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Replacement Phone Round-and-Round with Virgin Mobile USA

0000000868: Hey, did you forget something? We still need your old phone back. Return it to keep your phone working!
Sent: 05:16

That's the text message I woke up to this morning. 0000000868 is Virgin Mobile USA. I don't know what the number really means, but I just know Virgin Mobile USA always send me text messages using this identity.

This all started last month when my new Samsung Intercept SPH-M910 Android phone wouldn't charge. I called Virgin Mobile USA and they shipped me a replacement phone right away. After receiving it, I found that the battery had failed. I replaced the old battery with the new battery and shipped the replacement phone and the old battery back in the pre-paid envelop.

So I was quite irritated that Virgin Mobile USA says I didn't ship it back. And I was quite scared that my service will be cut off.

8:00 AM - I called Virgin Mobile USA. The live adviser explained that the "replacement" phone and the "old" phone are different. The system expect the "old" phone to be returned. He transfer me to the replacement department. I got disconnected when the replacement department put me on hold.

8:30 AM - I called them again. The replacement department checked and confirmed that they have received the "replacement" phone. They will make a note on my account that they've received the "replacement" phone.

Live Adviser: If you get disconnected, call us back and we'll re-activate your account based on this note.

Me: Oh, so I may still get disconnected?

Live Adviser: Yes. The automated system checks to see if it receives the "old" phone.

Me: I see. When will I get disconnected?

Live Adviser: When did you receive the text message?

Me: This morning.

Live Adviser: You'll be temporarily disconnected five days from now. But just call us back and we'll re-connect you.

Me: Ok. Thanks.

9:00 AM - Feel relaxed that I can concentrate on the rest of my day.

0000000868: Uh-oh, you only have 5 more days to return your old phone or they both won't work!
Sent: 09:09

Lesson learned . . . When you request a replacement phone from Virgin Mobile USA, you better keep the replacement phone and return the old phone. Their system developer is smart enough to implement a system that checks for the return of the "replacement" phone, but not smart enough to implement the system to check for the return of the "old" phone.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 09 Feb 2011 17:41:07 +0000

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