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Texasrvers
post May 25 2011, 12:49 PM
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Has anyone had any dealings with a company called WIFI RV that provides wifi service to RV parks? Did you have any trouble with them, and if so what did you do about it?

We signed up for their service at a park we were staying at last month. We were able to register and get service for about an hour. After that our service stopped, and we never were able to get on the internet again. We called their so-called 24/7 tech service line which had a voice message that instructed us to leave our name and number and they would call back. When I had not heard back in 2 hours I called again. After another 2 hours I tried to reach them again by choosing other options on their automated phone system. At no time could I reach a live person. All options asked you to leave your name and number which I did about half a dozen times. Finally when our purchased time had expired I called and asked (on the voice mail) for our payment to be refunded. To date I have not heard a word from anyone. I even managed to get an email address for a person in their customer service department, and I sent a message to them, but no one responded to that either.

Before we left the park I mentioned our trouble. They were very sympathetic and said they had had nothing but trouble with the service and that they hated it. They said they were under contract with them for a few more months, and after that they would definitely not be using them again.

I am disputing the charge on my credit card, but I was just curious if anyone else has had trouble with them.
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Cape Codger
post May 25 2011, 06:40 PM
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May I suggest getting a Palm Pre Cell phone. The data Hotspot is (or was) thirty a month extra. Worked out great for all my laptops when we travel.
I went through what you went through for years in my travels with many various WIFI providers till I ran into this deal from Verizon.
Now I don't have to worry about not having WIFI (in fact I am using to send this reply) at any of the rest stops or campgrounds.
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Texasrvers
post May 25 2011, 08:07 PM
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I appreciate your advice, and yes, we are still in the dark ages when it come to technology. I fully understand that we have many alternatives that would give us better wifi service.

However, my point here is that when I do subscribe to a service--whether it is for a magazine, cable/satellite TV, wifi, or whatever--I expect to get what I've paid for, and if I don't, I expect to be able to reach the company and get the problem fixed. At no point was I able to do that with WIFI RV. It is unacceptable when a company does not answer their phone, does not call someone back, does not have a way for a customer to talk to a live person, or does not answer their emails. That is basically my biggest gripe about this whole situation. The actual money we spent was negligible and definitely not worth the trouble I am going through to dispute it with my credit card. But my thinking is that this company does this to all its customers and counts on the fact that most people will not try to get their money back. What they didn't count on with me is that I am a senior with plenty of time on my hands, and basically I don't care how much time it takes me to go through the dispute process. If they can't at least respond to my communications, then they do not deserve to get my money.

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Onemoretrail
post May 25 2011, 09:43 PM
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Would it help to send in a complaint to the Better Business Bureau? At least then rv park owners can check out these "bad actors" before letting them install their equipment. I noticed that on the WiFi RV website they do not have any phone listings; just fill in the boxes. Sort of "don't call us, we'll call you".
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Texasrvers
post May 26 2011, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE(Glenn Norton @ May 25 2011, 10:43 PM) *

I noticed that on the WiFi RV website they do not have any phone listings; just fill in the boxes.


And that is one way I tried to contact them with no luck.


QUOTE
Sort of "don't call us, we'll call you".


Yeah, except they never call!!!

Also thanks for the suggestion about contacting the BBB. Actually I had thought of trying to send a complaint to someone outside of the WIFI RV company, but I wasn't sure who that should be. I did find one other complaint about them on RV. net. There was a post that said about the same things as I did--bad service, no way to reach them, no call back. How does this company even stay in business???? I guess it is like I first said. They get you one time and then count on you not going through the trouble to dispute the charge.
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Florida Native
post May 26 2011, 09:23 AM
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I too have the Verizon Android which uses this plan, I can tether it to my laptop. It is slow compared to good WiFi. When at a campground my order of choices is: free WiFi, free WiFi with antenna which will vastly improve reception and it neither is satisfactory, then I go to my Android, but turn off my Carbonite online backup until we get good free WiFi. If you do a lot of small video (news stuff like me 1 to 3 minutes). The Android speed is noticeable. If you are needing a lot of text and emailing, it is satisfactory. I am really awaiting the new 4 G network to be expanded. We have been in places lately where we don't even get any cell service (National Parks out West.)


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Lindsay Richards
http://www.linandnancy.com
Formerly Lindsay Richards
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Butch
post May 26 2011, 01:04 PM
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QUOTE(Texasrvers @ May 26 2011, 01:16 AM) *

And that is one way I tried to contact them with no luck.
Yeah, except they never call!!!

Also thanks for the suggestion about contacting the BBB. Actually I had thought of trying to send a complaint to someone outside of the WIFI RV company, but I wasn't sure who that should be. I did find one other complaint about them on RV. net. There was a post that said about the same things as I did--bad service, no way to reach them, no call back. How does this company even stay in business???? I guess it is like I first said. They get you one time and then count on you not going through the trouble to dispute the charge.



