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I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but I just got off the phone with Helio, and I’m pissed. On May 11, I bought a Helio Ocean to replace my beloved Sidekick 3. After trying out the Ocean’s terrible interface, I decided to return it and get my money back. Returning it was easy, but after two months, I still haven’t gotten my money back.

Helio promises a “Total Happiness Guarantee”. So far, it’s an empty promise:

1. Helio receives device, but forgets the refund

I returned my Helio Ocean via FedEx on June 20, 2007. Helio receives it two days later on June 22. After two months without seeing a refund on my credit card account, I call to see what’s going on. The operator tells me that for some reason, a refund request was not put in. She then puts in a refund request for $295 and tells me I should be getting a refund in about a week.

2. Helio tries to avoid refunding sales tax

Great, but wait, what about a refund for the sales tax? The operator tells me Helio can’t refund the sales tax, because they have to give the money to the state. Huh?

Here’s how the conversation goes.

Operator: The sales tax has to go the state, so unfortunately we can’t refund that to you.

Chanpory: I’m confused. When I return something to a store, I get a refund for the merchandise AND the sales tax. So I don’t understand why you can’t refund it to me.

Operator: You’re right, now that you mention it, that does seem strange. Let me talk to a supervisor and find out more. Can you please hold?

Chanpory: Okay, thank you.

Operator: Sir, thank you for holding. I spoke with someone and I do apologize for the inconvenience, but unfortunately, the sales tax goes to the state, and we can’t refund it to you.

Chanpory: That really doesn’t make much sense to me, is there someone else I can talk to?

Operator: Yes, I can get a supervisor for you, please hold.

While I’m on hold, I quickly go online and find Helio’s own Terms and Conditions. It says:

If you purchased a product from us directly or through another agent or third party retailer, you may cancel your service and return your product for a refund of charges for the product and taxes (less any rebates and shipping and handling charges), for any reason within the first 30 days of purchase.

I explain my situation to a supervisor named Travis. He tells me the previous operator was mistaken about sales tax being nonrefundable. He puts in an additional refund request for $92 dollars, which includes the Ocean’s sales tax and some money for all my trouble. I thought that the extra money was a nice gesture, and the call ends with me feeling positive about getting my money back.

3. A week later, and still no full refund

After a week, I check my credit card account online and see a $92 dollar refund. The $295 for the device, however, is still no where to be found.

4. It’ll take up to another 59 days!

So today, I call Helio again. I speak with a supervisor, Tarika. She tells me it will take up to 59 days after the initial refund request is put in. That means it could be a total of 4 months before I receive my refund. She says the refund might go through sooner, but that they’re telling everyone 59 days.

5. Why? Because they’re backlogged

I ask Tarika if there’s anything she can do to speed it up, since I’ve already waited two months. Tarika says it’s out of her hands because refunds are processed by a corporate department. She can put in a “note” on my account, but says it won’t guarantee the refund will go through.

I ask Tarika if I can talk to someone in the corporate refunds department. Tarika says no, because that department is closed on Sundays. She also tells me refunds are taking this long because Helio is receiving a large amount of refunds to process. Gee, I wonder why.

I now have an iPhone.

Update (Sept 19): A representative from Helio, Matt White, just called me personally. They are finally going to refund my money. Matt says it should be returned to my credit card in about a day. Let’s hope it’s true.

Could today’s personal phone call be the result of me filing a dispute with Bank of America weeks ago? Or is it because this post got picked up on Consumerist and Wired Magazine’s Gadget Lab in the last couple of days. The timing suggests it’s the blog coverage. It just goes to show: blogs do make a difference.

Has anyone tried returning a Helio device? How was your experience? Any advice on dealing with customer service hell?

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  • Aimee

    gravatarAug 26, 2007
    3:47 pm

    I haven’t tried Helio before, but I have had issues getting credits back on credit cards. For example, even after returning an item to the store, I found out that it can take up to 3 months for the refund to show on my card!

    Another reason to go for cash when you can! Good luck with getting your refund back, I hope that you don’t have to wait much longer.

  • ScottMGS

    gravatarAug 26, 2007
    4:26 pm

    I wonder if the credit card company can help you with this. It really sounds like they’re skimming the interest of having the money in their account while you’re (possibly) paying interest on your account balance.

  • RickFu

    gravatarAug 26, 2007
    4:58 pm

    Helio tried a similar thing when my boyfriend tried to return a defective phone. The shipping company said the phone was returned to them within 2 days, but they said they never received it and charged over $200 to his account.

    It took about 2 months to resolve the issue.

    And, since the iPhone was released I’ve been trying to port my own number away from them. They finally allowed the transfer two days ago.

  • Joshua Gruber

    gravatarAug 26, 2007
    6:48 pm

    You need to contest any and all charges from Helio on your credit card now, before you miss the window of your credit card agreement. You’ve given Helio the chance they deserve to make it right, now you need to use the weight of your credit card company to advocate for you. If you don’t move quickly, they won’t be able to help you and if Helio turns out to be shady (or, shadier) you may not be able to get all of your money back without court intervention… or even with court intervention.

  • Tom

    gravatarAug 27, 2007
    7:59 am

    I picked up an Ocean at a local Gamestop (authorized reseller), but returned it the next day since it didn’t do as much as my Treo already did. Gamestop immediately refunded the entire purchase price (including taxes.) Might be worth buying locally to avoid snailmail purgatory.

  • Chanpory

    gravatarAug 27, 2007
    4:03 pm

    Thanks for the advice guys, I’ve called Bank of America, and am filing a dispute against Helio. Hopefully Bank of America will be able to recover my refund. Crossing my fingers!

  • Colin

    gravatarAug 30, 2007
    10:19 am

    I’ve heard that people are returning the Ocean in wholesale, which might be the problem. The real question is, how soon before you return your iPhone and go back to the Sidekick love like so many people I know?

  • Danny

    gravatarSep 6, 2007
    4:32 pm

    I bought a Helio Ocean almost 3 months ago. After using it for an hour or so, and being dusgusted with the customer service, I decided to return it.

    It’s still sitting on my desk because Helio has yet to send me the shipping documents required to send it back. I’ve called them about it 3 times, each time talking to the supervisor and having him (it’s always a male supervisor) assure me that the shipping labels are on their way.

  • Beth

    gravatarSep 10, 2007
    12:19 pm

    I bought my ocean on May 14th – cancelled and returned the phone within the 30 days. It’s now almost 90 days, 4 phone calls, and one very frustrated person later that I still have not received my check. Is there any recourse?

  • Brian Donovan

    gravatarSep 17, 2007
    2:13 pm

    I’ve been dealing with Helio for the last nine months. I cancelled on December 2, 2006. I’ve still yet to get a refund. In fact, I’m on the phone with them now. They’ve declined the refund something like five times in the last nine months for various reasons, all of which are B.S. I totally agree with Joshua — you need to contest the charge with your credit card company, as you really don’t want to go it alone in combatting them.

    How has your situation been resolved, if at all?

  • Jason Harris

    gravatarSep 18, 2007
    6:43 pm

    I tried Helio when the Ocean came out because the device looked great, I was even going to eat my ETF to get out of Cingular. The service was dodgy and customer support was so incompetent that I canceled my service 2 weeks later. I ended up having to argue my way up to their executive level support to get my credit processed, but I DID get it without having to wait their vague “at least 6 weeks” BS.

    I called the Corporate line at 310 445 7000, and got transferred to their Internal Customer Service/Third Level Support. They actually called me back and did what they said. The rest of their support is the garbage outsourced through Client Logic, who are pretty well awful.

  • Daniel

    gravatarSep 19, 2007
    8:31 am

    of course this would be posted the day after i order one online. ugh! heh

  • Lex

    gravatarSep 19, 2007
    9:13 am

    Luckily the Helio Store opened in NYC and I plan to return my HEAT which was free there. Only reasons was because of a good deal with sprint that would save over 500 dollars over the 2 year contract.

  • Daniel

    gravatarSep 19, 2007
    10:01 pm

    I work as a customer service rep for Verizon Wireless. They have something similar called the “Worry-Free Guarantee.” And it’s equally bullshit. Some of the charges associated with cellphone service get credited immediately. But the larger ones, like the $175 Termination Fee per line remains on the bill for up to another 2 billing cycles. There’s a huge, confusing list of the various kinds of charges, and whether they are credited after 1 or 2 months. This sort of thing would be tolerable if companies didn’t put so much emphasis on the guarantee being “Worry-Free” or “Total Happiness” or whatever.

