Helio Call Centers Staffed By Retards

Helio is an exciting new cellphone company! We heard about them some months ago when they just got started and were launching 2-page spreads in major magazines and taking out ads on prominent websites, except then they decided to only pay for the magazine ads and told the websites to go screw themselves. This general air of assclowns spinning asshats on sticks at the asscircus trickles down all the way to their call centers, which, based on reader Dave’s complaint, has their head totally up their ass. Which must hurt because it’s also got a spinning asshat on it (on a stick, no less) but we digress.

Essentially Helio, totally screwed up porting over Dave’s cellphone from Verizon and their call centers were unable and/or unwilling to fix the problem in any coherent fashion.

Sky Dayton, pictured above, founded Helio. Why don’t you spend less time surfing and targeting trendsetters Mr. Visionary and more time fixing your feculent call centers. You barely have any subscribers, so you shouldn’t go around shafting the few that you have. Maybe that’s just the problem, the reps are out of practice…

Read the tragic tale, and Mr. Dayton’s phone number, inside…

Dave writes:

– I have 3 phone lines under Helio, lets call them “A,” “B,” and “C.” I have 1 line under Verizon, let’s call it “V.”

– Call Helio Tuesday morning and tell them to port over line V to line A. Instead they port it over to line B. After realizing this mistake within an hour of the call, I call back and ask them to reverse the action. Their response is that it’ll be done within an hour. After 2 hours I call back…another hour they say. I decide to give them the rest of the day.

-Next day, nothing’s fixed. The phone for line B does not receive or make calls. The phone for line V still makes calls showing the old V number, but can’t receive calls. I call Helio and talk to another agent, having to explain the whole situation, just like every other time I’ve called. Finally I persuade them to let me talk to a superior, Matthew. Matthew says he’s up to speed on my problem because the agent I’ve just talked to has documented it very well in my notes, as opposed to the total lack of documentation previously. Matthew is very nice and tells me how sorry he is and how he’ll see to it personally that it gets fixed. Give it 48 hours…at MOST 72 hours. Call back if there’s a problem he says. This is Wednesday.

-Thursday morning, I call to check on things. I have to explain my situation again because apparantly there’s little documentation on my account. I’m told the case has been elevated, the port forwarding department has been emailed and will get to it within 2 days.

-Saturday rolls around and no changes. I call helio and after explaining the whole screw up again, the agent apologizes profusely but laments that she can’t do anything because the port forward dept is closed for the weekend.

-Monday morning. I call again and ask for Matthew and provide the agent ID number which Matthew himself gave me. At this point, I’m sick of having to explain my problem to every person I talk to and want to get someone that knows what’s going on and can do something about it. Matthew is busy. Can I hold till he’s free? No, I should call back later. I call back in an hour, he’s still busy. I tell the agent to give Matthew my contact number so he can call me when he’s not busy. 3 hours go by and nothing. I call back and now I’m told Matthew no longer works here. Greeeeat.

-Monday afternoon. Now I tell the agent again what my problem is because she can’t tell what’s going on from the account notations. Unfortunately my signal dies and I have to call back. I ask the next agent to look at my account notes to see what’s there, he mentions that there’s a note that I hung up, but I still need to explain my situation. I ask to talk to a supervisor and I get Laurie(based out of Vegas) who says she knows what’s going on because the agent I talked to before losing the connection has told her. Laurie assures me that she herself has emailed the porting department as well as emailed Verizon to request Line B back from them; until Verizon lets her know line B is still available, I just need to wait. I ask her how long it will take to get B back after Verizon emails and she says it’ll be very quick. So I tell her I will call Verizon myself and talk to their porting department to expedite the process in any way I can. I call Verizon, fill them in on what’s what. They’ve got no clue about line B, but I go ahead and tell them to request line V back from Helio.

