LINGO Complaint - Lingo's False Advertising and Horrible Customer Service
I have been a loyal Lingo customer for almost 5 years (since April 17th, 2005) without any issues but the events of the past 1 month have made me feel completely unappreciated and I feel cheated by my phone company.
After having the same phone plan for the last 5 years, in November, 2009 I decided to switch to a new phone plan offered by Lingo called the “Lingo World Max”. This plan offered UNLIMITED calling to several countries included in the plan. One of those countries included in the plan was India. Since I have all my family in India and I call there everyday, this plan suited me well. The plan took effect on November 28th but since I was visiting family in India, I did not start making any calls using this plan until I returned home on December 11th.
On December 24th, I received an email from Lingo Customer Support informing me that my usage of the phone was higher than “an average residential customer” and that I may be violating what they call a “fair usage policy”. I was surprised to receive this email from them especially since I had signed up for an unlimited plan and was told that I did not have to worry about the minutes. I called Lingo customer support and asked for an explanation of the email. I was clearly told by the representative on the phone that the email was generated automatically by the computer based on calling patterns and as long as I was not using the phone for business purposes, I did not have to worry about the number of minutes used and could ignore the email. I confirmed with the representative that I was not using the phone for any business purposes (I do not even have a business) and did exactly as she told me to – ignored the email.
On January 18th, when my wife and I returned home from work in the evening, we realized that we were unable to make or receive any calls. Any attempt to do so would result in a message “Your line is currently out of service” (or something like that). I immediately called Lingo technical support (using the very limited minutes on my cell phone) and asked them what was going on. I was told that my account had been suspended due to the violation of the fair usage policy. I informed the representative about the conversation I had had with the representative in the past when the above mentioned email had shown up but that did not seem to make any difference. I was told that there was a separate department that would provide the explanation on why my account had been disabled and that department was closed for the day. I was told to provide an alternate number and to expect a call in the next 24-48 hours. I was quite enraged about not having a working phone at home and asked the representative if at the very least, the phone could be turned on for incoming calls and emergency number dialing (since I have a small child at home) and I was bluntly told that there was nothing she could do to help me. 5+ years of being a loyal customer was not resulting in any courtesy in return. I had no choice but to wait until the morning and call again.
The next morning I decided not to wait for a call and called the department at Lingo that was supposed to provide me with answers. After several tries and my refusal to talk to answering machines, I finally got a representative on the line. This gentleman informed me that I had violated their ‘fair usage policy’ which is why my account had been suspended. He told me that even though the plan states and allows for unlimited calling to countries included in the plan, customers would be violating the policy if they used more than 1300 minutes in a month. I politely informed him that he was contradicting himself and as far as I knew, the word ‘unlimited’ meant that there was no limit to the number of minutes I could have used. He agreed but kept quoting the fair usage policy. I was enraged and told him that Lingo was participating in false advertising but he did not seem to care. I finally asked him what needed to be done to reactivate the account and he told me that I would not be able to get the “Lingo World Max” plan back. This was the last straw and I had by now decided to switch to a different carrier.
The reason I am writing about my experience here is because I feel cheated by a phone company that I truly believe is participating in false advertising. I need to voice my experience to other Lingo customers out there that may think that they really have an unlimited plan. Guess what – you don’t. I believe Lingo is trying to get rid of customers that are making more calls than they can afford on this so called unlimited plan and are using a technicality to do that (not to mention they used false advertising to get us to sign on). I am most enraged about the unceremonious way they disconnected my phone line without a call or a verbal warning and left me high and dry without emergency access to the phone. Also when I told them that I would be looking at other carriers to take my business to, they did not seem interested in trying to keep my business. So much for customer service.