Bird causing issues for Sprint customers in Wallingford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Bird causing issues for Sprint customers in Wallingford

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Some residents in Wallingford said they're frustrated that they're getting little to no cell phone service, and the culprit of the distorted calls and missing text messages is a bird.

An osprey is nesting in a cell phone tower, which caused a widespread loss of Sprint service in town about a month ago.

Kim Tefft said it's nearly impossible to stay connected with friends and family when she's in town, so she called Sprint.

"I went through four different supervisors," she said.

She said she eventually was told that a large bird nest was the problem and there wasn't anything they could do. Sprint sent her a signal repeater, which is designed to boost cell service in her home, but she said that when she leaves her home, the service is unreachable again.

"This is my lifeline," she said. "And I said, ‘I have a young daughter. This is not acceptable.'"

She isn't the only one with concerns.

Christina Pelliccio said her frustration peaked when her 12-year-old daughter wasn't able to reach her when she needed help.

"First day of school, my daughter went to wait for the bus, it's her first day at a new school. She said nobody's here," Pelliccio.

Pelliccio said she didn't get the message for an hour. Like Tefft, she called Sprint for help.

Our producer tested out the service, and although our call did go through, Pelliccio's phone never rings.

She said Sprint offered an $18 credit and later another $4 credit. But a break on the bill isn't what she's after.

"I'm not concerned with the credit," Pelliccio said. "I'm concerned with my children being able to contact me."

Federal law protects certain migratory birds like osprey from being removed or relocated from their nest. Customers said even if the birds can't be moved, there needs to be another solution.

Both Tefft and Pelliccio asked to get out of their contracts, but were told they would need to pay $500 or $600 to get out.

We asked Sprint if they'd let these customers cancel without penalty, and spokeswoman Rachel Crocker would only say, "It's obviously not an ideal situation. Any customers should definitely call our customer care. And they will be able to evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis."

Tefft said she has called them every day and isn't getting anywhere.

"I said to them on the phone, ‘I may just be a number to you, because I'm one of however many customers, but to me, and my family, this is important,'" she said.

Crocker said the bird is expected to migrate sometime this month and they have inspectors at the site every day to see if the osprey is gone. Once it's gone, the nest will be removed.

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