No help from Virgin with swapping feature phone

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Enthusiast

No help from Virgin with swapping feature phone

I am on a grandfathered Virgin plan with a feature phone. Recently (before the Boost transfer was announced), one of the menu buttons on my phone died, rendering it mostly unusable. I was able to find another Virgin phone on eBay, but have been unable to get it activated and the Virgin reps have been no help whatsoever. Below are their responses to me so far via private messages (edited for brevity). This is what you can expect if you get stuck in a similar situation. As you can see, I'm getting nowhere. Just canned responses, and a no-unlock Catch-22. No useful information. I'm still trying to find out if I've completely wasted my money buying a new handset. If my now only partially functional old handset can't be replaced I might as well cancel my Virgin/Boost account now before they get any more of my money (I also have a substantial cash balance which it looks like I will lose). But they won't tell me one way or another.

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My original query via PM:

To: Reinhardt-S (Agent) 1-12-2020 12:50pm

I am on a grandfathered "90-day/by the minute" Virgin plan. I am trying to swap my Virgin device from my current phone, a Kyocera s2300 to another Virgin PayLo feature phone, an unactivated Samsung SPH-M390. There is a PayLo sticker on the back of the Samsung phone which says to use the phone's serial number (listed on the sticker and inside the battery compartment) to activate it. I have been unable to do this using either the online "Swap Device" page or the Samsung phone's internal Activation menu. The Virgin web page is unresponsive and using the phone's internal Activation menu results in an error code. What should I do to make the swap?

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From: RossyC (Agent) 1-12-2020 12:58pm
Re: Need help to swap Virgin phones
Hello, paintedjaguar. According to the system, this handset was not properly scanned at the retailer where it was purchased. Just to confirm, when and where did you get this phone?

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To: RossyC (Agent)
This Samsung SPH-M390 Virgin PayLo phone (Serial# 268 435 463 112 272 674) was purchased through eBay on 2019-11-02. It was represented as new and appeared to be unused and unactivated although it was not in retail packaging.

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From: RossyC (Agent) 1-13-2020 7:31pm
Unfortunately, the handset can't be activated unless it's re-scanned. We advise you to contact the seller to request an exchange or a refund.

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To: RossyC (Agent) 1-13-2020 10:30pm
I don't understand your response. What do you mean by "scanned" and why is this necessary for activation?

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From: JohnJ7 (Agent) 1-14-2020 6:26am
The phone you have purchased at the seller is still locked. You need to take the phone, packaging and receipt back to the place where you purchased it to have the phone unlocked. This will make it available for activation.

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To: JohnJ7 (Agent) 1-14-2020 11:31am
Your canned response is completely unhelpful. Did you even read my previous messages? As I stated, this phone was purchased through eBay and though unused, was not shipped in retail packaging. There is no way to "take it back" to the point of purchase. Moreover, it's my understanding that a Virgin phone can only be unlocked on your end. As far as I know it has been several years since feature phones were sold by any Virgin retail partner or by Virgin. Are you telling me that it is now impossible to replace/swap a Virgin feature phone with a similar new or used phone? If you will not activate my new phone, will you unlock it so that I can use it with another carrier? I would appreciate a clear answer.

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From: JohnJ7 (Agent) 1-14-2020 11:31am
We're sorry, unfortunately, the handset can't be activated unless it's re-scanned. The phone must have been active for at least 12 months to be eligible for the unlock, otherwise we will not be able to unlock it.

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To: JohnJ7 (Agent) 1-14-2020  12:55pm
I will repeat my previous questions, which you have still not answered. What exactly needs to be "scanned" or "re-scanned"? A non-existent retail package? The only possibility I can see is the serial# barcode sticker inside the battery compartment. I would be glad to provide an image or printout of that. I assume a third-party seller will not be a Virgin retail partner, so how would they have access to your system to "scan" anything in anyway? Again, are you telling me that it is now impossible to replace/swap a Virgin feature phone with a similar new or used phone? Please provide something other than a cut & paste response which answers none of my questions.

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3 REPLIES 3
Enthusiast

Re: No help from Virgin with swapping feature phone

From: JohnJ7 Agent 1-14-2020 1:29pm
Re: Need help to swap Virgin phones
We understand your frustration & are truly sorry for the inconvenience. The only way to remove that restriction is to scan the phone at the store where the phone was originally purchased before it was put on sale on eBay. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do in this case. We recommend you contact eBay to report this inconvenience and request a refund.
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To: JohnJ7 Agent 1-14-2020 3:03pm
Unfortunately I don't own a time machine. And of course there is something you can do, either activate my phone or unlock it, you are just choosing not to help. Regardless, for some reason you still won't give me a straight answer - are you telling me that it is now impossible to replace/swap a Virgin feature phone with a similar new or used phone? Or are you merely saying that there is no way to know before purchasing a replacement phone whether Virgin/Boost will allow you to actually use their branded and locked equipment once you have spent the money?

Agent

Re: No help from Virgin with swapping feature phone

Hello, @paintedjaguar. Unfortunately, the restriction will need to be removed in order for us to be able to activate the phone. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. -Kira_M. 

Enthusiast

Re: No help from Virgin with swapping feature phone

Sounds like they are suggesting that the phone was stolen from the store and therefore can't be activated. I would do like they said and request a refund from eBay explaining the reason.