Watch Out For Boingo Wireless in Airports (scam alert?)

Be very, very careful with Boingo Wireless hotspots.

On a recent trip from Madrid to Ottawa, I had a 6-hour layover in Newark Liberty Airport (EWR). I decided to go ahead and pay $7.95 USD for a 24-hour access pass on Boingo Wireless so I could catch up on news and mail, while passing the time. I didn't want to subscribe to anything (I'm not a frequent-flier, I just happened to want access that day), so I bought a day pass:


Here's what it says:

"Don't travel much? Get a Boingo AsYouGo account for just $7.95 per Connect Day for locations within the U.S. & Canada and $9.95 internationally. A Connect Day includes unlimited access in any location for 24 hours. No monthly fees apply."

I used the pass I bought on March 24th, 2 hours 35 minutes in Newark (EWR) and then 5 minutes in Ottawa (YOW) while waiting for checked luggage to arrive (email addict!). Note that the plan description says "in any location", not "in any single location". Imagine my surprise when I found two charges on my credit card bill: one on March 24th (expected), and another one two days later on March 26th! I called customer service, and they refused to reverse the second charge, informing me that it was incurred when I logged in for a second time in another airport.

I've reviewed the user agreement at [https://signup.boingo.com/signup/DisplayBCA.app], especially Section 3, "Locations and usage", and at time of this writing, it doesn't appear to me to contain any language restricting usage of a day pass to a single location, or any warning that logging in from a second location during the same 24 hour period will result in a new charge. I've since written to their customer service to explain the situation and request a refund of that second charge. I'll update this post when I hear back from them.

UPDATE: Sounds like it was simply a software glitch! I've been refunded.


Durdyd said...

You must do whatever's required not to pay that second fee. I'm incensed.

Anonymous said...

i have a friend who had a similar insident with Boingo Wireless...not surprised.

Jeremy Pepper said...

Hi Jean-Philippe - I work with Boingo doing PR (and I'm a five-year blogger, so have both hats on here).

I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with Boingo; we are in the process of integrating two systems, which should be completed by end of April, and as an engineer, you know the burps that can happen.

This should have been flagged by the system, and you not doubly-charged. I am working with customer service right now, to make sure you are credited.

If you could, please email me at jpepper@boingo.com to let me know which email address you used, I can make sure this goes through faster.

Lee Hill said...

This month Boingo has taken nearly $48 from me for less than two hours of service within a 24 hour time period when I was told the charge would be $7.95. I will be filing against them for civil fraud and criminal theft.

jpdaigle said...

Lee, when I got double-charged last year (after logging on from 2 different airports in the same day), the issue was resolved after a couple of days and they said it was a glitch in the billing system.

Before filing a suit over 48$, you might try writing nicely to "@boingo" on Twitter, they monitor that. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I was triple charged by Boingo for the same reason. They are a scam. I have wasted a great deal of time trying to get refunded. Their evil popups keep appearing on my mac. Avoid at all costs.

ben said...

Dear Jeremy Pepper, I think you will have a very busy job. I tried the same one-day access with Boingo at the Narita Airport today April 5, 2009. After I enter my credit card information I see the service description and it requires download and install of GoBoingo, and agreement to "your card will be debited for the appropriate usage and/or monthly fee each month". Screenshot at tinyurl.com/nrtBoingo

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that they acknowledged that is was a double billing, I will try calling them too as we had the same issue last month. Connected in two airports in the same day and got charged $7.59 twice.

But this month they charged once more only because we turned on the computer at the airport (EWR).

It seems they have unethical business practice. . .

Ihate said...

Do not fall for the double charge mistake crap, Boingo is a scam. If you see it and you complain enough you may get a refund (that put you in the 10% of those who get refund) but what about the 90% of Boingo customers like who do not get a full refund. I was furious when I got overcharged by Boingo. That's why I started ihateboingo.com please join me in the big fight against Boingo. Soon we will be filing a lawsuit against them - DO NOT MISS OUT.

Ihate said...

I was pissed too, they did the same thing to me and refused to refund the extra charges. I live in FL, but "Bogus" Boingo Wireless is based in South Santa Monica, California. I wrote the attorney general there and asked him to investigate Boingo business practices. I've also filed a complaint with the FL state attorney and the CA Better Business Bureau. That's not all, I am on a mission. I bought www.ihateboingo.com I am currently working on the website. Boingo needs to be exposed, they are conducting the same business practices that Blockbuster had attempted and looked where it took Blockbuster. If you do a search online, you'll see people complaining about fraudulent charges from all over the world. They'll give you access alright as long as you give them unlimited access to your bank account. Here is my story:

