Frustration with TracFone Prepaid Wireless

(wow, my third post of the day — rare for me)

My parents and sister have used TracFone prepaid wireless phones for years, so I thought I'd give them a try to fill my cell phone needs while in America. We'll be here for six weeks, and then from time to time in years to come.

There are three cost components to using TracFone: you must buy a phone, buy service time, and buy minutes. The latter two are combined into minutes that expire some months or years after you buy them.

Last weekend, while still in Ohio, I stopped by a Radio Shack and bought two Motorola V176 phones (they seemed small and were the flip-type, which I wanted), and two 60-minute/two-month airtime cards (if I don't add more minutes before the minutes or months run out, I lose the use of the phone until I buy more minutes). The total was about $110.

I charged the batteries and activated the phones via TracFone's web site, which involved entering some long ID numbers into the web form, then entering long strings of digits (encrypted commands) into the phones. Everything went smoothly, and my phone showed that I had 80 minutes of airtime (the 10 that comes with the phone, 10 extra for activating online, and the 60 extra that I'd bought). According to the web site, they should be ready to use any time between immediately and one business day.

On Sunday it wasn't working yet. The “one business day” hadn't passed, but I was in a fairly tech friendly area, so I thought it should probably be working, and called up tech support. After going through 5 levels of phone menu, I was immediately connected to a person. She was very polite, and after working with her and entering what seemed like endless numbers into the “code entry” screen of the phone, the phones knew their phone number.

She confirmed something that the guy at Radio Shack had told me (but the TracFone website neglected to mention), that the first area in which you use them becomes your “home area”. Since I'm going to be spending most of the summer in California, I wanted that to be my home area, so I had to wait until later that day, when I got to California, before I could use them.

Unfortunately, when I got to the airport in San Jose and needed them, they still didn't work.

To make this way too long story shorter, I called TracFone customer support at least twice a day since then, each time being told (in very polite but oddly scripted English) that “they should work within 3 to 4 business hours, and if not, call us back.” And each time, they didn't work, and each time I'd call them back, half the time finding that they've closed for the day.

This seems to be a great business model: sell a service people need, take their money, then don't provide the service.

I bought the phones and service because I need them, and it's been very inconvenient not having them. It's been all the more frustrating because the customer care people can't or won't deviate from their well scripted interaction. When I say “well scripted”, I mean exactly that – scripted. At times, they clearly don't even understand what they're saying. For example, one of the (very polite) ladies I talked to yesterday kept saying “I'm updating the following information on my computer” but didn't continue to say what that information was – after about the 9th time, I realized that she was meaning to say “please hold on while I update information on the computer.” Anyway, it only added to the frustration, and it happened over and over.

So I decided that if it wasn't fixed by today, I'd just bite the cost and buy something else. But today's customer-support guy actually had a new idea: turn on the phone, take out the battery while the phone is still on, remove the SIM card, and after 30 seconds, put it all back together. That did it! It finally worked.

Geez, why couldn't they have put that idea on their web site? Why couldn't they have suggested it earlier? It seems to be a generic kind of solution, not in any way particular to me. It was extremely frustrating. If you do a search on the web, you'll find many others with frustrating TracFone activation experiences — I wonder how many would have their problem solved if they tried this?

So, our phones are working. Frankly, though, I wouldn't choose the Motorola v176 again. Here's what the top part of the keypad looks like:

What in the heck do those buttons mean?

The intuitive use is that the center button is the “select” button, after using the arrow buttons to select from among menu items. But the center button is not the select button, it's the upper-left “dot” button (as opposed to the identically labeled upper-right “dot” button).

Motorola gets an “F” for usability.


The 30 most-recent comments (out of 44; see all), most recent last...

42 days & they still cant get my number ported from AT&T. AT&T said they released my number 40 days ago! Not sure whos lying… but there both Customer Reps. so you deside!!

— comment by fred on September 20th, 2007 at 5:26am JST (10 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Ok given a cell phone by a relative – but it is from a different calling area about 100 miles from me – same area code – but if I were to call that area – or they to call here – it would be a LD call.

I would like to make it so I don’t have to use the 1 and area code all the time – other people don’t want to call me thinking it is an LD call and they will get extra charges.

Also I maybe charged extra units – because I may be roaming?

So do I try to resolve this problem with Tracfone – or just get another phone?