How about sending a complaint to the Attorney General of the State were the Cg is located. I'm very sure they would like to be made aware of wifirv business practices, in fact they may already have complaints made by other customers. Your credit card company will aid you in a dispute with the charges paid.


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kcmoedoe
post May 27 2011, 08:57 AM
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QUOTE(Butch @ May 26 2011, 01:04 PM) *

How about sending a complaint to the Attorney General of the State were the Cg is located. I'm very sure they would like to be made aware of wifirv business practices, in fact they may already have complaints made by other customers. Your credit card company will aid you in a dispute with the charges paid.

I am not sure that crappy Wifi service is something the Attorney General of any state will/should investigate. Remember, the Attorney General and all other state employees are supported by tax dollars. This complaint may not be in your state, so you don't care, but another person may do the same in your state. If someone files this complaint, someone in the Attorney General's office will have to read the complaint, make a decision about the disposition, create a file, investigate, make a recomendation as to disposition, get it signed off by a superior, update the records etc. Will probably take a minimum of 1 hour of employee time @ probably $25.00 an hour on a $5.00 issue and they will most assuredly not do anything, because again, it is a complaint about crappy Wifi service. You have your recourse, the credit card company and/or the campground. We all complain about high taxes and runaway government spending and here is an example why spending is rampant. Some people want the government to handle all our problems.
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jan-n-john
post May 27 2011, 11:30 AM
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QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ May 27 2011, 10:57 AM) *

.....and they will most assuredly not do anything, because again, it is a complaint about crappy Wifi service. You have your recourse, the credit card company and/or the campground. We all complain about high taxes and runaway government spending and here is an example why spending is rampant. Some people want the government to handle all our problems.


I'm not so sure I agree. If they promised a service and then didn't provide the service, then it is getting into the area of fraud, not just crappy service. This makes it reasonable for the AG to take a look. The inability to contact them provides additional evidence that this may be a fraudulent operation.

I also have my doubts about the Better Business Bureau as a place to look for help. BBB is apparently not what it once was. The link below provides some interesting insights:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/your-mon...?ref=thehaggler
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Onemoretrail
post May 27 2011, 11:29 PM
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That's too bad about the BBB. What needs to be done is to bring attention of this issue to the rv park owners. If they thought for one minute that a company like WiFi RV would give them nothing but grief then maybe they would have nothing to do with them. After all if WiFi RV can't install their equipment they are out of business.
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kcmoedoe
post May 28 2011, 09:46 AM
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QUOTE(jan-n-john @ May 27 2011, 11:30 AM) *

I'm not so sure I agree. If they promised a service and then didn't provide the service, then it is getting into the area of fraud, not just crappy service. This makes it reasonable for the AG to take a look. The inability to contact them provides additional evidence that this may be a fraudulent operation.

I also have my doubts about the Better Business Bureau as a place to look for help. BBB is apparently not what it once was. The link below provides some interesting insights:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/your-mon...?ref=thehaggler

The service worked for a while then went down. That is the definition of crappy wifi service. It is a lousy product, but it really isn't fraud. The company does exist, the product (wifi service) does exist it is just not good. What is illegal is selling something you KNOW does not exist. Selling crap may be morally reprehensible, it may make you very mad and you have every right to seek refunds etc, but it is not illegal.
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Texasrvers
post May 29 2011, 11:30 PM
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I really do appreciate all the responses. Since my first post I have found some websites that have complaints about this company. They all say pretty much the same thing. Someone signs up; their credit card is charged; they get on line for a short period and then the service quits working; they get a message that says the system is initializing and to try again later; they can never get through to the 24/7 tech services line; they can also never reach a live person or get a response to email; they ask for a refund, but do not get it. This certainly sounds like the company is scamming their customers.

KC, I am not a lawyer, but is it considered fraud if they intentionally cut off the service before the paid time has run out? There must be something illegal about that?

I am not sure what further action I will take, if any. There was one poster who did get a response from the company, and he said they threatened to sue him for non-payment since he had entered into a contract for their services. His point was that he did not receive the full service time that he paid for, So then the company said they would prorate the service for the time he did use (that short period when the service works), but the prorated amount would be charged at the most expensive hourly rate and would, therefore, be much more costly than the contracted amount.

All this gave me second thoughts. I do not want them to get my money, but I would not want to be sued either, and if they prorated my service, I'm afraid the outcome would be the same as above. The service was on just long enough that the prorated hourly rate would be more than the amount I originally paid.

Any way you look at this, the service this company provides is not right. It may not fit the legal definition of fraud, but it must fit into some category.

