Aio Wireless Fiasco (Now Without Cell Phone Service OR Customer Service)
TLDR at bottom.
So I would like to express my extreme frustration with Aio Wireless in hopes that it raises awareness to others that are thinking of switching and also get input from others as to implications related to porting to another AT&T based MVNO.
I got my shiny new Nexus 5 from Google a few weeks ago. A week later, I was out of my contract with my previous carrier and had just received my new T-Mobile prepaid micro SIM to port to T-Mobile. That process wasn't without hiccups but that aside, I got my number ported over to T-Mobile prepaid just before my old carrier's month renewed. I signed up for the 100 minute, unlimited data for $30 a month deal which seemed awesome at the time.
Unfortunately T-Mobile's coverage was terrible in my house (despite what their coverage map said I should have). In my living room I couldn't get service at all and in the bedroom and computer room it teetered between no bars (but had service somehow) and no service at all. Long story short, I needed to get off T-Mobile because it clearly wasn't going to work for me.
Enter Aio Wireless.
I signed up for their service last Thursday. I had selected the "port my number" option when signing up (maybe this is ultimately where I went wrong) and picked the Pro plan (7 GB data, unlimited data, unlimited text) and then paid for my first month's service and my SIM card. After submitting my order it hit me that I may have screwed up by preemptively porting my phone number before I got my SIM card. I immediately hit up their online chat where the representative assured me there was nothing to worry about and nothing would happen until I got my SIM in the mail.
Fast forward to Monday (two days ago) when my Aio Wireless SIM shows up as delivered. I'm excited to get coverage back in my house and excited that Aio Wireless has a seemingly fantastic deal, all things considered. The kicker is, my SIM card isn't on my front porch. I called UPS and they said the driver delivered it to the front porch but to start the investigation process they would need to work via Aio Wireless as they were the shipper. I don't blame Aio Wireless or UPS at this point (well maybe a little UPS but it was a windy day and my SIM card could have blown away).
I called Aio Wireless support and they launched an investigation. I was frustrated but understood things happen and while T-Mobile's coverage wasn't great, I at least had access to it somewhat. It took me at least 45 minutes to explain and reexplain to multiple Aio representatives that yes, I understand UPS shows the package as delivered but no, I in fact did NOT have the package. They escalated me to a supervisor (or manager) and he told me he would launch the investigation.
After wanting to cut ties completely with Aio at this point, I asked for a refund and to cancel the port of my number. I was denied refund as it isn't company policy to do so. I was frustrated but figured I would give them a chance to fix it. He told me they would ship a new SIM out immediately. Because cell coverage in my house was very hit-or-miss he even offered to contact me via email with an update in "an hour or so" and would personally make sure this was in process and things were moving. He took down my email and gave me a ticket number and said I would receive an email with an updated tracking number soon.
I hadn't gotten a reply from Aio's automated shipping system with a new tracking number OR a reply from the supervisor regarding the status of my call so I called back yesterday mid-morning (Tuesday). After waiting on hold for another 15 minutes I got connected to another representative who I supplied the previous ticket number to so they could give me a status update on my ticket. There was no action on it at that point, no tracking number, etc. They put me on hold another 15 minutes or so while they investigated. The representative told me he was going to reship me a SIM card and gave me a new ticket number related to it and have it expedited. He even offered to have the SIM shipped to another address (my work) where someone could sign for it so it couldn't get blown away by the wind or stolen (though I don't think theft happened in my neighborhood). I never received a tracking number (again).
Later that afternoon (still Tuesday) I noticed my data service on my T-Mobile phone had dropped. I cycled the phone's power and when it came back up I had no voice either (at work I always have full coverage/service). I tried to log into T-Mobile's "My T-Mobile" site and my phone number + password combination did not work. I began to panic, surely Aio did NOT just port my number out of T-Mobile without me having a SIM.
I frantically call T-Mobile and after getting shuffled around their phone tree (another story) I finally spoke to someone who was able to pull up my number. Unfortunately, the number was no longer "owned" by T-Mobile. She told me that the number was controlled by AT&T and that's why my service on T-Mobile no longer was working and I couldn't log into the website. She gave me the date and time the number left T-Mobile's network.
