The iPhone Virgin, Slight Return

There’s a sure fire way to check your account has been adjusted according to your wishes. Check the web site.

“Bill Preview” is the place to be when logged into one’s account on the Virgin Mobile site. That’s what I figure out after wading through a string of menu options that are a world away from explicit and which I swear change each time I visit.

One number should be listed by now. The old one. This is Monday evening, so Billing have had ample time to come back from their quiet weekend and follow the instructions left by Customer Service.

Which they have. To the letter. What it appears I need are more letters.

The old number has been converted to the post-paid plan I requested. No mention of a $10 per month reduction for bringing my own phone, maybe that’s just something they don’t list. But the new, unwanted number remains, and it’s just as post-paid.

Welcome to the party, Arthur “Two Plans” Jackson.

Time to get on the phone again. I explain the scenario with practised eloquence. The Monday shift is good: they get on with my request lickety-split. It’s a minor league Big Deal, apparently, getting a number wiped out completely. Probably analogous to terminating an account, so I accept that I’m on hold for more than the “moment” I’m asked to stay on the line.

She can’t resolve the issue, I learn countless Muzak tracks later, but she’ll put me through to someone who can. Better, it’s someone she’s already briefed.

A few seconds’ more tinny pop and the connection… goes tits up. I’ve been cut off. By now I can only laugh.

I give it a moment before trying to call back. The instant I do, the temperamental hand of fate intervenes, an incoming call forcing me to postpone my endeavour. Happily, it’s the lady from Customer Service phoning back and apologising profusely.

The second time I’m put through safe and sound. Whichever department I’m in the staffer is thorough. She clearly states and restates my request in inordinate detail, ensuring this will be the last time I need to get in touch. I enquire about the monthly $10 rebate. It appears on her screen, anonymous only on mine as I’d suspected. Is it the 04xx xxx xxx number I wish to have completely disconnected? And I’m sure the 04xx xxx xxx number (the elder of the two) is the one to keep? Because once this is done there’s no going back. The cancelled number will be hibernated until such time as it migrates to another customer.

Sure it’s tedious but I come away from the process confident.

“You will be charged for four days pro rata for the cancelled number.” Of course, but so what? That’s four days I haven’t been charged for the other one. “Will I be refunded for the (admittedly small) rash of local calls I’ve had to make these four days?” I don’t ask, because what would be the point?

Here I am, maybe a hundred hours on from the initial purchase at that TeleChoice kiosk and I’m finally where I’d wanted to be in the first place.

Then, a couple of days later, my inbox says hello to a $10 voucher from TeleChoice to be used on phone accessories of my – if you’ll excuse the pun – choice. Too little too late. Learn to hire staff who can follow instructions next time.

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