A good number of Straight Talk customers reported to Newsbeat Epicenter a variety of horror stories in conjunction with this cellular company. So Newsbeat Epicenter ordered the Samsung Galaxy Proclaim/Gingerbread 2.3 and the Samsung Galaxy Precedent Gingerbread 2.3 from the Wal-Mart website to experiment with. First of all, the Android 2.3 is pretty amazing plus there are over 600,000 apps (you may be interested in with many of them) free of charge and others mighty-low cost.
However, boxed, these Straight Talk handsets claim unlimited talk, text and data. As it turns out, the talk and text have been unlimited with the Unlimited $45 load card. However, during our experiment, our data slowed down to nearly nothing on both handsets in 3-week period of time. And when our techs called Straight Talk, they claimed we used too much data so they drastically cut our speed way down.
Straight Talk provided that the data is not at all unlimited as they claim. Well they refused to give us back our surfing speed and we were told we would not get back to normal until we renewed our so-called "unlimited" service the next month. So we did renew and our surfing speed went back to normal for a few hours then both handsets were deactivated because we used too much data in 12 hours or less. One handset was reactivated yet we were warned about data abuse. The other handset was locked down entirely and we were told that phone could never be activated again by Straight Talk nor any other cellular company.
By the way, they charged us $45 plus tax ($53.08) yet deactivated our service about 12 hours later. We are seeking a charge-back of that money but have not received it as of yet. And we will not be receiving our money back for the expensive handset they locked down. So buyer beware! There is a catch to the Straight Talk "unlimited" data.
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA -- First, no complaint about the actual cellular service. No drop calls, internet worked fine. HOWEVER, the phone died just before a year of service (Samsung Galaxy Proclaim adapter plug failed couldn't charge). Immediate response from Philippine representative who told me my phone was warranted and would take 3-5 days. Groovy!
A week later, nothing. I called again and evidently spoke to a relative of the Filipino and asked me if I got an email from FEDEX to return my phone. I checked my email and there it was! I asked the Asian descendant, "so what?" He then told me I had to mail my phone in first and then they would send me a "replacement" phone.
OK, so a week has gone by already and I get this nugget that might have been important to know 7 days earlier. I then find out that the $150 Galaxy Proclaim was not available and my replacement phone would be a cheaper version the Galaxy Centura which sells for $99. I explained that I wanted the same phone and I was told that I used my Proclaim for almost a year and it wasn't worth the same value!
Knowing that this was going nowhere so I made a mistake of reverting to my original issue - sending in my phone BEFORE they send the replacement. I asked him what I was supposed to do for communications while they send a replacement (my phone worked as long as I hand-held the plug adapter and raised my left hand in a circular motion from North to South while my right hand applied 8 pounds of pressure to the plug adapter).
And why was I not told this on the original call? Wait for it..."that's our policy that you agreed to." I asked for a copy of the signed agreement and was told that the little box I checked when I purchased it that said "accept terms and conditions" is my copy. Shame on me for not having a law degree and 3 hours of nothing else to do! OK. My bad. However, this didn't explain why they didn't tell me this a week before on my initial call. Wait for it..."we did tell you" was his next line.
Of course I assumed his 5th cousin twice removed told him this from our initial call! I explained in very plain English (not sure that means anything with Straight Talk) that had I been told I had to send the phone first, I would have had this hissy fit on the initial phone call! I asked if the calls were recorded and if so, go back and check. Again he insisted that I was told and again in very plain English I said "are you calling me a liar?" He said YES!
Wow! Got to give him some cred! I didn't get the standard off-shore response we ALL get when we call Bollywood and the Philippines: "I understand." I asked if he was kidding and he again suggested that I was told. I asked for a supervisor and he said "he will give you the same answer." I said, "that I'm a liar?" And the phone went dead. I cooled down and called again about 3 hours later. Same lame discussion. However, I got an email for "management" complaints that I will share with all of you: ERDManagement@Tracfone.com.
I explained my story in an email and got a response within an hour. Sorry! No exceptions. But my complaint about getting a lesser value phone was well worth the email. Their response was "you used the phone and it's value is not worth the cost of an original replacement, so you are getting the less expensive phone." I'm not kidding...that is word-for-word the response!
