Update by user Oct 01, 2013
(Verizon not Verison....doesn't seem to be a way to edit my post.)
Update by user Oct 01, 2013
It has been over five years since I posted my original complaint. I've learned a lot about Tracfones over this time period.
My mother lives in a nursing home in a rural area. Neither Verison or Alltel work at her location. There are two cities located twenty miles on either side and if one purchases a Tracphone from a Walmart located in one of these two cities it will not work in her dead cell location BUT there is a Walmart in a small town eight miles from her and they sell a Tracphone made specifically for the area and it works great. Setup was flawless, minutes added was flawless.
She has had no problems with this phone and everyone lives happily thereafter. End of story......
Original review posted by user Jun 14, 2008
Tracfone contracts to various carriers to provide cellular service. When I purchased the phone for my parents I explained that Tracfone should not assign AT&T as the carrier because that carrier does not work in my area even if the computer shows that it does. The type phone purchased was a Motorola. Got the phone, they assigned AT&T and it didn’t work. They said it must be a defective phone because their computer shows that the carrier works in my area. (It’s important to note that my parents and I have the same zip code and live two miles apart.) They sent a second phone. Same brand, same carrier, same problem. After talking for hours to technicians with thick accents using my Verizon cell phone minutes I decided to take the next step and call the corporate headquarters in Miami.
I called Miami corporate headquarters and got a person who said that the Motorola phone purchased had old technology and that what was needed in this area was an updated digital phone so they sent me an LG with different capabilities. I insisted that they assign Verizon as the carrier since AT&T does not work in this locality. I got the phone and tested it before I gave it to my parents. I set up the voice mail and thought the problems were behind us. Everything was working fine.
A few days later I called my mother's Tracfone and the call went directly into her voice mail so I left a message. I called back later on their landline and made certain she had the phone turned on, which she did. I told her I would call her back on the Tracfone to test it out because something doesn't seem to be working correctly and to my surprise the phone was answered but it wasn’t my mother. It was a woman who was in a boat in the middle of a lake. She said she had a problem with the number Tracfone had assigned to her and so they gave her a new number which was my parent’s number. This disabled my parents new Tracfone! Once again I called Miami corporate headquarters. They deactivated the number of the “woman in the boat” and reactivated my parent’s phone. Problem solved? No! Now I could call in but they still could not call out. I called Miami headquarters back. They said this was very unusual and that there must have been a computer glitch. The technician went into the computer system and corrected the problem. Finally we have an operable phone!
I have documented 34 telephone conversations with Tracfone technicians, many of whom have such a thick accent I found it difficult to communicate. I’ve also spent a total of 430 airtime minutes from my own Verizon personal cell phone getting this resolved. So the bottom line is we now have a Tracfone that works but is it worth spending over seven hours talking with technicians to get these problems solved? You decide!
Monetary Loss: $50.