Incompetence, bad policies and total disregard for their customers
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, Charlie. 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 Staright Talk phone.
Wake up, Walmart. Straight Talk is bad news.