I know someone who bought a Tacfone plan advertised as "no contract", prepaid, as you go from Walmart. The price of the phone was very reduced, and, in any other sector of society, when you buy a reduced-price product, you can safely assume that the paying price is what secures the device into your possession to use for its intended purpose.
In other words, you own the device.
But somehow cell phone companies apparently are allowed to escape this common, universal conception of what "buying" or "ownership" means in every other sector of society. When you buy a product, you pay for the product, and you own the product. Right? Well, surprise, surprise, ... you do NOT own a cell phone, when you buy it from a cell phone provider -- the phone is locked into that provider alone. They say it is "no contract", but this is a big lie, because their service agreement, which hardly makes it clear, says you cannot get the device that they lead you to believe you own unlocked from their network, until a year has passed.
Seriously? And this is legal? And they really do NOT make this clear? And they can call THIS "no contract"? Excuse me, but this IS a contract - it is a contract for a year to allow Tracfone to partially own your phone and tell you what you can and cannot do with it.
So, this person I know ... "bought" the Tracfone and service plan, paid the whole price to "own" the phone, changed jobs, and the phone did NOT work inside the buildings where she now worked. She worked on a university campus where emergency communication needs could arise WITHIN BUILDINGS, where a reasonable expectation is that the PHONE WORKS within buildings.
This person I know is distressed and needs to change to a service provider that she knows, for a fact, has a signal allowing functional phones INSIDE BUILDINGS. Her co-workers used the service provider she need, in order to penetrate those buildings with a functional phone signal. Oh, no problem, ... just take the phone she "bought" and "owns" and "paid off in full" to another service provider whose service WORKS.
But NO. The phone that she "bought" and "owns" and "paid off in full" is really NOT her property to do with what she NEEDS to do to use it for what it is designed to do. She gets her number ported. The new service provider breaks the bad news -- her phone is locked to the old service provider -- the old service provider will NOT unlock her phone that she "owns" and "paid for in full". She has not had the phone for a year yet, and so, unknown to her, she really does NOT own it to do with it what she desperately NEEDS to do with her own property.
Her phone then stopped working altogether. She had no phone now. The new service provider cancelled her port and order, so she could get her old service provider -- Tracfone -- to get her phone up and running again.
Long story short: her number disappeared from existence, she had to get a new number, remain held hostage by Tracfone, whose service still did NOT work INSIDE BUILDINGS, where she worked and needed phone capability for six or more hours a day.
She was forced to abandon her old number, get a new number, so that she could keep phone service for another few months, with a company (Tracfone) whose phone service does NOT work in her buildings.
No emergency-call capability, if an emergency situation arose, say, an active shooter on the university campus, or a mugger encounter during a trip to her car in a parking deck at night, or some other emergency communication that any reasonable person would expect to be able to have with a phone that is "owned" and "paid for in full" and "no contract".
Sorry, Tracfone, I call BS on this fair advertising front.
Product or Service Mentioned: Tracfone Phone Service.
Reason of review: Bad quality.
TracFone Pros: Phone choice, Phone price.
TracFone Cons: Functionality inside buildings, Fact the you do not really on the phone until a year is up, Phone is not yours because it is locked.