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.