— comment by Lynn on October 4th, 2007 at 1:03am JST (10 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Just an update to my earlier post of May 4th, 2007:

I just tried again to setup Google Calendar to send notifications to my TracFone Motorola v176 after being unsuccessful for several weeks, and this time it was SUCCESSFUL!

I guess Google or TracFone fixed whatever the problem was.

— comment by Allen on November 29th, 2007 at 8:50am JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

Hey Dude, Tracfone sucks. I bought 2 of them and one of them did not work right. They were quick to send me a “replacement” Phone. One that was a refurbished fone and not programed to todays standards. It charged me .5 units for a text instead of .3 units for a text. Tracfons answer, Oh well, that fone is an old fone programed to the old standard. Nothing we can do. Then I bought a new phone and wanted to transfer the number of my old fone to the new fone. No problem they said. Guess what? Sure I could transfer my number to the new fone but I cold not move the minutes that were on the fone or the Double minutes that I paid $50.00 for. I would have to pay another $50.00 to get double minutes on the new fone. Tracfone has a practice of robbing the people who are their backbone. US!

Anyone reading this Blog trust me. Their are better ways to get Cellular service. GoPhone from AT&T, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Alltel. All are much better then The stupid company of tracfone.

— comment by Henry L. Jones on April 2nd, 2008 at 1:29am JST (9 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Purchased Tracfone in Minnesota a few years ago. Generally, phone works well. On our trip to Texas, I had no cell service in Texas. While in McAllen, Texas I called Tracfone using a number from their website. The rep was very polite, spoke English much better than I, and had me entering various numbers into my phone. He asked that I hang up(I’m using the motel room phone) and he would call back. Didn’t happen. Cell phone didn’t work until Around Kansas or Missouri on our way back to Minnesota.

My wife’s phone from “Virgin ” worked well the whole trip. Did not help my ego one bit.

— comment by Arne Dufseth on April 19th, 2008 at 11:20am JST (9 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

May I advise anyone who is considering signing up for TracFone – DON’T. We got one for my elderly mother for emergencies. After the first year, and minimal usage, TracFone said they were sending an upgraded phone (I don’t recall why). We specifically said we wanted the same phone number and paid to renew for a year. Long story short, they changed the phone number but didn’t bother to tell us. And my mother is getting crude text messages which we haven’t figured out how to delete without opening and she gets charged every time we open one.

We have spent at least 4 hours on the phone to TracFone trying to figure out the new phone and why it wasn’t working. Finally we said we wanted to cancel the whole thing and get our money back. FYI, TracFone “does not give refunds”. We experienced the “oddly scripted English” that other people have mentioned. Went up four levels of the hierarchy when someone finally figured out we had the wrong phone number. When asked for help with deleting the text messages, they said someone would call us back in 48 hours. Well, it’s been 7 days and no one has called! I’m going to contact the CEO as suggested above. Save yourself some aggravation and go with another service. My family is very happy with Verizon – we’ll add my mother to our plan as soon as we can get her money back.

— comment by BeyondFrustrated on May 19th, 2008 at 2:56am JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry to see people have been spending time in “Tracfone Hell.” My experience has been very good. No problems with activation, usage or anything. I ordered a reconditioned V170 package for my wife, bundled with two 60 min cards. When it didn’t ship in a timely manner, Tracfone sent us one overnight at their expense for the delivery upgrade. Their service has been fine and I’ll continue to use it for now.

— comment by Patrick on June 27th, 2008 at 5:25am JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve went threw every thing that has been told about TracFone.. Time, No Service, they would call me back in so many hours, put me on hold, gave me many tickets numbers and never even wrote anything down… I say call CEO’s Fredrick/Sara Pollak in Miami at
(305) 640-2000 or you might get the Manager Andres Collazo and if not him then the very rude Supervisor Syrenthia Walker if she don’t hang up on you… I have many hours of waiting for results and still not able to use my phone. #1 my time is money too and my phone, calling cards all added up to very much money but they think nothing of it. Well they live off of our hard erned dollar they sit in their $1,199,000 home and laugh at ripping us all off. Do a search on google and read things reps. say who work for TracFone/Net 10 same owners say about us Americans. The jobs are all out sourced and they know not a thing on how to program a cell phone or resolve the problems. I got my Tracfone and the gave me a landline verizon phone number. Duh I have verizon cell I needed a Phone to work in a area that didn’t get verison. I was told TracFone will feed off any cell tower well not this phone and they won’t do a thing about it. OH well I keep getting the run around but I will keep posting and I am even going to make my own blog about TracFone/Net 10. Fredrick/Sara Pollak CEO’s WILL REALLY CHEAT YOUR RIGHT… WARNING DON’T BY A TRACFONE I have been doing some research and the gophone seems Okay didn’t buy one just yet but do your homework before you buy.
(GOOD LUCK)

— comment by Mad as Hell on July 8th, 2008 at 10:33pm JST (9 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Ditto, Ditto, 5 calls 1email 1 not returned call waiting on another.

