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Virgin Mobile Mess… Google Voice Saves Me $10 a Month

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For the last three 3 months I've been paying double for cell phone service. That was a tough sentence to type, but now that I've got it out there, it's a lot easier. Three months ago, I rushed to take advantage of Virgin Mobile's $25 Unlimited Data, Text, and 300 Voice Minute plan. It was the last call as it's now $35/mo.

I got my phone and got everything done on time. What I didn't do was port my main cell phone number over. I was still auditing the service and in my opinion my old Palm Pre from 2009 blows away the middle of the road 2011 Motorola Android Triumph. If I could move my Palm Pre to the plan, I would, but alas even though it is technologically possible, Virgin Mobile wouldn't activate it. I was very hesitant to downgrade my phone experience - so hesitant that I paid both Sprint and Virgin Mobile for three months.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to retire the Sprint contract. The $50 a month savings will look pretty nice in my bank account. So I called up Virgin Mobile and asked to port my Spring number over. They said that they'd help me and that it would be easy. First they'd just have to cancel my current contract with them and then reactivate it with the new number. You can probably guess where this is going:

Me: Okay, but when you reactivate my contract, you'll give me the same price that I'm paying for my service now.
Virgin Mobile: Our computers are not able to do that sir.
Me: So you are telling me that I have to pay $10 more per month because your computer software is deficient.
Virgin Mobile: Ummm...

This went back and forth a bit. I clearly wasn't getting anywhere. I decided to ask to speak to a manager. I was put on hold for a half hour and then hung up on. I tried calling back twice more and after 2 hours, I couldn't even get through to a person again.

I figured that I could spend another 2 hours hoping to talk to someone who could help me, but even then they'd probably give me the same excuse. It certainly is convenient for computers to be programmed in such a way to generate more revenue for the company for what should be a simple and logical request.

I gave up and turned to Google Voice. I ported my existing Sprint number to Google Voice (it helped that I wasn't under contract anymore, so no termination fees). That process took about 24 hours. I then went into the Google Voice control panel and set it up so that any calls to that number will go to my new Virgin Mobile number. I had to turn off some Google Voice features like greetings, but now anyone who had my old number will just bounce instantly to my cell phone. While it did cost me a one-time fee of $20 to port my number to Google Voice, I will save my $10 a month versus doing what Virgin Mobile suggested.

It's quite sad that Google Voice did do what Virgin Mobile's own computers could not. I thank you Google Voice. Virgin Mobile, I understand that you are a cheap cell phone service. That's no excuse to take advantage of your customers, though.

Last updated on January 10, 2012.

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12 Responses to “Virgin Mobile Mess… Google Voice Saves Me $10 a Month”

  1. Congratulations! I am glad to hear you were able to get out of Virgin Mobile. Sorry to say, but I hate their customer service. They never satisfied me. It seems to me that they have a list of all the excuses in this world not to give in to their customers’ requests. I hope you will have a wonderful experience with Google Voice.

  2. […] Rather than ready an article from me today, I'd like you to focus on fixing one thing in your financial life. It could be moving that old 401K to an IRA. It could be switching to that cheap cell phone plan as I did yesterday. […]

  3. […] Man and Money presents Virgin Mobile Mess… Google Voice Saves Me $10 a Month posted at Lazy Man and Money, saying, “It’s quite sad that Google Voice did do what […]

  4. pfstock says:

    Presumably, you are only relying on Google Voice for the call forwarding feature. I use Google Voice a lot to place free phone calls through Gmail on my computer. In your calculation, you are assuming that Google Voice will continue to be free. I wonder if they will keep the phone calls free in 2012.

    • Lazy Man says:

      You are correct that I’m using the call forwarding feature. I’m not using Google Voice to make phone calls.

      I can see Google Voice charging for phone calls in the future because there’s a real cost to them to do it. However, the call forwarding feature doesn’t have any real ongoing costs for them. There’s also a chance that I could something similar with Twilio that would have minimal costs.

  5. gardenpickles says:

    I have virgin mobile. I have read that google voice will tell your carrier to end the service and then they will restart the service. This would mean that I would have to restart my month and that I would lose my number. Is this true? All I want is the call forwarding for one specific person. Where did the one time $20.00 fee come in? Please help me!

    • Lazy Man says:

      I ported my number from Sprint to Google Voice. Google Voice did tell Sprint to cancel my service. I then set up Google Voice to redirect my number to my new Virgin Mobile account. Using Google Voice for a carrier that you are with doesn’t typically work unless you are with Sprint who has set up a special arrangement with Google Voice.

      If you want call forwarding for one specific person, you are probably out of luck. You are probably better off telling that person to directly call your “new” number.

  6. sjs says:

    I have an existing plan with a big carrier and I want to switch over to Virgin Mobile to save $50 a month on my bill. I already have a GV number so, I am wondering if I can just set that to call the new Virgin Mobile number when a call comes in. I want to be able to give out one number (that is not my actually cell phone number).

    • Lazy Man says:

      That’s exactly what I did. Except that I wanted people to continue to call my pre-existing number (that was with the big carrier), so I had to take that and port it to Google Voice. If you already have it with Google Voice, you are 98% done!

  7. Chiflatin says:

    I have Virgin mobile, then got a google voice number to give out for work. I forwarded it to ring on my Virgin mobile. The phone rings when people call the google number, but I can’t answer it, it just disconnects. I went into google to troubleshoot and they now say that my Virgin service is incompatible! Can only use it for voicemail now. Virgin mobile has been great n cheap but this is a bummer.

  8. sjs says:

    This is to update post 9. GV is working fine with VM. THe only thing is that the GV voice messaging is not supported with Virgin Mobile but, that does not bother me.

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