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Why Wind Mobile lost two customers today

37000 Views 153 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  g011um
This morning I read about the Wind Mobile All in the Family plan.

I thought, excellent, I am going to sign both my kids up with new phones.

Went to my local Blockbuster and asked for the deal. The helpful sales clerk apologized and said that he couldn't give me the deal and that I had to talk to "corporate." The guy is a nice guy and I wanted him to have the sale but he said the only way I might have a chance was to go to a corporate Blockbuster store.

Okay, so I hopped in the car and drove ten minutes to the Blockbuster store at Parklawn and Queensway. Went inside and asked the clerk how to sign up for the All in the Family plan. She said I had to have a "form". I said, I don't have the form but I would like to sign up for the plan. She then proceeded to tell me how I could sign up for "better" plans and so on.

I said no, I wanted the All in the Family plan that I had read about. She refused to offer me the plan and refused to tell me why some people were eligible and I wasn't.

  • An hour of my time was wasted.
  • Wind Mobile lost two customers.
  • Wind Mobile has gained a vocal critic for its refusal to even exlain to me why I was not eligible for a deal it was offering some and not others.

Seems like Wind has learned about customer service from the Big Three!
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However, I don't get why you can't just go to another Wind store, pickup a SIM card, and activate it with your plan.
Tried that and the store they sent me to doesn't sell SIM cards!
Well, after twenty days, about three hours on the phone, several drives and more, I give up!

Despite repeated assurances that Lisa, a supervisor at WindMobile, would get back to me before lunch, I did not hear back from Wind so I called in at 2pm. On hold for almost 15 minutes before I got in.

Once connected, I asked how do I return. CSR read notes and then asked how long I had used the phone? I calmly replied that it was difficult to use the phone when the SIM card was not activated so the answer was zero minutes.

(sensing issues: I never took the phone out of the box or the sim card out of the wrapping so it should be an easy return.)

I've now been on hold for ten minutes while CSR finds out how I am supposed to return the phone.

Update: CSR tells me that I can take the phone back to a Wind Store at Jane/Lawrence and get a full refund. Since Jane/Lawrence is a 25 minute drive, I suggest that's ridiculous and why can't I take it to the Wind Mobile Kiosk at my local Blockbuster. I mean if they sell them there, why can't they take them back there?

Back on hold for ten minutes.

So comes back and tells me that I can return it to a Wind Mobile store. We look at the list of stores on the list. Lo and behold the two Blockbusters near me are on the list. Seems now that some say - Take Out - beside them. My local BB does not so he says I can take it back to that store.

On my way to end the nightmare in less than an hour!
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For those wondering why I was so patient and put up with all the crap, I did it for two reasons:

  1. My son - he wanted this phone and this plan and now it will probably be quite a while before I sign him up since I really don't want to pay $40 a month or so of unlimited texting and local voice. The $20 plan was perfect for him. Oh well.
  2. I wanted to do a story on Wind Mobile and review the service.

I ended up getting my story but I was hoping it would be more of a positive one. I like to be able to alert consumers to new providers and new products, especially positive alternatives.

Hopefully the return will be uneventful but I'm worried!
james99, honestly I think that's exactly why I never got this done. From the first time I discussed this plan with Wind employees, I sensed that this was going to be an issue.
Anyways, the point in mentioning my story, was to get you to return to the employee who originally set you up on the HAITF plan and have him redo everything.
Unfortunately, I do not know who that was. Frankly the CSR spoke such poor English that I would dread dealing with her again! I supposedly spoke to a Tech 2 rep and they couldn't get anything done so I'm skeptical that it would have made a difference.

So the day I received the sim cards in the mail, I called 611 and spoke with a WIND Rep, but the rep could not activate the plan on either of the sim cards I had as it showed as being IN USE. I found that hard to believe as the sim cards were still sealed. The rep told me to return to a store and swap them out for another.
Echoes of my story.

On the way to my son's hockey practice, I went to return the phone and to get my refund.

Guess what? The store wouldn't do it.

Its amazing because during my call this morning, I forced the CSR to confirm what stores I could take it back to. This led me to being put through to Doris the supervisor who informed me in a condescending tone that I could take the phone back to any Store listed on the Wind Website that did not say - Take Out - beside its name.

I gave her the specific address and asked if I could take it back to that store. She said Yep no problem.
Called WindMobile.

They told me that the store in question has a Wind Mobile Kiosk and that they have to take refunds because they are actual Wind Stores with a Wind Employee. I once again, re-iterated that they wouldn't so could I get a refund from the Head office or whoever it was I called to buy the phone form.