— comment by gab on September 30th, 2008 at 12:48pm JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the advice on taking out the SIM card, battery and putting everything back together. I have been on the phone with their “customer service” for four nights. Three times they have disconnected my call while putting me on hold. I finally got ahold of their supervisor, Kent. He was very polite but had no clue as the other people.

Some of my favorite quotes from being on hold for hours…

“please bear with me”
“i’m updating some information in my system”

Grrr…

— comment by dms on October 10th, 2008 at 10:26am JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I don’t know what you guy’s are on about, I’ve been with Tracfone for 6 years and never had a problem. I don’t ever buy those flip phones but that’s just common sense, it doesn’t matter who you buy one of those from – they’re gonna break (those little wires can only last so long with all that flipping!) I also don’t throw my phones around, and if I do have a problem and need to call customer services I don’t loose my cool and rant and rave at some poor person on the other end. If you speak clearly and calmly to them, they will always do everything they can to help! And no I don’t work for Tracfone but I try to be a Christian in all my dealings and it pays off!!

— comment by Guy on December 12th, 2008 at 5:54pm JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

I agree, I don’t use Tracfone but Net 10 which is part of Tracfone and they offer such a good package that even a small hiccup on setup is worth it. Their call minutes are by far the cheapest of all the service providers and the phones are good if you don’t care about some stupid image “iPhone” that my best friend has and I cannot fathom what for? She was showing me how her iPhone can burp or fart if she shakes it and I can’t imagine why I would want a phone to do that? Anyway, I’m very happy with Net 10 and recommend them to anyone who is not entirely self centred!

— comment by Rosie on December 12th, 2008 at 6:09pm JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

Anyone know how I can get my CAller ID fixed on my Motorola tracfone? I’ve sent several emails and spoken with 3 different customer service reps without success. They
ve had me do master resets and other things, but nothing seems to delete the UI name that comes up as my caller ID when I place a call. I’m fed up – I went in and totally blocked all ID info, but now nothing shows up so my friends have no idea that it’s me calling, not even the phone number. Suggestions???

— comment by Cathy Dillon on December 14th, 2008 at 8:02am JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

I have been a customer for many years and have found that the ‘service’ in customer service has been dropped from Tracfone’s dictionary. In the more recent past I have had to loose minutes due to a lost phone that they moved the phone number over from but would not give me the minutes. Today I called when I noticed that the tracking number for my new phone was not moving beyond ‘package data transmitted to FedEx’.

After calling FedEx and then Tracfone the customer service rep from Tracfone quickly informed me that the phone was lost and a refund would be submitted to me. I waited three times for the rep to check with other internal offices to finally be told that the refund would be made to my account within 7 to 10 business days; however, due to the phone being lost I cannot repurchase until this refund is clear. I am now without a phone for what could potentially be two weeks due to the old phone not being functional.

Are we having fun yet?

I asked the customer rep to not take this personally BUT these listed conditions have existed within my realm of experience with Tracfone and I am sorely disappointed as they compile upon each other. I purchased a bluetooth earbud to match with the phone and it is charging on my desktop as I write this. It was getting ready for it’s mate which was supposed to arrive today.

Once disappointed shame on you, twice disappointed shame on me. It won’t happen a third time.

I wonder what happens when the Tracfone employees have a similar experience?

I have been in business for over 30 years and know that I would not have been successful if my clients were told to eat the experiences Tracfone is expecting me to.

I suppose I now have to look for an alternate phone provider for both my husband and myself. Change is not something I look forward to especially when life is so busy that you just want to be able to rely upon the services you pay for.

