Virgin Mobile Isn't Quite Clear On The Meaning Of "Playlist"

Jennifer writes that she bought a new phone, a Samsung Mantra, based on the features listed for the phone on Virgin Mobile’s web site. The problem is that the phone doesn’t actually seem to have the advertised features that led her to buy the phone in the first place.

Jennifer is in a familiar place: Virgin Mobile’s utter illogic and lack of knowledge of their own products has driven her to ask the readers of Consumerist whether she’s understanding the situation correctly, and whether her assumptions are wrong.

I seem to have an ongoing argument with Virgin Mobile, and thought I’d get your take on this. You folks seem pretty savvy with this kind of stuff. I bought a Virgin Mobile prepaid phone based on two features advertised on their site. One of the features was an MP3 player. The exact wording states: “Load MP3 files to your phone- take your playlist anywhere.” I interpreted this statement to mean that not only could I download ringtones, but I would be able to create a playlist of my favorite songs, and load it to my phone. I got the phone and can load MP3 ringtones. Unfortunately, there is no way possible to “take your playlist anywhere.” I called customer service to find out how to load my beloved playlist of favorite songs. I was told by a couple, maybe three reps that it could be done. I would just need to purchase a memory card and USB cable. That wasn’t a problem for me. ( I already have a memory card with my playlist on it that was used with a Samsung Upstage I previously owned.) The problem is that the Samsung Mantra I had purchased does not have a Memory card slot.

I placed a couple of other calls to customer service and was told that I could not load a playlist to my new phone. Fed up with this awkward treasure trove of conflicting information, I emailed Virgin mobile at the address provided on their site. Once again, I was told I could load my playlist, provided I had a memory card and USB cable. I replied and let them know that the phone a did not have a memory card port. (You would think that they would research the product before they started giving answers.) I received a reply apologizing for the misinformation. I was told that I could return the phone and pay more money for a phone that does include the feature I thought was available on the phone I just purchased. I was told that the product description would be corrected. A credit was applied to my account, which I do appreciate. However, I do not feel I should spend more money to purchase a phone that the Virgin Mobile web site said was on the phone I already owned. I gave up.

A couple of months later I visited the site, and out of curiosity, I took a look at the product description for my Samsung Mantra. Lo and behold! It says that I can “Load MP3 files- take your playlist anywhere!” I shot off another email asking Virgin Mobile to make it possible for me to take my playlist anywhere. They responded by saying that I misunderstood the description, and that that it only means that I can load ringtones and wallpapers to my phone. I may be wrong, but I was not aware that wallpapers were available in MP3 format. I also was not aware that a playlist of 20 second song clips that my ringtones consist of. Even if I could create such a playlist, why would I want one consisting only of ringtones? ( I also checked out the descriptions for their other phones. It appears that they all offer the “Load MP3 files to your phone- take your playlist anywhere” feature.

If I am in the wrong, and I do have a twisted understanding of the term “playlist”, I will gladly admit my ignorance and let the whole thing go. Will you tell me if I am misunderstanding the product description? Will you clarify for me what constitutes a MP3 playlist? Can I place MP3 wallpapers in a playlist? Your feedback is appreciated.

It’s worth noting that the page for this phone on Virgin Mobile USA’s site no longer mentions anything about using the phone to play music.

My understanding is that a “playlist” is a list of full-length songs, not ringtones, and the product description was misleading if you’re unable to store full-length, decent quality songs on the phone. What does the Consumerist HIve Mind have to say?

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