Christina (rainshowers) wrote in bad_service,

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When did prepaid phones get so... complicated?

When I got this phone, last year at this time, the whole point was "Yay, I can put minutes on it when I need them, and not have to worry about using/going over a monthly minute limit!" I paid twenty dollars for the stupid thing.

I think it covers why I'm angry. >:-O

142 Anystreet #2
Lalaland, NY 90210

December 12, 2008

c/o Check Card Research
PO Box 563966
Charlotte, NC 28256-3966

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter to explain the circumstances of several disputes on my former card, ending in ****.

On 11/23/08, I went to and attempted to purchase minutes for my prepaid cell phone. My usual plan per month is $15.99. This month I chose to put extra money on for text messaging, etc. I put in my card number, and selected $30.42 to be charged to my account as a one time payment. As I have had issues with my card number being held and used without my permission in the past, I was very careful about not registering the card, just allowing it for a one time purchase.

The minutes never showed up on my phone. We called Virgin Mobile’s customer service, and was told there was something wrong with the website and the employee we spoke to said she’d put it through for me. After letting it be known it was only for this payment, she put the $30.42 through.

The next day, I checked my account online via your website and saw I had not one, but four charges from Virgin Mobile. They were four different amounts. One for $30.42, another was $16.64, $4.99 and finally a $1.00 charge. I assumed this was some kind of mistake because of the issues they had been having on their website and called them immediately.

I was told it was a mistake and the three incorrect charges would be reversed, but the $30.42 would stand as my monthly payment. This was fine with me; I thanked them and hung up.

Two more days went by, the charges never reversed. I called them back, just wanting to know if they’d at least started the process, and was told, “They didn’t do that yet.” I asked why, and was hung up on. I called back, was on hold for five minutes, and then was hung up on again. I’m not sure if it was a phone issue on their part, but after being hung up on twice, I decided to get in touch with your department and simply dispute the charges, since no one could tell me why they weren’t being reversed.

The woman I spoke with at Wachovia reversed two of the charges, told me the $1.00 charge was simply a hold and would go away on its own. She asked about the $30.42, I told her that those minutes were already on my phone and I was ok with that charge. I was sent also sent a new card, so no more accidental charges could get put through.

On 12/01, I went to make a phone call and realized my phone was shut off. I had only used about 1/3 of my minutes, and still had a cash balance earlier that day for overages. The phone connected me to customer service and I asked why my phone wasn’t working.

The only response I got from two different people before I got frustrated and had to hang up was, “You need to call your bank and tell them to let us put the other two charges through.” When I explained those were charges I hadn’t authorized and I had been told they would be refunded, they said they wouldn’t be doing that. I asked where my $30.42 was going then, since I was unable to use my phone.

The response?

“Tell your bank to let us put the other charges through, that’s the only way your phone will get put back on.”

I said this was impossible, and requested they turn the phone back on, or I’d be contesting the $30.42 as well. They told me to do whatever I felt necessary, but it was against their policy to turn the phone back on or give me any money back. I asked why I was paying a total of $52.05 for my usual $15.99 plan, and they had no answer. I asked what I would be getting for the additional $20.01, and they again had no answer. I spoke with the floor supervisor and informed him that I would be calling the Better Business Bureau and contesting the $30.42 as well. He told me I was free to do as I wanted, and that I would probably win, but he couldn’t go against Virgin Mobile’s policy.

It was then I called you again and contested the last charge.

I’m hoping you will be able to get to the bottom of this, and I appreciate that I have a bank willing to put forth the effort to do so. I will no longer be doing business with Virgin Mobile, if this how they run their business. Taking money and giving me nothing in return, as far as I know, is fraud and is very much against the law.

If you have any further questions, please call me at 333-555-1432.



ETA: Sorry, I didn't realize it was sort of long. It's behind a cut now.

ETA2: Maybe I wasn't being clear in my letter. The bank asked me for an explanation in writing as to why I was contesting the charge. They're not the bad service, Virgin is. They gave me my $30.42 back provisonally until they can get the money back from Virgin, which they said probably wouldn't be a problem. I just hate VirginMobile. Sorry for being lazy and just using my letter as an explanation lol.

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