Last night, I called the Virgin Mobile center to activate my son's phone. In the past, I had activated previous phones online. Our internet was down, so I used my captioned phone to make the call.
I got as far as the request for a V-key number when I had to stop a moment to ask my son what his V-key number was. Since the captioned phone was already a bit delayed, the Virgin Mobile automated system transferred me to a live representative before I could go further.
Hmmmm, I thought to myself, it might be easier to let the live rep help me through this activation. Dawn, the Virgin Mobile live rep, came on the phone and explained that there would be a ten dollar charge to activate the phone with a live person.
So I explained my dilemna and mentioned that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, I should be able to get some assistance without having to pay the fee. After all, if I had normal hearing, it wouldn't be a problem activating the phone.
"Oh no, we charge everyone ten dollars, regardless of the situation," was the reply. "You can activate it online." Again, I explained that my DSL line was not working. I couldn't even call by videophone.
It was late at night, I had no other option. The libraries were closed and it was too late to bother a neighbor for online access.
I asked for a manager. Tory, the manager came online. The response was the same: No, we will not accommodate your needs, we will have to charge you ten dollars.
I was tired, I was cranky and I was already on the phone for nearly forty minutes trying to make the staff at Virgin Mobile aware of how they could be a bit more accommodating to people with disabilities. I explained that if they were unwilling to help, that I would file a complaint with the Department of Justice. What happened next floored me.
They hung up.
So today, I made another phone call. The same thing happened-- the captioned phone could not keep up and I was again transferred to a live rep. Again, I tried to explain and ask for a manager. I explained to the manager and got the same response: No exceptions made-- if you want assistance we have to charge you ten bucks.
This time, I hung up.
I ditched the captioned phone and decided to use the text relay on my mobile phone. Making a call using text relay via thumb typing requires a large amount of time. I desperately needed to activate my son's phone because I was leaving the house later in the day and had to communicate with him. The same thing happened with the relay operater--we were transferred to a live rep before we could finish activating the phone.
I didn't even make it half way through my explanation of why I needed assistance in activating the phone and wanting the fee waived--
They hung up on me.
Stay tuned for Part Two of the Virgin War.