Welles v. Sprintcom, Inc., 2008 WL 4696157 (N.D. Ill. October 23, 2008 ).

Sprint dropped David Welles’ calls, then dropped the ball on his refund.  Welles filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleging Sprint committed consumer fraud because Sprint allegedly made refunds for the dropped calls but only to customers who called to ask for a refund. (Apparently, plenty of customers were calling for refunds. Consumer websites are full of articles about how to “stick it to the man” and take advantage of this credit. (See for example “Get Credit For Sprint’s Dropped Calls – Keystrokes To Save You Money” .

There are so many customers sticking it to the man that they even have a name – “Sprint Dropped Call Credit Ninjas.” As put by a blogger on a much less distinguished but no less interesting blog than this one, “Back in the day, when I was in college, I used to call up Sprint when I was bored (in the car, waiting in line) for the lucrative ‘dropped call credit’ refund. Basically you just called in, talked to the automated CSR and said ‘dropped call credit.’ Your account would be refunded whatever it cost for the average call, I forget the amount, but you’d be limited to X number a day or billing period or something. Yeah it was unethical and something I wouldn’t do now, but not illegal.” See “Sprint ‘Dropped Call Credit’ Ninjas Get Axed.  

Finding a different way to stick it to the man, Welles filed suit against Sprint in 2001. At the time, CAFA did not exist. 

In 2008, the state court judge dropped the case for want of prosecution after Welles’ attorneys did not appear for a case management conference. Welles’ attorneys allege they didn’t receive notice. (The Court did not address whether Sprint dropped the court’s call to Welles’ attorneys or whether Welles’ attorneys just dropped the ball.)

A month later, Welles filed a new complaint pursuant to an Illinois statute which allows a party to commence a new action within one year if an action is dismissed for want of prosecution. Sprint removed the case to federal court pursuant to CAFA. Welles moved to remand arguing the case was commenced before CAFA’s effective date. The Court denied Welles’ motion and found the suit was a new action filed after CAFA’s effective date. Therefore, the Court found CAFA applicable and the case properly removable.

If this post didn’t satisfy your dropped call curiosity, or you just have too much time on your hands, check out the suit filed against Cingular for boasting in its “Switch to the Network with the Least Dropped Calls” advertising campaign that Cingular has the least dropped calls (Kaltwasser v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 543 F.Supp.2d 1124, 1126-27 (N.D. Cal. 2008)) or youtube for the hundreds of homemade parodies of the dropped call commercials. Better yet, call your cellular provider and ask for a refund.