The answer was no, I had to take it back to the store. She then said that I should go to the corporate store at Jane/Lawrence.

Looks like I will likely be forced to waste another hour of my time driving to Jane/Lawrence, return the phone and drive back.
My nightmare hasn't ended as I still have the phone which I hope to get a refund for at some point but so far this is what I can say about WindMobile


  • None


  • Weak Management - can't get its programs under control and is unable to communicate effectively to staff. The entire Holiday plan was a major screw-up.
  • Terrible Internal IT systems - An order processing system that requires you to give a customer a sales order number, a plan order number and Case ID and then can't reconcile the three is absurd. In 1990, it would have been acceptable but not in 2011.
  • Terrible Sales and Marketing - programs which are available but not available; a website that is inaccurate on critical issues; use of ridiculous terms which confuse rather than enlighten (what is a take-out store and how is a consumer supposed to know how a take-out store differs from another store); stores that aren't stores; stores that sell but don't sell sim cards; stores that supposedly accept refunds but don't accept refunds when you show up.
  • Poorly trained customer service reps - for the original order, it took 45 minutes to order a phone, this is unacceptable; in dealing with these poor first line reps, it's clear they have no idea what to do when something doesn't follow the script. Next you have reps who tell you to get a new SIM card when its not necessary; Reps who give out false information about what store can service your needs and so on.
  • Ineffectual customer service reps who have no ability to make decisions, only follow orders - Reps telling me they would love to help and then would read to me from their information sheets. Clearly they were trying but they had no power to make some common sense decisions to resolve the issues quickly and efficiently;
  • Supervisors and second line support who can't make decisions because they are forced to follow poorly designed and poorly documented procedures - the second line support staff and supervisors were unable to break through the problems and stuck to the script which led to providing me with information which was false;
  • Culture that encourages deceiving the customer rather than admit problems - from the first sales rep I met to the second line tech support to the supervisor, I was told and promised information and feedback that was nothing more than a lie. The first Wind staffer told me there were better plans than the one I wanted but when pressed could not come up with anything and refused to help me, second level tech who lied when he said my card would be activated by days end for sure, the supervisor who promised a call back in two hours, the condescending supervisor who assured me that a store would look after me when clearly they could not.

Over the years, I have been critical of Rogers and Bell for various consumer related matters but compared to Wind, they are the absolute gold standard.
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I am writing a review of WindMobile based on my experience. I contacted Wind to ask for a response to my situation that I could append to my article.

The following is wind's reponse which I received tonight ( I have left out the persons name)

Good evening Hugh,

I have spoken with WIND's team and it appears the program that you were trying to subscribe to was one that was designed for friends & family of WIND employees. The form was provided to WIND employees to extend the offer to their network of friends & family members. Promotions of this nature are very common among organizations as a benefit to their employees. As you did not have the form when you visited a WIND Mobile store, the employees were unable to offer you the plan.

We apologize for the misunderstanding however this plan was never made available to the general public.

We sincerely hope that this helps clarify the situation, and we certainly regret the negative experiences you have had.
Needless to say I was surprised at the response because it makes little sense.

First I never ordered the phone at a store, I ordered it over the 1-800 number!

Second, the form makes no such disclaimer.

Third, they do not say why they took the order if it wasn't available to me?

Fourth, why did WindMobile say they would activate the SIM card and did not?

Fifth, Why did the WindMobile rep tells me the phone could be returned through the WindMobile store when it could not.
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The discussion over HAITF is really moot. When I called in, they took the order. If they didn't want me to have the plan, why take my order?, why send me a phone?, why try to activate the SIM card?, why tell me that the card will be activated? and so on.

For the record, I read the list of exclusions and it was clear that I Qualified. Retailers and manufacturers are advertising Employee pricing, Friends and Family plans and similar such marketing gimmicks all the time

Verizon has had a Friends and Family plan for some time and it is not exclusionary.

The big car manufacturers have "employee" pricing etc. The name of the plan is really irrelevant.

Mine was an honest review of an actual customer experience. By definition, isn't that what a review is all about?

Unfortunately many reviews I see these days are glowing reviews with an advertisement
for the product or service right beside it.

The problems I was having were given to Wind Mobile last week with a follow up on Monday for them to respond. In fact the review was delayed an additional day so that they could respond.

I told them I would post their response verbatim, which I did.