  • Teezy

    gravatarSep 28, 2007
    8:16 am

    Yeah I had a similar problem. When I had first got Helio I had a bad device and they sent me out a new one and I had to send the old one back via fed ex with in 30 days. I sent the old one back with in a week of receiving the new and everything was fine and dandy from that point on. Until that is, 3 MONTHS later I noticed that my bill was very high. $225 higher. After calling and researching to see what the deal was, i found out that they had charged me for the device saying that they just now got the one I sent back. So after giving them my fed ex tracking number which PROVES that they received it 3 months prior. You can even view the signature of the person who signed for it online! My refund, however, did come within a week or so. But this is just one of my run-ins with their HORRIBLE customer service and I’ve actually had worse dealings with them. No one their ever knows what they are talking about. Oh, and if you have Helio than I would be sure that you check your bill good. Cuz they overcharge you at times. All in All I loved the phone and the phone service but I eventually paid the early termination fee cuz I was fed up with them.

  • William Boxx

    gravatarOct 5, 2007
    4:18 pm

    i am on hold with helio right now. After months of no information. Turns out i will have to pay for all the minutes and usage on a special rate that is 2x what my monthly bill would have been. But who knows when that is going to be. Thanks to the site i am just going to hang up now and kiss my money goodbye. We need to get together and do something to this crappy compnay

  • Chris

    gravatarOct 11, 2007
    2:23 pm

    I mistakenly ordered a Helio from their on-line website, and decided to return it by refusing the FedEx package (as instructed by Helio).

    By doing this I would assure myself their money back guarantee, since the phone would be returned within 30 days.

    I talked to 6 different people from the help desk and billing department, and got a different story from ALL OF THEM! Finally, someone told me they would give me the credit back onto my credit card the day they got the package back at the company.

    So, I tracked the package, they got it … I waited two days … no credit placed back on my credit card. I called, asked to talk to employee such and such, they said the company was too big for them to find any one individual, and that they could help. I told them what happened, and what I was told, and this person said, “Uh, no. You have to wait 5-6 weeks to see any refund. I said, Why? I don’t have you product or use any of your services. How can you charge me for something of yours that I don’t have or use? “That’s just how we do things here”, they said.

    And I said, Oh. I see. It only takes you five minutes to charge my credit card electronically but takes 6 weeks to electronically credit back the charge. That makes sense (sarcasm).

    A week later, I called to see where things were at. ANOTHER employee told me that my account was never cancelled, that I had forgotten. I told her I had cancelled it the day I had ordered it! She said, yeah, you’re right, that’s what it says right here in your record. But, since it didn’t get done and I’m cancelling it for you know, that will add another week for your refund to come back.


  • Darian

    gravatarOct 29, 2007
    1:22 am

    I agree HELIO SUCKS! I returned my phone in November within the 30 day grace period after not realizing how much the service sucks and how the cool-factor doesn’t justify $225 and $80 a month. I spent two months of email and phone calls just to find the address to return it. Then returned with FEDEX proving they got it. I’m still waiting for my refund. It’s been almost a year now. Amazing.

  • Alain

    gravatarOct 29, 2007
    3:49 pm

    Mind if I throw in my 2 cents of Helio-hate??

    I bought a Helio phone, used it for 4 days, and returned the phone (My issue is not concerning receiving a refund…I was able to return the phone to the store and get my money back.) Re-porting my number back to my AT&T phone took several days, unfortunately, but it eventually happened, and I thought that was it. ..ha!

    I ended up getting a bill for $120. Ignored it. Next month, got another one where they made an ‘adjustment’, but still say I owe $60. Tho I used the phone only 52 minutes, and returned the phone and canceled service within a week. So as much as I’d like to ignore the balance they say I owed, I figure I should at least explain to them “hey, I’m not paying this, and here’s why…” After many emails back and forth, Helio has essentially said over and over ‘sorry for the confusion, but ..pay us’.

    So I’m not waiting for a refund, but I’m worried that this balance they have on me will go to collections and I’ll have to contest this balance for months/years…

    There seems to be no talking to the Helio reps, they rarely actually provide hard evidence to support their claims of why 52 min of service ballooned to over $120 bill.

    Any advice on how to address this? I guess I’ll file a complaint with the BBB, but wondering if there’s a more direct approach to get them to do away with this bogus balance they say I owe.

    grrrrr -Alain Berkeley

  • amanda

    gravatarOct 31, 2007
    6:18 pm

    Yeah i work for helio member service, lol i think thats funny we dont transfer ppl to a ” corporate refunds department”. lol and about the refunds processing it just takes time it has to go through 3 different levels of approval. Ask questnons i will answer.

  • Another angry customer

    gravatarNov 10, 2007
    3:50 pm

    To whom it may concern,

    For a company that claims not to be like other –œphone– companies, or –œdon't call us a phone company–, your business practices are remarkably like that of other –œphone– companies. 

    Hi, I am currently a customer that who is about to become a non-customer.My experience with Helio has been, to say the least horrible. I left my previous mobile service provider because of poor customer service, and a few other problems I do not wish to get into. I signed up with your company because you –œappeared– to promise something different. If anything I went from bad to worse. From the start I have been misinformed by your customer service agents. Before purchasing a device I called your number to see if you provided an –œAll in–œ shared plan. I was informed that yes Helio does provide an –œAll in– shared plan, however, after purchasing my devices, and trying to join an –œAll in– shared plan, I was promptly told that your company did not have an –œAll in– shared plan (at that time: June 2007). I was disappointed to say the least, but since I already purchased the devices I opted for the –œAla-carte– plan instead. The next (and most significant) incident came after I lost my job. I had about a month and a half to two month period of non-payment. I know the drill you don’t pay, your service gets suspended till you bring your account current (at least that’s the way it works with Verizon and Sprint). I call Helio on Oct 19, 2007 to pay my balance so that I can use my mobile devices again, only to find that my account had been –œforce terminated– and that I needed to pay $175.00 in addition to the balance due in order to get the devices activated again. I told the agent that nobody from Helio contacted me to inform me that my account could or would be –œforce terminated– but that I would pay what was due and discontinue service. At this point I lost my connection with this agent so I called back to finish my business with Helio. This time I talked to an agent named Sharon ID# 79326. And I told her about my conversation with the previous agent before I lost my connection. I told Sharon that since my contract was terminated, (without 30 day notification, under chapter 12 other legal stuff on the Helio web site) I was not going to continue my service. Sharon informed me that my service was not –œforce terminated– but that it was suspended and that I could turn my mobile devices back on by just paying the balance due. Sharon stated that had I waited one more day to pay, then my account would have been –œforce terminated–. I asked Sharon if I had to pay an activation fee (because she had to give me new numbers) and she told me no. Sharon even put me on hold to go and check everything out with her supervisor. When Sharon came back on the line she reconfirmed everything she told me. I asked Sharon several times what if I am charged anyway, she replied that everything had been noted and that if billed, I should give her name and agent ID# and I would be credited for the charges. Well now, I’ve learned that what your agents tell customers means nothing. Not only was I billed an activation fee (which I was expressly told that I would not have, and had to talk to many people to get this resolved), but I was also charged two early termination fees (an additional one for the sister line, something the –œphone– companies do not do as long as you don’t cancel the main line) something I was also told that I would not have to pay. When I spoke with agent Matt ID#631699 he informed me that there were no notes on my account from agent Sharon and that the system was recently updated. As such the notes could have been deleted (funny, most corporations have system and data backups when they do upgrades so things like this do not happen, besides if the notes attached to my account where deleted shouldn’t the account they were attached to also be deleted or does that only happen to the inconvenient bits?). Matt told me that he was sorry, but that he did not have the power to help me, but that he could connect me to someone who could.. enter agent Ashley ID#631401. Agent Ashley stated that there was not a record of my conversation with agent Sharon (That’s weird, my mobile device works even now and Sharon is the one who activated it) and that I had been misinformed. I told Ashley that I had double even triple checked with Sharon (before activating my devices) that my account was not terminated. I checked because I would have ended my service instead of incurring more fees for service in addition to termination fees if it had been. Ashley just said that she could make sure that I would not receive any more termination fees if I decided to end my account now, but that the old termination fees still apply. Thanks Ashley. Just one problem, can’t believe what Ashley says. If I call back and get a different agent there won’t be any notes, or Ashley –œmisinformed me– or a list of other reasons will conveniently come to light and I will be charged four early termination fees. Great business plan people, make promises to the customer so that they stay with your company and conveniently say that I (the customer) was –œmisinformed– when called to task on it. Or better yet, tell me to take the matter to corporate and give me a contact number that is no longer in service (310) 312-3900 (yeah I called, it’s disconnected). Hey Helio, you need to honor what Sharon ID# 79326 promised me, and remove those early termination fees from my bill. What is currently going on is just bad business and wrong. Not to mention I was not notified. When I asked why I was not contacted, I was told that an e-mail was sent but did not get through. That’s funny, could not get an e-mail to me, but you know where to send the monthly bill? You even have my home phone# on record. It would have been nice to know a termination was coming to have a chance to take some action. I could have made a partial payment or worked something out.