I'm furious at this point with the whole situation. Surely there's a mistake. Surely. AT&T couldn't have ported my number because that would be stupid. I didn't even have an Aio SIM to use.
I call Aio Wireless, enter my phone number and PIN. Their automated system previously had said something along the lines of "I'm having trouble looking that up, let me route you to a representative that can help you." This time I hear a "we see you're on the Pro plan that expires..." Not good.
I talk to another representative who I supply the previous two ticket numbers to. I'm placed on hold for a few minutes while he researches the case numbers. He comes back and says yes sir, Aio Wireless has ported your number from T-Mobile. Are you having trouble placing a call?
Yeah, I think that I'm having extreme difficulties with multiple layers of failure and having "trouble placing a call" sums it up. I then proceed to explain, despite having supplied him with two ticket numbers with "notes" that otherwise should have explained in detail the issues I was having, what was going on. He apologized and then tried to call and have something escalated. He couldn't do anything above what was already done. I again said I want out of this deal. Please refund my money. Of which the canned response was "I cannot do that, it's not our policy to do so." After going round-and-round I'm fit to be tied with these jokers. They are clueless and have no structure in place to remedy things in a timely or structured manner (what I would consider structured or timely at least). Before hanging up I asked if he could supply me with a tracking number since I hadn't gotten one yet. He replied with a FedEx tracking number this time.
I made note of the tracking number and tried pulling it up in their database. It did not show up until later that night. As of this morning I logged in to FedEx's site and checked the tracking number of which it still says "Shipment information sent to FedEx." I'd think nothing of this if it were USPS (I always seem to get packages delivered before their tracking system even shows it being picked up) but this is FedEx. They are pretty real-time with this type of stuff.
So here I am, cellphoneless. Frustrated and informing all of you of my adventures with Aio Wireless. I have little recourse in this at this point it seems. All the while I'm "on-call" at work and they can't really call me on my cell phone because it goes straight to what I assume is Aio Wireless' voicemail system.
I really just want to again port my number to Straight Talk or even a "big boy" carrier like Verizon or AT&T (except Aio is owned by AT&T) and be done with this. Saving money is not worth the breakdown in communication, lack of customer service and ultimately being without a cell phone. I want to port my number to another carrier and then dispute the charges with Discover Card. My fear is if I port to another AT&T MVNO (or AT&T themselves) the number will still be "touchable" (if that makes sense?) by Aio since they are AT&T (or on AT&T) and they could get pissy and hold my cell phone number hostage if I dispute the charges. Is there some sort of actual formality I can go through for recourse?
I realize ranting on the internet isn't going to solve anything but I wanted to raise awareness of my situation and let anyone thinking of switching to Aio Wireless know of my struggle to do business with them. There's a lot of frustration with not having a brick-and-mortar store to walk up to for service. Right now, that cost savings doesn't seem worth it. The adage "you get what you pay for" seems to be holding true right now.
TLDR: Never got initial Aio Wireless SIM, cannot get replacement SIM in a timely fashion (they won't communicate and they won't expedite), won't cancel/refund my order as it's "not their policy" AND they ported my number away from my previous carrier without me having my SIM from them (i.e. I have a worthless phone until someone takes control and fixes this ****) and I cannot place calls and all inbound calls goes straight to voicemail that I cannot access. All around fail.
- 11-20-2013, 02:33 PM #2
- 88 Posts
Re: Aio Wireless Fiasco (Now Without Cell Phone Service OR Customer Service)
First off, you never port a number unless you are willing to give up your other service. Your other service will be cancelled automatically. That's very well known. Secondly, this is prepaid. You can't cancel. You're not in a contract. When you want to leave, you leave and the account will automatically be in unpaid status at the end of the month and they will shut off your service at some point. Canceling a port with any company is very difficult. So once the train is in motion, you probably won't be able to cancel a port. This is not an AIO thing. All the carriers would have a problem canceling a port for you.