I was on vacation flying from ATL (Atlanta) to CDG (France). Since I was going to arrive to France late, I needed to contact my hotel and the car rental agency to let them know that I would arrive late. Unfortunately I had no way to call, my only option was through the Internet. When I fired up my browser, one of the option was Boingo = Bogus. I thought I sign up for just a month – a month later I was charged for another month. When I called to cancel the service, I was on hold for almost half hour. When I finally reached someone from customer service, she was very unhappy with me because I was canceling the service. The last monthly charge was on 6/15/09. I had sent an email to them instructing them to cancel the account and refund the $9.95. I got an email back saying please call customer service to cancel. To make a long story short customer service failed to refund me the $9.95 even though I have only used their service once. Boingo just made the biggest mistake because I will let the world know how sucks their service is. I enjoy demolishing greedy companies like Boingo. I was a big advocate when Blockbuster decided to sell movies to customers if they didn’t return them without making customers aware of the charge beforehand – that has resulted http://www.blockbustervictims.com . I predict that Boingo will go out of business pretty soon if they continue on this path. The service itself is a mith, they are doing the same greedy things that several companies have tried and continue to do until someone like Math and others say enough is enough. It’s good that they monitor blogs, but I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up – soon the internet will be flooded with hating Boingo Wireless website and I’ll be the first one to put one up and report them. Bogus Boingo, you are in for a fight – see you on ihateboingo.com and how about Bogusboingo.com GREED MY FRIEND, IT WILL TAKE YOU NOWHERE

Ihate said...

Fighting Boingo:-)

Some companies will never change, Boingo is using the same type of billing strategies that took our economy rock bottom. They believe as long as they use tricky and complicated service terms, they can get away with anything. They don't know history, Blockbusters and others have used those techniques , but look where they are now. This is wrong and we all have to take a stand. Please join me, I started this website right after Boingo failed to refund my money, money that I have worked hard for. If you have been victimized by Boingo, please take a stand. This is what I've done so far and it's very effective. I wrote a letter and mailed it to the Attorney General in California, I've also submit a complaint online at

Mail Form to:
Public Inquiry
Unit Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento,
CA 94244-2550

I've also put in a complaint with the Santa Monica Better Business Bureau: The BBB that will handle your complaint is:

BBB of the Southland (Colton, CA)
315 N. La Cadena
P.O. Box 970 Colton,
CA 92324-2927
Phone: (909)825-7280
Fax: (909)825-6246
Email: info@labbb.org
Web: http://www.labbb.org

You may wish to copy or print this information for further reference. All correspondence about your complaint will come from and should be addressed to this BBB. You will need this when you put in your complaint:
Company name:Boingo Wireless Inc.
Country:United States
City:Santa Monica
Street:1601 Cloverfield Boulevard,
Suite 570 South Region:California
Postal code:90404
Phone(s):+1 8008804117
(fax) +1 3105865180

By the way, they have a lot of people backing them up, people who benefit from their scams. I sent email to Clark Howard through his website. While they did not accept my question to be on their show, some lady called me and suggest that I also contact the Public Service Commission. She also suggests that I write to the president (frankly it's too late for that). TAKE A STAND BOINGO VICTIMS, JOIN ME AT IHATEBOINGO.COM/BLOG OR SEARCH GOOGLE FOR IHATEBOINGO. I AM EVERYWHERE SPREADING THE NEWS AND I STARTED JUST A FEW DAYS AGO - IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES: EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT I BREAK THE NEWS TO IS A VICTORY.

Nick Morley said...

Purchased 24 hours of service while at Abbotsford Airport / Tradex on the 11th and I just received notification of another charge to my PayPay account today... I did not agree to a subscription, did not install their app, and haven't been anywhere near the airport since... Very shady indeed...

Garen koh said...

Boingo wireless is a scam, i travel to italy and needed internet service therefore i applied and sign up for it. However after signing up it can't be use anywhere at the airport or throughout my whole trip in italy. After that when i flew back to singapore i tried to cancel the services and there was no response. And i am still charged for the wireless fees for that following month.

After i dispute with the credit card company they did help me with the issue of the reimbursement and the credit card company did not advise me to change my credit card.

After about 4 months later, guess what... boingo wireless charge me again with 27.95eur .

To anyone whom is travelling and happen to be in need of the wireless services in italy please do not SIGN UP with BOINGO WIRELESS!! Total scam!! Imagine they just charge to my credit card without my awareness, not with the amount of 27.95 and it's more then that??

tiptoneyeworks said...

We succeeded in hacking boingo:

Adrian Pritchard said...

It wasn't a software glitch. They did it to me last week. I've got it refunded though, reluctantly! Boingo's loss because I won't be using them at an airport again.

Karina Rosemberg said...

I`m from Paraguay. I used in february this service in Miami International and til this day (05/05/2016) they keep charching me. How can i make it stop. The exchange for my coin it`s impossible; they overcharge.
Is there a simple way to make this unfear service stop.

Horvath Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Horvath Robert said...

Boingo is an airport scam, they double and triple bill you. DON'T purchase it! it is NOT worth it, it took me couple of days to get rid of their aggressive collectors. Read a book!

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