  • Mike

    gravatarNov 17, 2007
    6:11 pm

    Anyone that can help me fight a dispute against this company just by giving me information like who to call please email me at badgrammar@gmail.com They are trying to make me pay over 400 dollars for a device I sent back. Because it was 4 months ago I do not have the tracking number. FEDEX says I need the send to address to get the tracking number and helio refuses to give it to me. I am stuck and don’t want to have collectors giving me bad credit.

  • Feel the burn

    gravatarNov 18, 2007
    6:53 am

    I tried Helio in August. Needless to say my experience was not great either. The customer service stinks. They have no idea what they are talking about and always have to locate a supervisor. I guess they think most consumers are idiots and we will take whatever they say as law without any concern or question. I received a bill for $247 dollars for my first month of service. I returned the phone after only two weeks!! They said they had not received it back but when I gave them the Fedex delivery conformation number the story changed to “oh it was lost in the delivery department” WHATEVER!!! Then I was told I still had to pay that ridiculous bill although I used airtime of 15 min and had the phone about two weeks. The hell you say. So I finally get a supervisor to erase those charges. He says I will receive a refund in around (yup) 59 days. Mind you he is subtracting around $60 for my usage and whatever other bull crap he says I owe for my short time as a customer. I don’t mind paying for the 2 downloads but what’s up? I did not have overage and the taxes should not have been that significant. Anyway, It’s no wonder they are not taking off as a serious carrier. I hope they crash and burn. Maybe then they will know what it feels like to be the victim of the great shaft job they keep dishing out. There is no way I would EVER consider going back or recommending them to someone else. Helio you suck big time. No vaseline for you!!!

  • Natalie

    gravatarNov 30, 2007
    3:55 pm

    Okay well im so mad for the fact that i read this sooo late. I bought my Helio Ocean off Ebay for $150. I was soo excited. I thought this was better than the Sidekick Lx. The ocean is a good phone, but where i live da reception sucks. I was in class tryin to get online and i couldn’t. But my two friends right next to me with Sidekicks got good reception and were chatting away on aim. What the hell. They had to port my number from my old phone to the helio. they said it should be ported by the next day by 2 o’clock. uhh well it didnt. so we called again and the said it will take up to 2 days. A day later i told them not to do that anymore since i wanted to return the fone. The fone is good, but aim sucks. lyk it was soo slow. i wouldnt get IM’s sumtimes unless i was on the aim screen thingy. I got home today and turns out they finnaly ported my number to helio even tho i said not to anymore. but at the same time they are porting it back. so i have no fone. i can make calls on my original fone. but i cant receive. and da helio wont even do shit. it wont get online. wtf man. now im stuck wit no fone on a friday nite. how gay. now wen i return it i hope it doesnt take forever for me to get my money back. i need that money for my sidekick which i hope wont do me bad.

    helio sucks.

    if i wud have read this a long time ago. it wud have saved time,stress and money.

    oh well.

  • Judy

    gravatarDec 13, 2007
    11:52 am

    I returned my phone back in May of 2007. I purchased the Helio Ocean when it came out. Needless to say the phone is completely over-rated. I returned the phone with one week, “Total Happiness Guarantee”, and I called to see about my refund and nothing happened. They told me to wait 60 days. I called 60 days later and no one helped me. I ended up reporting them to the BBB, which then finally someone was able to get a hold of me and said they would work on getting my refund. I got a portion of my refund a month later. So…what about the other portion? Exactly, I’m still waiting for it. It is now the middle of December and the last time I talked to a “supervisor” (a male) he said he would contact me back in 3-5 business days. It has now been two weeks and nothing. Its the middle of December 2007 and I’m still waiting for my full refund. I’ve been on the phone with them for over an hour today and I’ve been “disconnected” four times. I think my next step is to report them to BBB again. Any body with any other advice?….please let me know.

  • Maggie

    gravatarDec 18, 2007
    3:01 pm

    That’s great. So here is my Helio horror story. My husband and I had Sprint for quite a long time but more and more they were screwing us over. We were desperate to find a new cell phone company. My brother messaged me one day (as I no longer have my cell phone with Sprint because I can’t afford to keep paying for their errors) and told me that he got his new Helio Heat phone and he loved the service. He said the deposit wasn’t too bad even though his credit isn’t great and we should look into. After checking out their site and what they had to offer my husband and I couldn’t wait to join. My husband is in the military and I am 5 months pregnant and we are just about to make the trip home 800 miles for Christmas. A trip I cannot make without a phone incase there is an emergency. On Saturday afternoon, with a lot of wheeling and dealing to get the money to start a new account, we paid the 300 dollar deposit for a family plan. We paid the additional fee to have our phones overnighted. Strick one on Helio: They failed to tell us that they don’t ship on weekends. All they told us to do was to call on Monday to track our order. If the order wasn’t here on Monday it would be here no later than Tuesday. We checked the Helio order tracker on Monday and it showed our phones still hadn’t been shipped. My husband called to find out what was going on. Strike two on Helio: My husband called 5 times, being disconnected each time before he reached a representative that could assist him. This is where we were told that Helio does not ship on weekends. We were told not to worry and that our order would be here no later than Tuesday. Later that night we checked our order track again. It still had no shipping date or arrival date. My husband called Helio AGAIN. The representative on the phone said that because we made our order on a weekend the system would have some trouble updating. The rep said that the ordered had infact been proccessed and will be shipped today. Once again, don’t worry, your order will be here on Tuesday. Today is Tuesday. I sat here all day waiting for this order to get in. At about three in the afternoon I wanted to call and check the order status. I got put on the phone with a rep that told me not to worry, orders usually show up around 4:30 and that if it was here by then to call back and that she was “Really Sorry”. I said “That’s fine, I’ll call back” but before I could hang up she asked me to hold because her supervisor was speaking to her. Apparently the phones we placed orders for are on “back order”. She said “They wont be there today.” I asked politely “Can you tell me when they will be here.” After appologizing about 100 times she said she couldn’t tell me. I am not leaving for the holiday in 3 days and will not have a phone for the trip. Had Helio informed me of any of this when we ordered I would not have started service with them. I have been a Helio patron for a whopping three days now and I already want to cancel.

  • paulbelo

    gravatarJan 5, 2008
    8:23 pm

    Well oh Well… I’ve been with Helio for a month. My phone has locked up twice, then it needed hard resets. Though time consuming… I stuck with them and I’m happy. The Ocean is great and they continue adding new features to it. The Helio browser stinks, but i got the Opera Mini Browser and that has resolved the problem. My One Complaint… Customer Service is a joke, it’s like calling 911. Most calls are forwarded to the Philippians. Some reps know there stuff and some don’t. Please… take no offense… I can’t understand them over the phone; thick accents and poor English skills. I had to call back various times to get someone that i could understand! Same old story: Corporations trying to save $$$. I guess I’m fortunate though… I live near a Helio store. The staff knows its stuff and I get Free unlimited downloads, games, rings etc… Free chargers and extra batteries laying around too. All in All, I recommend it, but hey, it’s only been a month. After test driving it for 5 more months… I’ll be back to fill you in on it. Just remember technology is still in its infancy; you want it… be realistic, it comes with its issues (this goes for Filipino customer service too}. Hell… it’s just a phone, so calm down!

  • A. Foster

    gravatarJan 20, 2008
    4:24 pm

    I just got my collection letter, and my story sounds like those above. I now have to put my dispute in writing and from reading above, I will try to dispute with my cc company as well as make a complaint with BBB. Are there any lawsuits yet??

    And by the way, I was once a CA sales tax auditor and they should be refunding the tax. They can claim the credit against their sales monthly. So again, they are floating on money that is not theirs. That is fraudulent in CA. I will make a complaint there as well.

    It sounds like I would not be any better off if I had: 1) refused the package at the onset, 2) returned the package the next day, 3) requested their return envelope (still waiting), 4) returned the phone within the 30 days on my own dime and with tracking.

