WIND Mobile: A bad first impression

I’ve been wanting to try WIND Mobile for a while now, but my phone (Nexus One) didn’t support the frequency bands used by the new carriers. But recently I replaced it with a Galaxy Nexus, which supports the frequencies of all the Canadian carriers. WIND had a great deal on ($40 for unlimited everything), so I grabbed a WIND SIM card and signed up online.

I didn’t want to port my number over until I was sure WIND’s coverage was adequate, so I declined the option when I activated my SIM. A few days later I was satisfied, so I called up WIND customer care to request the port. The person who answered my call told me it was impossible to port a number to a SIM that was already activated, and that I was stuck with the number that I had been assigned. Not happy with this response, I asked whether there wasn’t some other possibility, and I was told that I could go to a WIND store and get a replacement SIM, which could then have my number ported to it.

I phoned my nearest WIND store, and was told it would cost $25 to get a replacement SIM. Obviously I had no intention of paying $25 to fix a problem on WIND’s end, so I headed to Howard Forums to see whether other customers had faced the same problem. It didn’t take long to find several discussion threads on the topic. Some customers had managed to get a free replacement SIM at a WIND store, and others had eventually convinced WIND to cancel and re-activate their existing SIM, entering a port request with the new activation.

I called back, hoping to get a different customer care rep. This time, the rep was happy to put through a port request for me, but said the request would need to be handled by their back office staff, and would take three to five business days. While this seemed like an awfully long time for such a simple request, it sounded like a better option than making a trip to a WIND store, so I asked the rep to put through the request. She took down my information and gave me a reference number.

After four business days had passed, I was getting impatient. So I called back and gave my reference number. The rep told me that the reference number didn’t exist in their system. He looked up my account, and found that no port request had been made. I explained what had been done on my previous call, but the rep insisted that it was not even possible; I could not port a number to a SIM that had already been activated. The rep told me I would need to go to a WIND store and get a new SIM, which he insisted I would not be charged for.

At this point I was irate. How could my request have disappeared into thin air? I called back one more time, hoping there was somebody in customer care who could actually help me. The fourth rep again couldn’t find my request from the previous week, but after explaining my situation he told me that my number could easily be ported in to my existing SIM. He only had to cancel my existing SIM and re-activate it. He was able to do that within minutes, and my number was ported within the hour.

Clearly WIND has a big problem with insufficiently trained customer care reps. Two out of the four reps I spoke to didn’t know it was even possible to help me, and one was too incompetent to do it properly. My tweets to @WINDmobile during the ordeal went unanswered, as did an email to customer care. While I plan to stay with WIND for the time being, in the hope that their network is better than their customer care, I will definitely not be recommending them to friends. Koodo will remain my recommendation.

23 thoughts on “WIND Mobile: A bad first impression”

  1. Well, to be fair, you really should have looked into how the porting is supposed to work before committing. It’s just common sense if the old number was that important to you. Plus, WIND gives a credit for porting over your number too right? Doesn’t that doesn’t cost them money? For forty bucks including data, you’re complaining and recommending the Koodo/Telus sleaze balls that try to nickle & dime you? Sad, go ahead & get ripped off by Robelus. I guess you don’t deserve to save the extra cash every month because you didn’t want to spend $25 once for a new sim.

    1. First, I’ve never had trouble porting after activation with any other carrier. Second, I did look into it in WIND’s FAQ before signing up. There’s no indication that one can’t port after activation, nor should there be since it’s indeed possible. The problem here was the customer care reps giving out false information and, in one case, botching my request. It’s clear from the forum postings that I’m not the only one who experienced it.

      WIND no longer offers a port-in credit.

      Why should I pay $25 for a new SIM when I just bought one? (And why do they cost $25 when Koodo offers them for $10?)

      I will continue to recommend Koodo because (except for heavy users) their plans aren’t that much more expensive than WIND’s, their coverage is better, and my experience with their customer care has been excellent.

  2. right, telus has such wonderful customer service that the federal government took actions to introduce more competition due to massive public complaints. please… lets face it, you’re just an extremely ‘thrifty’ & self righteous guy. I wonder what your post will be like when telus tries to charge you for one additional month when you’re about to switch providers …. nickel & dime = telus; I doubt telus would have deactivated then reactivated your sim like wind did. from my experience telus has no respect for their customers nor does rogers. thus the introduction of the new entrants.