— comment by thill on December 30th, 2008 at 5:31am JST (8 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I’be been trying since 1/29/08 to have my old phone number and minutes transfered to a newer phone. I’ve called about everyother day and e-mailed a number of times.
Each time they tell me to wait 24 -48 more hours. It has now been 15 days and still no
results. my old phone was # esndec074110050038 new # 268435456709768704
Phone # 308-991-2323. Home phone 308-472-5270. You took of the minutes on my old phone so I have been without a cell phone for 15 days.

— comment by shirley on February 16th, 2009 at 12:32am JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

I hate TracFone spam and I have never been their customer. They started having an automated caller call and leave messages on my work phone, sometimes twice a day. It leaves an 800-293-4306 number to call back, at which point you get another recording. My work phone number has been on the national DO NOT CALL list for over 4 months now. I finally called their office and aske them to remove me from their automated calling list or I will pursue legal action…Call TracFone back at their office 1-800-867-7183. Talk to someone in sales. Tell them to take your phone number off their automated calling list or you will pursue legal action, especially if your number is on the DO NOT CALL list as mine is.

— comment by TracFone Spam hate it on August 20th, 2009 at 4:25am JST (8 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Despite their claim, Tracfones cannot be activated online. If you try online activation it always refers you to their customer service toll free number . They also ask for a lot of personal information on their website (name, address, DOB, home phone, e-mail, etc.) which is not required for phone activation. How many people willingly give them this information only to discover their phone will not activate online. Where does this information go? What is Tracfone doing with your personal information? Why do they even bother putting online actvation on their website ? The bottom line is in order to activate a Tracfone you have to call customer service. Good luck with that. I waited 50 minutes to talk to a nice woman who spoke broken English. She told me they have “a lot of problems with online activation. ” When I asked her why, she said she would transfer me to a supervisor. I was conveniently disconnected.

— comment by Tina on March 6th, 2010 at 7:27am JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I couldn’t activate my Tracfone online either. Waiting for their customer service line to answer is a joke. I’m going to take my phone back and get T-mobile.

— comment by Frankie on March 10th, 2010 at 7:00am JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I was unable to activate my new Tracfone online or through the automated phone method. Instead I had to call customer service. They said the SIM card in the phone didn’t match my calling area. I don’t understand why they are sending out phones with SIM no’s that don’t match calling areas.

