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Posted by Sunnyryanj on 03/20/2006
COLORADO -- I have had contract phones for a long time. I am not a person who lives on their cellphone. I decided to try prepaid cellphone service instead. I tried Verizon, T-Mobile, Virgin, etc.. I still found that my minutes were temporary, meaning that they would be erased after a month. I also had trouble with coverage at home and when I traveled. My friend suggested I try Tracfone. I did my research and purchased one. Here is what I found. Unlike any other carrier, Tracfone doesn't have their own service (towers,etc..). They have agreements with all the carriers, so their phones piggyback off whatever carrier is available. Since having Tracfones for a year now, I have experienced the benefit of this in that I have more coverage in more places that any phone I've had previously. When I purchased my first phone (I have 2 Tracfones now-Nokia 1100,Motorola v60icdma), I got a yearcard for it. My minutes are safe for a year. Before I activated my Tracfone, my friend sent me a "referral" from the company. It gave me one hundred minutes on my phone for free! I though that was a great addition to everything else. There is a lot more detail I could give about the phones themselves etc. If you have any questions or need a referral for yourself, feel free to email me, sunnyryanj is my address at yahoo.

The only thing one should consider about Tracfone is which phone is right for your needs. I started with a Motorola v60i w/cdma technology. I find it gets the best coverage when traveling but it does charge double minutes when roaming. Because of this, I also purchased a Tracfone Nokia 1100 w/gsm technology. It actually get better signal in the town I'm in but not as good when I'm traveling through the mountains. I doesn't have roaming charges, same rate anywhere in the country.

Overall, Tracfone has been exactly what I needed in a cellphone, because I don't live on mine, if I did, I'd get some contract plan. I use my phone maybe once or twice a day and I don't stay on it for hours.

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Posted by Feisty on 2007-05-03:
My experience with Tracfone has been very much as already described here.

Prepaid cell phones in general wouldn't seem to be the solution for people who use their phones either as their sole means of telecommunication or those who use cell phones extensively for whatever reason. But for myself, who uses the cell phone only on an as-needed basis, Tracfone has worked out well.

It is true that the customer service reps to whom I have spoken are people with moderate to heavy Asian accents, but to this date, that has not adversely effected my ability to conduct service with them. Just be prepared to proceed a little more slowly to ensure understanding of information on both ends; your patience will be rewarded.
Posted by MissOrioles on 2007-10-02:
If you live back ward state it does work as well. plus the card bonus air time do not honor it.Say they expired the card does not have experation date. when give number for bonus time it expired the dy before they give to you. One nice thing you can load minutes without help.
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Screwed by TracFone
Posted by Kl25 on 06/24/2013
I have been a TracFone customer from October 2002 through June of 2013. Sometimes my wife and I had two phones and sometimes one. Over the years I have recommended TracFone to friends and relatives, several of which have taken my advice. Once my minutes run out, we are done forever. Apparently the management of TracFone feels that screwing a loyal customer out of 112 minutes is worth the loss of revenue and the bad publicity.

Over the years customer service has not been great. When I called, I expected to wait on hold for about 20 minutes and then talk to someone in India where you (or they) had to repeat things several times to be understood. This is what I expected and this is what I got until now. I accepted this level of service because of the low prices and the fact that I could do a lot of things on-line. I only had to call on the phone once every year or two.

Recently a relative died and we were left with a phone with 112 minutes on it. TracFone has a policy that lets you move minutes from a phone you are taking out of service to one that has service. There appeared to be no way to do this online, so I waited until I had an hour of free time and called. At the end of one hour on hold, I had to leave for a doctor’s appointment, so I was forced to hang up and loose my place in line.

It took me four days until I had enough time to try again. This time my call was taken after “ONLY” 40 minutes on hold. I was told that normally I could transfer the 112 minutes, but that my airtime had expired 10 hours before my second call and I would have to pay for another month of air time for the 10 minutes needed to transfer the minutes over to our other phone. When I told them that the time was expired because they made me wait on hold for an hour, they would not listen. They kept claiming they were not at fault and I would have to pay. I then asked to talk to a supervisor. I was given excuse after excuse as to why I could not talk to a supervisor.

Finally after asking six times, she said she would put me on hold and try to get a supervisor. After a few minutes, she came back and told me that no supervisors were available and one would have to call me back. I gave her my name and phone number and she promised a supervisor would call me back. It has been six days and there have been no calls. I even checked my caller ID log to make sure I didn’t miss a call (I do have voicemail).

So feel free to become a TracFone customer if you like dealing with a company that will keep you on hold for hours, cheat you out of money you paid, treat you like sh*t, and lie to you about calling back.
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Posted by Jerry on 2014-01-05:
I had a similar experience with tracfone reps cheating me out of 250 minutes. I've been a tracfone customer for several years but once I use my minutes I will never use them again. No one from India is going to treat me the way they did and get by with it. Once my credit card statement come out I plan on reversing the charges. Tracfone refuses to make good on it. My credit card company is aware of this and they plan to reach out to them to dispute the charges. Tracfone didn't use to be this way but I guess they don't need business now. Well, I for one will not be giving them anymore business.
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Tracfone horrible customer service
Posted by Ctd096 on 07/28/2010
9700 NW 112TH AVENUE, FLORIDA -- Incident = I have attached below some of the e-mails that have been going back and forth between tracfone and myself. I purchased a new phone on June 21 2010 and tried to have it activated with my old tracfone #. On June 21 they told me my phone will be active with transferred # in one hor after phone conversation/activation. At that time they had transferred my minutes from my old phone to my new phone. To date if I try to make a phone call I get a message saying if this is an emergency please hang up and dial 911, your trafone has not been activated. When making calls to the phone, it goes immediately to voicemail. They have sent me two new sim cards and the problem still remains. I have been calling practically every day. I spend hours on the phone during the day and then go home at nite and spend hours more on the phone to no avail. The thing is I have 1000 minutes left on the phone and need to either get the phone working or my money back. See below. Thanks.

