Wirefly is Legit

RAZRI got a new cell phone (a RAZR no less) from Wirefly… and it really was free! It’s understandable that someone would approach a cell phone website with “too good to be true” offers with some skepticism, but I’m a skeptic who dares to test the hypothesis.
Some things did go wrong along the way:
(1) Text message that the phone was activated woke me up in the middle of the night – and T-Mobile charged me $0.22 to receive it.
(2) I “bought” two phones. The first rebate took the usual four weeks to receive. The second was rejected for missing papers but reissued after a follow up (I swear the two envelopes were the same).
(3) Most frustrating: I clicked a link in a garbled html-to-text email and found a screen thanking me for adding “device protection” for $100. Two phone calls, three emails (the final one threatening reports to the BBB and FTC), and two months later I finally received a refund.
Overall, I’m very pleased with Wirefly. Only the third problem was really their fault, and I undertook just as much effort as I would have in trying to sort this stuff out at a franchised cell phone store front. (I once witnessed a Sprint store employee telling a customer that she needed to call Sprint’s customer service line to get help. The customer called from within the store and was clearly upset that even the customer service line couldn’t help. Then the cops showed up… (okay, that was unrelated)).

Stolen Identity

I’ve finally become a victim of the “Identity Theft” problem we hear so much about. Thankfully, my self-identity remains in my possession and only my credit card number has been compromised.
The thief made out with two months of AOL service and something from eBay (probably a gift certificate, that’s the only thing I can think of that eBay actually sells). One might question the cognitive abilities of someone who steals a credit card number and rushes out to buy AOL access, but I think this was actually an intentional decoy. Strange AOL charges lead people to suspect… AOL, not a credit card thief. Indeed my first reaction to seeing the AOL charge was to blame AOL, even though I’ve never signed up or given them my credit card number. This threw me off the scent for a good two hours before I discovered the other unauthorized charge. I suspect the thief used AOL’s signup form to test random numbers until one of them worked.
In any case, my experience was fairly painless. I called the credit card company and got connected to India without wait, and they quickly resolved the problem. My only complaint is that the second time I called (when I realized that this was not an AOL scam but actual fraud) the customer service representative tried to sell me fraud protection before transferring me to someone who could actually reissue the card. I was certainly not in the mood for a sales pitch.