— comment by Doris on April 6th, 2010 at 3:08am JST (7 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I am writing from Iowa. I ordered two Tracfones on Aug 4, 2010 from the website. Both were
Samsung T101G models with double minutes for life programmed into the phone. I
wanted to keep my previous cell phone numbers, so that\’s how I activated the
new Tracfones online through their website. My phone #1, worked. The #2 phone
said SIM not registered.
So, I called customer service… (outsourced – you cannot speak to an
English-speaking American) they tried troubleshooting, then transferred me to
tech support. After many calls, taking about NINE hours, and asking for a
supervisor, they agreed to send me a new SIM card for phone #2. (It took that
long because they would hang up (accidentally?) and/or I got a rep who didn\’t
understand and I had to call again.) Oh, and if you use your Tracfone to call
them, it uses your minutes.
So, while waiting for the new SIM card, I found out that my phone #1 was
not able to receive incoming calls. ? I decided to wait until I got the SIM
card for phone #2, and call from someone else\’s phone (landline) to resolve
both problems.
The SIM card came, and I installed it. You still need to call them to
program the codes to get it to work. I call them and get a rep who seems to
understand and speak good English. We program the phone #2, and it turns on.
YAY! So far, so good.
I proceed to mention about how my phone #1 hasn\’t and isn\’t able to
receive incoming calls. He \”researches\” and tells me I cannot keep my
transferred phone number. Since this is the primary phone on my Sprint account,
and we kept the same phone number for #2, that we just fixed, I said that
doesn\’t even make sense. I already have the number assigned to the phone and
I\’ve been making calls with it! His reply was oh, you can make outgoing calls?
(Was he even listening to me?) Up to this point, I\’ve been on the phone for
an hour already — I\’ve been patient, but I\’m losing my cool.
He has tech support still waiting on his line, and he puts me on hold many
times to talk with them. While waiting for him, I notice #2 phone now says SIM
not registered. (??? Can you believe it???) He comes back to me and says, \”In
this case,\” your phone #1, will not be able to get incoming calls. In what
case? \”The case that I transferred them online.\” What?! Do you feel my
frustration? I am NOT even going to start over with the #2 phone either. That
was my breaking point! I said, I give up, and I\’m sending these phones back.
I wanted to speak with a supervisor.
The supervisor explains to me she needs the order number from the purchase
order. I said, I am not at home, and I did not intend to send them back when I
called, so I don\’t have it. I have worked in customer service for many years
as a phone rep, and I know that if she doesn\’t have access to the records, they
can call the correct department to get it. She could at least email the
request. I told her I expect HER as a supervisor to be able to get that
information and process my refund request. She tells me, she is NOT a
supervisor! SIGH
She transfers me to her \”supervisor\” Angelie. Angelie asks me my name…
and tells me I have to have the order number to process a refund request. I say
that she needs to take initiative to contact whoever and get the info she needs
to assist me. (Isn\’t that customer service?) So, she says she will escalate
and get the order number. It will take 24 to 48 hours to process. Thank you,
but now she wants to know how much I paid for the phones, so that she can
request the refund. I say, I don\’t remember, – it will be on the paperwork
with the order number. She insists that she needs that info to further assist
me. I ask for her supervisor, she says she\’s the manager, and has no boss. I
ask for company owner or president information, can does not give me any other
contacts for Tracfone.
After realizing she was not going to give me any contact info, I gave her
my summary of expectations. I wanted them to send me the instructions to send
the phones back for a refund — and I wanted the info sent to me by email. She
asked for a phone number to call me back. I said I do not have a working number
and I\’m not going to put out someone else to use their landline. She stopped
talking to me, and after several hellos from me … she said\” thank you for
calling Tracfone\”. That was her signal to say she was done. (I guess their
policy is to not hang up first.)
After thinking about the call, when I got home, I decided to email the
Tracfone customer service. I wrote about my conversation with Angelie and
mentioned I didn\’t have confidence in her resolving my problem. The next day
they replied saying they needed to speak with me to finish the process.
By now, I have gone back to Sprint and renewed my contract. So, I email
them my phone number. I was called within the hour, and what do they ask me?
What are the serial numbers of the phones? I couldn\’t believe it! I asked
them what else do they need, because in my email to them I wrote at the bottom,
my name, address, Tracfone #\’s and serial numbers. She said we need the serial
numbers. I said, READ MY EMAIL, and I hung up. Yes, I was rude. I then sent
an email to them and said don\’t call my number again.
TODAY I got an email with the address to return the phones. (my expense)
They say it will take 30 days for refund. The 186 remaining minutes on the
phones will not be refunded. I think they could have at least paid for shipping
back to them, if not the minutes. I used all my minutes to call them, and had
to purchase more.
I said all this to say – If you buy a Tracfone and it works, great! If you
need customer service for any reason, prepare for frustration. They read from
script, and don\’t pass on information from one rep to another. If you get
transferred, you have to tell them your name, serial numbers, and detail about
what the problem is AGAIN. If they listen, you might get an appropriate
response – otherwise you have to rephrase to get them to understand. Good luck

Oh, and I did get company contact info from the BBB. That\’s my next step!

— comment by Pauline on August 28th, 2010 at 5:16pm JST (7 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Transfer ph number @ minutes from a dead phone to a new one went ok except only 810 minutes would be transfered out of a total of over 1000 minutes. They have funny rules in quatemala. They must deactivate the dead old phone before the transfer , then say they cant check the old minutes that remained. We just got screwed a little.

— comment by ART on May 25th, 2011 at 6:39am JST (6 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Minnesota – I bought a tracfone for my mother. We got it home charged it up and it should be ready to go, since WalMart activated it for me. I had ZERO reception in the middle of a very large town. The only way I had two bars was standing outside. So – I returned the phone to Walmart – no problem BUT they would not refund me my $19.88 for the 60 minute prepaid card I bought. I had to go directly thru Tracfone. So, while standing at WalMart I called Tracfone and had the worst customer service I have ever delt with. I had to talk to manager upon manager and still no one would return me my money for the lack of service that thier cell phone provided. I did get another number and the man that I talked to there said I could FEDEX the card to him and he would try to look into it. What a joke! I will NEVER recommend this phone to anyone again. Customer Service should be your number one priority!