    1. I’ve been through customer service nightmares with Bell, Rogers, and now WIND. But so far Telus hasn’t done anything to upset me. If they do, I’ll be sure to blog about it.

  3. Interesting article, although I am more than happy with the Wind Mobile service. Most of my customers (I am a accessories dealer) are also happy. Most of the complaints center around coverage – which they are improving upon every day so I can’t complain as yet.

    1. So far I have found the coverage within WIND Home to be comparable to the other carriers, with the exception of my desk at work where I get only 1-2 bars (compared to 4 bars on the other carriers). But even at that level I’m still able to listen to Internet radio and watch the occasional YouTube video, so I’m satisfied.

      I’m hoping WIND Home will continue to grow, so that I don’t have to depend on my girlfriend’s Koodo phone so much for data while traveling. Either that, or the $4000/GB price for data on WIND Away needs to drop by a couple orders of magnitude. But that’s not likely to happen with Rogers in the picture.

  4. It’s quite possible that you can’t change the number of a SIM card. I’ve had the same response from Rogers and Bell back before I joined Wind. This time when I joined Wind I automatically ported my number. You can’t blame Wind mobile if there’s simply no way to change the phone number of a SIM card. Just call any other company and ask them if you can change the number of a SIM card and they’ll give you the same answer.

    1. That’s not true. The number associated with my SIM card was changed (twice!), so clearly it’s possible. In fact, it happens even if you port your number in at the start, since you’ll be assigned a temporary number which will be used until the port is complete.

      In any case, it was the poor customer service that upset me, particularly when I was told my request would be processed, only to find out a week later that nothing had been done, and that the request wasn’t even recorded in their system.

      1. When I was with Rogers they had told me it was absolutely impossible to change my number at all. I don’t know what was up with that.

  5. Seriously….you call this a huge issue???? Obviously you haven’t had big issues throughout your lifetime, I have been in the wireless sector for almost 7 years and as far as I am aware that once a number gets tagged to a sim card, you can not activate another number to that sim card. That’s with Rogers, Bell and Telus…it’s stupid blogs like this that try to pick very basic issues out of a customer service flaw and turn it into something like you have been wronged on your bill for 2 years. Now I’m not saying that Wind Mobile are perfect by no means but they have only been in the wireless sales and customer service for less then 3 years and they are still doing it way better then Robelus…..oh ya and one key point, it doesn’t cost an average of $90 a month and with a ton of daily limitations of how I can use my phone service. If your going to blog (complain) about a company, please make an effort to point out very key legitimate complaints that are of a serious matter. People like you are why we have the big 3 controlling what happens in the CRTC decisions within Canada. I don’t see you complaining about how much you have been overcharged for years and years by Robelus, that in my opinion is by far a bigger complaint. It’s so sad that this is the best thing you could come up with……

    1. Have a look back through my blog and you’ll see I’ve complained about Rogers too. I’ve also had bad experiences with Bell, but that was before I started blogging. So far Telus has managed to stay on my good side.

      In my expenience, Wind’s customer service has been worse than average, and a quick search around the web will find lots of others complaining about the same. It’s an area Wind needs to work on, and I have every right to blog about it.

      Apart from customer service, I’m generally pleased with Wind. The only other minor annoyance is that they charge 10ยข for texts to short codes even when you’re on a plan that includes unlimited texting; my previous carrier (Koodo) didn’t do that. But fortunately I don’t need to use short codes much, so I’m still paying a lower price with Wind.

  6. Ur sim card was not dis connected and re activated. The rep you got prob was working near a back office (literally). Port requests can only be actiavated at the the time of activation from the retail and customer care level. Back office can redo one under a existing sim card.

    Its unfortunate that wind has outsourced customer care centres to international countries. The communication deteriotes from reps here and reps abroad.

  7. Wow, there are lot of people on here who think you should accept poor customer service, sad.
    I’ve had my Koodo number changed on my SIM several times as I have moved from place to place, so it IS possible. Insisting that it isn’t or that this is a ‘minor issue’ or that it’s the customer’s fault is ridiculous.
    Happy you finally got it resolved, although it shouldn’t have taken 4 tries.

  8. Wind has come a long way and they are trying to improve everyday. It is not easy to compete with Robelus and still offer such good service. So stop complaining because I have been with them for over 3 years( approx). I can only tell you from experience that they have only improved all this time and who knows what is going to happen in the future.

