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Boost and Virgin Mobile Blocking Online Top-Up Sales?

Update - CallingMart has resumed selling Virgin Mobile refills as of Jan 4, 2012. They say they are working on being able to sell Boost again too.  

This suggests to me that the disappearance of Virgin and Boost refills from CallingMart.com was commercial dispute of some sort between the two companies rather than a general ban by Sprint on online refill sales by third parties as CallingMart originally claimed.

I just saw this on CallingMart's Facebook page;

"Dear Customers, We are no longer able to resell Boost or Virgin Refills online as it is now prohibited from online reselling per the carrier, and it's only a matter of time for it to be removed from other online stores as well, if not removed already.

We are very sorry about that - it's also a big hit for us but it's really out of our hands. On the other hand we are preparing to resell to a very strong alternative, which is based on the same network, and have very competitive plans to Boost and Virgin: www.MingoWireless.com.

We will be offering great discounts as well on top of the already nice plans they have (which we were not able to do with Boost and Virgin before). We really appreciate your business and we hope we will be able to keep you as our customers through our alternative options."

It looks like the only ways to top up a Boost or Virgin Mobile account going forward are by buying top-up cards at supermarkets, chain drugstores and big box retailers like Target or by using a credit or debit card at boostmobile.com or virginmobileusa.com

I will miss using Callingmart which was convenient and sold Boost and Virgin refills at a discount. I really don't like using virginmobileusa.com as they charge sales tax on refills even here in California, where prepaid topups are classified as a service and are not subject to sales tax. I wonder if the state even gets the sales tax that Virgin is collecting on these non-taxable items?

This seems like a very strange move by Sprint, which is Boost and Virgin's parent company. Most business want to make it easier for customers to buy their products by making them available through as many channels as possible.

The only possible explanation I can think of for the ban on online sales is that Sprint wants to drive online sales to their sites to avoid paying sales commissions. But that doesn't explain why physical stores are still allowed to sell refills, and earn commissions. When you consider the cost of manufacturing and shipping top-up cards, you would think Sprint would want to encourage any kind of online sales.

If you are looking for a deal on Boost and Virgin top-up cards, Target (stores only, not online) is having a 5% sale on all prepaid wireless top-up cards, this week only. You can save an additional 5% by using a Target "RED Card".


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  1. Weirdly, Boost is denying responsibility on their Facebook page.

    "Hello Nathaniel, the retailer makes their own choice whether or not they want to sell our products. We cannot force a retailer to sell our products in their store. Sorry if this decision has inconvenienced you. You can check our website www.boostmobile.com for another store near you. Enter your zip code in store locator."


  2. I have a Boost phone, which is primarly for emergency uses. When I purchase a $10 prepaid credit, Boost charges me $11.03. Yet the State and Local sales taxes where I am located are 8 1/4 per-cent. The $11.03 appears on my credit card. When I do the same business with Callingmart, a $10 prepaid credit costs me $10.00. This means the $11.03 has a lot more than just sales taxes added.

    I'd like to get to the bottom of this, and know the experiences that others are having.

    What is the commission that retailers like Wal-Mart receive when they sell a Boost card?

  3. I live in California and have used virginmobileusa.com many times (including yesterday) for refills and have never been charged sales tax or any other fees.

  4. They may have fixed it then. A year ago I setup automatic payments at virginmobileusa.com using a debit card and was charged sales tax on the first payment. I removed the payment and card from the site and have been using CallingMart ever since.

    I'll try it again next month and update the post based on what happens.

    BTW, did you use a credit or debit card and do you use auto top-up?

  5. Sprint DOES NOT transfer the "sales tax" it collects for prepaid cards on line to the State of California, it pockets the money. however this is not illegal since on their books it shows as added mark up, not sales tax.

  6. My wife and I have been customers of Boost Mobile for awhile. We purchased our refills thru callingmart. Since we no longer can do that, Goodbye Boost.---------

  7. Yeswap, I used debit card and it was not auto top-up . It was also straight PYG, not a monthly plan.

  8. I just did a search 'buy virgin moble top up cards online and Wal-Mart came up as a retailer. However, it looks like it may take them a day to send out the top-up code, which could be a problem. I'm going to try it - I'll report my results.

  9. http://prepaidonline.com/ has Virgin refills with no tax and instant email delivery. I've used them in the past and never had any problems. Use promotional code 01438 (expires 1/31) to get a 2% or better discount.

  10. Well, it looks like for whatever reason virgin mobile is back on callingmart now. Don't see boost though.

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