I have been on the phone practically every day with your customer care. Every one gives me a different story. My phone still doesn\'t work even with this second sim card that you have sent. I spend hours upon hours on the phone with you guys. I keep getting instructions to call back again in 24 hrs. When I call and give either my serial # or case or ticket # the customer service representative doesn\'t see any information on any of my previous transactions.

I purchased this phone on June 21 2010. You guys have ported my # like 3 times now. I need my phone to work. Can some one tell me what\'s really going on? Below I have pasted some of the most recent e-mails I received from tracfone.

From: TracFone Wireless
To: stanleyphilgriffin@yahoo.com
Sent: Sat, July 17, 2010 10:28:14 AM
Subject: Your TRACFONE Case Number

Dear TRACFONE Customer,

Our records indicate that a case for a SIM Card replacement was created on 2010-07-17 10:26:44.0. We apologize for the inconvenience and will ship your new SIM Card within 3-5 business days.

Your case number is 1020910253. You can contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-867-7183, or visit our website at www.tracfone.com to check the status of your case.

Thank you for your patience,
TRACFONE Customer Service

Re: Port Case Incomplete (KMM6745525V94417L0KM)From: TracFone Customer Service View Contact
To: stanleyphilgriffin@yahoo.com


Dear Stanley,

Thank you for your interest in TracFone Wireless. We are responding to
your recent inquiry.

We attempted to contact you on 07/05/10 10:41 AM EST at 340-715-9818,
but you were not available.

Our record shows that the port in process was successfully and you
should receive a new SIM card, but upon further checking on your
account, we have verified that there are no SIM sent out.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any
inconvenience this issue may have caused you. We have escalated that
issue and process the replacement of your SIM card. You may receive your
replacement SIM card in three to five days but there is also a
possibility that it may take up to seven days.

In order to further assist you, we will need to speak to you directly.
Please contact one of our customer service representatives at
1-800-867-7183. For your convenience, our representatives are available
Monday-Sunday from 8:00 AM to 10:45 PM EST.

Thank you for being a TracFone Wireless customer. We appreciate your


TracFone Wireless

Thu, July 1, 2010 10:22:42 AM Re: Port Case Incomplete (KMM6712427V43147L0KM)
From: STANLEY GRIFFIN View Contact
To: TracFone Customer Service ; STANLEY GRIFFIN


My new tracfone still doesn\'t work. I have not received the new simm card that one representative said I would need. My cell phone still shows 340 626 0279 under my number. The number is supposed to be 340 513 7079. When I try calling 340 513 7079 the phone call goes directly/immediately to voicemail. When I try making a phone call it says \"emergency only this phone is not activated. if this is an emergency please hang up and dial 911.\"

Like I been trying to explain to you, the new tracfone is still not working. What are you guys gonna do about it? I try calling your 800 # and it says can\'t take my call now due to high volume of traffic. Call back later.

You guys take like almost a week to answer an email. I am not very happy with the service I am receiving

From: TracFone Customer Service
To: stanleyphilgriffin@yahoo.com
Sent: Thu, July 1, 2010 3:56:46 AM
Subject: Re: Port Case Incomplete (KMM6712427V43147L0KM)

Dear Stanley,

Thank you for your interest in TracFone Wireless. We are responding to
your recent inquiry.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any
inconvenience you may have experienced with this issue.

Our records show that your phone is active and has a due date of
03/24/2014. Please add additional TracFone Prepaid Wireless Airtime
prior to this date, to keep your TracFone Service and maintain your
current phone number.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact one of our
customer care representatives at 1-800-867-7183. For your convenience,
our representatives are available Monday-Sunday from 8:00 AM to 10:45 PM

Thank you for being a TracFone Wireless customer. We appreciate your


TracFone Wireless

Original Message Follows:
I spoke with a customer representative on the phone last night Sunday June 27 2010.
He said that trcfone will be sending me a new simm card in the mail. He
said I will receive it either today or tomorrow. He also said al I will
have to do is put this simm card in, turn phone off/on and all should be

Now I see this e-mail that says something totally different. I went to
your site. When I enter my serial# of new phone it says that a
tranaction is pending, give five minutes and try again.

I see nothing in this e-mail about a simm card being sent to me. Can you
please clarify and let me know what\'s really going on? My phone still
doesn\'t work.

From: TracFone Customer Service
To: stanleyphilgriffin@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, June 28, 2010 10:13:56 AM
Subject: Re: Port Case Incomplete (KMM6675170V90860L0KM)

Dear Stanley,

Thank you for your interest in TracFone Wireless. We are responding to
your recent inquiry.

