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Frugal Living In The Heartland

Why Tracfone Sux

on August 12, 2013

TFoneSuxWe have used Tracfone since we (finally) got cell phones a few years ago.  No smart-things, no fancy-schmancy devices, no outrageous usage plans.  When you run out of minutes, you purchase more.  It was the smart thing to do then, and when our kids needed phones it was the smart thing to do for them (so they didn’t go nuts on usage).

Several times, I have been directed to call “a customer service representative,” and each time it goes to India.  Tonight was no exception.

This afternoon I purchased 270 minutes and 90 service days on my main phone, but they weren’t added.  I reviewed the order summary I printed out, and discovered the last number of the phone number was incorrect — user error.  My purchase went to someone else’s phone!  I called the lady at the incorrect number, and explained and she confirmed that she had received the minutes and days.  I submitted an online tech support ticket asking to cancel that order, and received this email (in part):

“In order to further assist you with regard to the minutes that you purchased that was added to a wrong phone, we need to speak with you directly to obtain and verify some confidential information for security purposes to fix the problem. Thus, we are truly sorry if we cannot process the transaction through e-mail request because of the aforementioned reasons.”

What?!  Take a business grammar class.  Stupidly, I called the toll-free number and waited.  And waited.  After 20 minutes of “Yes, ma’am, please bear with me while I check the information on your number, OKAY?” I was transferred to “the correct department to handle my issue,” and went through 10 more minutes of exactly the same.  I was transferred to a recording telling me there was no one available to help me, call back later.

I did call back, punched in different reasons for calling, and finally got someone who helped me in 6 minutes.  Well, let’s clarify.  She said she could not help me, because my credit card purchase was a one-time purchase (not via account) and could not be tracked.  That’s it.  Done.  Sorry, buh-bye.  I thanked her for her promptness, and clarified that she couldn’t help me.  I told her I was furious that I’d been treated poorly and in the end they couldn’t help.  No reply, so I hung up.

She called me back on my unlisted home number because the call was disconnected.  Yes, I disconnected it.  You can’t help me, so there’s nothing to discuss.  Buh-bye.

I contacted the (very nice and understanding) lady at the incorrect phone number, telling her to enjoy the minutes and to pay it forward.  She offered to make it right, but I didn’t want to seem like a scammer.  It was my $27.43 gift to her, and I told her to just do something nice for someone in need this week.  I also told my son to never let me purchase online again, but gently remind me to buy the cards at the store.  Even though buying online lets me add additional minutes or days separately, I guess that’s one thing I’ll have to forgo.

Tracfone “customer disservice” has always and will always stink.  I guess I would be more accepting of this issue if the calls didn’t go overseas.  Or if I even got someone I could understand without asking them to please speak more clearly and slowly, repeatedly, while they read their prepared scripts.

I have a decision to make: put up with it, or switch.  Guess I need to vote with my dollars.  And maybe make a new smart decision.

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