    Either way, they have been told to play dumb and do anything to avoid the refund. It is a scam and I can’t beliewve so many people work there and just go with the flow. I bet there is high turnover there. The group I talked to said they were in a call center in Utah, but who knows.

    Good luck everyone!

  • D Jay

    gravatarJan 21, 2008
    8:01 pm

    I tried Helio in Aug 2006. when i got the phone I found that I didn’t get a good signal and sent it back unused the next day. I waited over 30 days and then processed a chargeback on my credit card. A month or so later I received a bill for the deposit that I had paid at the time of order and then had to have refunded by a chargeback. I was repeatedly told that it was taken care of. I have now received a collection notice on this erroneous bill. I never used the service and they can’t seem to correct the problem. I was told that it had been written off. I think that would be fraud to write off an account on their books that is not valid and they have been repeatedly informed of that. I will be filing a complaint with the BBB. Good luck to everyone else dealing with their incompetence.

  • April May

    gravatarJan 28, 2008
    1:38 pm


    So I signed up, everything seemed cool, but then……

    *My first phone broke! It was an absolute nightmare to get a replacement. When I first called the guy on the other line told me to call device protection, which wouldn’t be open till monday (it was saturday). I finally called them, and they told me the Helio rep was crazy and that it was under 30 days, so it was helios problem! I called Helio immediately and they kept wanting to do technical support on it. But the internal screen was leaking ink! I COULDNT SEE ANYTHING! I didnt have an alternate phone to call them from, but they insisted to make me call them from another phone. I asked them “DO YOU WANT TO GO DOWN TO THE CORNER AND USE A PAYPHONE?!?” They responded w/ “Well, thats another line. We need you to get off your helio device so that we can troubleshoot it” THERE WAS NOTHING TO TROUBLE SHOOT! YOU COULDNT SEE THE SCREEN! THE Screen was cracked internally (how i dont know, i’d only had it 3 days!) i finally hung up frustrated and called back the next day (w/ my ex’s crappy at&t phone, which i had to stand in ONE spot, so i wouldnt drop the call). I explained to the gentleman my problem. He was like, if you cant see the screen its pointless to troubleshoot and sent me out a phone and gave me a $100 credit. The niceness ended there.

    So I got another phone. low and behold. THAT ONE STOPPED WORKING (these are the heats by the way). I had my phone w/ t-mobile for 3 1/2 years, it was a relic, and i beat that thing up BUT IT NEVER STOPPED WORKING! Anywho, i dealt w/ them for another week, trying to get another phone!

    At this point, i had been w/ helio 30 days, but only had a phone for about a week of time

    So, now i’m on my third and final phone (which no longer rings or vibrates), and now the billing drama begins ( i had billing drama in the beginning as well, but it was resolved sorta). Now I am being charged for the 2 phones, I RETURNED. Late fees for a failed auto bill pay, that their system F*ed up!

    *I signed up for auto bill pay in november, never happened! The guy didnt process it fully. Bill went past due, phone got shut off! I resigned up again for auto bill pay early Jan. I was told My dec 20-Jan 19th bill would be taken care of by the auto bill pay, guess what, DIDNT HAPPEN! I checked my account on Jan 20th, and noticed no pending payment on my bank account. I called helio….and heres what happened”

    Heavy Accented Rep: Thank you for calling Helio, my name is ::Name inaudible:: How can I assist you?

    Me: Yes, hi um I am signed up on auto bill pay, and I was told my dec 20-jan 19th bill would be taken out today. Yet i dont see a pending payment in my checking account. Also, i keep receiving text messages saying my payment is late. Can you please tell me whats going on?

    Heavy Accented Rep: Yes, ma’am, let me just verify your information….

    8 minutes later……after he FINALLY GOT MY NUMBER RIGHT, and all my info

    Heavy Accented Rep: Let me look into your account, may I place you on hold please?

    Me: Sure

    16 minutes later (w/ no check backs remind you)………….

    Heavy Accented Rep:: Yes Ma’am I see you are signed up on auto bill pay and your payment will be deducted in the next couple days.

    Me: What about the text messages i’m receiving about my account being late.

    Heavy Accented Rep: Just ignore those. They are system generated and we cant control them. Your account is in good standing!

    ME: ARE YOU SURE?!? I will have no service interruption? (I have been lied to soooo many times)

    Heavy Accented Rep: Yes Ma’am. Everything is fine, your phone will not be shut off.

    Me: Okay (w/ skepticism in my voice) Thank you

    All the end of call crap……….

    6 Days later……..My phone was shut off due to non-payment!

    After 8 reps, being on hold for over a total of 3 hours, including call in time (it was a 10 minute hold time, everytime i called in)

    Nothing got resolved. I was hung up on twice, On one call i was even told that the system was down and I had to try back in a half hour! This was on my 3 attempt to get this resolved, an hour and a half into it! I even had a Supervisor tell me, that it was my credit card that was messed up, not their system! I also had one rep tell me that my card was not on file, and another who said it was. OH OH OH, I forgot the best part, they all said that call i made on Jan 20th never took place. They couldnt find Any such call in my account!!!!!!!! 7 reps, who all put me hold for over 2 1/2 hours couldnt find it

    So, lets get to the best part! The 2nd to last rep i finally talked to, low and behold FOUND THE CALL! AMAZING! She said i;m gonna go talk to my superior and see what can be done for you.

    10 mins later

    Another Heavy Accented Rep: I’m sorry ma’am he said theres nothing we can do. You must make a payment in order to have your account restored. YOur account is set up for auto bill pay on Feb 9th.

    Me: My bill is due the 19th of every month, why would it pull on the 9th?!? Thats your guys problem. You should reinstate my phone till the 9th, since thats the payment date you set up for it!

    Heavy Accented Rep: No ma’am, the 9th is when your auto bill pay will start.

    Me: Can I speak to your supervisor please?

    Heavy Accented Rep: He’s in a meeting and he keeps getting upset that I am bothering him


    So i ended up paying my bill, plus the late charge, or my phone wouldnt of been reinstated.

    Anywho……I was told over and over and over again that my dec 20-jan 19th bill COULD not be covered by the auto bill pay! The previous SUPERVISOR who signed me up made a mistake in telling me so. SO heres the kicker! I received a helio invoice today stating statement date Dec 20th-Jan 19th set to be paid by auto bill pay on feb 9th!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHAHAHAH So ya, this is my helio nightmare, Oh btw, the helio bill that is to be charged is for 596 dollars! Which i already paid 144 of (thats my bill every month) but i am being charged late fees and phones I dont have.

    I am going to the FCC and the BBB and Thanks to Jason Harris for that number, I called today and left a message!

  • someone

    gravatarJan 28, 2008
    5:19 pm

    Hello. I know Helio’s refund policy sucks! I know, because i work in one of their call centers that they out source to. It would help a lot if Helio would give the CSRs more power to expedite stuff a lot after. If they done that they probably would not be getting so many complaints. Also for those that are reading this, if you have waited for you refund longer than three weeks and after that the customer service rep you talk to said they could not speed it up any more, here if the numbers to Tier III (Helio Corporate HQ) Primary- 310-445-7000, Fax 310-445-7001. You should ask to speak with Mark Jeffries, Matt White, or Johnny Leon if you want to get something done. FYI this information can be found on the BBB web site http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Business/CompanyReportPage_Expository.aspx?CompanyID=100034219


    gravatarJan 28, 2008
    9:40 pm



  • Nate

    gravatarJan 30, 2008
    2:05 am

    i got their service back in 1st week of oct 2007, cancelled 3rd week oct 2007. here it is now jan of 2008 and i get a bill from them, not a refund check for deposit, saying that i owe them from monthly cycles not being paid. on top of that my deposit was eaten by those late charges, so instead of $100 refund i now owe them 200something for a service that i had less than a month, with a supossed 30day gurantee. has this happened to anyone else

  • Helio Sucks

    gravatarFeb 5, 2008
    1:37 pm

    my friend got a new helio PHONE december 28th and has been waiting on his first bill for more than a month now. His service was cut off the 4th of feb. due to him not paying a bill that he never got. So he went back to the store where he purchased the PHONE and it wasnt there. He found out through a google search that FYE takes payments so he calls FYE and what do they tell him…..oh im sorry sir we no longer deal with Helio because we had to many problems with them so we can not take your payment. So he calls a number on the Helio website to try to get some help with his situation and they tell him to drive to one of their stores in Ringgold which is in GA he lives in TN. Thats the best they could come up with! They say they take checks over the phone on the site but they dont. All he wants to do is pay his bill. When my contract was up with my carrier i was planning on getting a phone with Helio, but thank god i didnt because this is insane.

