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.