Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Consumer Rant] Five Days with Virgin Mobile. (@virginmobilecan)

I recently did the dance with Rogers. My budget drove me elsewhere. Their service was impeccable; their staff awesome, the selection of phones and the deals on them was incredible. It's just too expensive for a new phone and a plan. I then had the brilliant idea of unlocking my old phone and shoving a sim card in it. A bit miffed that this hadn't been suggested by Rogers when I returned my phone (they just destroyed the sim card instead) I decided to try another company. With an iota of research (ie, I glaze-skimmed websites) I went with Virgin Mobile.

I placed the order for the sim card on Friday, I kind of expected to be notified on Monday that it had shipped. Nada. Tuesday came and went, again, it hadn't been shipped. So by Wednesday (today) I was starting to get a bit WTF. When it hit noon on the east coast and it still hadn't shipped, my patience ran out. If this company can't even get someone to find a sim card in their warehouse and shove it in a box within 3 days, what does it say for the rest of the service they will offer? (And I'm betting they have staff in house on weekends in the warehouse, most do, so it'd actually be 5 days.)

This was the point I phoned their customer support line. I didn't know my number as I hadn't activated a phone/sim card. (It was probably on the account info, but since I didn't know my number I couldn't get into the members area on the site. Not their fault there.) I was put through in a very timely manner. I had to wrestle with their phone system a little, BUT, that's hardly unique to them. (Telus is still winning as worst automated phone system in my world.) I got a nice person on the phone, I chatted with him, I jumped through the hoops of proving who I am. I shall call him Justin. He rattled off my phone number right before he transferred me to their "cancel accounts department." (They have an entire department for this? Somehow, I don't think so.) 

I'm gonna call guy #2 Steve. I couldn't hear him when he introduced himself, but that was probably my landline rather than anything else. The connection was quieter than the one with Justin but who knows, I file it under 'technical difficulties' and those happen. Anyway. He was in a bad mood. He decided to take it out on me. I guess he was as sick of their "groovy, awesome" customer service persona as I was.  He made me prove who I was, because apparently, doing it already for Justin wasn't sufficient. Great, whatever, I repeated that I wish to cancel my account. I may as well have said I want to stab his pet hamster on a spike and roast him for dinner. Steve wasn't a happy camper, he was going to do his best to make sure I wasn't a happy camper either. I missed Justin already. Justin was happy and friendly, Steve was bitchy. He apparently thought 3 business days was a perfectly reasonable amount of time to take to ship a sim card. He thought that up to five business days was perfectly reasonable. Steve thought that if I wasn't happy with that time table I should have dragged my disabled ass down to a store.  Okay, okay, to be fair, Steve didn't know I was disabled until I told him, but really, if someone is getting something shipped rather than go down to a store when they live within a city with one, they probably have a good reason.

I was gritting my teeth by this point. My Daddy had taught me you always start off nice. If you start off nice you can always move to angry. If you start off angry you have nowhere to go, back peddling to nice doesn't work. Not to mention, when you're nice to people, they try to be nice to you. Steve started off angry, Steve had nowhere to go from that position and Steve was making me angry. Steve said fine, if I wanted to cancel my account I had to give them thirty days notice and they were going to charge me for the month. I tried to ask about their 14 day "buyer's regret" policy ('or whatever you call it') but he talked over me. That's about when my patience ran out. I'm not long on patience, anyone who has talked to me for an hour can figure that one out. I was actually kind of proud of myself for lasting this long. I happily pointed out that I'd paid by Mastercard and had received no product or service from his company so therefore he CAN'T charge me for it. He argued with me. I said he can try and charge me if he wanted, but I'd dispute it and Mastercard would charge it back to him for his pleasure. (I may actually be wrong in this policy, but that's how it was a couple years ago.)  At this point, he probably should have said "Fine, whatever," cancelled my account and let billing worry about it. I probably would have paid in disgust rather than now having a stubborn about it. No, he decided to argue with me some more.

By this point, I had stated on, at least, five occasions, that I wished to cancel my account. When I started this phone call I had been feeling mostly okay about virgin mobile and they hadn't made my mental "F you and the broom you rode in on" list. (A list Chevron is still on over 17 years later.) Then he started arguing with me. As soon as that happened he shifted towards the "Why would I ever come back to this company?" list. He slowly managed to move them to the "I would not recommend this company." list. Then he finally parked at "Not only would I not recommend this company, they've cheesed me off enough to write a blog post about it that has the potential reach of 500 people."  I also took the time to email them to reinforce the status of my account should be "CANCELLED!" and I feel I have made every reasonable attempt to see that it achieved this status.

I think it's fairly safe to say I'll go back to Rogers. Why I ever keep leaving them I have no idea. Chronic stupidity, probably, but I won't be using another Virgin product.. and they've moved off my "Eh, why not. If you need cheap cell service, they'll do you" recommendation list to the " I will never support your company again " list. I'm sure they'll try and notice and try to care when they inevitably send me a bill.

Maybe the problem is actually I just have too many mental lists.


  1. I'm with virgin and the service is ok. The phone support not so much. If your looking for a new phone provider try the new one that will start up next month. Presidents Choice(loblaws/superstore)has just joined the cell market. The cheep plan starts at $35 for unlimited call(after 6)/txt and 200mb data. Set up a new account and get a$100 superstore/loblaws card.