  • Philip

    gravatarFeb 17, 2008
    10:49 pm

    Sounds like Helio’s customer service team was trained in Germany ;-) While living there for the past 2 years I had internet and mobile service from T-Com (T-Mobile), 1&1, and another company. These companies accidentally charged me a total of $1,250 via (acknowledged) billing errors. On average it took 4-6 months for any charge to be refunded.

    That really makes one wonder if these companies gather interested on these funds and whether it is part of their business strategy.

  • Kevin

    gravatarFeb 19, 2008
    11:31 am

    Wow… what a company. I had HELIO for about two months and closed the account in August of 2007. They continued to send bills. Each time I called and they said they would close the account. The bills continued to come and each time I would write “account closed” and return them. In January I begin to get letters and calls from a collection agency saying I now owe $438.87. I contacted HELIO today and they say the account as been written off??? Whatever that means but I wtill will be dealing with the collection agency. I have sent them an invoice for my time in the amount of about $1400 that I think they now owe me for the time I have spent on this issue.

    If anyone is reading this… JUST SAY NO TO HELIO. Save yourself the time and aggravation. Choose any REAL carrier and you will be far better off.

  • Jay Llacuna

    gravatarFeb 24, 2008
    10:09 pm

    I got the same run around. I tried out the Helio Ocean around the same time (June 2007). And also returned my Ocean within the 30 days (fedex says June 17, 2007).

    Unlike Chanpory, I didn’t bother checking my credit card statement until now. Over six months after returning my Helio, I still haven’t received my refund. When I asked why the refund hadn’t been completed, I was told they were waiting for an approval from Billing. According to Member Services, it requires 4 approvals to get a refund and Billing was the last department.

    They also tried telling me that I wouldn’t be refunded the tax.

    After a great deal of complaining I managed to get Ina (ID# 035816) over at customer services to promise me should we get it taken care of by tomorrow (Monday, 2/25/08). I’m calling member services again on Monday to verify and to make sure I get my sales tax refunded. We’ll see when the refund actually comes through.

  • Jay Llacuna

    gravatarFeb 25, 2008
    12:31 pm

    I called Helio again today (Monday) to see if they’ve made any progress. I managed to get Ina on the phone again despite the member services representative trying not to connect me. Today, Ina denies ever promising me that she’d handle the refund today.

    It looks like Member Services is in the Philippines and they claim not to be able to contact Billing directly.

    I’m going to try giving this Matt White a call over at corporate (10960 Wilshire Ave., Los Angeles – (310) 445-7000) to see if he will push my refund through.

  • Jay Llacuna

    gravatarFeb 25, 2008
    12:53 pm

    I’ve posted my problem to Howard Forums (http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1333296) to forewarn prospective Helio customers about this problem.

  • Wendy

    gravatarFeb 26, 2008
    12:29 pm

    Well, I guess everyone here definately agrees that Helio customer service provides poor service and Helio practices poor business. I was on the phone with numerous reps for over 4 hours yesterday hoping they would rectify my complaints and concerns. But no, nobody I spoke with had the authority to do anything. I finally spoke with a manager (this only took 4 hours), and the best he could do was give me the address (a P.O. Box) of corporate so I could send a letter and HOPE someone would call me back. I knew this wouldn’t happen but I wrote a 4 page letter anyway, probably just to make myself feel better (I was so pissed off with their obvious tactics of giving me the run around). So today, I did some research online, hoping to find a telephone # at corporate (because customer service would not give me a # “WE can’t give that number to customers” (thats the truth, thats what I was told). So low and behold, I found THIS site with a # to corporate and it actually was their #. 310-445-7000 and their address is 10960 Willshire Blvd. Suite 700 Los Angeles, CA 90024 I spoke with Matt ID# 7186 who was very helpful. He was able to waive my early termination fee and refund my $200 deposit plus credit my bill for 1 week of unused time. Now I just have to wait and see if I get the check in the mail. Matt said 3-4 weeks and if I dont receive the check to call him back to his direct line. So, we will see……. Helpul Hint: dont even bother calling customer service, just call corporate from the beginning…….before they change their #

  • Brian

    gravatarMar 24, 2008
    1:08 pm

    My adventure with helio began when I was the giveaways director at our local college radio station. They had a student representative contact me from some program or another, I think it was called “Helio On-Campus” or something. Essentially, what they wanted were “influential” people on campus to us their phones for 3 or 4 months, absolutely free. You know, so people would see people using helio phones around and think “wow those are super cool” or something. I had recently come to the end of my contracted time with T-Mobile, so I figured it would be a pretty slick deal to get a free phone and not pay for any phone service for 4 months.

    The first issue I had was that when my shiny new Hero showed up, they failed to port my old number from T-Mobile. I eventually gave up caring and went with the new number assigned to the phone when I got it.

    What they’d told me when I received it was that if, after the 4 months were up, I still wanted to keep using the phone, I could sign up to start paying for the service and things would be smooth like butter.

    What actually happened was that after those 4 months, I called and talked to numerous people in member care who pretty much looked at the account and told me that they couldn’t do anything to help me because the phone had a helio employee device number and that it was attached to a corporate account. The latter of which makes decent sense because I did have completely free service to make as many calls as I wanted, send as many texts or pictures, download as much of anything from them, all completely free. After several days of trying to find someone who could help me with this, I finally got referenced to someone in corporate from the director of the program that originally furnished the phone to me.

    The guy at corporate was really helpful, and he managed to get my new account set up and my phone working on it. The only problem was that in the 3-7 days that my phone had been off since I couldn’t get anyone there to be able to let me pay for an account, THEY GAVE MY PHONE NUMBER AWAY TO SOMEONE ELSE. So, once again, I had to change phone numbers, through no fault of my own.

    A couple weeks later, my helio hero began freaking out. Slowly, at first. First sometimes the colors would be all wrong, then there would be ghosting, eventually, opening the phone would display a white screen 95% of the time you opened it. The only way to get the white screen to go away was to close it and open again, and hope you nailed that 5% of the time it worked. Sometimes the screen would freeze and turn black the way things infected with viruses in movies do. I’ll admit that while it was terribly annoying, it did look pretty cool. Then one day, it just wouldn’t do anything anymore. If you powered it up, the screen would turn white, and then it would reset itself about 3 seconds later.

    I called member care and they basically told me that my hero was worthless and that I could just go ahead and buy a new phone. So I got a drift, which was a really cool phone and about a million times better than the hero. The agent I spoke to told me that since the hero was discontinued from their line and only worth about 50 bucks at best, that I didn’t really need to return the broken one to them. This was in July.

    At the beginning of August, I moved out of the apartment I was living in, and then at the beginning of November, I moved yet again. When I went to pay my bill in December, it was about 350 bucks more than it should have been. When I started asking questions, it turns out that I was being charged because I didn’t send the hero to them (which I owned) when I got the drift (which I paid about 200 dollars for). So they told me that if I sent it back, I could get credit for it. It takes me about 2 weeks of searching through pretty much everything that I own to find the old phone, because I still had it packed away somewhere from moving twice in a row. I finally find it, ship it back to them, and then the waiting game begins.

    I end up talking to about a billion of their people over the next few weeks and they pretty much tell me that it takes 3 weeks (15 business days) from the time you send the phone back to them, to the time the credit is posted. At this point, I’ve been without a phone for about a month and a half. After waiting those 3 weeks, I start talking to people again. In one instance, I actually got put on hold to talk to a supervisor! After waiting 20 minutes on hold, the girl I’d been talking to came on the phone and said that the supervisor was finishing up the notes on the previous call and that they’d be with me in about 2 minutes. About 2 minutes later, I was disconnected, and when I called back, the idiot I talked to refused to put me back through to a supervisor, and told me that they weren’t going to refund any money to me whatsoever. I did manage to get the corporate number from this guy, and he freaked out when I asked to double check his name and member ID (Jamie – 5117025).

    So, I called corporate, and they were helpful, except that they demanded that I supply them with a tracking number to find the package in their own damn warehouse. It had been about 2 months since I’d sent the package, I had no idea what my tracking number was. They told me to check with FedEx, so I went down to the FedEx location I’d shipped it from, and they told me that I’d have to call their 1-800 number, since they couldn’t help me there. So I did, and they told me they needed the address the package was shipped to. I figured that this was simple information that I could just call member care about, since the corporate people seemed to be a bit more difficult to get a hold of. After about 20 minutes of mind-numbing stupidity, member care refused to give me the address I’d shipped the package to. 5 minutes later, I talked to a corporate rep who surrendered that information immediately.