So I wrote an email back and asked them if I purchase a 55" TV and after 11 months it fails, they would give me a 22" TV as a warranty replacement? I actually got a response (of course no name or signatures) which said that is not the same! I did get them back a little bit though. They kept referring back to the "terms and agreement" on the internet site, but then the girl asked me for my name and address. I busted out laughing and said, look it up on your website. I gave you the info when I bought the damn phone! Not surprisingly she didn't get the irony! I held fast and didn't give it to her, but what a waste of a funny opportunity!
Enough already. I switched my daughter to Boost and sent the phone back to get my cheaper replacement. Trust me...it is going to cost them at least a replacement phone. For all to know, I intend to have a YouTube moment with it and hope it goes viral! I'm going to film a short introduction to the issue and then take the brand-new phone and unwrap it and beat it to death with a 5-pound hammer. I'm going to box it up and send it back and tell them to just keep it! Keep your eyes open for this on YouTube in the next couple of weeks!
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA -- I purchased a Straight Talk phone less than a month ago. When I got the phone, I randomly called people without knowing because of the phone keypad. I locked the keypad but when I had to unlock the pad, there was a button that say to unlock. The button to unlock the phone did not work properly so I had to keep mashing it to try to unlock the phone, in which this was a headache.
Also, if I held the phone to close to my ear, it would mute the phone. So, by now I decided that this was not the phone that I really wanted. Then I decided to wait until it was time to renew my order then I was going to transfer my service.
A few days ago, a friend sent me some picture. I downloaded the picture and for whatever reason, the phone froze than the screen turned sort of a whitish color. I removed the battery and power the phone up again and the screen was still blank. In the meantime, I was waiting for a return phone call from my friend. So, I used another phone to check my voice message. To my surprise, my phone calls were being transferred to another friend of mine's phone. I had a hard time believing that this had occurred being that I did not initiate call forwarding.
This is when everything started to go downhill. I called Straight Talk after for two hours and the phone was constantly busy. After repeated calls and couldn't get through, I ended up googling and came across a website that was called **. I was able to get through and to actually speak to a rep...I was instructed to take the battery out, in which I had already done prior to making a call - that didn't work. Then I was told to dial 22890 in which I kept telling the agent that the screen was blank and it would not allow to dial a number.
I kept trying to explain to them that my phone was going to another number, each time the agent did not address the issue I stated. They put me on hold and when they returned, provided me with an answer that did not make absolutely no sense.
I had never been so frustrated in my whole life with a cellphone company. None of the agents make any sense and had no clue what to help me. So, I asked them what did I need to do...the agent told me they could send me a new phone and that could take 2-3 days before I would receive it. In the meantime, my phone would still be routed to someone else phone.
So, I had already decided that I did not want Straight Talk. In the meantime, I had ordered a Boost phone. I ended having my service transferred from Straight Talk to Boost Mobile in order to have my calls routed by to my phone. I still have no clue how the calls were directed to someone else's phone when I did not forward the calls.
The experience I had was awful. The agent lack training and have no clue what they are talking about. This is a foreign call center and the agent English is horrible. They are reading from a script or have a knowledge-based system that they can query for certain issue. If they can query the issue, they have no clue what to do.
If Walmart back this product, that doesn't say very much about Walmart. Even though I am a Walmart customer - the reason I decided to purchase this is because it is advertised by Walmart - Walmart CEO needs to purchase one of these phone and called Customer Service and see what kind of experience he have. Walmart needs to stick with retail, not cell phones.
In closing, if you are looking for an headache and want to endure frustration, then please oblige and get one of these phones - otherwise stick with a reputable company that back their product. I guarantee that if you purchase one of these phones and have to call customer services, you will be on this website writing an complaint.
LOCKHART, TEXAS -- I refilled my Straight Talk plan. That evening everything worked properly. I could make a call, it updated my time, and I could access the web. Only problem was I wanted the unlimited plan and I had selected the limited plan. I sent an email to Customer Service. The next morning my web browser wouldn't connect. I tried over a period of 3 hours. The response from Customer Service was I needed to call in to handle the issue, which I did not receive until right before I contacted them.
