Three Weeks Later, Your Helio Phone Is Still Not Activated

Reader Katherine has been trying for the past 3 weeks to get her Helio phone activated and has had no luck. The CSRs say they’re working on transferring her number from Verizon, but when she calls Verizon they say that no one from Helio has called. How mysterious.

Here’s an email she sent to Helio:

Dear Helio,

My name is Katherine [redacted]. This is my SECOND email regarding this problem. I ordered my Ocean from your website, and received it on January 14th, 2008. As of today, January 28th, it STILL has not been activated. I requested to port my number from Verizon Wireless.

On the 14th, I attempted to activate my device online. I mistakenly put the wireless number I wanted to transfer over as the “Account Number” in the form. After I realized my mistake, I called “customer care” on Tuesday, January 15th. I spoke with a gentleman whose name I cannot remember and then a female named Pearl. According to the “customer care” representatives I spoke with on Tuesday, my concerns would be “elevated to a higher department”, and my device was to be activated in 3-5 business days.

I called “customer care” again on Friday, January 18th, and spoke with Ray. I was told again that my device would be activated in another 3-5 business days.

I called again on Monday, January 21st, and was told that my device would be activated by Tuesday afternoon. I called again at 6:00PM PST on Tuesday, January 22nd, and was told that my device would be activated in no more than 24 hours. During this conversation, I said very clearly that I would cancel my service, and return my phone for a full refund if my device was not working within 24 hours as promised.

By this point, each representative I’d spoken with had read back the incorrect account number when “verifying” my information. I’ve explained to every representative I’ve spoken with what happened when I attempted to activate the device on my own, and told them that the Verizon Wireless account number I’m giving them is the correct account number. Still, the incorrect information is repeated back to me each time I call–which tells me that the information I’ve had to repeat on 8 or 9 different occasions is not getting recorded properly.

By Wednesday the 23rd, I was extremely frustrated. My phone was still not activated as promised. I called again–this time, intending to cancel my service, and received the same “3-5 business days” answer. I called back immediately, and asked to speak with a supervisor. The woman who took my call (Florence) not only left me on hold for over 18 minutes, she wasted time asking me questions and NEVER let me speak to her supervisor.

At this point, I explained to her that I had been waiting for almost 10 days for my phone to be activated AND that I’d spent over 3 hours of my life on the phone with “customer care” trying to get this situation straightened out. Each time I called, I was given the same “3-5 business day response”. I told her that I was fed up, and needed to be compensated for the time I’d wasted with this company. She started crying and asked if I would hold while she spoke with her supervisor. After a very long (5-7 minute) hold, she came on the line and said “Please call back in 3-5 business days.” I asked if I was going to be able to speak with her supervisor, and she said, “No,” as she promptly hung up. To recap– no compensation was offered, my phone was not activated, AND my request to speak with a supervisor was denied.

After being treated so poorly by the customer care representatives at 1-888-88-HELIO, I was at the end of my rope. I looked up the phone number for an actual Helio Store in my area, and begged them to help me. The woman I spoke with there was 500 times more helpful than anyone in “customer care.” She gave me a different number (800) 505-3202. I called that number, and initially spoke with Juan.

Juan looked up my account information and history for me. He, again, read the incorrect account number back to me while “verifying” information. In tears, I explained the whole situation to him, and he was able to tell me that the hold up was not on Helio’s end, but Verizon’s. He then said that some one in the “higher department” was working on it, so it should be taken care of in the next day or so. He also said that my bill would be “prorated” as compensation for my troubles. I thanked him for the information he’d given me, and immediately contacted Verizon Wirelsss to see if we could get the process moved along faster.

After a lengthy conversation with Verizon Wireless, I discovered that the last (and only) time Verizon had been contacted by Helio on my behalf was on Monday, January 14th, 2008–when I attempted to activate my device on my own with the wrong information. This tells me that EVERY representative I’ve spoken with at Helio has not only lied to me about when my device will be activated, but also about someone in a “higher department” working to solve this problem.

After finding out that Helio had never even bothered to contact Verizon with the correct account information, I contacted Cayleb at (800) 505-3202. He told me that he understood my frustration, and offered to let me call back if my device was not activated by the end of the week. Well, the end of the week has come and gone. Today begins week 3 of this ordeal.

There are several things I expect once my device is activated. I expect to be credited for the device that has been sitting on my desk gathering dust for the past 14 days. I also don’t even want to SEE a bill for at least 6 months.

As I promised in my first email regarding this issue, I will be contacting the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports with this information. I also have half a mind to post this on every online forum I can find regarding Helio and wireless service.

Thank you for nothing so far,

Katherine, we know you probably like the phone you got from Helio, but this just isn’t worth it. You’re probably not going to get the level of compensation you’re asking for, so you might as well just chalk this one up as a lesson learned and take your business elsewhere. Return the phone. Cancel your account. Go phone shopping. If you wait much longer you might be stuck.

We suspect that after spending 45 minutes in a nearby mall you can find yourself a wireless carrier that will have you up and running that day. Helio has had their shot at your business, now it’s time to throw a little capitalism their way.