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Boingo Wireless



Complaint Rating:  93 % with 14 votes
93% 14
Contact information:
United States
When it comes to Boingo, it's way way worse than "accidental" charging.

I paid for their one-day pass, out of desperation since I usually don't give out my credit card details online, one year ago.

ONE YEAR AGO. Since then, I have clicked "Cancel" and closed down the GoBoingo! pop-up whenever it shows up. Since there was no setting for disabling the pop-ups (fishy fishy!), and since I had no intention of using the service ever again save for emergency, I went into my computer settings and made sure Boingo wouldn't automatically start up.

So you can imagine my surprise when, going over my account bills for the past three months - this would be about 10 months after originally using the Boingo "service" - I see four separate charges from Boingo Wireless.

I have been nowhere near an airport these past months. In fact, I have been nowhere near wireless - being abroad, the only place I have access to internet is through my DSL line at home.

Yet Boingo has charged me somewhere upwards of $50 over these past months. They do it extremely cleverly: no single amount is greater than $15, $25 - easy to miss unless you, like me, are abroad and have no other activity on your American bank account to distract the eye.

Since the Boingo pop-up stopped showing up, I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CLUE THEIR SOFTWARE WAS RUNNING. I checked my statements for the past year, and this isn't the first time they've snuck in a charge, so in no way is this just a technical glitch about me disabling their pop-up.

I am guessing their "service" recognized the fact I am currently in an underdeveloped country, and figured I'd be less likely to report this to my bank. There is no other way to account for the brazen way in which the charges started accummulating once I got here.

I have never, ever, EVER logged in during the three months they raped my credit card. I have used nothing but my own broadband connection. I have not been notified of the program even running.

Needless to say I'm pretty pissed at this under-handed practice, not to say outright credit card skimming, and I'll be copy & pasting this sad little tale to any other blog and forum dealing with the issue.

Please do not sign up for Boingo, no matter how big and modern the airport! It is a sophisticated scam from a seemingly presentable company - but a scam nonetheless.

What galls me the most is their PR campaign: any forum where this same complaint is lodged, a super-polite rep of theirs will inevitably show up, explaining it all away with misunderstandings and glitches. This, dear sirs, is no glitch. It is a fully intentional, quasi-legal way of ripping off anybody stupid enough - me included - to give out their credit card details to Boingo.
Complaint comments Comments (22) Complaint country United States Complaint category Internet Services


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N  5th of Aug, 2009 by    0 Votes
I was pissed too, they did the same thing to me and refused to refund the extra charges. I live in FL, but "Bogus" Boingo Wireless is based in South Santa Monica, California. I wrote the attorney general there and asked him to investigate Boingo business practices. I've also filed a complaint with the FL state attorney and the CA Better Business Bureau. That's not all, I am on a mission. I bought www.ihateboingo.com I am currently working on the website. Boingo needs to be exposed, they are conducting the same business practices that Blockbuster had attempted and looked where it took Blockbuster. If you do a search online, you'll see people complaining about fraudulent charges from all over the world. They'll give you access alright as long as you give them unlimited access to your bank account. Here is my story:

I was on vacation flying from ATL (Atlanta) to CDG (France). Since I was going to arrive to France late, I needed to contact my hotel and the car rental agency to let them know that I would arrive late. Unfortunately I had no way to call, my only option was through the Internet. When I fired up my browser, one of the option was Boingo = Bogus. I thought I sign up for just a month – a month later I was charged for another month. When I called to cancel the service, I was on hold for almost half hour. When I finally reached someone from customer service, she was very unhappy with me because I was canceling the service. The last monthly charge was on 6/15/09. I had sent an email to them instructing them to cancel the account and refund the $9.95. I got an email back saying please call customer service to cancel. To make a long story short customer service failed to refund me the $9.95 even though I have only used their service once. Boingo just made the biggest mistake because I will let the world know how sucks their service is. I enjoy demolishing greedy companies like Boingo. I was a big advocate when Blockbuster decided to sell movies to customers if they didn’t return them without making customers aware of the charge beforehand – that has resulted http://www.blockbustervictims.com . I predict that Boingo will go out of business pretty soon if they continue on this path. The service itself is a mith, they are doing the same greedy things that several companies have tried and continue to do until someone like Math and others say enough is enough. It’s good that they monitor blogs, but I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up – soon the internet will be flooded with hating Boingo Wireless website and I’ll be the first one to put one up and report them. Bogus Boingo, you are in for a fight – see you on ihateboingo.com and how about Bogusboingo.com GREED MY FRIEND, IT WILL TAKE YOU NOWHERE

