9 Teenagers stuck in Canada all with Virgin Mobile phones with NO SERVICE!!! This is due to misinformation given by 2 different customer service representatives regarding International Calling add on service (For Canada & Mexico). I Called Virgin Mobile on July 30, 2019 to ask about the phone service while "IN" Canada when my son & his cousins would be vacationing there before heading back to school. I first spoke with Alex who stated that the only way to get service in Canada would be to add International calling to the plan for $5. Throughout the whole conversation I kept making sure that the phone would work while in Canada. I was told, YES it will work as long as I add International Calling. So went ahead and added it. I was even given a $5 credit because I was having issues adding the service online. I logged online to make sure it was added to the account (which it was) but I did not notice that it would not go into effect until 8/21 and I had already ended the call with Alex. I needed it to be active from 8/12 to 8/20. So 8/21 was too late. Called back & spoke with Andrew. Advised him of the situation & that I needed the service active now because the 21st would be too late. He went ahead and corrected the effective date to reflect 7/30 and I would just be charged monthly for the service. In order to add the service right then he took the $5 credit Alex gave me earlier. So, it was like I didn't even receive the credit. From that point, I asked (again) if adding the service would allow my son to be able to use the phone while vacationing in Canada. Again, the answer was yes. Was satisfied & the call ended.
Comes 8/12 (yesterday), saw the kids off at the airport & my son said he'd text me upon arriving in Toronto. Did not hear anything from him as the arrival time came and went. Sent a couple of texts without receiving a response. I didn't hear from him until 3 hours later when he called from the hotel using their landline. All of them freaking out because they have no service what-so-ever! From that point I called Virgin Mobile & spoke with a rep but could not make out her name. After 10 minutes she asked me to have my son call Virgin Mobile at [protected] & they would walk him through the steps to have the phone refresh in order for him to use it in Canada. 2 hours later, my son calls me from the hotel landline stating that it did not work. By this time it was late . So, I just told him that I would contact Virgin Mobile in the morning.
Today 8/13 (started calling at 11:04 a.m.) to see what could be done in order for these kids to, at least, have 1 working phone. Talked with Dianne for approximately 15 minutes. Explaining the situation she finally told me that Virgin Mobile USA does not have international roaming & that the phone(s) would not work in Canada. WHAT?!? After talking with 3 different reps, I finally get the 4th to tell me that International calling is for making calls TO Canada FROM within the USA ONLY. NOT while in Canada. In order to have the phone work in Canada Dianne informed me that he would have to go and buy a SIM card for Canada's network, then call Virgin Mobile Canada at [protected] or [protected] to activate it. Then, he would have to pay for a plan while there. So, it would be $17 for the Canadian SIM card, then $35 for a plan and then an activation fee. Altogether almost an additional $70 for a plan that would only be used for 7 days. Then, upon arriving back in the states, all of them would have to switch the SIM card back to the original & have to get everything reactivated for the USA. I ended up calling the hotel & leaving a message with them because the kids went site seeing in Toronto. Without working phones, there was no way to get a hold of them.
At this point, decided to contact my current provider to see about adding his phone to my plan. First started with a chat session so that I would get everything in written form. According to the rep, if I called the "Port In Department" they could help me get the phone activated & brought over to their network. So after a 3 hour chat session & making sure the account was noted about everything that was happening I ended the chat and then jumped on the phone to call the port in department. After explaining the situation to them...ended up speaking with a total of 4 different people (Marcus: CSR, Sarah: Port In Department, Shi: Migration & Ferdie: telesales) an hour & 20 minutes with them, we ended up doing a 3 way call. My carrier called Virgin Mobile and then I took it from there. This time I spoke with Camille. Again, explained the situation. I asked for the ESN for the phone so that I could go with another carrier since Virgin Mobile USA could not help me. Then, as a last attempt of trying to keep my business they asked what they could do to rectify the situation. I said, "Give me a year of FREE service & I'll not only keep the account open, I'll bring my other phones to Virgin Mobile." No luck. The only thing Virgin Mobile's rep could offer was a free month of service. NOT GOOD ENOUGH for stranding 9 kids in a foreign country without working phones. Then Camille gave me the ESN for the phone. She said she would transfer me to another rep in order for me to get my account number. So, was then transferred to Alex (female). Yet again, I had to explain the situation & give all the information regarding the account. Seriously, I was transferred internally, how many times do I have to give the same information?
Finally, after 20 minutes I got the account number. When I asked for her to go ahead & take whatever balance was due in order to close out the account and have the phone unlocked, the next line was the final nail in the coffin for me to leave Virgin Mobile. Alex informed me that she would have to send the request to the approval department for the phone to be unlocked BUT the phone would have to be "IN SERVICE" for 12 months. The actual phone had to be used for 12 months. Not the account itself (which has been open for 7 years) but the phone. I had the phone replaced in May 2019 for his birthday since he cracked the screen. All the other phones were activated in September of 2018 for the new school year. So, after all that, Virgin Mobile could not & would not unlock the phone. Nor would they be able to unlock any of the other phones due to this 12 month rule. Which meant my current carrier could not activate my son's phone. I asked them if they could get a supervisor on the phone because I know under the circumstances someone could get the approval done. But NO, for some reason because it was not in use for 12 months Virgin Mobile would not unlock the phone. I don't know why because I owe nothing on the phone since I bought it outright from the Apple Store and the contract with Virgin Mobile is month-to-month.
As my current carrier was on the call I asked if there was anyway around this and he said without an unlocked phone, he could not do anything. So, I informed both carriers (7 years with Virgin Mobile & 21 years with Sprint) I was taking my business to the competition. Then, I would lodge a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau and write a letter to each of their corporate offices to let them know how 9 teenagers got stranded in a foreign country without working phones due to Virgin Mobile's CSR misinformation and unwillingness to get approval to unlock a phone due to a technicality. And then I told them I was ending the call. I heard them talking at me as I finally pressed the red phone icon & disconnected the call. And that is how I found myself here writing this.
Kind of funny how Virgin Mobile was a sister carrier with Sprint and that the Virgin Mobile phones use a Sprint SIM card for service & that Virgin Mobile uses Sprint towers. Yet, neither network could help. SMH in utter disappointment.
Photos attached show the call history to Virgin Mobile. Added the screenshot of the Sprint call which was used for 3 way calling. Shows 1 hour 43 minutes total. I would have included a copy of the 3 hour chat session with Sprint but that file is too big to upload. Talk about a waste of time.