Upon further review of your account, it appears that your issue has been
resolved. Your phone with serial number 012125001263152 is already
active with phone number 3405137079.

Furthermore, our system shows that your TracFone has a pending phone
update and we need to enter series of codes to your phone. To update the
phone, please do the following (please have your TracFone with you and
fully charged during this process):

Step 1: Visit our website at www.tracfone.com and select the \"Activate
phone, add or buy airtime\" option.
Step 2: Click on the Technical Support menu under the \"Service &
Support\" section.
Step 3: Please enter your serial number (IMEI/ESN/MEID) into the \"Report
Technical Difficulties\" field, and click Submit.
Step 4: Follow the instructions as they appear on your screen.

You can also click on the following link and enter your serial number in
the \'Report Technical Difficulties\' section:

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact one of our
customer care representatives at 1-800-867-7183. For your convenience,
our representatives are available Monday-Sunday from 8:00 AM to 10:45 PM

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any
inconvenience this issue may have caused you. Thank you for being a
TracFone Wireless customer. We appreciate your business.


TracFone Wireless

Original Message Follows:
Issue Category:
Specific Issue:
Port Case Incomplete
Brief description of issue:
Ticket # 1020236037 I am trying to have you guys transfer my old
tracfone # to my new tracfone. Each time I call your 800 number after
giving my information I get conflicting information from your reps. I
need you guys to just simply tranfer 340 513 7079 to my new cell phone
serial # 1020236037. The last representative I spoke with at appx 1030 am on
06/24/10 is now telling me that you are waiting for instructions from my
old carrier to transfer # to tracfone. There is no old carrier here.
This has been a tracfone # for years now. Like I said I just want it
transferred to my new tracfone. I have done this in the past when I
purchased a new tracfone. I have bee on the phone with your people for
almost 2 hours of talking and nothing happens. Please get me up and
running as soon as possible or I may have no choice than to just cancel
all my tracfone stuff and use another carrier that won\'t give me all
this up and down different story situation.
TracFone phone number:
340 513 7079
First Name:
Last Name:
Address Type:
St. Thomas
Zip Code:
Phone Type:
Phone Number:
340 715 9818

Damage Resulting = I have been without tracphone service from June 21 2010 till now. I use this phone to take calls from customers. No one is able to reach me for over a month now. I am in the office machine business and bill 110.00 per hour per job. I have spent appx 4-5 hours a day on the phone with tracfone to no avail. They constantly lie to me. Every one gives me a different scenario when I call.
Contact me = Y
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-28:
Just as an FYI, you should be very clear with terminology because it can cause confusion if different customer service reps read your email. The term in question is "port." Porting is the process by which numbers are transferred between carriers. If I'm understanding your complaint, you just replaced one TracFone with another--so this is just a number transfer, not a port.
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TracFone needs to be in time out
Posted by Teachtech on 07/22/2009
Have you ever felt powerless as a consumer? How about neglected or ignored by a company? If so, maybe you've tried to get service from Tracphone!
My son gave me his old Motorola Tracphone with 500+ minutes left on it. He wanted me to have a cell phone to use for emergencies - him dialing in or me dialing out. It seemed like it should be a simple task to reactivate a phone with minutes on it. Not so with Tracphone! The customer service voice-response series of dead-end recordings is confusing and frustrating to navigate. If one is fortunate enough to speak with a live person, the solution that's promised is not delivered.
Online customer service seemed to be more responsive at first. So, I followed the directions given to me as a solution, and Tracphone charged my credit card $74.88 May 26, 2009. This charge was to cover a month of service, which was supersized to a year to give me time to use the new and old minutes. In order to reactivate the phone, however, I was told I had to wait for the arrival of a new SIM card, "which should arrive in 3 - 5 business days." That was 7 phone calls, 10 e-mails, and 60 days ago. I'M STILL WAITING FOR THE SIM CARD. Meanwhile, the 60 day "grace" period for reactivation has passed, the 500+ minutes should have expired, and I have been without a phone for three months.
I have requested assistance from the Better Business Bureau.
Three things I've learned from my experience with this company: Take Note:
1 - Never let the reactivation date for prepaid minutes expire. If you do, you have fallen into "their" trap and might not get out without damage to your pride and/or pocketbook.
2 - Tracphone needs competition. I would like to work for the competition.
3 - If you have a friend with a wireless network, ask to join in. You may be fortunate enough to deal with real people that speak your language when you need customer service.

