Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Helio "Customer Care" SUX!!

One of the most gawdawful experiences that I've ever had with "customer service" was over this past weekend, with Helio, a mobile phone company that I signed up with last month. For Mother's Day, AJS offered to buy me this new phone that Helio offers, the Ocean. It looked pretty damn cool, so I signed up on May 17. They claimed to have a 30-day total happiness guarantee, so I tried it out, figuring it would take a little while to get used to it. The bottom line is that I cancelled by phone within 30 days and during the cancellation call, I asked for information about sending my phone back; they said they'd mail it to me. When I didn't receive anything in the mail, I phoned them again and found that my cancellation hadn't been "recorded" and I was stuck with all my purchases, charges, early cancellation fees, totalling over $700. Part of this amount is due to monthly fees that are charged in advance, plus a pro-ration because the billing cycle starts on the 19th, and I initiated the account on the 17th.

Despite being a decidedly tech-friendly person, when I first received the Ocean, after several days and 2-3 hours on the phone with Helio's techies I still couldn't figure out how to do simple things like make a phone call (I couldn't make a call unless the number was loaded into the contacts) or send phone pics to my email. I ignored the defects for a while longer before AJS and I collectively decided that my phone was defective. Helio was notified, and I received my new phone on June 14, just a few days before the "happiness guarantee" was to run out.

The new Ocean's functions still weren't working properly and after a marathon 75-minute call on June 16 to technical support, that ended without resolving much, I phoned back the same day to let them know that I was still not "happy" and wanted to cancel the service. According to Helio managers, the 75-minute call was "recorded", but my later call to cancel was NOT. Therefore, I did not fulfill the requirements for the "happiness guarantee." I sound calm and collected now, but I'll have you know that I screamed and swore at the managers enought that they threatened to end my call twice until I calmed down. I FOLLOWED DIRECTIONS! THEY SCREWED UP BY NOT RECORDING MY CALL! WHAT ELSE WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO? "We're sorry, ma'am, that you were misinformed by our staff. Thank-you-very-much and we-hope-you-have-a-GREAT-weekend!"

It's several days later and I've filed a dispute with my credit card company. Caveat Emptor.


  1. Aw, that's a shame! I'm due for a new phone soon and was planning to just get whatever you had (as long as it had a camera). So, Helio is out for me, too. Jerks.

  2. I'm thinking of getting the Sidekick 3 after I get this Helio issue resolved. My current phone (Sidekick Color) doesn't have a camera worth crap. *Snf*. I love it even so.

  3. Caveat emptor indeed.

    I'm sticking with Helio until they iron the bugs out of Apple's jesus phone.


    So I signed up, everything seemed cool, but then......

    *My first phone broke! It was an absolute nightmare to get a replacement. When I first called the guy on the other line told me to call device protection, which wouldn't be open till monday (it was saturday). I finally called them, and they told me the Helio rep was crazy and that it was under 30 days, so it was helios problem! I called Helio immediately and they kept wanting to do technical support on it. But the internal screen was leaking ink! I COULDNT SEE ANYTHING! I didnt have an alternate phone to call them from, but they insisted to make me call them from another phone. I asked them "DO YOU WANT TO GO DOWN TO THE CORNER AND USE A PAYPHONE?!?" They responded w/ "Well, thats another line. We need you to get off your helio device so that we can troubleshoot it" THERE WAS NOTHING TO TROUBLE SHOOT! YOU COULDNT SEE THE SCREEN! THE Screen was cracked internally (how i dont know, i'd only had it 3 days!) i finally hung up frustrated and called back the next day (w/ my ex's crappy at&t phone, which i had to stand in ONE spot, so i wouldnt drop the call). I explained to the gentleman my problem. He was like, if you cant see the screen its pointless to troubleshoot and sent me out a phone and gave me a $100 credit. The niceness ended there.

    So I got another phone. low and behold. THAT ONE STOPPED WORKING (these are the heats by the way). I had my phone w/ t-mobile for 3 1/2 years, it was a relic, and i beat that thing up BUT IT NEVER STOPPED WORKING! Anywho, i dealt w/ them for another week, trying to get another phone!

