Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Note to self: do not use Boingo.com

When I was returning home from my visit to the Blooms last month, I had somehow managed to schedule myself for a 4.5 hour layover at the Dulles airport. Oops. Dulles doesn't provide free wireless. (boo!) They had several competing wireless hotspot providers, one of which was Boingo Wireless. It was $10 a month, which I figured worked out to a bit over $2 an hour. However, since I was going to be traveling again in less than a month, I figured there was a small chance I'd be able to use the same service at another airport. I figured it was worth it for such a long layover. The wireless was a bit sluggish for the six hours I was actually at the airport (my flight got cancelled, whee!), but serviceable.

My survey, based on the terminals for my flights (I suspect there's some variance by terminal) over the course of the ensuing month:

  • White Plains airport: free wireless. (Yay White Plains!)

  • Dulles airport: several pay options, including T-Mobile & Boingo. I don't remember the others.

  • Kansas City airport: free wireless. (Yay KC!)

  • San Francisco airport: no free wireless, only T-Mobile as wireless provider.

  • SeaTac airport: free wireless. (Yay SeaTac!)

  • Las Vegas airport: no wireless options at all. (What? Really?)


So, generally, looking like paying for a wireless hotspot provider is a bad deal; I don't need one half the time, and a good chunk of the rest of the time, whichever one I pick won't be available.

Thus, when I got home, I went to cancel my Boingo account. Boingo.com isn't particularly interested in their existing customers, apparently, because they don't even have a login button for people who aren't accessing the page through a hotspot. I dug around and found one under "customer service". Then I had to go to the "forgot my password" button, because I couldn't remember my account name/password combo. Eventually I guessed right about my account name (they don't have a "forgot my account name" button). Then I looked for the "cancel my account" button.

There isn't one.

What?

I looked at the FAQ:

How do I cancel my Boingo account?

Please call Customer Care, available 24/7, to cancel your Boingo account.


Really? I have to call, go through voice mail hell, wait for a customer service rep, give her 5 different obscure pieces of information which she already has on file but supposedly wants me to repeat to verify that it's really me trying to cancel my account and not some nefarious evildoer malignly calling to cancel the accounts of innocent users for immense profit? (Step 1: Cancel the accounts of strangers. Step 2: ???? Step 3: Profit!)

Yup.

So I do all this, and cancel my account. I'm not sure what the advantage to this for Boingo is, since it (a) surely costs them more to pay the operator than it would have to allow cancellation online (b) didn't stop me from canceling my account and (c) guarantees I will never use their service again, since I'm definitely jumping through such stupid hoops to cancel an account again. Maybe the point is to deter people who aren't going to leave their accounts on monthly billing forever, because people who activate and de-activate their accounts sporadically are not worth it to them for some reason? Go figure.
Tags: review, wireless hotspots not to use
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