-Monday late afternoon. Calling Helio again, now I want to talk to Laurie. “I’m sorry, I can’t forward you to someone else. It’s against company policy,” the agent tells me. She doesn’t find any sort of notation in my account specifying I should talk to Laurie, thus I can’t talk to her. Fine, I say I’m dissatisfied and I would like to get transferred to her superior. Now I get to talk to Dakota. He seems to think I simply want to change my phone number. I educate him on my problem and who I’ve talked to. When I mention how Matthew no longer works here, he corrects me by saying he wasn’t available to talk. When I complain that I cannot talk to Laurie, who I JUST spoke to an hour ago, he acquiesces and asks for Laurie’s agent ID. I give it and he snipes that he can’t transfer me because it’s the wrong ID. Maybe I wrote it down wrong, maybe she gave me the wrong number, I dunno. I ask Dakota to transfer me to the Vegas customer center. He can’t do that. I need to call in again until I reach a Vegas agent on my own. Regardless, Dakota tells me that I can no longer get line B back. It’s been released into the ether and it can no longer be retreived. The best he can do is assign me a random phone number based of area code. I’m angry. If this is the case, why hasn’t anyone told me? So after Helio creates a problem, screws up the fixing and tracking of the problem, the end result is that they could never even fix it in the first place? After I ask for his ID, location, and title. He can’t give me his location because it’s confidential.

At no time during any of my conversations do I use profanity, yell, or act like an ass. I understand that each individual agent I talked to is not really responsible for the initial cause of the problem, yet I’m so utterly amazed at how frequently none of these agents can make simple explanatory notations on my account to help me fix my problem. At this time, I still have 2 non-functioning phones and probably many fewer brain cells. I urge every person thinking of using hell-io to stay clear. I’ve never had to deal with such overwhelming incompetence from a phone provider.

Let’s see, Sky D. Dayton is the CEO of Helio and his phone number is 1-310-445-7000 x8900. Also, there’s his assistant, Rachel Greenberg, at 310-312-6617. We suggest Dave call one or both of them and offer up a piece of his mind. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. dragonflight says:

    Disappointing that Helio, the upstart with a fraction of the subcribers, can’t even maintain acceptable customer service. Nice work with the phone numbers at the end, but you should’ve mentioned that before the jump!

    Also, how in the world do you guys have these numbers?

  2. Ben Popken says:

    @dragonflight: It’s really not that hard to get phone numbers. Most of the time the starting point is looking up a company onGoogle Finance and get their HQ number. From there you can call and ask for the office of so and so, or play around with the company directory (works especially well afterhours).

  3. dabu says:

    Thanks consumerist for posting my story. I’m going to give ole Sky a call tomorrow and I’ll keep you posted.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that most of the time, I called 611 to talk to customer service instead of *611. Apparantly, 611 isn’t airtime free and when I requested credit for having to continually call because of helio’s mistake, the rep told me it’s impossible for me to receive such credit. Thanks for that last kick in the nuts Helio.

  4. Saydur says:

    The same quality service you expect from major players like Verizon, now with a heaping dose of pretentiousness!

  5. omgwtfbbq! Is that Edward Norton in a wetsuit?

  6. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    “assclowns spinning asshats on sticks at the asscircus”

    Come on Ben, is your target audience supposed to be high school kids? Every time you write stuff like that, this site loses its credibility.

  7. t.a.m.s.y. says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: It’s true. Any self-respecting blogger knows the proper terminology is “doucheclowns.”

    Helio has supposedly been hiring like mad lately. I’d considered submitting a resume, but a friend of mine in the world of mobile content production — who works with Helio directly — suggested that I’d be wasting my time, that they don’t know what they’re doing, and that the company will be dead and gone within 18 months. FWIW.

  8. fullman says:

    Guys, keep in mind that Helio *is* still in its startup phase and has been getting A LOT of attention lately because of their upcoming Ocean phone, which I personally have solid interest in.

    Stories like this with porting troubles and CSRs that are out of the loop with eachother are not uncommon in the industry, as I’ve had a heap of trouble during the whole AT&T Mobile to Cingular debacle and I’m sure I’ll have it again… providers simply drag their feet on releasing lines, the receiving party is often confused if it doesn’t happen immediately and everything goes out of whack.

    One person’s sob story and urging to tell everyone you know “not” to use Helio is just sour grapes. (Because, you know, if it happens to one person, it *surely* must happen to everyone and will happen to you… riiiiigt.) Poor him. My God, why does one need 3 phone lines to begin with? Be happy with 1 dude, 2 at the most.

