Pittsboro, Indiana
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This is a bit of a saga, so bear with me.

About a year and a half ago, I realized I couldn't make/receive texts or calls. When I called Tracfone, a customer service rep told me my phone had been deactivated because I had been using Google Voice. I have never used Google Voice. I told her I hadn't, she told me multiple times that I had. I was fuming at being all but called a liar, but I remained polite, got my phone reactivated, and thanked her. Note: this deactivation of my phone lost me the phone number I'd had since I was 17.

A few months ago (August, I think), I had the same problems again. I called customer service and was informed that, again, it was MY fault and that I shouldn't be trying to text or make phone calls with fewer than two bars of service. No other explanation was given for the deactivation.

Two weeks ago I noticed the same issue yet again. By this point, I of course assumed my phone had been deactivated. Yet, deciding to give credence to the explanation that I shouldn't try to send/receive texts/calls with fewer than two bars of service, I tried making a call in my backyard, where the signal sometimes soars to a whopping three bars. I got a message telling me my phone had been deactivated.

I spoke briefly to a customer service rep on Tracfone's forum. She asked for my phone's serial number, I gave it to her, and then:

CS: Your phone is permanently deactivated. We can no longer reactivate your phone. You may purchase a new one to transfer the phone number but not the minutes.

Me: Okay. Thanks for your help, but I have a couple questions. Why wasn't I informed my phone was going to be permanently deactivated? And why can't my minutes be transferred?

CS: The appropriate department's record shows that your phone was not properly deducting minutes. Thus, most used minutes are unbilled or not deducted. This is the reason why we can no longer transfer the minutes on your phone.

You'll note she completely ignored my question about why I wasn't informed. Also, texts on my phone cost 0.3 of a minute. I have roughly 600 minutes. That's 2000 texts' worth of minutes. I would have to have sent/received over 1,000 texts without noticing that my phone wasn't deducting minutes for their decision not to reimburse me or allow me to transfer my minutes to a new phone to not be a complete and total RIPOFF. I'm sure you can understand why this seems unlikely. I sent out a mass text on November 21st - the last text(s) I sent - and noted then that when I sent a text to ten people 3.00 minutes were deducted. 0.3 x 10 = 3.00 Clearly, minutes for texts were being deducted correctly.

If the issue were with calls being deducted improperly, I make them far too rarely for Tracfone to not be blatantly ripping me off. I have made/received SIX calls this entire year, from January to December, per my phone's log, and none of them lasted more than two minutes. At any rate, I almost offered to video myself attempting to send a text. Even today, mid-December, an attempt to send a text 1) does not work but 2) subtracts 0.3 of a minute.

When my father heard about this yesterday, he decided to contact Tracfone himself. First, they informed him that I was using premium text messaging services. This is a lie. I've never signed up for any texting service (unless you count Twitter, which is 100% free). But no worries, Tracfone had another lie in the pipeline!

When my father told them, "no, she hasn't used those" they AGAIN accused me of using Google Voice. My father researched it a bit, read Tracfone's terms of service, and asked Tracfone how using GV would violate their ToS. They told him that using Google Voice does NOT violate their ToS. So either they're lying now about GV being allowed or they lied twice about why my phone was deactivated in order to blame me, implying that I was lying in the process. Knowing that my phone could not have been deactivated because I was using GV makes me wonder, why DID they deactivate my phone the first time? And of course I always wonder when interacting with them: why did they lie and blame me?

At any rate, when my father informed them I was not using Google Voice - and even if I had, they'd just told him I could - they went back to their original lie (for this go-round): that my phone is defective and not properly deducting minutes.

Allow me to play devil's advocate for just a moment. Let's say my phone were defective. Does YOUR product being defective make it appropriate to imply your customer is lying and accuse them multiple times of violating your Terms of Service, with not one shred of proof? Does it make it appropriate to blame every deactivation on your customer's actions, even when nothing they've done violates your ToS? Does it make it appropriate to cut off someone's phone service THREE TIMES without any notification whatsoever, leaving them to find out - thankfully not in an emergency - that they had no working cell phone?

And my biggest question: are Tracfone's employees just completely incompetent or is it Tracfone's policy to allow their reps to make things up - like usage of Google Voice violating their ToS - to blame their customers for problems they encounter?

Product or Service Mentioned: Tracfone Cell Phone Upgrade.

Monetary Loss: $195.

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Lschinaia
to kittykat Terre Haute, Indiana, United States #946924

Tracfone is Verizon's little sublet company. Along with Straight Talk, Consumer Cellular, Cricket so if you think you're getting away from them they are all the same arm of the same monster.

Anonymous
to Lschinaia #1577109

Your information is incorrect. Tracfone and StraightTalk are owned by the same Mexican company.

Consumer Cellular is its own corporation.

So is Verizon. Tracfone, StraightTalk and Consumer Cellular may use the tower services of Verizon, but that's it.

Anonymous
La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States #618012

I, too, am having a similar problem. My phone number was deactivated.

I had plenty of minutes and days. After repeated calls over a 3 day period to solve this problem I have been told that my phone is not a trac fone, that there was a "systems error," that my minutes ran out, that they rent Verizon lines and Verizon took my number. I can't get the number I've had for 11 years back. Now the "temporary" number they gave my doesn't work.

I do not have the time to deal with tracfone customer service for hours a day.

Oddly, it is reassuring that I am not the only one with this problem. They did make me feel like it was my fault.

Anonymous
to in tracfone *** #1627937

My phone was deactivated today. By the time I noticed I could only give one call before they closed.

To try and sum up my huge story: I bought a new phone from them but it arrived with defects, talked to 9 people trying to activate it (because I need a phone), then a woman told me that "defects in the material or workmanship" wasn't covered. Which is bs. So transferred to a manager and she couldn't tell me whether I would get a new phone first or send my phone in first. So I don't know if I'm getting an empty box or a phone in a few days.

Next day (today) my phone gets deactivated and the one person I could talk to before they closed told me I would have to re-enroll with safelink lifeline when I get the new phone. Going to call again tomorrow because that too is bs.

This whole week has been agitating. I'm so upset.

Anonymous
Frederic, Wisconsin, United States #590479

Tracfone is beyond a bad company! They lie, and then they lie again, and again, and again.... it never stops.

A class action lawsuit would be the best way to let them know what they are doing. Seems those Mexican millionaires are only laughing all the way to the bank.

Watch out!! Straight Talk, Net 10 and Safe Link are all one in the same.

Anonymous
#587546

The exact problem happened to me -- deactivated and called a liar and told to buy a new phone. Phone was new and I had mins and it was deducting and they still swore I was at fault, refusing to send me a warranty phone.

Turns out it was their fault, of course, as they claimed I bought a 60 min card (tripled) when I bought a 120 (tripled) plus promos, existing and minutes given to me for losing my phone number in a transfer to the new phone. Funny, after 10 days of hours of convos where they repeattedly told me I could get NOTHING from them, within one hour of filing an FCC complaint, Miami HQ called me and sent me a warranty phone.

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