Should I only post glowing reviews of products?
You really can't find one pro for Wind?
Honestly, I wish I could but nothing positive happened in the three weeks that I dealt with them.

Honest question for you.. if a friend or family member is thinking about signing up with Wind (who lives in the coverage area) would you advise them not to?

The funny thing is that in my dealings with Wind, I gave them every opportunity to do the right thing.

If by the fourth phone call, a representative had simply said, "Hugh, we are sorry. We should never have sold you the plan. We understand that we have made mistakes, we will send a courier to pick that phone up for you and credit your account" then I would have said "hey, some honest mistakes were made and I forgive the company"

My belief is that the hallmark of a great company is one that admits its mistake, apologizes to the customer and resolves the issue"

As noted earlier, Bell and Rogers make mistakes but they always try to clean up after themselves.
In general, yours is one review that is completely against the norm, extremly unfavourable since you were getting personally upset at all the nonsense and people reading it shouldn't be basing their decision on whether to sign with wind on such a biased review.
People should never base their decision on one review. Conversely, I am amazed at people who will base their decision on a glowing review with an advertisement for that product right beside it.
However, I do think you should consider clarifying that the form that you obtained and printed did not come from Wind, you found it from an unofficial internet source.
For the record:

I found the form on the Mobile Syrup website, a website that is supported by Wind Mobile advertising and often gets exclusives from Wind.

When I signed up, I stated that I found the form on the Mobile Syrup website. The employee who took my order put me on hold, spoke to a supervisor and then came back on and took my order. The sales rep never said that I could not have the plan. That was confirmed when she spoke to her supervisor. There was no deception on my part.

At any point during the sale or in the 10 days or so before the phone was shipped, the company could have said "No, we won't offer you that program" but we can offer you an alternate plan.

Finally, I gave Wind every opportunity to resolve the issue and published their response verbatim. No deception.
For those that are interested there are now over 80 comments on the article. I would say that they are 50/50 in terms or pro and anti Wind.

If you are thinking of Wind, I encourage you to review the comments and see what others are saying.
I am happy to say the story has over 100 comments in just a few hours with folks appearing pretty even on it all. I encourage anyone reading this thread who is interested in Wind Mobile to take a look.

FYI, for anyone doubting the article, just read through this thread. Much of the content of the article was my musings posted in this thread.
The comments keep flowing in and the reaction has been enlightening. One comment that keeps coming up which I should address is the "Friends and Family" plan. People say that I should have "known" that friends and family plan was only for Friends and Family.

Can one of those commenters please explain how marketers define a "friend or family"?

I have spoken to several marketers today and they all laugh at the term. Like me, they consider the term "Friends and Family" to be meaningless. They tell me its like saying the "spectacular sale". They told me the term was meaningless advertising and the ONLY thing that matter was the "Conditions of Sale" or "Disclaimers".

I investigated and in less than five minutes found over 20 sales in the last year that were billed as "Friends and Family" that placed no restrictions on who could buy except maybe the need to input a coupon code which was well known.

Here is a quick list of companies that have had Friends and Family sales in the last year which were really open to virtually anyone.

Aveda Canada
Best Buy
Carlson Hotels
Flamingo Hotel
Holiday Inn
Intercontintental Hotels Group
Mac Cosmetics
Nine West
Sears Canada
Sport Chek
The Bay
Urban Behaviour
Verizon Wireless
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Final Entry: January 22nd

After work last night, my wife took the phone to a Wind Mobile store at Yonge and Dundas. After waiting for 10 to 15 minutes, my wife spoke to a clerk.

After explaining the situation, the clerk refused to issue my wife a refund. He essentially said that he could only issue refunds on phones that were sold in that store and that she would have to take it back to the store that she bought it at.

Once again, my wife explained that it was bought through the toll free number and that we had been told numerous times by Wind Mobile staff to go to a Wind Mobile store to return it.

The clerk called over the supervisor who told her essentially the same thing. Needless to say, my wife was not pleased and explained that we had been directed to a store blah, blah, blah.

At this point the supervisor or store manager decided they would call the Wind Mobile regional manager. <sigh>.

Once the store manager explained the situation to the regional manager, the regional manager asked the manager if he had read his email. The store staff then checked their email. They had received an email saying that if I showed up asking for a refund, that I was to get it.

In summary, the store refused a refund on the phone. A store that was, "once again" not a "take-out" store and a "corporate store." We were forced to escalate the refund through a supervisor and a regional manager and it appears, the only reason my wife got a refund was this forum thread.

A fitting end to a miserable story.
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