    I’ve had my fair share of hell from Dell recently (which I’ve emailed Consumerist with a quick solution/workaround for others), Comcast during the whole Hurricane Wilma recovery, Gateway, Cingular and AT&T. Nobody is different, and in the end, they’re all asshats. :)

    Get past their CSRs and you might actually be happy!

  9. pr1mu5 says:

    Soeren Palumbo who is a senior honors student and big brother to Olivia. Last week at Fremd High School in Wheeling during Writer’s Week, he gave the following speech that he wrote to a gymnasium full of his high school peers and faculty and received a standing ovation. I agree with Fran that we need more Soeren’s in the world! Soeren never felt that there would be interest in his piece beyond the doors of the school. I think he was wrong.


    I want to tell you a quick story before I start. I was
    walking through hallways, not minding my own business, listening to
    the conversations around me. As I passed the front door on my way to
    my English classroom, I heard the dialogue between two friends
    nearby. For reasons of privacy, I would rather not give away their
    race or gender. So the one girl leans to the other, pointing to the
    back of a young man washing the glass panes of the front door, and
    says, “Oh my gaw! I think it is so cute that our school brings in
    the black kids from around the district to wash our windows!” The
    other girl looked up, widened her slanted Asian eyes and called to
    the window washer, easily loud enough for him to hear, “Hey, Negro!
    You missed a spot!” The young man did not turn around. The first
    girl smiled a bland smile that all white girls – hell, all white
    people – have and walked on. A group of Mexicans stood by and
    laughed that high pitch laugh that all of them have.

    So now it’s your turn. What do you think the black window
    washer did? What would you do in that situation? Do you think he
    turned and calmly explained the fallacies of racism and showed the
    girls the error of their way? That’s the one thing that makes
    racism, or any discrimination, less powerful in my mind. No matter
    how biased or bigoted a comment or action may be, the guy can turn
    around and explain why racism is wrong and, if worst comes to worst,
    punch em in the face. Discrimination against those who can defend
    themselves, obviously, cannot survive. What would be far worse is if
    we discriminated against those who cannot defend themselves.
    What then, could be worse than racism? Look around you and
    thank God that we don’t live in a world that discriminates and
    despises those who cannot defend themselves. Thank God that every
    one of us in this room, in this school hates racism and sexism and by
    that logic discrimination in general. Thank God that every one in
    this institution is dedicated to the ideal of mutual respect and love
    for our fellow human beings. Then pinch yourself for living in a
    dream. Then pinch the hypocrites sitting next to you. Then pinch
    the hypocrite that is you. Pinch yourself once for each time you
    have looked at one of your fellow human beings with a mental handicap
    and laughed. Pinch yourself for each and every time you denounced
    discrimination only to turn and hate those around you without the
    ability to defend themselves, the only ones around you without the
    ability to defend themselves. Pinch yourself for each time you have
    called someone else a “retard”.

    If you have been wondering about my opening story, I’ll tell
    you that it didn’t happen, not as I described it. Can you guess what
    I changed? No, it wasn’t the focused hate on one person, and no it
    wasn’t the slanted Asian eyes or cookie cutter features white people
    have or that shrill Hispanic hyena laugh (yeah, it hurts when people
    make assumptions about your person and use them against you doesn’t
    it?). The girl didn’t say “hey Negro.” There was no black person.
    It was a mentally handicapped boy washing the windows. It was “Hey
    retard.” I removed the word retard. I removed the word that
    destroys the dignity of our most innocent. I removed the single most
    hateful word in the entire English language.
    I don’t understand why we use the word; I don’t think I ever will.
    In such an era of political correctness, why is it that retard is
    still ok? Why do we allow it? Why don’t we stop using the word?
    Maybe students can’t handle stopping- I hope that offends you
    students, it was meant to – but I don’t think the adults, here can
    either. Students, look at your teacher, look at every member of this
    faculty. I am willing to bet that every one of them would throw a
    fit if they heard the word faggot or nigger – hell the word Negro –
    used in their classroom. But how many of them would raise a finger
    against the word retard? How many of them have? Teachers, feel free
    to raise your hand or call attention to yourself through some other
    means if you have. That’s what I thought. Clearly, this obviously
    isn’t a problem contained within our age group.