— comment by Marissa on July 30th, 2011 at 3:11am JST (6 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

ive been thru at least 6 tracfones over the years and Every one of them has somehow crapped out.
warranties? ha,why bother they cant even give decent customer support,im not even gonna go for a warranty.

the latest one,now will show theres been a call or text,but the second i open the flip it all disappears and i have to go thru the menu just to find out whos called or texted.
before it worked just fine and showed me.

and,to make things so much better,the Delete All function has vanished as well.
i now have to manually delete Every single text by itself!!!??
wth is that about??
its easier to throw this fone out and just buy a real phone that works like it should.

using their website is a joke,half the time it takes you to a error page and then you Cannot back up or you have to sign in all over again.

calling their CS dept is unreal and a comeplete waste of time,they will give you the runaround and keep you on hold forever.
i highly suspect they are praying you hang up,so they dont have to admit they wont do anything.

just a complete waste of time please Save Yourselves and Dont buy a Crapfone,err Tracfone yeah.
thats what i meant…sure.

— comment by Rob on February 28th, 2012 at 11:40pm JST (5 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

DON’T EVER USE TRACPHONE/NET10!
Well here I am, sitting on hold for the Tracphone Customer HotLine. hahahahahaha. I’ve been on hold for more than 60 minutes, and started looking for complaints, and found this. My story, made short: Emergency trip to US from abroad. Activated, or so I thought, my tracphone before I left to make sure everything would be ok. And bought time. Was told to just turn it on when I arrived in US. I did, it didn’t work. Ran around JFK trying to figure out how to reach all the people that were waiting to hear from me. Finally got the bright idea to buy a regular phone card and made my calls. When I got to destination, jet-lagged, sat on phone for HOURS with technical — who ultimately determined the old number didn’t work because they gave it to someone else, SIM card didn’t work, and would SEND me a new SIM card. I told them I was on an emergency trip and needed phone use immediately; that I had no more time or patience with them, and would not use their phone. Went out and bought a Verizon phone and plan. Terrific. Just got back to my base abroad and called Tracphone on Skype to ask for my money back. Hahahahahaha. Scripted speech by righteous woman, that no refund once time was bought, even though `I told her the ridiculousness that I couldn’t use the time because their phone didn’t work. After she repeated this three or four times, scripted, I told her I wanted to bring a legal action and to give me the address to which to send my complaint. She gave me the hotline number, on which Ive been waiting for more than an hour as I write this. I don’t expect them to come on. (Your call is very important to us, please wait for the next customer service representative to take your call: hahahahahaha). I am saying hahahahaha a lot because this experience has driven me crazy. I can’t find the words to tell you how frustrating, insulting, debilitating this is. hahahahahaha. PS I notice that these comments and complaints began in 2006. Anybody still out there reading these?

— comment by Naomi on December 6th, 2012 at 11:35am JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

10 years and 7 months later, this company is still taking money to provide a service, then not providing the service. “Customer Service” reps still doing the same thing. I thought the service was bad when the reps were Filipino, but it’s really bad, now that they are based in Guyana. They outright lie and hang up when you point out they are lying and how you know.

— comment by PrisonerOfTracfoneHell on May 23rd, 2014 at 11:42pm JST (3 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve been a TracPhone customer since 2002 and today they black listed my SIM on two of my phones because I complained to support about them cutting my messaging data off from my service so I couldn’t send or receive txt messages with photos.
When I first got my Motorola W367g phones withe the built in cameras I had no problem sending and receiving txt messages with photos.

The support people who took my call deliberately have people who speak in very bad English and you know they do that to make you use up your prepaid minutes “units”.
I had to hang up on them and call back a half dozed time until finely this Lady answered and spoke plain English but it was clear she was just stalling as well to burn my minutes up and after I got irate with her she went into her broken English act too and I ask them how can you people call yourself support when you deliberately unintelligible broken English and stall to cause people to use up their minutes…and the next thing I know both my W376g phones displayed ” insert SIM.”
I went to the web site and canceled my activation insurance enrollment plan and the Minutes on demand plan and changed my name to “F*** you TracPhone”.
I will never use them ever again ever.
I purchased a T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 530 from Wal*Mart for $26.16 and will pay to have it unlocked so I can use the SIM 7, or 14 day cards when I just have to use it away from my Home WiFi.

if you have issues with TracPhone don’t expect to get any support help unless your willing to burn at least $25.00 worth of minutes and then you better talk sugar and spice in their ear so they will speak with English that you can understand….lol

Buy a Nokia Lumia 530 with the T-Mobile as the carrier and get the SIM unlock code from a legit web site and then you can use the International prepaid Sim cards for 7, 14 and 30 days if oyur traveling abroad and want to stay in touch with family, friends, Co Workers, etc.
I would rather pay the $40.00 a month plan to T-Mobile or even AT&T than to go through the humiliation and frustration TracPhone support and services they cheat me out of.

