Sprint & Google Voice Integration Error

I recently bought a Nexus S 4G and I’m trying to use the Sprint/Google Voice integration, but the following error keeps popping up.

We have a problem
Sorry, there was a problem determining your eligibility for a Sprint integrated account. Please try again at a later time.

It looks like this might mean several different things. Google lists these possible reasons:

  1. Users who are behind on your phone bill.  Please check with Sprint to remedy this.
  2. Users who have a corporate number oa landline number.  Currently, we don’t offer the ability to integrate corporate or landline phone numbers.
  3. You are not using a Sprint-branded mobile phone.  Nextel, PowerSource, corporate, and pre-paid phones are not compatible with Google Voice.
  4. We were in a ‘maintenance window’ during the time you tired to sign up.  Please try again in 24 hours. If you try again and are still unable to integrate your number, it is likely because of the previously mentioned reasons.
  5. If you have call blocking enabled on your account, you cannot use Google Voice on Sprint.  In order to be eligible for Google Voice on Sprint, please contact Sprint to remove this feature and then re-try. You can use Google Voice to block unknown callers and send straight to voicemail.
  6. If you have call tones enabled on your account, you cannot use Google Voice on Sprint.  We recommend contacting Sprint to remove this feature and then re-trying the integration.

None of those appeared to be my issue. My cell phone is listed on two Google Voice accounts.  So there are two GV numbers that will ring my cell phone.  Evidentially this will cause a problem on the Google end of things. I removed the cell phone number from the other Google voice account and it is letting me go through the process correctly so my Google Voice account now shows my cell phone number as the Google Voice number.

However, I still can’t login to Google Voice on my phone.  It gives me the same error. However, Google Voice seems to be working correctly and calls to my number are handled by Google Voice voicemail, transcribed and sent as a text message.

I’m curious if there is a problem with the fact that my Sprint number was set to forward to my Google voice number when it wasn’t answered.  The other issue that might be hanging things up is the fact we have a discount on the plan because of our Costco membership.

I got someone on Sprint’s chat support and they said to undo the integration and then redo it.  They also said that they reset the Google Voice settings on my account. I tried redoing it.  Google voice calls me and has me enter the verification number, but as soon as I enter it, the message on the web page changes to:

Unable to update your account. Your last change needs to be fully implemented before we can make additional changes to your account. Please try again in 15 minutes.

The tech I’m chatting with says to just wait it out. He is sure the problem will be solved when I wait. I’m asking a few questions to keep him on the chat. Now it is letting me go through the process again. Much to “Jack’s” surprise it doesn’t work.  He describes the issue as a “technical glitch” and says they have specialists who can take care of this if I call Sprint.

I’m not having much luck getting him to explain exactly what the “technical glitch” is.  However it appears that he saw something on my account that was wrong, reset it, and then when I got the error message it came back again.

Someone else is helping me and we’ve gotten the Google Voice setup again on the Google side of things, but when trying to use Google Voice on the Nexus S, it still just says:

We have a problem
Sorry, there was a problem determining your eligibility for a Sprint integrated account. Please try again at a later time.

The current technician said that the problem is that my account is listed as a Corporate or Corporation Individual type.  The only reason I can figure out why it might be listed like this is because I have a discount by being a CostCo member.  Tech support says this can be changed to an Individual Liable account without messing up anything else on the account, but for some reason tech support can’t do this.

Ok now I’m talking with another tech support person. I’m not sure why I was transfered to him since the last guy just told me tech support couldn’t help me.  This new tech wants to check everything again.  Sprint could save everyone a lot of time if they would actually add notes to the account about what they did so the next person could read them and not try the same thing over and over again.

This guy is having me turn the phone off and back on again to see if that fixes it. :(

I’m on hold and the recorded message keeps saying:

Waiting is difficult and we know your time is important.

No they don’t know that my time is important. If it was half as important to them as it is to me, I wouldn’t be stuck explaining the same thing over and over again to people and spending long periods on hold while they try to figure out who to pass me off to next.

Now I’m talking to Joe. He says the CostCo discount is the problem. Evidentially it has me listed as a CostCo employee. I asked him if he could switch my account over to whatever it needs to be to work properly without changing the current rate I’m paying.  He is checking with a supervisor and I’m on hold again with the woman’s voice who is very concerned about how important my time is.

Joe did say that the limitation is something that Google is doing–not something that Sprint is enforcing.  I’m not sure if I believe him or not, but it might be part of Google wanting to keep Google Voice from being used for business. I think their terms of service basically say not to use it for a business although a lot of people do.

Joe said my account is setup as a Corporate Liable account. I asked if that means CostCo is liable for my bill, but he said they weren’t. He can’t give me the discount unless I’m listed as a Corporate Liable–which will keep the Google Voice account from working.

Talking to Joe involves me asking a question and him pausing for 30 to 45 seconds before giving me a response that usually has nothing to do with what I asked. Maybe he is looking for a scripted response to, “how does that make any sense?”

I asked what the logic was behind classifying accounts in such a way that they won’t work with the Google Voice integration–something that they have heavily promoted and is one of the things I was very interested in having when I bought this new phone.  His response was, “well since you said you will cancel your account over this I can get you to the retention department.” I’m not sure he is even listening to anything I say. Maybe this is some type of very human sounding auto voice prompt system.

He is blaming it on Google and saying I need to call them. (That sounds more like the humans I’m used to talking to.  I pointed out that Sprint has been just bouncing me around for the past five hours and I really don’t want to have to deal with them just bouncing me to another company.  If he thinks I need to talk to Google then he should conference them in so the three of us can talk. (Not that I think this is going to happen.) He said he would see if he can make that happen.


Perhaps the goal is to just keep my on hold until their phone system finally drops my call.

Still waiting about 20 minutes later.  I seriously think this is what he is doing because he isn’t allowed to just hang up on me.

Joe says he can’t get ahold of  Google, but now he is saying that this account should work.  He is transfering me to someone in technical support who has done this before.

Ok this guy can’t hear me very well… Argh.  The call dropped.

The new guy, John, called me back on my cell phone.  Now he is calling me on my land line.  Arghhh.  I can hear him, but he can’t hear me.

Ok talking to him now on my wife’s cell phone.

He is reseting something while I have the battery out of the phone.  Now he is asking me if I think the world is going to win tomorrow and telling me about a co-worker who quit their job because they thought the world was going to end.

Hm.  Maybe this guy just has false confidence.  I told him what the previous guy told me–that it wouldn’t work with my phone because to have the discount it must be a corporate type of account. He is going to check with a supervisor about that to make sure it will work. :(

Just found an Engadget post that seems to indicate the problem should be fixed now.

John suggested I change my password. Now I’m able to login to Google Voice on my phone!

Ok not so great.  When I call my cell phone number it gets answered by Sprint Voicemail not Google Voice.  I’m going to try to undo the Sprint Integration and then redo it.

I waited about an hour and tried it again and now everything seems to be working ok. I’m not exactly sure what fixed things, but I can log into Google Voice on my phone now and calls are answered by Google Voice.

Google Voice on the Nexus S, is very nice.  The only problem I’m seeing is that the voice mail notification from the old Sprint voicemail is still coming up. I can’t delete the voicemail because the account is gone.  Sprint says it should go away in 30 days if I ignore it.

If you are thinking about making the switch, I’d wait awhile…


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