Tag-Team Unhelpfulness From Best Buy And Virgin Keeps My Cell Phone Dead

Andrew bought a Samsung Intercept phone from Best Buy and hoped to activate it on his active Virgin Mobile account. But after he bought the phone, he discovered it wouldn’t be possible to activate it until later this month. Now he’s stuck without phone service and doesn’t know whom to blame.

He writes:

They had a whole shelf of them (well, more like a peg, but you get the picture). I checked them over, and asked a sales associate to pull one off the padlocked peg and ring it up. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I didn’t actually witness the sales associate scan the bar code for the activation. After rushing out to the car, I opened the package, pulled out the phone, powered it up, and attempted to activate. I already had a Virgin Mobile account, figuring it would be a trivial process to switch to this new phone.

The activation failed, stating that I needed to call customer service. Disappointed, I drove back home and tried again. No luck. I had a meeting to run to, so I decided to put off the CS call until later. When I got home, I called customer service, after trying to activate online and receiving the same message, and spoke with “Alex,” my virtual advisor. Alex was no help. “He” basically kept me from a live advisor, which the error messages kept pointing me to. After four calls with no luck, I finally looked up the shortcut to a human, which worked. Once I got to a human, I read back the numbers again, and he also received an error message, though this one more specific. He told me that my phone showed that it hadn’t been activated at Best Buy. Angry now, I called Best Buy where I purchased the phone and asked for the mobile department. I explained the situation, was put on hold, and then was told, “Those phones may not be able to activate until October 24th.” To which I replied, “What???”

I ventured back to Best Buy, brought in all the parts of the deadly plastic packaging, the charger/cable and phone, walked up to the mobile counter and explained the situation again. I was told by a nice manager that there was basically nothing I could do other than return the phone (which seemed futile since I’d be back after the 24th to get a new one) or just wait until the 24th when “maybe” it will activate. So far, keeping it is my plan unless someone tells me otherwise. I have decided on the phone, and don’t want to go through the chargeback process if I can avoid it. I also made sure that I can return the phone within 30 days, so if I can’t ever get this thing activated, I can just return it or exchange it.

Has anything like this happened to you?