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Posted by GenuineNerd on 2009-07-22:
I own a Tracfone that I only use for emergencies and occasional calling, and I have been happy. I have owned Tracfones for about 7 years now. However, it is a good idea to buy a "one year" card every year to keep the number active, and keep an eye out for "double minutes" and other promotions. Tracfone was the first to offer prepaid cellular phone service; now the other cell phone providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) have prepaid plans of their own...Tracfone DOES have competition. Other prepaid providers include Net 10 (also owned by Tracfone), Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Page Plus Cellular, to name a few. Both of my Tracfones are Nokias, and when my first Nokia Tracfone became obsolete, Tracfone gave me a new phone, and transferred my minutes, at NO charge. And customer service, whenever I needed it, was helpful when I switched phones.
Posted by teachtech on 2009-07-24:
I'm sincerely happy that you are happy. Now that I have read other Tracphone-related postings, I realize how VERY fortunate you are to be satisfied because 57% of us are not...
Count your blessings...
Posted by jktshff1 on 2009-07-24:
where did you come up with the 57% figure?
Sounds like GN did their homework.
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Horrible Experience * Still Waiting On Hold For Tracfone Customer Service ??? (Click For Low Wait Number)
Posted by Bloored555 on 10/06/2010
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Quick Answer: I found a low wait / no wait 800 number for Tracfone- Call 1-800-323-2366. AGAIN, THAT'S 800-323-2366

Long Answer:

> If you plan to replace your traditional phone with just a Tracfone, PREPARE TO SUFFER.

> If you plan to rely on Tracfone as your only phone, PREPARE TO SUFFER IN INFINITY.

> If you wanna kill off your elderly family members by giving them a heart attack (induced by horrendous frusturation), give them a Tracfone.

As for my [HORRIBLE] experience with Tracfone:

> I purchased the T105G at Wal-Mart for $10.

> I purchased the "50 Minute Value Plan" for $10/mo, thinking I would attempt to downsize my cell phone bills.

(so far so good, but then the Tracfone shows its true colors)

> THE "UNLIMITED DOUBLE MINUTES" TAGLINE IS VERY MISLEADING. YOU ONLY GET DOUBLE MINUTES IF YOU PURCHASE THE [OVERPRICED] MINUTE CARDS AT STORES OR ONLINE. IF YOU PURCHASE A "VALUE PLAN" AND "MINUTE BUNDLES," YOU WILL NOT GET DOUBLE MINUTES. This is not mentioned anywhere or anywhere prominent in the literature or on the website (if it is mentioned, it's hidden like the interest rate section of a Pre-Obama Era credit card application)

> Instead of downsizing my life, I have found a CONFUSING myriad of "special bonus codes" that I failed to use in the correct order AND THUS I don't get the little bonus's. (the cheesy looking people in the Tracfone website/coupon book stock photos aren't smiling because they're happy with Tracfone; they're smiling because they think you're a fool for buying a Tracfone)

> The 10 minute bonus codes sound lame... ...and in many ways they're beyond lame. BUT THEY GO A LONG WAY WHEN EACH 20-SECOND CALL COSTS AN ENTIRE MINUTE.

> Inbound "Wrong Number" calls will cost you. The previous owner of my Tracfone number is evading his/her creditors. I now get their Spanish language robo calls, and I get charged if I simply pick up the phone and say "hello" to "Dora The Collector."

> Most recently, I was low on minutes, so I purchased a "50 Minute Bundle" online for only $10. The charge shows up immediately on my credit card, but THREE DAYS LATER MY MINUTES ARE STILL M. I.A.

> A friend called when I had only 10 minutes left... ...the call cut-off like the cut-off of a Lifeline Caller/Friend on the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." (Great! Now my friends think I'm officially low class for having a pre-paid cell phone!)

But wait, my Tracfone experience gets even worse...

> CUSTOMER SERVICE CALLS TO TRACFONE ARE NOT FREE. Or in other words, YOUR MINUTES ARE USED UP WHEN YOU CALL TRACFONE CUSTOMER SERVICE. If you call their widely published number, you will go through all of your minutes.

> Having ditched my traditional, $60/mo cell line, and not having a land line in my home.... ...I went to a payphone to call the 800 number listed on the Tracfone website. I WAITED 90 MINUTES ONE EVENING, WITH NO ANSWER. JUST HORRIBLE, REPEATING MUZAK THAT MADE ME WANT TO SPLIT A VEIN, wondering what STD I was going to contract from the dirty pay phone (bring sanitizing wipes and drive to a nice neighborhood if you need to do the same). I began walking down the line of pay phones, trying the number with different prompts, while leaving the other payphones off the hook. NO LUCK WHATSOEVER.

> On day 2, I emailed technical support with my pleas for help (does anyone really enjoy emailing customer service, tech support ???).

> On day 3, I get a reply from tech support, with instructions and the new, low wait / no wait customer service number.

> The email tech support instructions were of no help... ...but the email mentioned "that I should have 100 minutes on my phone now" (50 minutes from my 50 minute bundle; 50 extra minutes thanks to "Unlimited Double Minutes!").

> The email included instructions with the 800-323-2366 number to call. BACK TO THE PAYPHONES ! I called this number [from a dirty payphone], and the customer service representative was VERY nice and helpful. She solved my problem after 20 minutes on the phone. But then she also kindly informed me "that because I purchased a "50 Minute Bundle, I do not qualify for the Double Minutes. I kindly asked if I could be compensated for the 2 hours I've spent at payphones and she declined my request.

SERIOUSLY... After what I've been through with Tracfone... All the nickle and diming, misleading advertising, Pay-Per-Minute Phone Support, etc etc. ...

IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE ME ONE BIT if Tracfone gives out a "Perpetual Hold Customer Service Number" (800- with hopes that practically everyone uses the online Customer Service forms which saves them a bundle (all those calls to Third World call centers really add up!). I don't know this for sure... But the drift of everything I have experienced tells me that it's highly likely.

