearly an entire month after creating a new login, I got an email from Sprint with an RTF-formatted word processing attachment saying:


This letter is to inform you that Sprint has completed the following transactions:

Nov 16, 2007 at 11:41 am(CST) - A PIN was created for the account
Nov 16, 2007 at 11:41 am(CST) - The Security Question and Answer on the account were updated

If you did not initiate these transactions as specified, please sign on to to see your account information or send us an email.

We are sorry, but responses to this message cannot be read or responded to.

Thanks for contacting Sprint. Have a great day!

There is so much wrong with this, it's hard to imagine how there couldn't have been a single clueful person on staff to raise a red flag.

First, a "something happened to your account" notification has to be immediate. A month-long delay is useless. Had this been an unauthorized change, the miscreant would have long done their damage. At which point, this email serves no purpose other than to rub salt into the wound. Nice going, Sprint!

Second, there is no reason the notice should be formatted as an email attachment. This should have been inline text—right in the body of the email. The only thing an attachment serves to do here is hamper deliverability and readability.

Finally, Rich Text Format (RTF) is one of the most inappropriate choices they could have made for attachment format. I guess we should be grateful they didn't make it an image attachment, like the stock spammers use.

It's hard to explain how such a badly conceived process could be unleashed on customers. It's unimaginable that nobody at Sprint had enough of a clue to stand up and say, "This is a bad idea."


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This is not making me want to pick Sprint for my next phone ... except that I suspect all the phone companies do equally idiotic stuff. The monthlong delay is totally unacceptable; the rest are dumb but unsurprising.


Yeah, from what I hear, all phone companies are really shitty in one way or another.

I have a Sprint phone because when I got mine, I had an boyfriend with a phone from there. I haven't bothered to change over, and as long as you have no problems, Sprint is fine.

That said, they keep reformatting their crap so damn much that I can no longer pay online any more...or indeed, have any access to my account. I can't get access on the new portal at all. They wanted me to supply my account number before they'd let me have access- I've been on online bill paying for years, so guess how much paperwork I had lying around with that number on it. And when by chance I found said account didn't work. I now have to pay via phone, for chrissake.