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Thread: Sprint Collecting Almost $8 Million/mo For Inactive Lifeline Accounts

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    Sprint Collecting Almost $8 Million/mo For Inactive Lifeline Accounts

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/24/2...-investigation

    Sprint took millions of dollars meant to subsidize phone and internet service for low-income consumers, even while those consumers were not using the service, according to the Federal Communications Commission. FCC chairman Ajit Pai called it a “careless disregard” for taxpayers and commission rules and called on the agency’s enforcement arm to conduct a full investigation.

    “It’s outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing,” Pai said.

    Sprint called accepting the payments an “error” said it is “committed to reimbursing federal and state governments” for any subsidies it should not have taken.

    SPRINT’S ABSENT SUBSCRIBERS REPRESENTED 10 PERCENT OF LIFELINE, THE FCC SAYS
    The FCC’s Lifeline program offers a $9.25-per-month subsidy for low-income consumers on either a phone or broadband plan. But in 2016, under former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the commission added a key limit to prevent misuse of funds: if customers don’t use their service for 30 days, providers must begin the process of removing them from the subsidy program.

    Sprint failed to do that for 885,000 subscribers, the FCC says. This represents nearly 30 percent of Sprint’s Lifeline customers and nearly 10 percent of all Lifeline subscribers. The commission doesn’t say how long Sprint had failed to remove customers from its rolls.

    The issue began in July 2017, Sprint says, when “an error occurred” as it tried to implement the 30-day de-enrollment requirement. Sprint says that, after the error was noticed, it “immediately investigated” and informed the FCC and state regulators. The FCC says the issue was discovered during an investigation by the Oregon Public Utility Commission........................................ .................................................

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    Engadget added Sprint's response:
    https://www.engadget.com/2019/09/24/...feline-claims/

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    Quote Originally Posted by carcarx View Post
    Considering Sprint is losing money, an extra $90+ million a year that is practically without cost to them, is hardly immaterial as Sprint states.

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    Sprint not terminating an inactive Lifeline customer violates the terms of the updated Lifeline agreement but it is not fraud. On the other hand, Safelink has fraudulently enrolled millions of ineligible subscribers.

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    [QUOTE=Grateful4Advice;17097109]Sprint not terminating an inactive Lifeline customer violates the terms of the updated Lifeline agreement but it is not fraud. On the other hand, Safelink has fraudulently enrolled millions of ineligible subscribers.[/QUOTE

    Yes, continuing to bill the Government for subscribers who are no longer eligible for 2 or more years is fraud on someone's part. The number ineligible represents 30% of the lifeline customers in Sprint's program and 10% of the entire program.

    I'm not sure how what some other company does mitigates Sprint's actions.

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