アンジェリーク (sweet_charade) wrote in bad_service,

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Bad Virgin Mobile Service

I've been with Virgin Mobile (USA) for nearly two years now, and I've always raved about how awesome they are. And they are pretty awesome, if you never have any tech support or customer service issues to take care of. It seems like they used to be better about this, but things have definitely taken a turn for the worse.

First off, their phone system hates me. Every time I need to be transferred anywhere, including to a live operator from their phone tree, there's like a 70% chance I'll be hung up on. So basically getting anything done takes 3 or 4 calls and a lot of swearing (at the phone, not at the operators). My mother is also a Virgin Mobile customer (I referred her, in fact) and we decided we wanted to swap phones. She had an mp3 player phone but it was more complicated than what she had wanted, and I had been considering buying an mp3 player phone, so it made sense. Unfortunately, their website won't let you swap to a phone that already has service, so we weren't sure what to do.

Call #1: According to their website, when I call their service number I should ask to speak to a live operator right off. I attempt to, but their phone tree won't direct me there just yet. To backtrack for a second, they have possibly the most annoying phone tree voice ever. I know their whole thing is that they're hip and popular with the teenagers, but I would take a boring robot voice over "Simone" any day. When I tell dear Simone that I would like to speak to a live operator, she offers me several departments to be transferred to, none of which are really applicable to what I want to do. Finally I get the option to go to some kind of troubleshooting department, so that's what I do. The operator I get connected to tells me he needs to transfer me to a different department. In the process, I get hung up on.

Call #2: I don't remember how to get to the "troubleshooting" option, so I just sort of yell a lot and Simone connects me to... somebody. Since the troubleshooting department apparently wasn't the right one anyway, I didn't think it mattered. Same thing happens, they attempt to transfer me and I get d/c'd.

I'm getting really irritated, so mom decides to handle Call #3. She gets disconnected too.

Call #4 is me again. I finally get connected to somebody who can tell me something. Unfortunately, what they tell me is that it's impossible to swap two active phones, and if we wanted to switch one of us would have to disconnect our service. That didn't sound like it would work for us, so I hung up to try and work something out with mom. Mom decided that she didn't really care about keeping her number, and we could cancel her account and set her up with a new one.

So I call back... when I get a live operator I tell them which department I need to be connected to (since the last operator told me I'd need cancellations), and I get disconnected during the transfer.

Finally, in call #6 we get an exceedingly helpful person who cancels mom's account, swaps the phones, sets up a new account for mom and transfers her old balance to the new one. So it is possible to get good service, it's just very hit or miss.

So I finally have my new phone, and I decide I'd like to buy a ringtone for it. I'm a video game nerd, specifically I'm really big on DDR, and Virgin has a couple of DDR ringtones available. I see one I'd like, attempt to preview it, and realize it's actually swapped with another song from the game. As in, I click to preview Your Rain and it plays You're Not Here, and when I click to preview You're Not Here it plays Your Rain. (For those who might pick at me on this, those are originally from Silent Hill, but they are DDR transplants too. /nerd) I call their tech support line to ask if they can tell me which one will actually get me Your Rain... and the advice of the person I'm connected to is basically to buy a different ringtone. I didn't really expect her to go in and re-code the page for me, but a simple "I'll pass that error on to our web team so they can fix it" would've been nice. (Part of it was her tone, too... I can't really explain it, but she just sort of sounded like "wtf are you asking me for, I don't know!") I went ahead and bought the one labeled as You're Not Here and ended up getting the right ringtone, so that's okay.