Refund the 9.95 they stole from my account, change their business practices and leave free hot-spots alone.
N  8th of Aug, 2009 by    0 Votes
I signed up for their service at ATL airport for a 24hr period. Apparently by doing so I signed some kind of contract that they can charge that credit card again if I use their services again. I was at Brussels airport a few months later and because of a popup that they installed, I was automatically logged into their account. They ended up charging me $20 for the service. There wasn't even a window with a rate or a do you agree to sign in window. I found it bordering fraudulent. I emailed them numerous times. They were quite dismissive and told me I should have read the fine print when I logged on at ATL airport. As if anyone does that. I didn't bother disputing it with my credit card company although I think I might have a case, but this company is quite deceptive to say the least. Do not give them your credit card info, they will use it again and again to charge you.
N  1st of Sep, 2009 by    0 Votes
I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve had such a negative experience with Boingo. We focus on outstanding customer service every day, and we appreciate the opportunity to attempt to make things right! For absolute clarity, I will try to explain what happened.

It sounds like you inadvertently signed up for our Boingo Unlimited monthly subscription plan for $9.95 per month, believing it was for one month only. During sign-up, we provide a clear description of the selected plan before charging your credit card. The plan description you were presented with states: “Enjoy Unlimited Wi-Fi access at thousands of Boingo hotspots throughout the Americas for only $9.95 USD each month. Please note, charges recur each month, but Boingo is flexible, so you can change your plan at any time without penalty. Wi-Fi connections made outside the Americas will be billed an additional $0.12 or $0.18 per minute, depending on location.”

We understand that it’s possible you were in a hurry (as you likely could have been, given that you were in an airport) and simply missed this point. To ensure that our customers have a clear understanding of their Boingo plan, we also send a “Welcome” email that outlines their plan once again.

Again, I sincerely regret that you found our sign-up process confusing. I know you have been in touch with our Customer Care team and that your charges have been refunded in their entirety. If there’s anything else we can do to help you reach a satisfactory resolution, I hope you’ll let us know.


Lauren Sanyal
N  1st of Sep, 2009 by    0 Votes
The last thing we ever want is for our customers to be unhappy, so I hope you’ll give us the opportunity to make things right.

As you noted, during sign-up at ATL, you downloaded the Boingo software. The software automatically pops up to let you know when you’re in a Boingo hotspot. If you hit the “Connect” button, you can get online with a single click at more than 125, 000 different hotspots worldwide. Most of our customers love the software because it makes finding a hotspot and getting online fast and simple.

The software won’t automatically connect you unless you click the “Connect” button, and assuming you are using version 1.6 or later of the client, the software actually alerts you to what you will be charged at each location, depending on your plan type. It sounds as though you might have been using an earlier version of the software.

In any case, we want to be sure you have a great experience with Boingo. Please email me at lsanyal@boingo.com, and I’ll make sure we take care of that mistaken charge.
N  13th of Mar, 2010 by    0 Votes

Boingo Wireless - No one should use boingo wireless
Boingo Wireless
United States

After signing up to use boingo wireless for one day at an airport, I continued to incur charges of $7.95 on my credit card bill. They claimed that I continued to use their service, which was false. This appears to be a common complaint. No one should use boingo wireless. Hopefully boingo.com will be held accountable.
N  29th of Apr, 2010 by    0 Votes
I'm sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience with us. We want you to be happy with Boingo, and as such, I'd like to make things right.

Will you please email me at lsanyal at boingo dot com with your username? I'm happy to look into your account and find out what happened.
N  29th of Apr, 2010 by    0 Votes
I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a negative experience with Boingo. We would *never ever* intentionally charge your credit card when you weren't using the Wi-Fi service. I promise.

I would really like to make things right for you. Will you please email me at lsanyal at boingo dot com with your username?

I'm happy to look into your account and determine what happened. Thanks for your patience while we get to the bottom of this for you!
D  1st of Jan, 2011 by    0 Votes
I am a flight attendant and have used boingo for the last 4 years. I have only been charged for what I was supposed to be charged and have no complaints. Great price for someone that travels frequently.
N  10th of Jul, 2011 by    0 Votes

Boingo Wireless - Slow service
Boingo Wireless
United States

I am currently sitting in Heathrow with a delayed flight (again) and BOINGO wireless service is very slow (again). This happens in other airports as well, as BOINGO seems to have a monopoly. I don't mind paying but I expect good service when I do so.
N  12th of Jul, 2011 by    0 Votes
Garbage Do not get or install. People who like it must be insane.
N  13th of Jul, 2011 by    0 Votes
Boingo is deceptive and makes fraudulent charges. Boingo deliberately conceals aspects of the "As you Go" $7.95 24-hr. access charge for web connection at U.S. hotspots. I has used the service once, so I had a username and P.W. So, I tried 3 times with my username to switch to the $9.95 montlhy plan, as I planned to use the service as I travelled to several different airports over the course of a week. After not receiving a confirmation or instructions otherwise, I accessed a connection, so I thought all was ok. Days later, I found I had been billed $7.95 4 times within a 24 hr. period (all without a confirmation at the time of log in). When I called Customer Service to complain, they said I could only switch plans by calling and creating a new account with a different username and that the terms of service are clear. Well, if one spends at least 30 minutes trying to find all that on the website, it is still not to be found! Try to find "Terms of Use" or the hidden "surprises" of the $7.95 plan. Most people are probably too busy to even bother to ask for a refund, much less to spend hours to get to the bottom of this.
N  14th of Jul, 2011 by    0 Votes
We're so sorry to hear that you've had a negative experience with us. Please rest assured that we would never, ever intentionally deceive our customers.