Again, thanks for your input. I just wish there was a better way to get the word out to others.
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kcmoedoe
post Jun 3 2011, 10:20 AM
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QUOTE(Texasrvers @ May 29 2011, 11:30 PM) *

I really do appreciate all the responses. Since my first post I have found some websites that have complaints about this company. They all say pretty much the same thing. Someone signs up; their credit card is charged; they get on line for a short period and then the service quits working; they get a message that says the system is initializing and to try again later; they can never get through to the 24/7 tech services line; they can also never reach a live person or get a response to email; they ask for a refund, but do not get it. This certainly sounds like the company is scamming their customers.

KC, I am not a lawyer, but is it considered fraud if they intentionally cut off the service before the paid time has run out? There must be something illegal about that?

I am not sure what further action I will take, if any. There was one poster who did get a response from the company, and he said they threatened to sue him for non-payment since he had entered into a contract for their services. His point was that he did not receive the full service time that he paid for, So then the company said they would prorate the service for the time he did use (that short period when the service works), but the prorated amount would be charged at the most expensive hourly rate and would, therefore, be much more costly than the contracted amount.

All this gave me second thoughts. I do not want them to get my money, but I would not want to be sued either, and if they prorated my service, I'm afraid the outcome would be the same as above. The service was on just long enough that the prorated hourly rate would be more than the amount I originally paid.

Any way you look at this, the service this company provides is not right. It may not fit the legal definition of fraud, but it must fit into some category.

Again, thanks for your input. I just wish there was a better way to get the word out to others.

You go to your credit card company for a refund. That is the proper course of action. You bought a bad product. You wouldn't think of suing your cellphone company because it drops calls or there are areas shown on their service map as available, yet your phone doesn't get a signal. There are just too many moving parts in a wifi system to really determine who is at fault. You have the original ISP that the campground uses to bring in the wifi signal (this would not be wifi RV, but rather a DSL company like verizon or satellite like Hughesnet or a cable comany like Comcast) you have the company (wifi RV) that installed the campground's access points and you have the user's computers each with different software, modems, security features etc. To prove a crime, you would have to prove their system didn't work, prove they knew it didn't work, and prove that knowingly sold a non-working product or deliberately rigged the system to stop working before the subscription was up. The latter is highly unlikely, because I can't think of how they would gain financially from such a scheme, since the original ISP is who bears the cost of traffic, not the access point and billing company which is wifi RV.
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Texasrvers
post Jun 3 2011, 11:50 AM
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KC,

Thanks for your reply. I am learning a lot from you, but there is one thing you said that I may not agree with.

You said that it would be unlikely that WIFIRV deliberately rigged the system to stop working because they would not gain financially from it. From a technology standpoint I do not know how hard it would be to rig the system to do this, but it sure sounds like that is what happens. Almost every complaint I have read said the same thing--the system worked for a short period and then stopped. So if it is possible to rig the system aren't they making money by counting on the probability that users will not even bother to get a refund, and those that do ask for a refund are denied and threatened with a law suit if they don't pay. I know you said the money goes to the original ISP, but as far as I can tell WIFIRV collected my money, and even if they have to pay a portion of that to all the other "moving parts," I am sure they will keep part my fee for the service they did not provide.

Unfortunately I also understand that just because I think they are shutting off access on purpose does not make it true and that thinking something and proving it are two different things. As I've said before, I think what made me the maddest was not being able to reach them (back then and to date) despite the fact that they list a 24/7 technical support line and that I left several messages for them to call me back.

I know my only recourse at this point is to dispute the credit card charge. I donít want them to have my money (regardless of the small amount), but I also donít want a huge hassle from them if I dispute the charge. I still have a few days to decide. Thanks again for your perspective and insight. They have been interesting.
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jan-n-john
post Jun 5 2011, 09:43 AM
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QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Jun 3 2011, 01:50 PM) *



I know my only recourse at this point is to dispute the credit card charge. I don’t want them to have my money (regardless of the small amount), but I also don’t want a huge hassle from them if I dispute the charge. I still have a few days to decide. Thanks again for your perspective and insight. They have been interesting.

You definitely should go for a chargeback on your credit card. I see no reason to expect any "huge hassle." They can't sue you for asking for your money back. That is up to the credit card company, based on their assessment of the evidence, a procedure that is covered in the contract between them and the seller. Just tell them what actually took place.

I continue to disagree with kcmoedoe. If what these people are doing is what you describe, then this goes well beyond "crappy" service and gets into the area of fraud. The analogy of dropped cell calls is in no way applicable. Dropped calls are inherent in cell phone service--failure to provide a contracted wifi service is another matter entirely. The "moving parts" argument is specious in view of the apparent consistency with which this is happening to this outfit's clients elsewhere, and the lack of any suggestion it is happening to others affected by those same "moving parts" but not using that company. It would be absolutely appropriate to call it to the attention of a state AG. They can decide whether to pursue it or not; that's their job. Indeed, whether these things do get pursued often depends on whether they have received several complaints, so you should add yours to others that may have come in.
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