BOTTOM LINE: I have found Tracfone to be my worst nightmare, eclipsing my experience with Spring PCS from 5-10 years ago. I honestly didn't think this was possible. The only person who could possibly enjoy my experience is Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

I had some very important and urgent phone calls to make this week, and I waited three days to finally get my problem resolved.


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Posted by Alain on 2010-10-07:
Some members here have suggested that Tracfone is better suited for occasional or supplemental use. I've had a Tracfone for more than 5 years and haven't experienced the problems you've had.
Posted by yoke on 2010-10-07:
We have used Tracfone for a couple of years and have been very happy with them and the service. If you are going to make alot of calls or texting it is not the plan.
Posted by Don D. on 2010-10-07:
Alain: In the immortal words of Colonel Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds... "That's a bingo!"
Posted by Disgusted on 2011-12-08:
Only a few days - you were lucky - I have been waiting 8 days!
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Poor coverage, Poor website functions, Customer Service indifference
Posted by Yankeyboy on 02/18/2010
Old and grey
Old and grey
9700 112TH ST AVE, FLORIDA -- I got a tracfone for emergency use. It gives me a check restriction-34 message in my home and nothing more happens. I'd really like to know what that means? The website offers no help. They make you register your personal and phone information to access the site, then each time you try to contact them for service you are required to enter all this information over and over again. And this does no good since the website contact just refers you back to the 800#s that you can't reach because your phone does not work. If you find a phone that does work and use their 800# you can count on 10 minutes on hold. This is a very effective program to discourage all but the most desperate of customers with copious time to commit to contacting them.

I too gave up and accepted the cheap phone was useless. I am in Jacsinvile, Florida, my home just a few miles from the Federal Reserve building. I'm not out in the woods. Yes I receive no service. If I wander around town I can get reception but it's spotty and the idea of completing a call is just a dream so far. It's been a year.

I contacted the State of Florida Office of Public Council and began to receive a series of declarations from a Kevin Del Castillo. I have written frequent emails asking numerous questions (like what does "check restriction -34" Mean?) and received zero answers. He chooses to send these proclamations once a week. "We are sending you a replacement phone" e. g. Upon receipt of the replacement it blew up on the charger the first day. This replacement phone came with a return envelope. I wrote asking for direction how to proceed. After several days I used the enclosed return envelope to return the defective phone.

Mr Del Castillo replied a week later he was sending a replacement envelope. I had emailed him two days earlier I'd already returned the defective phone in the return envelope. I wrote again "its already been returned." A week later he wrote "We are awaiting the return of the defective phone to proceed." A week after that I received another proclamation "we are sending a replacement phone."

During these passing weeks the old phone on which I had 600 unused minutes, was put out of service. I had to register the replacement phone when I received it to activate service. In doing this it suplanted the old unused phone. So because their original phone that never worked prevented me from using the 600 minutes, I lost them. Heads they Win tails we lose. Pretty good odds for them. The are Very proficient at protecting their interests. I am on a program which adds 68 minutes per month. This addition was not made for February and the phone disconnected completely. Making sure I had absolutely NO phone access while they got around to replacing the two defective phones.

I shall continue to try to contact the office of public council. They don't answer their emails either, apparently. I wish I knew of some agency that actually is interested in improving cellular services. They seem to have everything their way. Take it or leave it isn't even an option. It's they take and we leave. But they have no competition because all cellular companies have the same attitude. And when they become notorious, they just change the names e. g. Comcast or AT$T. Same lousy coverage same lousy indifference to customers. And we pay and pay... Thanks and good luck.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-18:
"It gives me a check restriction-34 message in my home and nothing more happens."

It means you have no signal.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2010-02-19:
We've used Tracfone for about 10 years and love it!! Rarely do we get into a dead zone with no signal and we've always been able to trasfer our minutes when we upgraded phones.
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Not everyone can afford a cell phone that's why United States federal government is trying to help economically repressed people
Posted by Bent&Broken on 01/01/2010
9700 NW. 1 12TH AVE., MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I would like to commend the United States federal government for attempting to provide a vital free cellular telephone service to our many elderly and handicapped individuals that may possibly due to circumstances beyond their control may find themselves living in poverty, that may otherwise not be able to own a telephone at all. These are the very people that often need a telephone the most and that would often otherwise be denied of such a vital and possibly life-saving service. Compassion for the less fortunate among us seems to almost be forgotten in the shadow of those that would abuse our system for their own personal gain because of selfishness and greed. Should we become callous to the outcries and suffering of all those that are in true need because of the abuse of a few.

Although I commend our government on their good intentions I must also severely criticized their choice of service providers through this particular cellular telephone company(TracFone wireless of Miami Florida which owns safe link). I personally tried to do business with them and found them to be one of the worse cellular telephone providers I have ever encountered. If our government wants to help the economically repressed and handicapped with cellular telephones they really could not have made a worse choice of companies to provide this service on behalf of the United States government.

Sometimes our government seems to be penny wise and pound foolish. I would think that many telephone companies of higher quality would trip over each other trying to compete for such a large and lucrative contract with the United States government and that there is no reason that our government must settle for this particular provider. I believe the best recourse of action for any person having problems with this organization would be to contact the Atty. Gen.'s office and other consumer types of watchdog agencies and to convey to them factually, accurately and truthfully whatever negative experiences people may have endured in their attempts to do business with this organization (TracFone) which is why such agencies exist (for consumer protection).