    Upon calling FedEx with that information, they pretty much just started laughing at me over the phone. And I don’t blame them. Not only does the warehouse receive shipments for Helio, but also like Sprint and Verizon as well. If you can imagine how many people from all of these carriers have broken phones, you can imagine how there are hundreds upon hundreds of packages shipped there daily. I felt like I was pretty much out of luck entirely, until I, by chance, found the receipt FedEx had given me when I shipped it. Now, armed with my tracking number, I made a couple more calls to corporate only to find that my account had allegedly been sent to collections. Obviously, it had been force terminated a long time previous.

    I was told to call back in 2 days, and they were going to try to get it back through the finance department. When I called they let me know that it actually hadn’t been sent to collections, but that they would take care of it and call me back the following day to let me know what was up. The next day I received a call telling me that my account had been cleared and that everything was cool now.

    They told me that if I wanted to continue service, I’d have to sign up for a new account, and get a new phone number. I declined to do so.

    So, after 3 months of fighting, it had seemed that I finally won. I didn’t have to pay the 550 dollars they now claimed that I owed them. (Mind you, it increased pretty significantly during all of time I had no service and was being terminated and such). I felt like I’d never have to talk to another Helio employee again for the rest of my life.

    Then this Saturday, I received a letter from a collections agency telling me that I owe them $715.33. I waited for the corporate office to be open again today, Monday, and started calling. I talked to the super helpful Dorthea and left a message for Matt. I read everyone else’s comments here and decided to add my own while I wait to hear back from them.

    Helio’s policy of signing a friend up in exchange for a month or two of free service is a utter and complete joke. I’ve already had several friends NOT sign up because of the issues I’d had with helio before all of this stuff started happening in December. I can only imagine that it feels like signing a friend up for cancer.

  • Sally

    gravatarApr 14, 2008
    3:05 pm

    Has anyone sued Helio? Something has to be done to expose them. I read an article that they’re complaining that they’re losing so much money…. Perhaps that’s why they figure if they don’t refund what is owed to people, they won’t lose any more? Or perhaps they double bill or take money from their subscribers accounts without authorization. Their money has to come from somewhere…..

  • DT

    gravatarApr 14, 2008
    9:20 pm

    Adding mine…google My Helio Nightmare

  • nancy hughes

    gravatarApr 23, 2008
    3:46 pm

    Die Helio Die!!! It’s always great when you see Helio employees purchasing ATT devices and telling me how horrible their service is.

  • Vicky

    gravatarMay 6, 2008
    11:28 am

    If you think the Helio refunds are bad, you oughtta give their rebates a whirl! Their rebate department gives ‘F*CKED UP’ a whole new dimension. Those morons couldn’t find their rear ends with both hands!


    gravatarMay 7, 2008
    10:34 am

    Ok, we got a Helio phone for my husband’s daughter right after Christmas 2007. Plan started in January 2008.

    February, 2008 bill, they failed to post and phone was temporarily terminated. Took 2 weeks to get bill straightened out.

    March, 2008, Payment for march was made on time, took 2 weeks to credit. phone temporarily shut off for non-payment.

    April 2008, Payment for April and May was debited from my account on 3-31-08. Received bill for May service plan, which inlcuded a late fee for April. Called my bank and was provided with the physical electronic payment slip TO HELIO, with their endorsement made april 9, 2008.

    April 28, 2008, faxed hard copy of electronic check from my bank to their bank which was endorsed 4-9-08. Was informed by helio that they did not know where my money was. Spoke to escalation specialsit marrius, id #631847. Marrius stated he would post a $200 credit to my account as I had faxed the hard copy of electronic check from Bank of America. TOTAL TIME ON PHONE WITH ALL SUPERVISORS: 3 HOURS!

    May 6, 2008 I receive a call from stepdaughter that they shut off the phone for non-payment of May’s bill. Called helio. Informed that the credit is pending “level 3 authorization”. WTF? Helio stated they would turn the phone on temporarily pending authorization of the $200 credit. Told them that was not good enough. After 1 HOUR ON PHONE, was told that the specialist would give me additiona 2 $100 credits which did not need authorization to cover until the earlier credit of $200 was authorized. I no longer want their service, told them this, and requested my early termination fee waived. They still cannot find my money, and stated that unless I have a “valid reason” to terminate my service, I would be responsible for the termination fee.

    Spoke again to another supervisor who informed me that I needed to conference call my bank in order for him to verify my payment because my electronic check with THEIR ENDORSEMENT was not good enough. After 1 hour and 15 minutes of this bull shit, the supervisor went to conference call my bank, and while I was on hold, he disconnected my call.



    gravatarMay 8, 2008
    10:17 am

    Another update on the Helio nightmare. yesterday, I called my bank to see if they could help. My bank rep three-way called Helio. We were on the phone with helio for over one hour! I was informed that my pending level 3 authorization was denied due to “company policy”. I asked what that policy was and they told me it was due to “lack of proof” of payment. I could not understand what more proof they needed IN ADDITION TO THE CANCELLED, EDORSED CHECK! After being placed on hold for the mandatory 20 minutes, the rep came back to tell me that I was denied the credit because “finance was investigating the payment.” Apparently, if finance is going to find it, I don’t deserve the credit, get dinged with late fees, and have the phone shut off for “non-payment.”

    After that phone call, I was given the direct number to the corporate office 310-445-7000. office hours are 8-6 pacific time. I called at 5:15 pm, and noone was in the office to answer any calls.

    I called corporate today, at 9:15am. Asked to be transferred to finance. spoke to a lady named Dorothea (no id number or last name provided, even when I asked for it.) She informed me that they had no record of my escalated claim or of my missing payment. I once again faxed the check to her. She stated the faxes are “upstairs, and when it is received they will send me an email so I can go up and get it.” WTF? Why can’t she get off her ass and go up and get the fax? I asked to speak directly to the finance department, (dorothea apparently is NOT in finance dept. adn that no one would be in finance until 9:30, maybe) and she told me someone would call me back. Then she hung up.

    I called corporate office

    Today, May 8, 2008, I called at 9:30 am, and was informed that someone already told me I would receive a call back, and, get this “THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT IS NOT A DEPARTMENT THAT YOU CAN SPEAK TO ANYONE!” what the fcuk is up with HELIO? You cannot speak to the finance department about your bill? Apparently, to speak to someone about your bill, you need to speak to someone who is a member care specialist at 888-88 HELIO. Since they could not help before, why would I call them now?

    Oh well, I guess I am a glutton for punishment, because I called that 888 number, and am currently on hold. But I DID find out the reason we get put on hold for so long. The member specialist informed me that in order to be transferred, the member specialist has to speak to a “TIER 2 SUPERVISOR and get PERMISSION TO TRANSFER THE CALL!”

    But wait, there is more! When we ordered the plan in December 2007, we were told that the $237.20 charge on our credit card bill was to cover the phone, insurance, and first month’s bill. First month was January 3-Feb3, 2008. February bill is for $217 when the plan was only 94.00 and they tell me that the $237 was for the phone only. LIES LIES AND MORE LIES! I am still on hold and will post the progress, if there ever is any, later.

  • nicki

    gravatarMay 8, 2008
    4:29 pm

    FanEFFINGtastic. You thought you all had it bad. Lucky you, most of you have cancelled your service. I’ve been with them for a year now and every month I get my phone bill I want to scream. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bill under $175 (at least). My plan is the “All-In 1000” for $85 mind you. Now, okay, I’d expect the BS government & taxes to bring my bill up to maybe $100. But Oh NO! why should I expect a think like that? Every moth i somehow incur mysterious “overages” which include calls to 611, voicemail and 800#’s. I’m actually suppressed because my device shuts itself off so much I actually can’t make enough phone calls to go OVER anyhow.

    I called about this problem at least a dozen times and what do i get? Outsource, non-English speaking customer “service” reps who double talk and and repeat what YOU’VE already addressed as your issues to make it sound like a resolution.

    EX: ME: yes, my bill is $270 dollars and I can’t exactly understand why. I changed my plan ACCIDENTALLY from All-in to Ala-carte for about 3 days then changed it back.

    REP: okay, ma’am i understand you’ve change your plan, and your bill is now $270. Will that be all for you today?

    They put you on hold for so long they actually seem flustered and surprised that you were dumb enough to stay on the line.

