Monday, March 16, 2009

RAVE: Virgin Mobile

I'm sorry, Internet, for the recent blog silence. I owe a few posts from past happenings, and I shall get to them posthaste (no pun intended). But today I'd like to discuss Virgin Mobile.

Approximately one and a half years ago I was in the market for a new cell phone. I'm not the kind of girl who needs all of the bells and whistles and, in fact, am not your normal girl who talks on the phone for hours on end. Ergo, I was looking for a cell phone provider who would have a cheap monthly plan with unlimited texting and a couple hundred minutes.

Enter Virgin Mobile. While VM's phones are not top of the line when compared to iPhones or other such crazy phones that do everything but bake cakes, they do not require a contract, and users are able to switch between monthly plans and pay-as-you-go phone service whenever they wish.

For my money, they were the best for what I needed, and their coverage was adequate for where I live and travel. Thus, I decided to go with their most expensive phone, the Wildcard, mostly because it had a keyboard.

All seemed well in my world until I charged my new phone in my car. Every time I plugged my phone into the car charger, I noticed the car charger became unbearably hot after a few minutes of use.

Now, with my Verizon Wireless, I was used to keeping my car charger plugged in at all times, and then plugging in my phone as I traveled. With my Virgin Mobile, the one time I tried this, the charger got so hot it started smoking.

Sidenote: I have a Prius, and the charger was plugged into the outlet in my console, which is next to the iPod A/V jack. I was first alerted to the fire hazard when I smelled something burning as I was driving. The smoking Virgin Mobile car charger also burned out my iPod A/V cable, but luckily did not affect either of the outlets.

I thought, perhaps, the problem was due to a faulty charger, and so I finally got around to buying another one last week. I was not pleased to discover the same problem. I emailed the company that manufactures the charger, and Virgin Mobile PR to report the problem.

A few hours later I received a response that the company would look into it (this was last Saturday, the message came from a Blackberry), and today I got another message asking for more information on the issue.

While the problem is not yet solved, and it seems that it could just be isolated to the Toyota Prius, I am impressed by Virgin Mobile's prompt customer service response. When I sent that first email, I fully expected an automated response, someone replying that I should look through the website's FAQ's, and/or some other kind of brush-off. Instead, even though this may be an isolated issue, the company has been very responsive.

Please leave a comment if you've experienced a similar overheating problem with your Virgin Mobile car charger. I'll keep you updated if there are any further developments.

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