Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Virgin Mobile is a HO! and in the worst possible way.

We're having issues with Virgin Mobile
Maybe a whole news stand... I'm waiting for email from Customer Disservice.

My Daughter is getting a new phone because "Virgin Mobile is not a virgin when it bends you over and takes advantage of you."

My daughter has had a Virgin Prepaid mobile phone for nearly a year now.
She's on the 3rd battery for the darned thing and have to admit we were considering replacing the phone itself soon, thinking the particular model of phone may have been the problem. (It's the oyster, it's green and it looks cool...)

The past couple of month it seemed like she ran out of minutes particularly fast, but she puts on $20 at a time, and her D&D group was having some crisis and of course SHE's the rational,compassionate one EVERYONE calls to mediate. But even then it seemed like the minutes vanished faster than she could account for.

So on Sept 5th, just about 2 weeks ago, she puts another $20 on the phone, and now the gamers are getting along somewhat... so last night she got the text "reminder" that she was low on minutes. $4.35 is left. (We were croggled but were visiting friends for a Heroes party... so it got put off an hour or so.)

When we got home we called the 800# and got a run around. The customer disservice guy, (while with a mild accent, seemed to understand English JUST FINE, and was easily understandable. Foreign call center was NOT the issue.) ... after clearly understanding our stated problem kept just repeating the charge rate for the minutes. EVEN AFTER we pulled up her account on line, and found that the rate had gone up with out her being notified, AND that despite this she had USED only about $4.85 (out of the $20 deposit 2 weeks earlier) of her account. My daughter felt that not only was she pointlessly run around in circles, she felt humiliated.

We looked at (and posted) some reviews on line, and quickly realized this was a common problem. Thank heavens we NEVER set up the "automatic payment" option... where apparently it's IMPOSSIBLE to cancel the account, but that it's also impossible to stop the automatic payments! Thank heavens I never gave them a CC#.

We did some research, and considering that she normally uses the phone to make or receive 2 or 3 phone calls per week... that the prepaid is still the best-cheapest sort of service for her. We also looked at reviews for several companies providing similar service... and some problems seem to be fairly common, the Vanishing Minutes is only a common issue with Virgin. We looked at reviews for pricing, service and other issues with a range of companies, and will be getting her a new phone this afternoon.

It's a damn shame that even with "Legit Corporations" people need to scrutinize online reviews like they do Ebay feedback. (...and yes, I'll be looking at on-line reviews before investing in any significant goods or services in the future.)

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