Finally I called Customer Service about both issues. I had to go through the refill process, there was no option to get customer service. I had to call several times as I was continually disconnected. Finally I was able to fool the system and reach a customer service representative named ** **. I verified my information and explained the problem with my cell. I asked ** if I could upgrade to the unlimited plan since I had chosen the wrong one. She said no. She said you can upgrade now and lose what you have now or you can wait until your service runs out.
So 1st problem - no refunds, no flexibility and no options. As we progressed she asked for an alternate number. I didn't have an alternate number, just my cell. I was in a rural area with no other phones. She told me, "I'm sorry ma'am but I cannot help you then." I told her, "You mean to tell me there is no other options?" She said, "That's right." I told her I need to speak to her supervisor. She said, "There is no supervisor to talk to." I said yes there is and you need to connect me. So she did and placed me on hold.
I then spoke with ** **, who claimed she was a supervisor. Again I was asked to verify my information. I then had to repeat the problem and repeat that there was no alternate phone as I was in a rural area. She said she would try to do a few things on my phone and placed me on hold. She came back and said she was going to another system, again placed me on hold and came back. She said when I got off the phone - pull out my battery, wait a few minutes and then try it, but first she would send me to another "escalation" department and I needed to hold again.
This time I spoke with ** ** who claimed to be a manager. I was so mad because I was asked to repeat what was wrong with my phone again. He told me, "You know we won't be able to refund the time you spend on the phone with us." I told him, Yeah **, why do you think I am so mad? All of you have wasted my time and money with putting me on hold and the same questions every time." It's basically a tactic to use up your time so they can make more money, I guess.
I wasn't thrilled with my AT & T service but it had these guys beat by a mile. He told me to give him my sim card number; when I tried to get it, the call was disconnected. I just left it and turned my phone off. Nothing resolved. Oh and I checked the time I wasted talking to them - it was 40:38. Time I won't get back. Money wasted. I will be changing service providers once I use up the time I just purchased. They SUCK.
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Straight Talk is the worst cell phone company in history. Go ahead and buy a real cell phone plan - the hassle of dealing with this company is worth far more than the extra dollars you will spend each month. When I initially subscribed to Straight Talk around Christmas time, I bought three phones, one for each member of my family. Three weeks later, one of the phones was mysteriously still not turned on - unable to send or receive calls and text messages.
Since then, my own phone (and all the phones are paid off the same credit card on automatic billing) has NEVER once automatically been re-billed. Every single month, the two other phones enroll automatically while my phone goes dead for a period of 2-5 days while I try to get it up and running again.
Customer Service is a joke. First, they have found the most ignorant individuals in Punjab or wherever the hell their call center is, because nobody - NOBODY - speaks English in the customer service call center. I can say this with confidence because I have made more than one call every month since December.
Secondly, these are the worst kind of customer service reps - the kind who are trained to massage you emotionally rather than actually do anything about your problem. They read their script (badly), they can't understand what you are saying, and if you ask any questions, they simply move on to the next part of their script. Again, I know this because I have talked to several different customer service reps in a row and heard the exact same words, over and over again.
My phone turned off on Saturday because, again, the automatic renewal feature failed to work on my phone (the other two phones are still working just fine). I figured I would outsmart the system this time and bypass customer service entirely. So on Sunday night, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a prepaid card to fund my phone for the next month. I went to the website and dutifully entered the information required at about 6 P.M. on Sunday. I received a message that stated that my phone would be active in four hours. It is now nearly 6 P.M. on Monday, and the phone has not been turned on, though the funds are showing in my account.
I have called Punjab/Customer Service 17 times thus far today. Every time I have received a message: "Due to the extreme level of calls, we cannot help you." The line is then cut. Then I went to the website about 10 minutes ago and it is now down for maintenance.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON STRAIGHT TALK. For the extra five or six bucks you spend on getting a real plan, you will avoid an incredible amount of trouble. I myself use my phone to help support a family. Tomorrow I will be purchasing a real phone with a real phone company.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. If you get a phone with Straight Talk, you are going to be disappointed, harassed, and you will have only the most intermittent of service. And rest assured, if you ever have a problem, nobody in this company will care one whit about you - if they can even UNDERSTAND you!