    At this point, i had been w/ helio 30 days, but only had a phone for about a week of time

    So, now i'm on my third and final phone (which no longer rings or vibrates), and now the billing drama begins ( i had billing drama in the beginning as well, but it was resolved sorta). Now I am being charged for the 2 phones, I RETURNED. Late fees for a failed auto bill pay, that their system F*ed up!

    *I signed up for auto bill pay in november, never happened! The guy didnt process it fully. Bill went past due, phone got shut off! I resigned up again for auto bill pay early Jan. I was told My dec 20-Jan 19th bill would be taken care of by the auto bill pay, guess what, DIDNT HAPPEN! I checked my account on Jan 20th, and noticed no pending payment on my bank account. I called helio....and heres what happened"

    Heavy Accented Rep: Thank you for calling Helio, my name is ::Name inaudible:: How can I assist you?

    Me: Yes, hi um I am signed up on auto bill pay, and I was told my dec 20-jan 19th bill would be taken out today. Yet i dont see a pending payment in my checking account. Also, i keep receiving text messages saying my payment is late. Can you please tell me whats going on?

    Heavy Accented Rep: Yes, ma'am, let me just verify your information....

    8 minutes later......after he FINALLY GOT MY NUMBER RIGHT, and all my info

    Heavy Accented Rep: Let me look into your account, may I place you on hold please?

    Me: Sure

    16 minutes later (w/ no check backs remind you).............

    Heavy Accented Rep:: Yes Ma'am I see you are signed up on auto bill pay and your payment will be deducted in the next couple days.

    Me: What about the text messages i'm receiving about my account being late.

    Heavy Accented Rep: Just ignore those. They are system generated and we cant control them. Your account is in good standing!

    ME: ARE YOU SURE?!? I will have no service interruption? (I have been lied to soooo many times)

    Heavy Accented Rep: Yes Ma'am. Everything is fine, your phone will not be shut off.

    Me: Okay (w/ skepticism in my voice) Thank you

    All the end of call crap..........

    6 Days later........My phone was shut off due to non-payment!

    After 8 reps, being on hold for over a total of 3 hours, including call in time (it was a 10 minute hold time, everytime i called in)

    Nothing got resolved. I was hung up on twice, On one call i was even told that the system was down and I had to try back in a half hour! This was on my 3 attempt to get this resolved, an hour and a half into it! I even had a Supervisor tell me, that it was my credit card that was messed up, not their system! I also had one rep tell me that my card was not on file, and another who said it was. OH OH OH, I forgot the best part, they all said that call i made on Jan 20th never took place. They couldnt find Any such call in my account!!!!!!!! 7 reps, who all put me hold for over 2 1/2 hours couldnt find it

    So, lets get to the best part! The 2nd to last rep i finally talked to, low and behold FOUND THE CALL! AMAZING! She said i;m gonna go talk to my superior and see what can be done for you.

    10 mins later

    Another Heavy Accented Rep: I'm sorry ma'am he said theres nothing we can do. You must make a payment in order to have your account restored. YOur account is set up for auto bill pay on Feb 9th.

    Me: My bill is due the 19th of every month, why would it pull on the 9th?!? Thats your guys problem. You should reinstate my phone till the 9th, since thats the payment date you set up for it!

    Heavy Accented Rep: No ma'am, the 9th is when your auto bill pay will start.

    Me: Can I speak to your supervisor please?

    Heavy Accented Rep: He's in a meeting and he keeps getting upset that I am bothering him


    So i ended up paying my bill, plus the late charge, or my phone wouldnt of been reinstated.

    Anywho......I was told over and over and over again that my dec 20-jan 19th bill COULD not be covered by the auto bill pay! The previous SUPERVISOR who signed me up made a mistake in telling me so. SO heres the kicker! I received a helio invoice today stating statement date Dec 20th-Jan 19th set to be paid by auto bill pay on feb 9th!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHAHAHAH So ya, this is my helio nightmare, Oh btw, the helio bill that is to be charged is for 596 dollars! Which i already paid 144 of (thats my bill every month) but i am being charged late fees and phones I dont have.

    I am going to the FCC and the BBB and Thanks to Jason Harris for that number, I called today and left a message!

  5. I dumped Helio & stayed with T-mobile. I got a sidekick lx for xmas and am very happy with it. I hope helio gets the KARMA they deserve!


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