Then yesterday, the unthinkable happened. I seem to have a curse where I do just fine with cheap stuff, but as soon as I get some big expensive thing I lose and/or break it within a week. The phone I swapped with my mom is one I've had for over a year, and it was still in great condition. This is absolutely my fault, but I was getting in the car to go somewhere, and someone was blocking the driveway. I set my stuff on top of the car while I went to go ask them to move. When I got back to the car, I grabbed my wallet but forgot the phone, and it was dark so it wasn't very obvious that it was there. It got smashed into several pieces as I rounded the corner to leave my block. Like I said, totally my fault. Lucky me, Virgin has a special deal for people who lose/break their phones where they can buy a refurbished one for super-cheap, like less than half the phone's original cost. The only problem is, every phone is there but mine. They even have some on there that they don't even sell anymore, but my phone just... isn't listed. It's not even a stock thing, as many of the phones on there said "sold out, try back later" -- my phone just wasn't on the page anywhere at all.

So I try calling their tech line again. This time I don't even make it past Simone before being disconnected. Call #2, I get a guy who seems initially confused by my question, then tells me it's his first week there and he'll talk to his supervisor. I'm perfectly happy with this, as I understand this probably hasn't come up for him yet and as long as he's willing to help me instead of brushing me off, I'm happy. After a long wait, he tells me he's going to transfer me to someone who can help. And... I get disconnected.

I give up and attempt to e-mail them. I generally avoid e-mailing them if I can, as most of the time their e-mail help isn't very helpful at all. But if I have to deal with Simone one more time I'm going to scream.

I fire off this e-mail:

I lost my phone today, and while I did eventually find it, it was in several pieces and not really usable. I suspended my account and started looking at your reconditioned phones, but I had a question. My phone was a Slider Sonic, and your page for reconditioned phones seems to have every phone but the Slider Sonic. It doesn't even have an "out of stock" message or anything, it's just not there. Can you explain why it's not there? I really liked the phone for the few days I was using it, and I'd like to get a reconditioned one if I can.

Today, I got this response:

Hi Angelique,

Thanks for contacting us here at Virgin Mobile.

Sorry to hear about your phone! If you would like more info on the replacement phone program feel free to give us a call here at your convenience at the number mentioned below or visit My Account via the Virgin Mobile USA website - www.virginmobileusa.com. From the web site, click on lost phone, and all the details will come up!

If you have any other questions or require any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us again. Our toll free number is 1-888-322-1122, or *86 from any Virgin Mobile cell phone. We'll be delighted to assist you.

Virgin Mobile At Your Service

... I'm sorry, but WHAT IS THE POINT OF OFFERING E-MAIL HELP IF THE PERSON YOU E-MAIL IS JUST GOING TO REFER YOU TO THEIR PHONE NUMBER? *headdesk* Not to mention that the one thing he does tell me is something I've CLEARLY already done if he had bothered to read all of it. I told him I suspended my account. The only way to do that is by clicking the "lost phone" link.

I'm starting to lose my diplomacy, but I just sent this back to him:


Thank you, but every time I attempt to call your tech support line, at some point I get disconnected. As in, every time I get transferred to anywhere by anyone there's a 70% chance I'll get hung up on. So I was really hoping you would be able to answer my question on here.

As I mentioned in my original message, I have suspended my account, meaning I already clicked on the "lost phone" link. My problem is, when I look at the page with reconditioned phones, the phone I want isn't on there. My previous phone was a Slider Sonic, and when I go to the reconditioned phones page, there is no listing for the Slider Sonic on there. I would think it was out of stock or something, but some phones are listed on there with the note "sold out, check back later," so I would think if it were out of stock it would have that message. It's just not there. Is there some reason why the Slider Sonic isn't listed?

Thank you,

Now, let's see if I actually get a decent response this time.

Virgin, I've loved you for nearly two years now. I've always told all my friends how awesome you are. But the spark between us is slowly fading. If you love me, you'll cut this shit out, fix your phone help, and make your e-mail help people smarter. Please.

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  • What DO You Have?

    This evening I went to the big city to get something to eat. I live in the boonies and am 15 minutes from the big city, which is actually a very…

  • Happy Meal Suck

    My family was on our way to Del Taco and we stopped at the McDonalds next door to grab something for my 5 year old daughter. She doesn't do tacos. I…

  • Just disgusting.

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