    So why am I doing this? Why do I risk being misunderstood
    and resented by this school’s student body and staff? Because I know
    how much you can learn from people, all people, even – no, not even,
    especially – the mentally handicapped. I know this because every
    morning I wake up and I come downstairs and I sit across from my
    sister, quietly eating her cheerio’s. And as I sit down she sets her
    spoon down on the table and she looks at me, her strawberry blonde
    hair hanging over her freckled face almost completely hides the
    question mark shaped scar above her ear from her brain surgery two
    Christmases ago. She looks at me and she smiles. She has a
    beautiful smile; it lights up her face. Her two front teeth are
    faintly stained from the years of intense epilepsy medication but I
    don’t notice that anymore. I lean over to her and say, “Good
    morning, Olivia.” She stares at me for a moment and says
    quickly, “Good morning, Soeren,” and goes back to her cheerio’s. I
    sit there for a minute, thinking about what to say. “What are you
    going to do at school today, Olivia?” She looks up again. “Gonna
    see Mista Bee!” she replies loudly, hugging herself slightly and
    looking up. Mr. B. is her gym teacher and perhaps her favorite man
    outside of our family on the entire planet and Olivia is thoroughly
    convinced that she will be having gym class every day of the week. I
    like to view it as wishful thinking. She finishes her cheerio’s and
    grabs her favorite blue backpack and waits for her bus driver, Miss
    Debbie, who, like clockwork, arrives at our house at exactly
    7’o’clock each morning. She gives me a quick hug goodbye and runs
    excitedly to the bus, ecstatic for another day of school.

    And I watch the bus disappear around the turn and I can’t help but
    remember the jokes. The short bus. The retard rocket. No matter
    what she does, no matter how much she loves those around her, she
    will always be the butt of some immature kid’s joke. She will always
    be the butt of some mature kid’s joke. She will always be the butt
    of some “adult’s” joke. By no fault of her own, she will spend her
    entire life being stared at and judged. Despite the fact that she
    will never hate, never judge, never make fun of, never hurt, she will
    never be accepted. That’s why I’m doing this. I’m doing this
    because I don’t think you understand how much you hurt others when
    you hate. And maybe you don’t realize that you hate. But that’s
    what is; your pre-emptive dismissal of them, your dehumanization of
    them, your mockery of them, it’s nothing but another form of hate.
    It’s more hateful than racism, more hateful than sexism, more hateful
    than anything. I’m doing this so that each and every one of you,
    student or teacher, thinks before the next time you use the
    word “retard”, before the next time you shrug off someone else’s use
    of the word “retard”. Think of the people you hurt, both the
    mentally handicapped and those who love them. If you have to, think
    of my sister. Think about how she can find more happiness in the
    blowing of a bubble and watching it float away than most of will in
    our entire lives. Think about how she will always love everyone
    unconditionally. Think about how she will never hate. Then think
    about which one of you is “retarded”.

    Maybe this has become more of an issue today because society is
    changing, slowly, to be sure, but changing nonetheless. The mentally
    handicapped aren’t being locked in their family’s basement anymore.
    The mentally handicapped aren’t rotting like criminals in
    institutions. Our fellow human beings are walking among us,
    attending school with us, entering the work force with us, asking for
    nothing but acceptance, giving nothing but love. As we become more
    accepting and less hateful, more and more handicapped individuals
    will finally be able to participate in the society that has shunned
    them for so long. You will see more of them working in places you
    go, at Dominicks, at Jewel, at Wal-Mart. Someday, I hope more than
    anything, one of these people that you see will be my sister.
    I want to leave you with one last thought. I didn’t ask to have a
    mentally handicapped sister. She didn’t choose to be mentally
    handicapped. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have learned
    infinitely more from her simple words and love than I have from any
    classroom of “higher education”. I only hope that, one-day, each of
    you will open your hearts enough to experience true unconditional
    love, because that is all any of them want to give. I hope that,
    someday, someone will love you as much as Olivia loves me. I hope
    that, someday, you will love somebody as much as I love her. I love you, Olivia.