— comment by Tap on June 20th, 2015 at 7:38am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I am from Iowa and my Tracfone is very slow, sometimes; yesterday I received a text over 1.5 Hrs after it was sent. Is this something others have seen or is my phone malfunctioning? Thanks

— comment by Mike Alt on June 14th, 2016 at 1:48am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I have had a simple Tracfone for several years. Back in May of this year, Tracfone said I qualified for an upgrade, then stated they were ending the 2G towers in my area soon. Then, they stated I had to go to Tracfone to choose my new phone, but there was no choice. Then, they began threatening to end my service unless I accepted their replacement phone. I called to set it up and they said I could keep my number, minutes and my “double minute for life of my phone” card. They sent me the replacement, but it turned out to be a cheap Alcatel made-to-break phone which lists for $10.00. My current phone is a Motorola. The replacement phone is a joke and Tracfone flatly reuses to replace my phone with a comparable phone. They have stated that, if I don’t want the phone they provided, I can buy a new one!!! What cheats!!!!! I have no choice but to take it because I cannot leave my house without a phone (due to disabilities) and Tracfone has me over a barrel!! I wish I was an attorney!!!

— comment by Lesa on November 15th, 2016 at 6:34am JST (1 year ago) comment permalink

I purchased a TracFone Bring Your Own Smartphone Sim Kit on June 22, 2017, and received it on June 27. After installing the SIM kit and completing the online registration, during which I purchased a 365 Day 400 Minute plan for $109.61 including tax and surcharges, I was still not able to connect to the service. I called the technical support line at 1 (800) 867-7183, which connected me to an automated phone tree which repeatedly rejected my information and gave me no option to speak to a live person. Finally, when I connected to a live operator, I was instructed to do the same procedures repeatedly to the same effect, and placed on hold for long periods of time. I was forced to make several calls to this number, each of which lasted 45 minutes to over 2 hours. Ultimately, the problem remained unsolved despite 6-7 hours on the technical support line. In one case, the support rep said that the problem was solved, instructed me to reboot my phone, and everything should be fine; but he ended the session before I was able to verify that it was working. Indeed, it was not working any more than before the call.

In my last call, I was escalated to the supervisor, Edwin (rep #545417), who was particularly unhelpful. The problem was the phone would not connect to the network although the T-Mobile SIM was registered. Edwin said that the problem was I was in the wrong area. In registering, per instructions, I had given the ZIP where I would be mostly using the phone (49655). My present location was 29687, where I was staying with family for several weeks, at a distance of over 800 miles. Both of these areas were shown on the TracFone website to have full service coverage. I had already activated the SIM with no problems; I had at the time 4 bars of service, and Edwin confirmed that service was available in 29687, but continued to repeat, “Go back to your home area” multiple times, saying that the problem was due to the service not being available in some areas, and refused to troubleshoot further issues. When I asked him if I was able to have service only in my home area (49655), he unbelievably said that was true even though TracFone is a national provider, and rudely repeated “Go back to your home area”.

I asked to cancel the service and receive a refund, but was told that I could not receive a refund. In other words, they were sticking me with a product that was unused and unusable to me, and which they refused to provide satisfactory technical support.

I intend to contact my credit card company to dispute the charge to my card on the basis that they have not provided the service for which they charged me.

— comment by Chris on June 29th, 2017 at 11:45am JST (5 months, 13 days ago) comment permalink

I got my first Tracfone in 2007, a motorola flip phone, and have been using their prepaid service ever since. I’ve somehow avoided any major issues, but have heard plenty of stories from other users.

Tracfone is an odd company in that they make so many of their customers frustrated and annoyed. Especially in the past, so many things would go wrong when activating a phone. They’ve done a lot since then to improve things, but plenty of people still run into issues.

I’ve found the best way to get help on non-immediate issues is to actually write them on their facebook page. I’ve had a few questions and they have answered them there.

Anyway, funny stumbling across your blog and this post about Motorola flip phones, think mine was the w376g or something. Do you still use Tracfone? And did you know they are starting to open stores so people can go in and get help in person?

-Peter in TX

— comment by Peter on October 12th, 2017 at 11:20am JST (2 months ago) comment permalink
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