SpeakOut mobile browsing NOT unlimited, not even close -'Fair usage' = 2Gb MAX
This is just a heads up for other SO users who may have not experienced it yet, as well as those considering switching to SO. I had my service disconnected, without prior notice, on November 14. I received the following messages that afternoon:
YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE UNLIMITED BROWSING FAIR USAGE POLICY. THE FEATURE HAS BEEN REMOVED. YOU CAN VIEW THE POLICY IN TERMS AND CONDITIONS ON OUR WEBSITE.
SHOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO RENEW THIS FEATURE AND CONTINUE TO VIOLATE THE FAIR USAGE POLICY, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND ALL FUNDS WILL BE FORFEITED.
I called 611 for customer service to ask for an explanation. I was told I had exceeded 10Gb of usage… back in SEPTEMBER. I didn't dispute that. I told the female CS agent I thought it was unlimited. She told me usage was subject to a "fair usage" policy and that I had exceeded what was considered fair. I asked her what that was exactly, since I did not think 10Gb was excessive for a plan that is marketed as UNLIMITED. For context, WIND Mobile, which also has a capped data plan they used to market as UNLIMITED, only starts to throttle your speed at 10Gb (update: apparently WIND lowered the level at which they begin throttling to 5Gb).
The CS told me I could find it on their website. I told her I could not look it up on their website, as they had just disconnected my only immediately available internet connection. I asked if she could find it and tell me what it was, given the fact they'd just disconnected AND threatened to close my account based on that policy. She said she would look for it and get back to me. She took a LONG time to find it (the call lasted 28 mins). When she finally got back to me, she apologised for taking so long and told me she had a hard time finding it herself. Which is interesting, given that is a policy customers are assumed to know.
Long story short, she told me 2Gb is what the company considers fair usage, and that it reserves the right to suspend or outright cancel your service, and retain any remaining credit in your account, without notice.
So if you are like many SO customers who initially jumped in with a $100 top-up (using that promo where SO gives you an extra 20% on $100 top-ups), then only added the falsely-advertised unlimited browsing option, then had your account canceled for violating the ridiculously low "fair usage" cap in your first month, you would be out $100 or more.
How ridiculously low is that 'fair usage' data limit? When I told the customer service rep that I thought 2Gb was rather low to advertise something as 'unlimited', she herself was surprised to learn it was that low. Ba dum bum.
I suspect the real reason my account was suspended was because I had called a few days earlier, November 3, to ask how my balance had gone below $10, causing my unlimited browsing add-on not to automatically renew. I had barely used the phone after my $25 top-up in October. I asked the customer service rep to provide me with my usage details so I could compare it with my call logs. She started going through my details when the call was suddenly interrupted. Apparently someone monitoring the customer service reps' calls told her she was not allowed to provide me with my usage history.
I was then transfered to speak with the call monitor person, who informed me that customer service agents were not allowed to provide users with usage history. I told her I thought there was probably a legal requirement to provide customers with the details of what they were being billed for, especially if they were asking. I said I did not care to waste their time and would be happy if they could simply send me an electronic copy of my usage history. I was told they would not do that either. At that point I said I was pretty certain that charging customers without telling them what they were being charged for was illegal. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was repeatedly refused, with the call monitor person telling me there wasn't one available. I then asked where I could call to speak with one, and was told that I would have to leave my name and number and one would get back to me. When? Apparently their policy was to get back to customers within 5 business days.
To end this sad episode off and tie the November 3 and 14 calls together, I closed the November 14 call by asking the customer service rep if her records showed anyone had tried to call me back regarding my November 3 billing inquiry. She said it was indicated that someone was supposed to call me back, but no one had. Presumably they figured I was one of those diffucult customers - you know, one of the ones that wanted to know what they were being billed for - so they figured they'd rather cancel my account than tell me how I was being billed.
You stay classy, SpeakOut.