    Soeren Palumbo

  10. Pelagius says:

    @pr1mu5: That’s totally retarded.

  11. Canadian Impostor says:

    That’s funny. I tried out Helio and ended up cancelling it because I liked T-Mobile better.

    When I called to activate my phone it took me less than two minutes to get a friendly woman in America on the phone who was cheerful and offered to walk me through using the phone.

    When I called to cancel they didn’t give me any retentions nonsense, they were still very cheerful and explained how the process worked. I got an email with confirmation numbers about the cancellation within minutes, and the next day they sent an invoice with the charges laid out and a letter saying they were sad to see me go, but that they hoped I’d come back.

    I really liked my short stay with Helio. I’d recommend them to anyone, and I might go back when the Ocean comes out.

  12. consumed says:

    Lesson learned: MVNO’s are just dumb. Stick to real cell phone companies.

  13. LTS! says:

    Well, I thought the use of the word retarded for this article was juvenile and the “asshats”, etc. just put it over the top.

    I did however enjoy the quoted speech. Something truly insightful.

  14. smurray says:

    As a Special Education teacher, I take great offense to the terminology used in the headline of this post. “Retard” is not only not a politically correct term, it isn’t even being used in the right context. While I’ve been a longtime reader of your Blog, this is the first time I’ve felt the need to post. I usually find very useful information here, but when you use such inappropriate and offensive language such as what was used today, it makes me want to think twice before visiting your site. Since this post is apparently an audition to become a commenter, I’m quite certain it will never actually make it to the public. However, since the comment is directed at the writer and not the public, this doesn’t bother me. Thank you for your time.

  15. My God, why does one need 3 phone lines to begin with? Be happy with 1 dude, 2 at the most.

    @fullman: OK, that doesn’t even make sense. The problem is his fault because he has too many lines? If anything that should have gotten him better service than usual.

    Here we have someone who’s already bought three lines from Helio and wants to move another over. They should have been more than happy that he wanted to spend even more of his money with them.

    One person’s sob story and urging to tell everyone you know “not” to use Helio is just sour grapes. (Because, you know, if it happens to one person, it *surely* must happen to everyone and will happen to you… riiiiigt.)

    Dude, I think you’re on the wrong site.

    Besides, I would argue this goes beyond a “normal” bad experience because 1) the orignal problem is never resolved and 2) he’s actually worse off than when he started because they lost one of his existing lines.

  16. The Bigger Unit says:

    It’s always classy to make fun of the developmentally disabled with the word “retarded” in a headline. C’mon folks! Make fun of the handicapped!! It’ll make you feel better about yourself.

  17. What does one expect from a scientology-run company?

    I figure the Ocean phone will help determine your theta levels

  18. Jason.Falkner says:

    Thanks Soeren, I’m with you.

  19. Canadian Impostor says:

    I suppose T-Mobile is awesome because it’s run by godless Germans then, eh?

  20. humphrmi says:

    @fullman: So, consumers are supposed to give startups a break? Or is it, just becaues all mobile companies suck, complaining about one that sucks is “sour grapes”?

    In the eyes of the consumer, Helio is not a “startup”, it is a “company”. They advertise their service, they should be prepared to provide it. If they can’t, they should give up. If they see themselves as a “startup” they will never amount to anything more than that.

  21. fullman says:


    No, I’m saying with 3 lines, it’s not a far stretch that the porting got messed up with the wrong target line. You know, like how it’s not hard for a Dell technician to send you part number UT897 when you specically asked for TX978 and repeat yourself over and over again. If they see a few options on the screen, they’re bound to mess up.

    More lines doesn’t mean better service, certainly not, maybe just a little more attention. My company has over 50 Dell PCs, and that certainly didn’t prevent my recent hellish experience with their team. We’re certainly not going to replace all our Dell machines with HP and suggest everyone do the same either.

    But again, because this *isn’t* a normal case of mistakes; should that still warrant the “urge every person thinking of using hell-io to stay clear”? No, certainly not, especially since he said he’s never experienced anything like this before.

    Either way, titling the post “Helio Call Centers Staffed By Retards” is just plain juvenile.

    Unless this was a common complaint. Then again, this is a site filled with bitching customers, so to each his/her own!