The fact that the poor people must depend upon the service and are receiving it free does not excuse TracFone's unconscionable behavior because they are being well paid by taxpayer dollars to perform their contractual obligation to those in need of the service. If we do nothing about such things and think that we can not make a difference: then we are beaten before we've begun. Only when good people sit idly by and do nothing can the bad people and organizations prevail over us. We must take action if we want results and if nothing to cause changes nothing will change. It was our courage, compassion and conviction for a better way of life that at one time founded this unique and special nation. We must continue to defend the broken, handicapped and elderly among us also that cannot always defend them selves or we are no better than those that oppress them. And they, the oppressed must also on behalf of themselves and others like them selves take action and not think that they cannot make a difference because of the severity of their difficulties and belief that no one really cares, because some of us do care. We should all remember that in the twinkling of an eye any one of us could find ourselves handicapped for life and lose everything we ever worked for. Think about that as we drive to work today. Think about that as we send our children off to school. Think about that all the time because it could be any one of us on any given day of the week. Yes, believe it or not, any one of us may also find ourselves living in poverty, crippled and broken and eating very little and not even a simple telephone. Think about it.
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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2010-01-01:
No good deed goes unpunished.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-01-01:
I would imagine that the service was bid and Trac had the lowest.
Posted by warddw1526 on 2010-01-01:
Not trying to be callous, but the expression "beggars can't be choosers" comes to mind. I do not mean that "economically repressed people" are beggars, but if they can get discounted services, they should be happy to get the discounted services.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-01-01:
Those voices keep bringing me back to this, but I am not going to listen to them.
Posted by spiderman2 on 2010-01-01:
Why do people need a cell phone to live? I know there is a basic landline package under the theory that everyone should have a telephone and that the phone company can't turn off phones for certain people, but does everyone really need a cell?
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-01-01:
ward - that's the same phrase I'm thinking of

i would personally suggest if a free cell phone isn't good enough
there's always the option of buying your own phone and plan
or doing without and sticking with a landline
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-01:
I bought a Tracfone from Walmart for $15, and it takes $20 every three months to keep it running. And I would do without if I couldn't afford it. It's nice, but not a necessity by any means. This program is another example of the government trying to provide all things to all people at public expense. In certain areas any cellular provider may have better service than others. I've never had any problem w/Tracfone. Suggesting that poor people with free service are being oppressed by Tracfone is ridiculous.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-01-01:
and hell if you get the fancy flip phone one - i forget what model tho - you can even get double minutes for the life of your phone. the phone's only like 30 something i think.

or you can spend 50 and get the card for the same thing.
Posted by Nohandle on 2010-01-01:
Bent&Broken, you are absolutely correct: We should all remember that in the twinkling of an eye any one of us could find ourselves handicapped for life and lose everything we ever worked for. One does not have to be handicapped to find his investments gone. Too many saved and did without all of their working years to find themselves in a serious financial situation. Many are ineligible for the freebies.

