Update: Dave is now gone from the company. Boingo read what happened here and compensated me for all the charges and then some. I guess the power of THOUGHTS helped. Since my dealings with this one lame tech support person all my other dealings with them have gone beyond my expectations for customer service.
I should have followed my own normal advice: if you get a lousy tech support person, hang up and dial again. It's not worth it wasting time with someone who does not care about customer service.
I travel a lot and have had a Boingo unlimited wireless account for ages. On a recent trip to Berlin, I used their service at the hotel when I arrived...for a few minutes. I was well aware that foreign roaming often incurred an additional charge, but I was too tired after my flight to go back to the front desk to get the login information for the complimentary guest access.
That cost me $2.28. No problem.
The next morning I got my hotel guest login information and logged in, carefully cancelling all the attempts that their nifty "helper" application did to help me get logged in via Boingo everytime I opened my laptop.
However, when I returned home, I received a bill for $75 more for the connectivity in Berlin. It turns out that just cancelling that little buggar of an application does not stop a laptop from logging in to the Boing network.
So I asked to be credited, as it appears there is no way to opt out of connecting to Boingo for certain.
I was passed along to "Dave, the Colleague" who was very snippy. He tried to compare my usage in the US & Canada, which is free under the unlimited plan, to my usage in Berlin, which is not free. I kept saying that this isn't a fair comparison as I'm intelligent enough to know the difference between "all you can eat" and "pay as you go". He blathered on and on about how many users don't understand how all this networking stuff works and that it is common for Americans to go to Europe and end up with extra charges because they assume that it is free everywhere. First, I'm Canadian and do tend to understand that Europe is not America
and second, I did manage to not log into the Boingo network for the vast majority of my stay in Europe. Just a couple of minutes here and there to get directions or to make a Skype call.
In fact, I cancelled that annoying widget so many times that I considered uninstalling it. I should have, because somehow it managed to log me in while I was sleeping on the last night of my stay. It stayed logged in for 11 hours, resulting in the unexpected charge. It also managed to stay logged in for 2 hours after I left the hotel to go to the airport. Miracle technology, if you ask me.
Anyway, he kept going on and on about how users don't always realize what they are clicking on and what they are doing when presented with many screens. He offered me a discount on the charges, but not to clear them.
So I asked for all the charges to be waived, but he refused, saying that I had used their network and I had to pay. Then he started on the upsell - I could have avoided all this mess if I converted to the Boingo Global plan, which is $60 a month. If I upgraded, he'd waive the rest of the charges. I said no, that it didn't make sense for me to pay $60 a month to save $50 now. He said that he saw that most of my usage was foreign (Toronto)...duh, that's where I live! And that usage is part of my unlimited plan! His whole conversation at that point on was to insult my understanding of computers, then upsell. Back and forth, back and forth...until I told him to put his customer service hat back on.
So I asked him to credit me with what he had offered, then cancel both my unlimited account and my mobile wi-fi account. He hung up on me after putting me on hold for a long time.
Oh, and he did read me a long script about how to uninstall that nifty gadget in order to avoid these types of charges. Jee, thanks, I think I know how to uninstall software.
Anyway, this post is partially a rant and partially a warning for any of you using Boingo on your laptops or Windows Mobile devices. You can be charged for roaming even when you have opted out of their nifty "Boingo is Available" app. And you won't even know it.
You can successfully avoid connecting for days, then on another day you are magically connected, even for hours after you have left the building.