HONDURAS? -- I subscribed to Straight Talk after horrible service from T-Mobile. I used their $45 prepaid program after hearing they used AT&T towers. For one their so-called 4G service is shady everywhere and after your first Gigs of data are up, it is suppose to switch to 3G service. Instead it goes to no service.
I have to call Tech Support every 2-3 days, and those stoners in Honduras and other foreign countries are incredibly slow. You have to spell everything out. They cannot project or think for themselves and the complete idiots actual will not transfer you unless you say 'Yes' or 'Okay'. Remedial Math, anyone? Seriously you have waste someone's time by using a pointless script and ask for permission to give you tech support when in fact you ARE calling Tech Support?!!!
Even after having only used about 50 MB (YES, MEGS not gigs) of data, I cannot get online in any city that I am at!!! I always have to call Tech Support whenever I go to a different location. It's called 'mobile phone' of course I travel!!! In order get fix your service they ask that you use a different phone!!!! Who carries two phones whenever they travel?!
Only three times out of about 56 times of calling Tech Support did they allow me advice to fix my connection. Once they sent me a text with instructions. The other times I had to use their toll free number and block my number going out just to receive instructions. This is torture the extent users have to go through with this Straight Talk service that never works consistently ANYWHERE!
This last time I threatened to sue them, the Tech guy with poor English said I could not get a refund because there was an outage in my area, and the ** hung up. When I called back, my phone said it was deactivated just like it says today! Not only did they deactivate my phone, they changed my provider without my KNOWLEDGE to NetZero and reported my phone as 'stolen'! Now I can't use my phone at all. In what country is this legal!!!???
ARIZONA -- Beware of having a problem - their customer service reps are not paid to think, just follow standard procedures. I purchased a Straight Talk phone to be used in two different zip codes. I successfully used the phone in the first zip code for four months - no problems. When I went to the second zip code, the phone won't work. Why? Because the local Wal-Mart says it's a known issue in the area I live. It works two blocks from my home, just not on my street. Everyone here has a Sprint phone.
I need a Sprint/CDMA phone, not an AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile GSM phone. I've been going through the Straight Talk customer service process for four weeks and the phone still doesn't work at my home. They've sent me multiple SIM cards (forgetting to send the first one for five business days until I tracked down a supervisor). One month later, they tell me to FedEx them the phone I paid for ($149) and then they'll send me the same phone/SIM card. They don't care that it won't work, we have to follow their process.
Now they expect me to be without a phone for two weeks during this process - 5 days for my phone to get to them and 5 business days to get me another one. They won't send a replacement phone until they receive mine. I'm supposed to trust them with my phone, but they won't trust me.
After five days I had to get a land line. Now I purchased a $19.99 Sprint phone with Boost Mobile (uses Sprint) and it works fine at my home. I need it when traveling during the time they will have my phone. They continue to charge me the monthly service charge even though they tell me that once the phone works, they will credit me for the time it didn't work. Very frustrating.
I bought 2 sim cards from Straight Talk from their website, cost $14.99 each plus $5 shipping. I was lured in by their lime green with black & white lettering stating "cut your cell phone bill in half, feel richer" unlimited minutes texts & mobile web access nationwide anytime plus unlimited calls to 411. Well within approx 10 days of activation, I received an automated call from ST saying I had overused my web and was in jeopardy of being cut off!
I immediately called them asking about the unlimited web I thought I was getting and asked how much had I even used. The representative replied that she couldn't tell me how much I used and how it was unlimited NAV and not unlimited web! What? I said "that's crazy" and switched my service that same day to another AT&T provider that let's you know how much web you're using. Straight Talk is a scam company and frauding the consumer. And I'd like my money back - I paid for the sim $14.99 plus $4.95 shipping and service of $45 unlimited plans x 2.
A few months ago I bought a Straight Talk phone from Walmart and what seemed like a great deal initially, has turned into one of the worst situations I have ever encountered as a consumer. Walmart runs this promotion blitz about Straight Talk saving you hundreds of dollars a year off your regular cell phone service because you can have unlimited time and text messages for just $45.00 a month with the purchase of a Straight Talk card (or, you can opt for their $30.00 card, which gives you about 16+ hours of talk time, which on the surface, still seems like a good deal).