    Whatever you do DO NOT GET HELIO! They are the Enron of cell service.


    gravatarMay 11, 2008
    10:03 am

    Ok, so I get a call back the other day about my missing money. They claim that the account number listed on the check was incorrect. BULLSHIT! The same electronic payment that was made in February and March all came with the same account number. How, then, in HELIOLAND does my latest electronic check have the incorrect account number? Because in HELIOLAND, they posted my payment to the wrong account, and magically, they are not at fault.

    When I asked the supervisor, (this was after the member care specialist received PERMISSION to transfer me) informed me he was “sorry I terminated my contract, and I understand your frustration, but I cannot waive your early termination fee. COmpany policy.” I asked “what is the company policy?” He replied, “you need a valid excuse.” “LOSING MY MONEY EVERY MONTH IS A VALID REASON YOU ASSHOLE!” then he hung up.

    I now have to wait until my “next billing cyckle” to see if they refund my money for the extra payment, or if I get charged for another month.

  • betty

    gravatarMay 12, 2008
    6:53 am


  • Michael

    gravatarMay 12, 2008
    10:56 pm

    Oh, here’s the best one of all – in addition to having most of the problems voiced by everyone here (service termination even when I’m using their automated payment that works automatically every months and still generates warning emails/SMS, missing bills, broken phones, lying member-care reps, etc.) we had one doozy that still takes my breath away: There were MATH ERRORS on the bill. Yes, 51+10 does not equal 79. We walked through the bill with the supervisor (and his supervisor) and they were mystified and stunned too. Their billing system is just plain broken. Now I’ve got an account that was shut down even when I always paid on time because they took the money right off my credit card automatically and of course they sent my account off to a slimey collection agency even before the postmarked date on the warning note arrived.

  • Beck

    gravatarMay 23, 2008
    10:54 am

    After 9 years of frusturations with Sprint, we finally decided to look for another company. How in our research did we not find all the bad stuff about Helio? Whoa. With research and referrals, at the time we found good stuff and felt very positive about going with Helio. Whooops. We have 2 businesses and we got 3 lines with Helio – 2 Oceans and 1 Heat. During the 2 months that we were with Helio, all 3 of our devices had various troubles. I rely heavily on 3-way calling in my business. My phone’s 3-way calling never worked. After hours on the line with amazingly confusing Helio customer service, my simple problem seemed amazingly complicated to fix. I got a new Ocean finally to replace the one that didn’t work, and whaddya know, the 3-way calling still didn’t function. Then they tried to say that they couldn’t do anything about that minor problem. So much more happened than this, but we finally decided that our business couldn’t be put on hold anymore. We went back to Sprint. I am facing lots of lost time and working on recovering well over $2,000 in fees and fees and fees. At this point I feel a moral consumer obligation to take legal action. Lets not be lazy consumers, take your stories anywhere that may make Helio have to take responsibility for this continuous bad business.

  • Fred

    gravatarMay 24, 2008
    10:37 pm

    Try having them replace a defective Ocean phone after 14 days of usage, they will not believe that you actually have a bad phone. After hours of investing in customer service calls, they agreed to send a replacement. However, they neglected to tell me that the replacement will be a “used” phone. When I brought this to their attention as the replacement looked banged up, they invoked their waranty policy that they reserve the right to send refurbished phones as replacement. Can anyone tell me how this can be right when a consumer buys a brand new phone that does not work will get a “used” phone? If I wanted a used phone, I would’ve paid for one.

    Yes, customer service does not understand US Consumer Laws.


  • Nina-B

    gravatarMay 25, 2008
    9:58 pm

    And I thought I had issues. Here are a few things I’ve learned from situations like the ones posted:

    1. If you send something back such as a phone make sure you choose to certify it with delivery. A company tried to say that I didn’t return my item. I’m like BAM! The item was signed for and accepted on this date at this time. All they could do was give me my refund.

    2. I had an issue with Bank of America awhile ago. They allowed illegal charges and on top of that hit me up with overdraft fees. I was looking at over $300 in the red. I politely went to the Better Business Bureau site and called up a number given by my mom. When you hit up the BBB, it forces the company to notice the problem and to solve it. There’s a number (can’t remember right now) that will go after the bank and can shut them down or fine them as well.

    3. Keep all paperwork! Companies know that you will receive an item and service and not pay attention to paperwork. When there is a problem have it handy and fax it for proof. Throws them off every time.

    4. Get on their nerves! Go over there head and remember names, extensions, confirmations, etc.

    How do I know so much? My mom worked in collections and in other occupations where she had to know the law. Don’t let these companies take advantage of you. What you don’t know will hurt you.

    Was about to get the Helio Ocean, but now I’m back out shopping for a new phone.

  • India617

    gravatarJun 4, 2008
    10:54 am

    Oh hell! Had I of known all this I wouldnt of even bothered! I got a helio in february i returned it the next day phone was in my possesion a whole total of 24hrs and not only they charged me for 7 minutes of usage! Now first of all I got my Ocean from a third party vendor (wowgizmo.com I love them because they kept it real from Jump! Sean Kim the seller asked me if I was sure I wanted service I said hell yeah! He said well you have 30 days to return phone and after 7 days I am responsible for usage even if I return within 30 days.) Now I had to pay $97.00 for the phone itself and a $150 deposit. I got the phone and It was cute but it kinda sucked in a way to. Anyway I did the whole surfing, downloaded a ringtone and 7minutes of talk time. -I headed to fedex before noon the next day and got my refund for the phone maybe 2days after Back On My Credit Card. (Thank You Sean Kim) After receiving refund for phone he tells me to make sure I call Helio again myself because they play around! (Special Thanks Sean Kim) Now this is from February 29th that I called it is now June 9th I have been given the following crock of sh*t: 1. REP: Your refund hasn’t been approved. ME: What’s that mean this is passed two weeks what hasnt been approved? The phone is returned and I got my money and I do not need any approval because I had phone for 24hrs! It took Helio 5 minutes to decide I need a deposit and 5 minutes to get it from me. on top of that I wouldnt of got the phone in my possesion without giving you $150.00 so the phone is where its suppose to be where is my $150.00? REP: Its actually $119.00 for usage and it will take 15 days to be refunded.

    2.March 29th call for status- REP: It was denied. (I go off politely) she puts me on 10min hold (no exaggeration) only to tell me it will take two to three weeks. ME: I will NOT wait two to three weeks -I want chargers reversed.

    After speaking to fake supervisors and managers the best I could get was it will take 15 days

    1. May 9th- more than 15 days later. I call for status:

    REP: Ms XXX I dont know what happened it was never mailed out. (I am livid at this point) ME: Can I speak to Mr. Helio himself WTH! Why is it everytime I call I am getting the run around? I need to speak to someone who can tell me why I can not get my money or a reason why its held up?

    REP: I will investigate this. (A complete HOUR! Of back and forth putting me on hold repeating old information and reading from a script everytime I interrupther to tell her the last few reps I spoke to told me the same friggin thing she is telling me) she finally comes back with “I will get the chargers reversed for you I have to transfer you to Tier III and they will assist you from there.Is is it the same credit card ending in XXXX? ME: (excitedly and calmer) Yes it is (I am thinking this B*tch got my credit card info on file- why didnt they do that to begin with? (Transfer) TIER III REP: (verifys allll info again) Ok m’am you should receive your check in 15days. ME: (gasps and concentrates so hard I pooted) Um, excuse me M’AM I was told by previous rep this was going to be reversed?! I was told many times already about this 15 days- I never got my check. After she rudely repeated the same stuff over and over to me- I told her well what do I do if 15 days come Again and I still get nothing? REP: call back again. (Flatly) 4. It is now June 4th called again this time brian said he will call me to see if I get my check and to give it until June 9th or the beginning of next week. I asked Brian if a courtesy call was suppose to make me feel better and from then on it was me and entertaining Brian with colorful vocabulary and humoring him only to be left with- “its in the mail- june 9th or beginning of next week you should get your check- if not I will call you” I hate helio…it’s run by devils and the people who work for them are mingnons for working for them because they know we are getting ripped off them bastards! I hope there is a class action lawsuit pending so everyone who ever owned a helio happy or not get some change!

