Sprint: Send a Letter or Sue?
RingPlus News Service Los Angeles, April 20th, 2017 - A Florida judge had a bit of advice for Sprint after the company sued Dennis and Deborah Skelly for their alleged involvement in a “bulk handset trafficking scheme.” This article from the Kansas City Star caught our attention because it involves ESN checking tools. We all remember a few ESN fiascos, including the introduction of the Sprint FED, a program designed to prevent the sale and transfer of subsidized phones to Sprint MVNOs.
According to the Kansas City Star, the couple owns 4 U Cell LLC, a company that buys second-hand phones to be sold to their son’s company. The Skellys were instructed to check the phones’ ESNs with a source recommended by Best Buy to ensure the phone’s ability to be resold. Unfortunately, Sprint did not find this source acceptable. Here’s where the real fire starts.
Sprint’s whole argument was that the Skellys failed to contact them to obtain the proper site to check the ESNs. According to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson, the best way to handle this type of complaint would be direct contact: “You’re completely free to bring lawsuits, but I’m still convinced that for a $0.50 stamp you could have sent a letter to the Skellys, told them what the proper website was, and this entire case would have been avoided.” The judge further attempted to sway the company to use less drastic measures when seeking a resolution. For the most part, Sprint has come out with more wins than losses regarding cases of this nature.
It could be speculated that the letter was not sent as Sprint had many problems with the MVNO ESN check tool and was forced, on multiple occasions, to close loopholes that allowed phones from Boost and Virgin to pass the check tool.