Just buy a renewal card every month and you're good to go. In theory. You of course need to buy their phone and the lowest price phone is the LG 220 which is $39.95. The problem is (and this is a BIGGIE) the "service" period only runs 30 days at a time (calculated from the time you apply the new service card to your phone), and if you let the service lapse for more a week, good luck to you, because they deactivate your phone number and there is no way to get it back! (Yes, you heard me right.)
I do not use a cell phone all that much, so I bought the $30.00 cards, and for the first couple of months everything was copacetic. I will admit I am a little A.D.D. and I did let the service period lapse a couple of weeks before I bought a new card (keep in mind I was not aware of their "policy" at that point in time). So I went out and bought a new $30.00 card, and called their 800 number to credit me the minutes as I had done before without incident
When you call the Straight Talk toll-free number, you get a voicemail with an American accent sweetly explaining your options, but when you finally get through to a live service rep, you are connected to a boiler room in Calcutta or someplace, and while well-spoken and overly polite, some of these reps are difficult to understand. They almost seem like automatons with the same pat responses to your questions. I am certainly not a racist, and understand outsourcing is a fact of life, but to keep asking someone to repeat themselves just so you can understand them gets ridiculous.
In any event, I was told, yes, they would renew my minutes, but I would be assigned a new phone number. WHAT!? I had given this number to friends, family, and businesses (it was also on my business card). Sorry, **. That was the policy. This time, there was a lot more rigmarole in getting the phone reprogrammed, and I was on the phone with them a long time.
I should have dumped Straight Talk at that point, but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. While I told the rep, I never heard of such a thing, I guess it was my bad, and I'll agree to take another number. I then had to contact innumerable people to alert them of the new number. Incredibly inconvenient. They also thought the policy was moronic.
To make a long story longer, it happened again (I still have major issues on exactly when my last service period started, but they insist I'm a couple of weeks over). Guess what? They are assigning me another phone number! The truly idiotic thing is the number they've assigned me is the FIRST number I had (correct, the same one they said I could not have back under any circumstances). An angry email to them got me a form letter reply. Absolutely insulting.
My strong advice to anyone is steer clear of Straight Talk. This is not a company you want to deal with. They play musical chairs with their phone numbers, and are completely unconcerned that it impacts your life negatively. If having ONE number is important to you, go with a legitimate company that has a cheap monthly plan. If your service period lapses, At least they won't have reassigned your number to another party after 2 weeks! I am so done with this company. I'll use up the minutes on this current card and then I will enjoy taking my boot heel to the Straight Talk phone. Wake up, Walmart. Straight Talk is bad news.
On 2/24/10, between 2:45 PM and 5:05 PM, my phone was deactivated and my number given to someone else. This was confirmed by my wife and mother as well as by Straight Talk representatives when we called them. Our account was set up to have the money taken directly out of our checking account on the 26th of each month. They repeatedly messed this up, requiring several calls to reset the auto-pay. My wife's phone was turned off several times for, "having a zero balance" even though we were on an unlimited plan. Because we used auto-pay, we were not behind on account payments...they were current.
When I left work on 2/24, I tried to call my wife and received a message that the mobile number I was using was inactive. My wife tried calling me and some man answered and said he bought the phone that afternoon and was given my number. The same thing happened when my mother tried calling me. We called Straight Talk at 5:45 PM and they confirmed that my phone had been deactivated and the number given to someone else.
We then talked to a couple of different customer service agents and a supervisor and told them that we wanted to cancel the accounts and deactivate the phones. They told us again that my phone was deactivated and then proceeded to deactivate her phone in the middle of the call.
On 3/3/2010, my wife was checking our bank account and found that Straight Talk had charged our account $49.34 on 2/27/2010. We canceled our account on 2/24/10, two days before the start of the next billing cycle. When we called Straight Talk, they told us that the deactivation of my phone had been an oversight and that they were giving me back the number.
After we told them that we did not want the account and that it had been deactivated on 2/24/10, they stated that they could not do anything about it and that we were essentially stuck with the charge whether the phone was active or not. We informed our bank and are in the process of recovering the money. As of 3/4/2010, the phone is again deactivated.