  22. @LTS!: OK, does asshat mean something other than what I think it means? Because I’ve only heard/read it used to call someone a jackass.

  23. Canadian Impostor says:

    @humphrmi: I think you should probably anticipate teething troubles for new businesses, and if you’re really worried about things going smoothly you should stay away.

    Like I said above, I had no trouble with Helio save for the fact that their phone didn’t work with my Mac at all.

  24. fullman says:

    So we’re to treat Helio the same as we would Cingular/AT&T or the rest? Because they’re clearly on level playing fields? I see now, consumers are *supposed* to be walking around blindly and dependent on others. That makes perfect sense. In that case, burn em!

    In all seriousness, mind you, their service is provided by both Sprint and Verizon, so it’s not the coverage that’s the issue, it’s the porting, which has quite a high error rate and the typical CSR trouble.

    CSRs not noting records correctly or at all so the future calls need repeating is nothing new and is pretty much expected; every company lacks in that part of the job.

  25. Ben Popken says:

    @pr1mu5: I’m sorry, you don’t get to paste a 4 page offtopic essay in the comments.

  26. latemodel says:

    If I worked at a call center and managed to completely screw up this guys phone lines, I would consider myself retarded. And offer free service or SOMETHING of value for doing so. Its not the “mess up” that is an issue, its their inability/unwillingness to correct it.

  27. Greeper says:

    When I saw the post, I was tempted to comment “Countdown to someone complaining about use of the word ‘retarded’: ten, nine, eight…..” Looks like someone beat me to it. Never underestimate the speec of the reactionary, terminally bored.

  28. MeOhMy says:


    Stories like this with porting troubles and CSRs that are out of the loop with eachother are not uncommon in the industry, as I’ve had a heap of trouble during the whole AT&T Mobile to Cingular debacle and I’m sure I’ll have it again… providers simply drag their feet on releasing lines, the receiving party is often confused if it doesn’t happen immediately and everything goes out of whack.

    This is a frightening statement, as it indicates that consumers are beginning to just throw up their hands and say “Good customer service is a thing of the past, so we should stop expecting good customer service.” Helio had an opportunity to show up the big players. We already know service sucks elsewhere so we were hopeful that the upstart would have it figured out.

    Obviously they do not and more people will just stop expecting decent support.

    As for him having 3 lines, did it occur to you that maybe he has a family and it isn’t just one person with 3 phones?

  29. MeOhMy says:

    Oh, and the “This general air of assclowns…” passage is beautiful.

  30. dantsea says:

    So we’re to treat Helio the same as we would Cingular/AT&T or the rest?

    You’re damn right we are. I don’t care if they’re just a startup, they’re not advertising themselves as Helio Alpha or Helio Beta. They’re playing on a national stage as a full-featured service provider, they can damn sure be held to the same standards as their competitors. No break.

    And as far as porting numbers goes, are you fucking kidding us with the whole “it’s so haaaaard” line? Nice try.

  31. quantum-shaman says:

    hey, what does helio’s status as a “start up” and OMG “teething troubles” have to do with its customer service center?!? i’ll tell ya: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. customer service isn’t rocket science. decent CSRs are a dime a dozen, so to speak. if they can’t get such a simple, de rigeur, easily managed, BASIC business function right, you gotta imagine with horror what else they’re screwing up. how about your invoices?

  32. Landru says:

    “Retards” is juvenile, mean-spirited and vulgar. “Assclown” and “Asshat” are totally appropriate.

  33. Echodork says:

    @fullman: So we’re to treat Helio the same as we would Cingular/AT&T or the rest?

    Yep. Unless Helio is offering hefty discounts to customers willing to help them bugtest in their “beta” phase, then they’re held to the same standard.

  34. unwritten07 says:

    @pr1mu5: Well said.

  35. joeymazoey says:

    Perhaps I’m biased because I’m a current Helio user, but this whole post is in poor form. If this was still the Consumerist from the site launch, I seriously doubt a story like this would have made it through. A bad CSR experience from a mobile provider? During a port on a multi-line account from a competing provider? Hardly newsworthy. I’ve dealt with Helio CSRs, and while they’re not always the most informative, they’re consistently friendly and cordial.

