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Q. I was a faithful Boost Mobile customer for years but recently I switched to Virgin Mobile and took my phone number with me. I had $20 in my account when I switched the phone number over to the new company, and now Boost Mobile will not issue the refund or even credit it to my husband's account, who is still a Boost customer. They say when I transferred my number the money vanished into thin air and it doesn't exist anymore. Can you help?
--Sarah ElmanA. I can't, unfortunately, although I did try. I reached out to Danielle Alvarez Babbington in Sprint's corporate communications department (Boost Mobile is a brand of Sprint) and she looked into your case. The problem, though, is that Boost's terms and conditions -- which were listed on the package of the phone you bought, as well as on the reloadable cards and the company's website -- say that phone credits are non-transferable and non-refundable.

So you're out of luck this time. Going forward, make sure you always read the terms and conditions when you buy a new product or service. I know they're tedious, but they can save you a lot of hassle -- and money.

Consumer Ally problem solver Jean Chatzky is the "Today Show" financial adviser, a longtime financial journalist and best-selling author.

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