I, personally, would not expect my fellow taxpayers to provide me with a special box so I could watch TV nor a cell phone. If it was provided, I certainly wouldn't complain. And BTY, the government is not helping the economically repressed, the taxpayers are. Some taxpayers simply can't afford it anymore.
Posted by Starlord on 2010-01-01:
Pepper, that is the Motorola W376g. It has all the bells and whistles, such as a camera, FM receiver, is Bluetooth compatible, and as you said, you get double minutes for the life of the phone. When I bought minea month ago, they were $29.88. I just saw an ad on TV that they are now selling for 19.88, with all other info remaining the same. We ahve been with Tracfone for 8 years and have received excellent service. One important point. Tracfone will work when Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, all the big national companies' phones say 'No Service.' I am disabled, and I first wanted the phone in case of an emergency because I am diabetic. No one gave me a phone. In fact Qwest sold me a $500 paperweight and threatened to cut off my home service if it wasn't paid. I never made nor received one phone call. Bent & Broken should be grateful, he is getting his phone free. So what if they don't jump through whatever hoops he wants them to? People complain too much and the program will go away.
Posted by Backlash2 on 2010-06-23:
Bent&Broken:For those that are disabled(like myself)and were working there is such a thing as social security diasbility which pays so much each month based on the length of time we worked and paid in and if it is a low amount,there are progams to compensate.I lost my job and almost everything but I do not have nor do I expect the government to give me a phone or any other luxury item.The idea of the phones was meant to help the people that needed it but the truth is the phones are in the hands of illegal aliens,drug rings and people just taking advantage of the system
Posted by snoozer66 on 2010-10-21:
Regarding SafeLink service: This is not a gov't giveaway. It is an extension of the long-standing LifeLine service. In actuality, the FCC mandates that carriers are responsible for this subsidy but they have managed to put it on their customers. For traditional landlines, registering w/ Lifeline provides a modest discount while also blocking long distance calling on said line. TracFone offers SafeLink to low income individuals/families who participate in specific federal assistance programs, most of which are administered on the state level, so some states have different criteria or don't participate at all. The USF (Universal Service Fee) is something collected as per the FCC on every single phone line in America, and has been for decades. It is not a tax, it is a fee and there is a difference. It was a result of mass deregulation decades ago, wherein telecommunications companies were able to vastly increase their revenues. It was never meant to be passed on directly to the consumer but there you have it.
TracFone actually makes money offering this service. The handsets are very basic and cheaply made. They receive tax incentives yearly by offering the phones and minutes. Further, many SafeLink participants buy additional airtime from month to month as needed and this is all profit directly to TracFone. Because there are limitations to it, it's very hard to take advantage of. You cannot choose a phone; there is no capability on the handsets beyond making/receiving calls and texts. They are not intended to compete with mobile devices that access the web, to d/l music or use most data services. They offer no perks. They are indeed a lifeline to poor, disabled and elderly folks for safety, to stay in contact with family/doctors/pharmacies/banks etc. A land-line phone will do you no good if you are stranded away from home. If you look around these days, there are less than 1/16th the number of pay phones than 30 years ago. Most cost 50 cents to 1 dollar for 3 minutes of talk time, and that's if they even work. Gone are the days that a business will allow you to make a local call on their phone, even in an emergency. Eventually, pay phones will be a thing of the past, except in areas such as airports, train stations and jails.
The average basic phone plan starts at $40.....but to start, even with prepaid and contract-less service, you must purchase a phone locked to that carrier, you must pay an activation fee (usually $35), you pay state taxes...and in many cases if your credit is less than great, you will pay a $100-$300 (or more) security deposit, contract or not. So, the average start-up cost for even a $40/month plan will cost about $125, significantly more if you choose a smart-phone and are required to put up a deposit.
The American cellular industry has priced out many potential customers, and is rife with limitations, fees, double billing practices and "gotchas" that simply ARE NOT ALLOWED in the rest of the developed world. The VERY LEAST the industry can do is offer basic service for those that can't afford what used to be considered a luxury, but is now pretty much a basic communications necessity. For the past 6 years I have paid and average of $130/monthly to T-mobile.
Now, disabled with a disease expected to result in death, I am forced to live on an SSDI income of $743/month. Even the lowest tier of service offered by T-mobile, offering 300 minutes + the smallest text bundle after taxes still tops $60. If you agree to a 2 year contract, you might save a few dollars, but, because the US allows cell carriers to "double bill" for text messages, you are really only getting 1/2 the # of texts per bundle, unless you pay an extra $20/month for unlimited texts. Also worth noting is the fact that companies like Cricket, Metro PCS, Boost and Virgin Mobile ALL still bill for roaming and are not known for consistent, dependable, surprise-free service. An advertised price ALWAYS has exclusions, limitations and variables according to region. TracFone will not charge extra if roaming occurs on a SafeLink handset.
This is a Godsend for folks like me. As far as I am concerned, for the billions a year that the Telco's bring in, a program such as SafeLink is the VERY least they can do.
Final thought re: drug dealers abusing this program----ever known any drug dealers? They are constantly making and receiving calls, so even if they do qualify for the program and phone, you can bet your buns that they are shelling out plenty of $$$ for extra airtime each month, AND, known felons are precluded from many public assistance programs and so wouldn't qualify to begin with.
I resent the term "welfare phone". The connotation is that a person using this service is somehow taking from others while not contributing to society or that person is dishonest and slothful. It's very easy to stand in judgment of those less fortunate, to clump them together in one miserable group, especially when you are in a better station in life---but WAIT! In a single day, everything you have could be wiped away. Disease, death, divorce, job loss, home loss---nobody is immune to circumstance beyond ones control. Best to be empathetic. Save your pity, save your scorn.
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Don't Buy 1-year 400 Minutes Card
Posted by MaryElizabethAnne on 03/13/2008
I purchased a TracFone for my 80-year-old mother and loaded it with 400 minutes that were supposedly good for one year without any further purchases of minutes required. The phone stopped working in 60 days and displayed an error message that we were required to purchase more minutes. She complained and received a new "Sim card" but when it arrived by mail, it could not be activated because "the system" did not recognize the number on the card as a valid Sim card number. While we were trying to get yet another SIM card, after several long waits on hold, they cut off the call. I had to drive two hours to her house to work on the problem, two hours back, and 1.5 hours on the phone -- and no result. That is obviously the Tracfone strategy - to wear you down.

The tone of the customer service people I dealt with was superior and snide and they obviously enjoyed scamming an old woman. A $165.00 lesson.

