Tracfones, I’ve had experience with a couple little Nokia tracfones for the past almost 5 years now, & gotta say the coverage is great, even though the price for roaming units is not. However, that’s kind of something you’re willing to put up with for a pay-as-you-go no contract deal.
That being said, one hitch with these is the service expiration date. If you don’t buy a new phone card every so often, your phone deactivates, and you’re no longer on the grid, so to speak. For the most part this has never been a problem for me, I might use my little tracfone as often as every month or as rarely as a couple times a year, since it’s not my primary cell phone, and this ebb and flow use provided me with an expiration date always being pushed far enough into the future for me not to worry about it.
Then a second little tracfone was passed on to me, and after a summer of minor use, all hell broke loose. The previous owner had stocked up on units all at once, instead of buying it in smaller amounts over time, meaning the service expiration date once set stayed there (no new phone cards were bought to extend service), and when that window of opportunity to prolong the life of the phone (and the thousand+ units loaded on it) closed, it sure snapped shut hard. Not using it every day, or even every week, the expiration date passed me by, I quickly realized this within a few days though. I purchased a $30 phone card to try to reactivate the phone myself, the recordings on the customer service help line made this sound entirely possible, and to me it seemed like the easiest solution. However it didn’t work, and when I tried again my P.I.N. from that card was no longer valid. I decided I would try again, this time buying yet another $30 phone card, but making sure to talk to a real human being on the phone first, who would hopefully know what to do to make it work this time. Well, the first time I called I was put on hold for so long my cellphone battery died just minutes after getting to talk to someone (it had been 3/4 charged when I began the call). On my second attempt talking to someone, I used my P.I.N., but it was not working due to some “error” in the system. The young man informed me it was probably because my phone had been deactivated for “so long” (a matter of days). I was transferred several times from desk to desk, it seemed nobody had the administrative authority to solve this problem. My cellphone battery died again. I got the distinct impression that Tracfone does not spend much on it’s customer service, nor does it have much prepared for those poor souls who happen to let their tracfones expire.
So consider yourself warned. Tracfones are useful, but it’s completely up to you to look after your investment.
I did call again, & complained about the $60 futile endeavor to save my little nokia, & how powerless the company seemed to be with solving its own service issues. At first I was told to use my receipts to go back to where I bought the phone cards & get my refund. I tried to inform the lady kindly that on the receipts it clearly states the store is not responsible for refunding tracfone units – that’s up to the company. I was given a case number, and told to call back again within a couple days, but after wasting countless precious hours of the past several days on this, I completely lost faith that it would be worth my time to call again, get the run around from department again, only to be told they’re still working on it or something. They have my name, number, and address. If Tracfone cared, they could contact me, but it’s been months now, and they have not. Should my other little Nokia accidently expire sometime, I will not seek to continue to be a tracfone customer. They still make handy alarm clocks though, if you keep the battery charged. 🙂