    1. I certainly hope their customer service is improving. But I have no idea whether it is, since I haven’t needed to speak to them since joining a year ago. (I haven’t had any trouble whatsoever with their cellular service or billing, so they’re doing better than Bell and Rogers there.) If I have another occasion to speak to customer service I’ll post my impressions, good or bad.

    2. It’s a hit or miss with their service. Argilo, I see where you are coming from because this happened to a friend who was in a similar situation. Guy told him he could port at a later date and when it came to, they said it can’t be done. Until it reached their back offices where someone had the power to do it. Most tier 1 guys (Non Canadian reps) are useless and just plain out stupid. They just read from scripts and anything outside of it is an automatic No.

  9. Unfortunately your blog causes ppl to be prejudiced from the start. That in itself is very frustrating and exhausting: ie to arrive in a new situation like WIND and feel overly hostile about every issue. There is a learning curve for everything new and if u feel overly hostile u burn out alot faster emotionally — Total waste of energy. So, please don’t nitpick about small issues. Thanks.
    Im saying this bc every time i had an issue with WIND it turned out much easier than i had thot. Customer service picks up the phone right away (Canada) and helps me fast and efficient.
    The only issue I have right now is — I transferred my office land line to WIND … ouch … a big mistake … Reception is non-existent . I have to hang out the window to get a couple’a bars … Now looking at getting a Range booster from Wilson Electronics.
    And boosters are expensive bc WIND uses the 1,700 MHz frequency which is rarely used.
    And WIND phones dont work on Bell and Bell phones dont work on WIND.

  10. Just found this blog, and I’d like to add that I’ve experienced a lot of the same frustrations with Wind. Called to dispute something on my bill, and I didn’t remember my “phone password”. And even though I verified all my personal information and gave them the last two bill amounts, I was still told to go into a store. Okay, so I did. The store guy reset my password, but when I asked him about the bill issue, he said “Sorry, you’ve got to call the customer service line for that”. AHHHH! SOLVE MY PROBLEM! BE COMPETENT!

    Side note: I am not a racist person. But the guy on their help line was literally impossible to understand. When you outsource to India, you get what you pay for.

    Anyways, today’s problem is that my phone refuses to connect to 3G. And before someone says “maybe you’re not in a 3G area”, WRONG. I’m at my desk, where I have 5 bars every day.

    Currently I’m considering swinging by Koodo after work and picking up a SIN card. I never had these problems with Koodo, and my Galaxy Nexus works on their network. And wow, they have coverage outside of major cities! That means that I can actually *gasp* drive into the country without travelling back to 1990. No more roaming charges for me.

    1. As explained in my post, my problem was eventually solved over the phone by a customer service rep without any need to exchange my SIM.

  11. Wind Mobile is deceiving new and existing customers by falsely advertising areas of cellular service, and provide poor quality customer service. We have gone back and forth with Wind Mobile about cellular coverage not working for our phone at our house as well as my father’s work place in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (both of these areas show full coverage on Wind Mobile coverage Maps).

    We have followed all instructions from resetting the phone, calling customer service, and contacting CCTS. It’s been over a month and we have not had a reasonable resolution in this matter. We have been getting a run around and feel Wind Mobile is following unethical and unfair business practices.

    Wind Mobile is not returning our hardware nor allowing us to exchange it for a phone that may work. They should update their service coverage maps to reflect the actual service coverage, and also refund all their existing customers costs of their hardware and subscriptions who are also victims of false advertising. They should also re-visit their customer service policies, processes, and get new agents that can communicate in English more than just two or three sentences.

  12. I agree with the original poster, Wind CSRs are very weak. I have been with Wind for 2+ years and find the service good enough for my purposes and the price is very cheap but the CSRs are horrible. The mall kiosks are staffed by young and inexperienced employees who are only trained to sell new phones and not how to resolve customer issues. I tried calling in to get a more professional level of service and the more senior CSRs are no better. The Customer Service line was difficult to hear and there was laughing and talking in the background around the CSR. Very unprofessional, I felt like my call was interrupting some 12 year old’s birthday party. I have nothing good to say about the established Canadian wireless companies but if Wind is going to gain any sort of market share they have to improve the customer service experience.

  13. I just had my number changed from a vancouver number to a toronto number.

    They did it over the phone, no need for a new sim, there was a $10 fee, but they waived it.

    Quite surprised how easy it was after reading some posts here.


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