    Encouraging someone to start hassling the CEO’s assistant isn’t being a smart shopper – it’s just rude. I’m sure Mr. Dayton never answers his phone, but the assistant is required to answer hers. Essentially, you’re going to flood this person with phone calls about issues that have absolutely nothing to do with her. If customer service isn’t getting you anywhere, try public/media relations, or call their physical store.

  36. Charssun says:

    Remember, Sky Dayton founded Earthlink, once a decent service but now once of the worst in customer service call centers. I’ve spent hours on the phone with them just trying to get to the correct dept. in order to file my complaint! Read about my nightmare on my blog at http://somethingthathappened.com/2005/11/what-chris-doesnt

    And please feel free to comment, once you’ve read the article!

  37. WNW says:


    100% correct

  38. A bad CSR experience from a mobile provider? During a port on a multi-line account from a competing provider? Hardly newsworthy.

    @joeymazoey: I KNOW you’re on the wrong site!

  39. Blozout says:

    Well I don’t care what anyone says, I could tell you horror stories about my experiences with Verizon Wireless CSR’s, from $450.00 overcharges that weren’t resolved for 4 months to some of the rudest profanity laced interactions with the CSR lying about their name and information to me in the end. I think this could happen with any company and I’m canceling my Verizon contract and switching over to Helio as soon as the Ocean launches…I’ve had enough of Verizon. Time to give someone else a shot.

  40. mathew says:

    Yeah, tell Sky Dayton his customer support representatives are infested with body thetans and need their engrams cleared. I’m sure he’ll get right on it.

    For extra points, tell him your name is Xenu and see how quickly he hangs up.

  41. shdwsclan says:

    Why did you ever go with a startup for a service…..never….ever…do that….
    Its your own fault…..

    Its kinda like people being stupid enough to buy dell, and complain about the customer service…..
    HMM, you get what you pay for….try a company that has been around for 140 years….like ibm….they know how to treat customers…

  42. morr1025 says:

    been reading for a while now. Just thought I’d chime in.

  43. morr1025 says:

    anyway, I can’t find any reference to helio and scientology online. If other commenters are to be believed I’m missing a connection here somewhere. Could someone enlighten me?

  44. MrEleganza says:

    @joeymazoey: This post wasn’t about wrong porting. It was about this guy calling over and over and over and over again and still not being able to get Helio to fix their screwup.

    If calling the CEO is too “rude,” and he can’t get a resolution through normal channels as has been amply illustrated here, then should he just sit in the middle and suck on it?

    I’m thinking you and fullman work for Helio. Otherwise I don’t understand what you’re even doing here. Hey Ben! Customers bitching, blah blah blah! Life is hard like that, so shut down your website and get over it!

  45. dabu says:

    To Fullman:
    As Troy correctly points out, I have 3 lines because it’s a FAMILY plan smart guy. And because screwing up a porting this “sob story” is not worthy of consumerist? If it’s so damn common, shouldn’t they be more familiar with the solution?

    To shdwsclan:
    Helio is still new compared to the big boys, but I would argue it’s had enough time to outgrow some of those teething problems. Why wouldn’t one expect a startup company in a highly competitive market to BEGIN with good service? Jesus, go to their physical store? What the hell would they be able to do about my porting problem? Same goes with Cust relations. I’ve already tried talking to other departments which might be able to solve my problem, like the porting department. Apparently, they don’t have phones and helio hasn’t let me talk to anyone else.

    As far as this being sour grapes, I don’t know what else you would expect from anyone in my position. I already know CSRs can be unhelpful and we’ve all dealt with them. The issue here is that pretty much EVERY CSR and Supervisor has been unhelpful and sometimes deceitful. I did not say that they were rude (except Dakota). Sure they want to be helpful while I’m talking to them, but short of that, they’ve taken no coherent, effective steps to fix THEIR problem.

    p.s. I haven’t called Sky yet. Both phones are still not working, though Verizon has been proactive and timely in trying to get my number back from Helio.

