TracFone Attempts to Suck the “No Evil” Out of Net10 — Failz!

WARNING: This post contains adult language and humor. It may offend some people! (You have been warned!)

I am a late-comer to the whole mobile phone thing.  I also am a bit of a Luddite: I use a flip-phone.

For years, I waited for a mobile phone deal that didn’t force me into a mult-year contract or cost $80+ per month for the “$39.95” plan. A few years ago, a friend told me about Net10.

I copped a cute-n-cheesy LG600G flip-phone for about $20 and started paying around $16 per month for wireless service. No contract; no hassles; no evil.

The very few times I had issues, I could call Net10 support for free: they didn’t charge me minutes for talking to their support. My issues were always resolved quickly. Enter TracFone.

Recently, I noticed that my emails to Net10 customer service were answered by TracFone. Well, OK . . .

Then, I began to notice that it was more and more difficult to continue on the lovely pay as you go, keep your minutes forever plan. It seemed like I was almost being forced to buy one of the unlimited monthly plans (just like every other shitty mobile phone companies, but without the contract).

Well, I didn’t mind so much. I’m used to dealing with Godaddy trying to trick me into buying 30,000 other products when I register a domain and I’m not completely stupid.

After hitting the measly 150 total texts memory limit of my poor old LG phone, I figured it was time for a better phone. After finding that all of the smart phones work only with the plans I’ve been struggling to avoid, I bought a $25 free Motorola flip-phone from the Net10 site.

In typical Net10 fashion, the phone arrived quickly and transferring my existing number (and minutes) to the new phone was easy. Again, enter TracFone:

I was surprised to find that, unlike the old days, the new and improved TracFone version of Net10 charged me for the minutes used transferring my account. Strange! It’s not a problem, though: After having Net10 for a few years, my account had 4678.50 minutes. What’s a few minutes to move to a better ancient phone?

Then, I grabbed the card–which is what I supposedly paid for; the phone was free–to add the minutes to my account. (I was almost out of days, and welcomed the 30 days the card promised, even though it was clear the additional 1000 minutes would not roll-over.)

It turns out, I was stupid; just not completely stupid!

Having removed all the “no evil” from Net10, TracFone stole my existing minutes, and switched me to the dreaded fucking monthly plan I have been trying to avoid! Shit!

No problem, Net10 support has always taken care of me . . . . enter Tracfone . . . while being very nice and understanding, the young lady explained to me that, I was now stuck with the service I don’t want and, as far as my stolen minutes she said, “there is nothing I can do.” I think I get it. I believe the new system under TracFone does not allow her to fix this issue. She did not say, “tough shit.” Just that she was unable to do what was need to fix my account and restore the minutes I paid for.

I thanked her as politely as I could manage, and tried submitting a trouble ticket on the Net10 site. No response. Well, it was Shabbat; I wasn’t working, why should they?

After stewing for a while (perhaps in, my case, its: Stuing), I tweeted that TracFone has really messed up Net10:

They Responded in twenty minutes:

I emailed them, and got the same: “nothing we can do, you lose response I received when I called Net10 Support. So, I replied to their tweet:

I guess that’s over. When I run out of days on this shitty plan I don’t want, I’ll go back to my old plan and start saving minutes again. I wonder how long it will take them to steal them this time!?!

On a silly side-note, while looking for Cricket Wireless on Twitter, I discovered they were doing a Twitter campaign #STSA (something to smile about). Cute!

I realized that at Net10 (a.k.a TracFone), STSA must mean: Sorry, tough shit, Asshole!

Progress tonight, 13 October, 2014: I received a reply from my web request for support from the web site. I called and spoke with Reol. With some mad magick, he reinstated my lost minutes and put me back on the eternal rollover plan! Yay! Time to go fill out the survey and sing this man’s praises!

In the meantime, I’m trying to work with them to get my wife’s new phone replaced. Out of the box, it says, “Camera Failed” when you try to take a picture. I’ll update this post with the results of this adventure.

The saga continues . . . the TracFone Twitter support folks are finally helping me with the dead camera issue. It’s taken about 15 emails and I had to convince them that I didn’t take a shower with the phone or run it through the dishwasher repeatedly. Since this has dragged on for days, I have had to start over more than once with the new person answering my messages. I guess their ticket-system doesn’t show them all the email activity for a given ticket. (That, or they didn’t bother to read it!)

So, after 18 emails–some seemed to accuse me of breaking the phone–I was finally able to get the dead-on-arrival phone replaced! Once the mediocre and mildly evil handed this off to Net10, I had an email in less that an hour saying that the replacement phone was shipping. The next morning–today–the phone arrived!

So, except for the slight evil injected by the TracFone attempts to force us all to move to plans with no carry-over minutes, Net10 has remained mostly evil-free! Yay! I only got into the mobile phone thing because I found a company and plan that fit my needs. ($16 a month with carryover minutes!).

Thank you Net10. I’ll be happy to dealing with you rather than TracFone!!

Happy Slacking!

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