You should have tried the service out first without a port to make sure you liked it. Then you could always do a port later.
I know you think you got shortchanged on some customer service. But I think you also need to realize that you might have made some mistakes along the way. I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just trying to help you understand how to avoid this in the future.
Re: Aio Wireless Fiasco (Now Without Cell Phone Service OR Customer Service)
I understand that I was willing to give up T-Mobile. In fact, that's exactly what I was expecting to do. I understand once you port your number your service with your previous carrier ceases to function/exist (immediately). I also understand that canceling a port once in-motion can be challenging and comes with its own set of technical limitations.
That being said, yes, I probably should have tried the service on a (temporary) new number. I'm also willing to admit when I'm in the wrong and even made mention of that possibly being the case in my post in thinking maybe I shouldn't have selected the "port my number" option during signup of Aio.
As such, I've reviewed the chat log with the support representative who helped me immediately after order (I emailed it to myself before closing) and he assured me that no number porting would take place until I had received my SIM card and was ready to make the switch. I've also re-reviewed the FAQ on their site and re-ran through the initial steps of signing up for a new Aio Wireless account and nowhere does it make mention (that I see) that your number being ported would be immediate. I viewed the form submission more of a pre-collection of the required data so when porting occurs it could be done easily as the required information was already on file (why would that be a sane option for a carrier to offer to pre-port your number before you ever receive a SIM from them and are able to use their service anyways?).
Here's an excerpt from the chat log with the representative the night I ordered:
Me: I just signed up for AIO Wireless the "Aio Pro" plan and I selected to port my number.
Aio Support: ok
Me: I entered all the porting information then it immediately went to a porting screen.
Me: Where it mentioned it could take up to 5 minutes to port or something I recall.
Me: Sounds awesome if that's the case EXCEPT I just placed my order and I don't have the SIM card yet.
Me: Did I just mess up my existing cell phone carrier until my AIO Wireless SIM shows up?
Aio Support: I will be more than glad to help you!!
Aio Support: Did you receive an email with an order number
Me: Confirmation Number: XXXXXXXXX
Aio Support: When did you purchase the service?
Me: 10 minutes ago if that?
Aio Support: ok
Me: 12:06 AM (9 minutes ago)
Aio Support: What will happen is that the port process once you receive the sim card and activate it will be finish
Did I make mistakes along the way? Perhaps. Hindsight ALWAYS being 20/20, it's easy to see I should have activated a temporary line with them. Be that as it may, I feel that my multiple phone conversations, coupled with the chat transcript 9 minutes after hitting the "submit order" button, would make me believe that no actual number porting would occur until I got my SIM card. The lack of my finding any warnings, etc. in the FAQ and the initial order form also supports this idea.
I'm probably setting myself up for flame bait here, and I may be some dumb consumer, missing something obvious, but yes, I do feel "short changed" by Aio both in service and support. Ultimately the way to avoid this is to not use the "port your number" option when signing up for Aio Wireless. Yes, it's probably the smartest option. Yes, "everybody" knows that. I'm new to prepaid (first time ever aside from the previous one-week stent with T-Mobile) but I feel in general I may not be the only one that has this problem.
If this process is by design and the way it was supposed to work then I would say add more warnings on this stuff. Make sure there's a checkbox that clearly outlines that you WILL lose service to your number after hitting submit. Put it in flashing red bold letters that are point size 72 if you have to. The point I'm trying to make is I don't think that's how it's supposed to work.
Edit: FedEx still shows "Initiated - Shipment information sent to FedEx" and I contacted Aio again via chat about the status of my replacement SIM card. Typing in all caps is unprofessional on my part looking back but had he read the tickets he would realize I have no service.
Me: I can't use T-Mobile because someone at Aio or SOMETHING ported my number.
Me: How did that happen?
Aio Support: you can use your Tmobil number until you activate your sim card
Me: NO I CANNOT!!!
Me: This is why I am frustrated. No one understands!
