Sprint has confirmed that a previous report quoting Sprint was incorrect, and we have retracted the previous article because of that. The miscommunication occurred because Sprint is indeed charging a $35 fee for all warranty service, if you do not have ESRP or TEP warranty add-ons on your account.
However, Sprint does not consider this a fee for the warranty work. Sprint appears to consider this charge to be a “service” to “mimimize time without a device”.
We apologize for the delay in correcting and replacing the incorrect initial report, based on comments from Sprint media relations. The initial comments we were given by Sprint stated that no fee would be charged for a replacement device if a device was in-warranty. Ironically, we were busy covering the launch of Sprint’s new M2M Collaboration Center while this was developing. Unfortunately, we can only talk to so many Sprint officials at one time.
Some have raised legal questions, as to if Sprint can charge this fee. Many warranty documents point to taking devices to a Sprint Store for warranty service. Such questions were raised the last time Sprint implemented a $35 fee for warranty service in-store, but were not challenged legally in any class action litigation. As such, it is unlikely the same repeat, of what appears to be the same older policy (this policy was implemented shortly after the Sprint Nextel merger, and then dropped subsequently) will be unlikely to be challenged.