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Posted by FoggyOne on 2008-03-13:
I guess the first question is, did your mother use 400 minutes of air time? 400 minutes is less than 7 hours of air time. For two months that is less than 7 minutes a day on the phone. Every call she makes or receives is charged against that 400 minutes. So she is charged for incoming calls as well as outgoing calls. I got bit by this once because I thought my time was call-out time not air time.
Posted by steve101 on 2008-03-13:
I recently got a Tracfone at Walmart for 20.00 and it had a special deal where all minutes that you purchased on this phone are doubled. So for 20.00 I get a 60 minute card that doubles to 120 minutes and lasts for 3 months.
Posted by MaryElizabethAnne on 2008-03-20:
Thanks for asking, but my mother only used 4 minutes of airtime!
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Bad, Bad Service
Posted by CAESAR on 11/03/2007
FLORIDA -- This all started when I let my minutes run out on my Nokia phone, so I bought a new 60 min card for 20.00. When trying to redeem these minutes, my phone would not take it, so my wife called Tracfone and explained the situation to them, she was told that this Nokia phone which I have been using for the past couple years without any problems, suddenly was not compatible to our area code. So this person said that they would send a new free phone, so we agreed to this and she also told my wife that we would not lose the minutes already on the phone. So, a few days go by and I receive the Motorola phone in a box that stated "Reconditioned, guaranteed for one year". So, try to activate the phone and install the minutes, no luck. Call Tracfone again, my wife spoke to someone called Napoleon, and he tried to have us install several codes without any luck, the phone would not take the codes, it just said denied, so after an hour on the phone with someone who could hardly understand you or you him, he finally said that the phone was defective, but they would send out another phone in 5 to 10 days.

Well, we are past the 10 days, so my wife calls again, and no one seems to know what she is talking about when all she wanted to know was when our new phone would come. There did not seem to be any record of any conversation that she had with Napoleon. They wanted her to go through all of this again, and she did get upset with this lady and said that she had just done this and was not going to do it again. During this conversation, this woman was impossible to understand, and my wife would hear herself echoing every time she would say something. It was very strange.

The next step was emailing, which I did, customer service. Three times, and each time I was told to call and speak to one of the customer representatives, and of course, I said, why? You don't get anywhere with anyone that you cannot understand. All they wanted to do was have me call again and I just wanted to know where the phone was that was supposed to be sent to me. Anyhow, after a couple of e mails, they must have blocked me because, the mail came back, undeliverable. These people are an injustice. I do not even have a phone now, and my phone was working perfectly well before all this mess. This company is a joke, and they are getting away with this and it is so wrong.

Something does need to be done and I have contacted the BBB. No phone, lost minutes, and they will not reactivate my old phone either, can you believe this? Anyhow this is my story, and I am mad.
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Posted by steve101 on 2007-11-04:
When you let your Tracfone minutes expire, you lose whatever minutes you still have and you lose the phone number. Unfortunately it is easier to get a new phone for 20 bucks or less and start fresh than try to reset your phone with new minutes and a new number. A 60 minute card lasts for three months and you always see the expiration date on the screen. I have had a tracfone for 5 years without any problems.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2007-11-04:
Steve, we've also used TracFone with great success, I have never lost my minutes because I went past the date on my phone to get another card, its usually only by a couple days when its happened but I never lost my minutes, and only once did they change the phone number on me. A couple of times we have had to buy a new phone because the one we had was out-dated, wouldn't accept a charge, etc. and when we called TracFone, they helped us transfer the minutes from the old phone to the new phone. They've been great people to work with! And, our TracPhone worked when phones from Sprint, Alltell, Cingular and other's wouldn't, so we'll stay with it.
Posted by CAESAR on 2007-11-04:
My point is, I was told that Tracfone would send me a new free phone because mine was not any good any more for the area that I lived in. Tracfone has not held up their end of this and they have tried to do an injustice here by saying they will send you a free phone, and the first one does not work, and then they say they will send another one and they don't. All I wanted was a phone that worked
Posted by Starlord on 2007-11-04:
Read steve101's post again. You are gonna feel like a nimnull if you go to your mailbox tomorrow and find another phone from them. Chill, man.
Posted by phephe on 2008-09-18:
I have horror stories when it comes to customer service for tracfone! I also spent hours on the phone trying to get a new phone under warranty when my initial phone had problems. Then, recently, they have now decided that my double minute for life of the phone card is no longer valid on either of my 2 phones.. FRAUD!! They just decided that 2 years was long enough and they were no longer good. But that took 2 hours to find out after they first said there was no record of them (after I have successfully used them for 2 years) Do you realize how many countries you call at customer service? Ask them some time. I talked to people in Belize and the Phillipiens last night and India another time.I can't understand them either!! No more tracfone for me. I'm calling BBB too!!
Posted by Daniel on 2013-05-22:
If you have a legitimate complaint
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How do you get to speak to a real person??
Posted by Fed up with corporate world on 12/30/2005
My daughter got a tracfone for Christmas last week. We went online and followed all of the instructions for activating the phone. The website assigned her a phone number and said it should be working in 5 minutes, but give it up to 24 hours. I gave it 24 hours and it still didn't work, so I started calling the 1-800 number. Each time calling, I went through the whole "dial 1 for this, 2 for that, ..." and at the end was told they were too busy and to call back later, then disconnected. This went on for three days (and at least 25 calls). I even tried e-mailing the company, and was told they were too busy and wouldn't even accept my e-mail! I finally got a person on the phone on the fourth day, who after 47 minutes of putting me on hold, told me I had to go online and reactivate it again. He also gave me a case # and said to call back once I got the phone to work. I was able to get it working (16 hours later), but have been again trying to verify with the company that it's working. It's now 6 days later and haven't been able to speak to a person again. I also have been trying to set up the voice mail, but all the phone does is deduct units and disconnect me. All I'm asking for is to be able to speak to a real person on the phone (and I agree with the other person that it is virtually impossible to understand what the rep was saying, the accent was so heavy!)
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