Aio Support: ok I understand please hold until tomorrow
Aio Support: wen fedex give you your order
Re: Aio Wireless Fiasco (Now Without Cell Phone Service OR Customer Service)
So I figured I would give a follow-up. I'm (somewhat) happy to report that I have my Aio Wireless up and running (for the most part -- I'm still having MMS related issues even though I've set the APN). Now that I can piece together what happened and come up with the chain of events, I am still extremely frustrated with Aio Wireless, and even UPS, but have at least some closure in all this.
The original SIM card never blew away by a gust of wind nor was it stolen. Yes, UPS did deliver the package on Monday at 10:50 AM. Unfortunately, who they delivered it to was someone who wasn't me (or even a neighbor sharing the same street name). UPS is to fault for the initial delivery failure, that is certain. I understand that UPS drivers are only human and they make mistakes like everyone else. I'm frustrated with UPS but not as much as Aio Wireless.
I still believe there was a total breakdown in process (or perhaps lack of process in place) and an utter failure in communicating in general, both to me and internally within Aio. Each representative seemed clueless as to my problem and offered answers like "ah, yes, I'm seeing that UPS is showing me that this package was delivered" even after taking minutes to review the note(s) within the ticket numbers I supplied when calling/web chatting. Only one guy I recall speaking with truly understood my problem and wasn't quick to offer a canned response that didn't address my problem.
As it sits now, I have the initial SIM (validated by the UPS tracking number) that they had shipped last week. I have no idea if there are more SIM cards en route to me (at one of the two addresses) or not. The FedEx tracking number that they were sending "expedited" to my work to ensure it was delivered (by end of day today) still is in "Initiated - Shipment information sent to FedEx" status with no updates.
As for porting your number to Aio Wireless through the website, it seems that is functioning as intended. The form you submit data through (IMEI number, cell phone number to be ported, etc.) when signing up is intended to function as I thought -- pre-collection of the required data to port your number WHEN you get your SIM and activate it. I was working with an online representative last night via web chat and he told me that the reason my number was ported into Aio Wireless without me having my SIM card was because a previous representative I had worked with activated the account/SIM (i.e. the lost SIM) to enable me to get a second SIM shipped. When he activated it, that set the port in motion and my number then switched from T-Mobile to Aio Wireless. While talking with customer support last night that is what was confirmed:
Me: And I just tried to log into the site Activate and typed in my information only to see this error message: "We've already activated this order. Check your order number and try again."
Aio Support: Ok let me verify that please.
Aio Support: May I please have your phone number, pin and current sim card number?
Me: Phone # XXX-XXX-XXXX, PIN # XXXXXX, SIM Card # XXXXXXXX or XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Aio Support: Thank you for that information.
Aio Support: You're account has been activated in order to provide you the replace sim card and we going to give you $5 credit for the inconvenience.
Me: OK so who activated it and when was it activated?
Me: I just registered for an Aio Wireless login on the site but I want to know who activated the SIM or when it was activated?
Aio Support: It was <Aio Support Rep XXX>, his supervisor told him to activate your account in order to provide you with a replacement SIM and to give you credit for the days you were without service. \
Me: <Aio Support Rep XXX> is the reason why my phone stopped working then. He's the reason the port happened.
Me: Just an FYI for next time this happens to you guys, when you activate someone's phone that doesn't yet have their SIM card, you port their number from their old carrier and their phone ceases to work.
Me: And they have NO cell phone service until someone gets them a SIM card.
Aio Support: We do apologize XXXXXXXXXX, thank you for the feedback.
On a side note I found it somewhat humerus that once my Aio Wireless SIM was inserted and my phone registered on the network (after changing APN settings) I had a voicemail from a random lady who had called my cell phone to tell me that UPS had delivered a package to her house with my name on it by mistake. If only she had made that phone call a little sooner, pre-porting, I could have saved hours of time and frustration.
Going forward, I'm ALWAYS going to create a new number when starting up new service THEN porting in. While that wouldn't have fixed the total failure of getting a replacement SIM, it would have prevented the premature porting of my cell number into a carrier I had no SIM for.
Let's hope it just works from here on.
- 11-30-2013, 10:58 AM #5
- 12-11-2013, 10:21 PM #6
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