  • HelioSup

    gravatarJul 2, 2008
    9:13 pm

    I was a supervisor at Helio and let me just say that the company is horrible! Our training class was taught by a junkie who did not know anything about the company. The only things we really did during training was make posters and take breaks. (and thats why no one knows what they are doing) When the supervisors would be busy taking calls (The ones that actually worked), a manager would just point at some guy who didn’t know his job and tell him to pretend to be a supervisor. The employees are told not to call avoid but basically 75% of the calls they got during their shift, they hung up on. To be honest, it was a bunch of kids working there who just wanted the money–¦only problem is that they ripped us off, like they rip of the customers. Some of the supervisors will even tell an employee to hang up the call because there were more waiting. To make matters worse Helio opened up a call center in Philliphines. They messed up accounts, lied to them and stole everyone’s job. Also, another thing: many of the employees would steal your ss and cc #s. Most of them, if not all didn’t give a damn about anything except on how to best call avoid without getting caught, how to piss the customer off the most, and how to get the member to ask for a supervisor without saying the word supervisor. The only way you can probabaly count on getting ANY compensation for your account is to talk to help desk (supervisors), the saves department or someone that will just give you credit because they want you off the line.

    Things to watch out for:

    2. If you don’t want to wait on hold while waiting for tier 2, which we all know happens all the time, speak to a supervisor and ask them to call you back
    3. Ask nicely
    4. You CAN get that promotion deal
    5. billing cycle dates cant be paid
    6. it doesnt matter if they say they are taking the notes most of the time those notes are a sentence long
    7. dont expect a refund back
    8. your still paying for your phone even when its been suspended
    9. their name and agent id doesn’t help
    10. those nasty comments you make on surveys actually DO make a difference, they get back to the managers.
    11. its ‘hilarious’ to transfer you to korean

    And yes, I am writing all this because Helio fucked me over like they’ll fuck you over.

  • jesse

    gravatarJul 16, 2008
    4:36 am

    the reason helio’s refunds were taking so long is because every single check whether $20 or $200,000 had to be signed off on by the then controller mike zemetra. this included refunds, this included purchases, literally every check that went out. it was an odd policy that i’d never seen before in a company that size to have its entire cash flow held hostage and bottlenecked by one single person

  • Mobob

    gravatarAug 12, 2008
    2:54 pm

    Having the same problem with Helio as well. Some attorney would have a hey day on this company with a class action suit. I believe this company has caused so much pain in people’s lives that it simply can not go on any longer. It is beyond ridiculous.

    I have now been told three times that my refund check has been sent since May and here it is August and still no check. When I called this time (to corporate office) they now tell me it was not sent and that the spreadsheet was incorrect. I wish I had NEVER heard of Helio!!

  • Will

    gravatarNov 25, 2008
    1:17 pm

    I have a helio ocean, and as much as i liked the device for its features when i first got it, IM FED UP WITH HELIO. Lets start with the fact that my device broke within the first year of ownership. I returned it for a “new” one (knowing i was getting a refurb), and alas i got a new shiny helio in the mail. now i’m thinking to myself “wow, great customer service, they even included a new background,” but i thought wrong. The device was BROKEN on arrival. yeah that’s right, it didn’t work right: all the keys were messed up and the only thing i could get it to do was turn on…couldn’t turn it off without removing the battery. anyways this lead to a TON of bs from the customer service dept., needless to say now i own both a fin and an ocean, and i am counting down the days to Aug. 2009, when i can finally leave helio and get a blackberry.

    and even now, my ocean doesnt function properly

    btw- sorry for the lack of correct sentence structure and the like, i just am not in the mood :D

  • Nancy

    gravatarDec 9, 2008
    10:31 am

    It’s sad to say, but I’m glad I’m not the only one. I originally signed up in June (beginning) with the Ocean refund promo of $100. Well, I did exactly what they said on their refund form (3 days later). I received an email from their “refund” company that said it’s being processed and ready for final validation. They gave me a tracking number and their website to track it. They received the paperwork on June 17th. It is now December 9th and after SEVERAL emails and phone calls to Helio and the rebate company, all I get is the same response. Helio says they can’t help because they don’t process the refunds. The rebate company keeps telling me it will be another 6-9 weeks. No one will help. All I want is my $100 refund!!! I’m so frustrated at this point, now I want to cancel my contract. I absolutely refuse to pay the ETF because as far as I’m concerned, the fact that I never received my $100 rebate constitutes as a contract change and I should not be charged an ETF. I have since reported both companies to the BBB (still waiting on a response from them). I hope to get this resolved soon. Either way, I’m terminating the contract and moving on. I’ve wasted too much time, energy and money into a worthless company who doesn’t care about it’s customers.


    gravatarDec 13, 2008
    11:28 am


  • Ginger

    gravatarMar 5, 2009
    5:25 pm

    I too am interested in a class action suit against this bastard of a company. They have screwed my husband I over since day one. We both have ocean’s. Or as I like to call it the baked potato,since it is useless. It is the shittiest phone I have ever come across. It is only good for text. They said it is 3g. It’s not.It’s run off an analog tower! I have a poor connection at the beginnig of every phone call. Usually when the person is saying “Hi. This is so and so.” It breaks up right as they say their name. Now this does not work well for me, especially since this is my business phone. Almost every single time I check voicemail and hang up. It gets stuck in voicemail and the only way to get out of it is to turn the mother off. I am a busy hairstylist and don’t have the time to fiddle with the frickin baked potatoe’s idiosyncrasies. My husband has volumes of logged conversations with customer service trying to get some relief from our helio shackles. They all lie. They all tell you a different story. The bottom line, it is your fault you signed a contract with Helio. Now suck up the shittiest phone service ever for two years. We both have replaced our oceans within less than a year. We both are responsible adults that have not dropped or immersed these said phones in water. Why do they suck so bad? Right now as I type, my husband is on the phone with their customer service trying once again in vain to get us out of this contract. He has talked hours and hours to them. They always act like the have no recollection of past problems. Why are’nt these logged on their end? They also “accidentally erased my entire clientele phone list”. That cost me business and was embarrassing when people called. Customers were miffed I didn’t recognize their numbers. I had to explain that Helio is shady and to stay the hell away from them.

  • JEFF

    gravatarApr 18, 2009
    1:48 am


  • navarre

    gravatarJun 15, 2009
    11:51 am

    Has anyone noticed a change in the service or customer support since Helio was bought by Virgin Mobile. I speak English and I have a really difficult time understanding any of the Helio reps.

    Thank god I don’t have the problems some of these other people have had but hell I have only had it since december.

  • sd619

    gravatarOct 5, 2009
    12:52 pm

    it’s crazy to hear all these bad things about helio; i have had nothing but good experiences with their customer service when i’ve had to be in contact with them. the two times i’ve had to have my phone (ocean) replaced, everyone i’ve been in contact with has been a total peach and willing to help. the 2nd time i had to have it replaced i was even a couple weeks outside my warranty and after speaking to a manager, she graciously let me exchange anyways. got a brand new phone each time, not refurbed. i’ve had several techs spent countless minutes on the phone with me when the phones were breaking down each time (before i’ve had to send them in) and they’ve always been very helpful and patient. i’ve had great reception, and i love the ease of texting, calling, internet, and pics on the ocean. and no disrespect against anyone with limited english, but all the times i’ve called i’ve definitely never had trouble understanding the representatives. and that’s more i can say for when i used to have cingular. weird. guess i’ve been lucky but i’ve loved helio ever since i got it (2006). now i’m just nervous that now it’s actually virgin mobile that things will change.

  • Jonathan

    gravatarApr 8, 2010
    10:59 pm

    I’m truly shocked that people have had so many problems with Helio. Now I’ve never called their Customer Service Support but I’ve never had a reason too. Let me start off by saying I picked up my Helio from where I work, Fry’s Electronics back in 2008 and we had a contract deal that survived all the way up till now which also happens to be past Virgin Mobiles buy into Helio for ownership and though their merger with Sprint. Sprint is cutting all services for Helio phones 05/25/2010. Now the contract deal was as an employee I got 50% off my bill after taxes so I payed $38 and change a month which was really awesome. The only thing I didn’t like about their service as a whole was the fact I could stand in the same place and go from 3G sergice to 1X service. (1X being analog I would assume.) But that aside sometimes it would fail to send a text, not a surprise because all phones can do that including my now new Sprint Rumor2. But today my Helio Heat after 2+ years of great service died on me today, thankfully to PCLink Pro, a program I had to download to sync my Helio Heat to my PC to get pictures on/off it I was able to salvage my contact list. (It was saved still from the last time I hooked it up, I never synced it to the website.) All of this said I can’t believe people had so many problems with Helio but more over anyone I knew who had the Ocean except one person loved it. One Co-worker wishes he could still use it with Sprint but I checked while I was at their store today and you can’t.