We'd like to look into your account, explain what happened, and try to make things right for you.

Would you please email lsanyal at boingo dot com with your Boingo username and your billing address? Thanks so much for choosing Boingo; we'll get to the bottom of this.

Warm Regards,
Lauren Sanyal
N  23rd of Sep, 2011 by    0 Votes
I was in an airport terminal and needed to connect to the internet. So I decided to pay the 8 bucks to connect "unlimited for 24 hours". I connected, paid the fee, and accessed the internet. After that, I walked to my airport terminal, and connected again. This time (not to my knowledge), I connected to a different Boingo hotspot. Well, they charge you for each different hotspot another 8 bucks. You get the idea. It's all in the fine print, so when you complain to them, they basically tell you to quit crying. DON'T DEAL WITH THEM, USE A DIFFERENT SERVICE. THEY SUCK.
N  24th of Sep, 2011 by    0 Votes
We *really* appreciate it when customers take the time to let us know about their experience and give us the opportunity to respond to their concerns; we believe this only helps us improve the service for our customers. So, thank you!

Will you please email lsanyal@boingo.com with details? We'd like to look into what happened and try to make things right, with our apologies for the bad experience you had. You shouldn't be charged twice for simply moving within the airport, so we'll get to the bottom of this.

Warm Regards,
Lauren Sanyal
A  31st of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
The SAME thing happened to me, except it was MORE money and for a longer period of time. I used the service in Paris in 2010 and they have been charging me 49 euros a month ever since... that's $60-70 per month... over $1100 dollars later, I am in complete shock. Was unaware of the charges, and haven't used the service for a second, since I knew nothing about it. Don't EVER sign up with Boingo. If I know what I was getting into, I never would have. It is the most expensive hour or two of wifi connection I could imagine.
N  5th of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
Oh no, that doesn't sound good at all! Really sorry to hear you've had such a negative experience with us. We'll be happy to get to the bottom of this and try to make things right. Email lsanyal@boingo.com, and we'll investigate, pronto.
N  11th of May, 2015 by    0 Votes
I have just discovered that I have been charged $9.95 on my credit card for 3 YEARS.
ONCE I used Boingo in an airport in Houston, TX. I had to think very hard to even remember this. I have been charged every month since that time.
When I called Boingo to discuss, they acted as if this was the first time they'd ever heard of such a ridiculous thing happening.
They credited me one year, but said that was their "limit".
That means, I've payed $240 (would have been $360) for a service I used for 30 minutes in an airpot 3 years ago.
Pretty steep.
Apparently this is happening all over the world with this company...an enormous scam. Sad times.
N  9th of Jul, 2015 by    0 Votes
That is not the experience we want for you. Please email me at wecare@boingo.com and include your emails address and username. I want to investigate this further for you and make things right. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank you.
A  14th of Mar, 2016 by    0 Votes
I've seen that exact phrase ("that is not the experience...") from Boingo representatives many times, but it clearly *is* the experience they want you to have. If you punch someone in the nose, apologize, then punch the next person in the nose, then apologize, then punch a third person in the nose, the apologies start to sound rather insincere. What PR agency came up with that script for you? If Boingo really didn't want people to have that experience, they wouldn't make a habit of charging people $20/month over and over again for what was represented as a one-time $8 charge for "As You Go" service. Or they'd send invoices instead of making those charges silently. Or they'd give actual answers when people question the nature of those unexpected charges. Boingo does none of these things. The behavior that leads to such outrage is *clearly* intentional. It's the company's core method of generating profit. Oh, that and selling your information to third parties, which is why your connection will "mysteriously" degrade into uselessness as soon as you use ssh or VPN software to safeguard your online privacy. That's why savvy travelers are learning to avoid airport wifi altogether in favor of real or virtual SIMs for the places they pass through. It's too bad, because there could have been a legitimate business model based on providing actual value to users if Boingo hadn't gotten greedy and started abusing their near-monopoly.
A  14th of Apr, 2016 by    +1 Votes
I think Bingo is a cancer that is infesting all the airports in the world. They label Free Wifi, it seldom connects, and if it does, you realize it is only free for 30 minutes. They will never ever get a penny of my business. Piss off boingo, please.

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