My most successful strategy so far with Sprint and Blackberries is this:
"Mail the phone to me. I'll pay whatever, just send me the phone. I don't want to deal with any 'specials,' just the phone is all, please. No thank you, don't activate anything, don't adjust my plan. No, I don't need *power vision*Just send me the phone, please."
I open the box, call the very knowledgeable people at Sprint BB support (number posted above) and am happily about my business in less than an hour.
I've been with Sprint about 7 years as well. Never had a day of trouble from any phone or the network, but I avoid the CSR's at all costs. [Although the support by email folks have always been pretty good]
I guess I'll pick up an 8703 in a few weeks. I've put it off long enough.