  46. rodeobob says:

    In response to the sockpuppets (joemazoe and fullman) asking why this is on Consumerist, let me summarize the article:

    1.) Man makes nine calls to customer service before his account has any notation coherent & usable by other CSRs. Yes, calls aren’t always documented as well as they should be, but after nine calls, one of which was elevated to a supervisor, he shouldn’t have to explain his situation over & over & over again.

    2.) Company makes a mistake on Tuesday morning, and is notified Tuesday morning. The first quoted repair time is 1 hour. 1 hour later, second quote is one hour. 1 day later, quote is now 48 hours. Three days later, problem is still not fixed. Six days later, not only is the problem not fixed, but now he is told it could not be fixed at all. Meaning the numerous persons he spoke to earlier may have been ignorant or misinformed.

    3.) Wednesday, customer speaks to a supervisor, gets a name and ID. Monday he’s told said supervisor is busy, and/or no longer works there. So he speaks to a different supervisor but loses the call. Calls back (same day) and is told cannot speak again to that supervisor (and that the contact information he was provided is incorrect), and told that 1st supervisor does work there, but can’t speak to him either.

    At this point, the company has consistently shown a failure to provide good training to its CSRs, and an inability to provide consistent information to customers. We still don’t know if calls can be transferred between call centers, or if supervisor IDs are unique to a company or just to a call center, or what good getting those IDs are if there is no way to re-contact those supervisors after a call.

    Oh, and if anyone reading this article actually works for Helio, the ethical thing to do would be to say so upfront. I don’t mind talking to PR flacks (it’s a job, somebody’s gotta do it) as long as they don’t claim to be impartial defenders.

  47. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Geez, Ben. I wanna have your babies just as much as the next girl, but you’re off base with your language in this post – there’s no reason to use a word that exists solely to diminish and mock (and, no, I’m not talking about asshat, assclown or asscircus). Take a cue from the companies that you’ve covered which are in this kind of situation: fix the problem, make a short note of apology, learn and move on. Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be a big production, just so long as you do it.

    If any other company that Consumerist has covered used such a hateful word on its website or on a product, you’d be all over it. Live to the standard you seek from others, Ben, and make the world a better place.

  48. pr1mu6 says:

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get to use the word ‘retard’ on your very public blog without getting a shitstorm about it.

    I won’t allow anyone to use that word that is offensive to my beautiful 2 year old daughter, who is lucky to be alive today. She can’t walk, talk, feed herself, but her pure soul and spirit and her laughs and smiles make her one of God’s greatest gifts to the planet. She will never know hate, ridicule, envy, greed. She truly unconditionally loves everyone.

    Which is why I’m very likely to punch someone in the face when they use the word ‘retard’ because you have NO IDEA what you’re talking about.

    FYI: You also stand to lose readers by being offensive like this. There are a lot of people like me, who have handicapped friends/family, but don’t stand up for them. But they will stop watching/reading/buying. I liked Carlos Mencia when he first came out, but I don’t listen to him anymore because of this same reason. He’s offensive to me.

    Your blog wouldn’t poke fun of someone because they are gay, black, Muslim, or purple, so don’t poke fun at the mentally handicapped either.

  49. LGABoarder says:

    Put me into the offended by the use of retarded category.

  50. emjsea says:

    Sometimes Ben is so gay.

  51. Whats up with all these retarded pussies who are offended by words?

  52. rev_mosely says:

    American Heritage Dictionary
    re·tard 1 (rÄ­-tärd’) Pronunciation Key
    v. re·tard·ed, re·tard·ing, re·tards

    v. tr.
    To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede.

    v. intr.
    To be delayed.


    1. A slowing down or hindering of progress; a delay.
    2. Music A slackening of tempo.

    I think it’s a perfectly reasonable term to describe the agents of this call center.

  53. @pr1mu6: Nobody called your daughter a retard.

    Get over it asshat.

  54. penarestel says:

    @pr1mu6: Are you trying to tell Ben what he can and can’t do on his blog?

    No censors for me, thank you very much.

  55. macinjosh says:

    Don’t call them a phone company.

    Don’t call it a phone.

  56. Ben Popken says:

    Ok I think we’ve expended the useful conversation possible on this topic. Locking thread.

  57. @Landru: Your face is vulgar.

    my. i wonder how much longer i can stand reading the comments.