Rachel’s stepsister passed away last April, but when she called to cancel her pre-paid mobile account Virgin told her that instead of sending in a death certificate, she should just shut off the phone and ignore it. After 90 days of inactivity, it would automatically be canceled. “I asked if they wouldn’t take a death certificate to close the account, but I was assured that it would be faster to simply let the account run out.” Instead, they added some sort of extra minutes promotion to the account that extended it to the present, so ten months later, it’s still active.
I found the phone a few days ago and since it seems to a perfectly working phone, I thought I would put it to use as an emergency cell phone. I called Virgin to reactivate it.
They were unable to activate the phone because my sister’s account is still open. The phone has not been in use, turned on, nor have any minutes have been added to it since July of 2007. The problem, a minutes promotion went through and extended the life of the account.
I explained to the rep that I had already been through this in July and again, I asked to close the account. The Customer Rep asked me to provide her security information to confirm ownership. I explained again, that she passed away in April of 2007 and I would just like to close down her account, especially as it had been inactive for so long. I didn’t really care about the phone, but for heaven’s sake, I would like the account closed The representative countered that I could just add minutes to her account, since it really didn’t matter whose name was on it if I wanted to use the phone to make calls.
I declined his offer and hung up as I could not wait to get a supervisor on the telephone at that time.
I called back later and pursued the matter with a supervisor. She was very pleasant, but she explained that the only way I could close a phone that had not been in use for over 6 months was to wait out the remainder of time on the account which they assured me would be by the end of Feb.. To close the account now, it would require mailing a certified death certificate to the corporate office and making them push through the closure. I could not simply mail a certificate to them in July of last year or fax one to them now.
Now I appreciate that Virgin Mobile is protecting its customers from potential fraud, but this is ridiculous. My stepsister has been dead for nearly 10 months. In order to close her bank account, all I had to do was bring a death certificate into the branch. Closing credit cards required similar action.
If Virgin says that a phone account will be rendered inactive after 90 days, then it should be rendered inactive after 90 days. I should not be dealing with it months later and being asked to give personal information about her when I have offered to send them proof of her passing.
(Thanks to Rachel!)