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What Virgin Mobile doesn't make clear...

I bought a prepaid Virgin Mobile phone for $25 at 7-11. I thought okay, it's simple: I buy it, I activate it, it's available to use. Wrong.

What they don't tell you about (well, not clearly) is that you must wait four hours after activating the phone to use any services other than simple voice calls. You're not supposed to text, refill your minutes, etc (at least through the phone)

After talking with customer support rep #1, he told me that the reason I wasn't receiving picture messages was due to the fact that my account only had "bonus money" in it and not actual money I paid. So I used the refill I bought to "top-up" - did that fix it? No.

After talking with customer support rep #2, she informed me of the four hour rule - and that was the reason, NOT the different funds in my account. She also informed me that I am required to have a camera phone to receive picture messages even. So I go and pick up a camera phone. After it fails to let me switch it online, I call up customer support rep #3 who does the phone transfer for me. Okay, so now things should work right? No - he informs me that I need to wait four hours again for this new phone to propogate. Being the techie that I am, I find that nonsense - I tried a little while later, most likely within the four hour period. Did it work? No. But it was time for bed.

Today is almost 20 hours into it now. I tried sending and receiving picture messages. Did it work? No. Customer support rep #4 informs me that if you try any of those "advanced" features during that four hour window, you will kill the phone and it will not let you do that again for the life of the phone - did anyone else mention that? No, they just "advise" against it.

So now it appears I may have two phones that are useless for multimedia messaging, and who knows what else. Why don't they have safeguards built in to the system? How hard would it be to simply reject unauthorized items until it is fully propogated? If nothing else, they could at least inform you the phone will be physically dead.

Oh and another suggestion: fire customer rep #1. Now I've got $30 of wasted credit with them because I was told I had to use that to make things work. Blah.

Categories: Consumerism
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