I found myself in a precarious situation a few months ago, and thought perhaps by using a pre-paid phone I would save money and still be able to have service. I browsed around a few phone companies in the area, and finally settled on Tracfone. Tracfone is billed as “The Largest Prepaid Wirless Service in the US!” I would say that it might be to some people but for me, I have ten reasons why I will not return to Tracfone.
#1 – Time Consuming Set Up
The entire set up is very time consuming. First you purchase the cellular phone and depending on where you buy it, you may have to get the ‘airtime’ either online or at a brick and mortar store. If you are loading time via the internet, it is a quicker to add your time to your phone, however, even that takes time to load on your phone. If you buy your phone time at a brick and mortar store, you have to go home, go on line and find our the correct serial number and then load your air time. You jot down the information, and then you set up your phone. First you will locate your cellular’s battery, insert it, then charge the phone. After 7 or more hours, then you can add the airtime. Finally!
#2 Poor Refurbished Phone Quality
When I initially chose Tracfone I did not know my phone, Nokia Model #1260, was a refurbished phone. A refurbished phone that is of an old quality. The telephone quality was not top of the line like other phones I have used in the past – Motorola or Cingular, so I was very surprised to have several phone calls dropped. Actually hearing quality on the phone was not that great. I usually had to use my land line whenever I got home to return phone calls.
#3 Voice Mail Problems
I became very frustrated with Tracfone’s user book when it came to using my voice mail box. I set up the voice mail function on Tracfone’s website because that is what I was told when I called Customer Service. When I set up the box on the site, I tested the voice mail by calling the phone myself from a land line. The test worked because I was able to listen and retrieve my message, and I innocently thought, “great!” But as I began using the phone regularly, I missed several phone calls. People would place calls to my phone and stated they left voice mail messages. My phone never indicated I had messages on my phone at all. The function was not working properly and for the duration of the six months I used it, I never received any messages on my voice mail box.
#4 Airtime Does Not Last Long
I initially added 200 minutes for my cellular phone, however that was not lasting long enough. Most of my calls were local and maybe a few to Saint Louis, Missouri which was in my Tracfone calling area. For the first three months I used over 600 minutes, which cost me several Tracfone cards’ three $19.95 (200 minutes) cellular cards. This did not include any rollover time at all. I was literally burning time. I finally realized I was spending more than a traditional plan and that got me to thinking I needed to change from spending $50-70 a month to a pre-paid plan that would be a little more lower with better options attached to the phone.
#5 Roaming Charges
Oh my God! I went to a few places out of town – Ohio, New Jersey, and had double charges on my cellular phone. It was insane and so unbelievable to me. I spent so much money on the roaming charges that I was beginning to think it was time to look at other plans which would not have the same biting charges. When you sign up for the phone, the roaming charges are not really explained inside of the brochure, just the regular charges to the phone and I felt cheated.
#6 Low Battery Status
The battery did not last long. I was always recharging my phone. I kept the phone plugged in every day when I wasn’t using it. The low battery status indicator was always flashing when I really needed to use the phone.
#7 Not Tech Savvy
With many of my previous phones I was able to at least surf the web, play cellular phone games and send cool text messages. Although I could send text messages, it was very basic and the cellular phone games were very childish for a minor, not an adult. I was disappointed and felt I could not interact with the phone too much.
#8 Boring Ringing Tones
The ringing tones that came with the phone were not that great. Very odd sounds that I would never use.
#9 Hard to Personalize
Although there are 9 options on the phone, personalizing the personalized greeting was very frustrating. After trial and error I was able to find it, but I was not happy with the end results. In previous phones I could spell my entire nick name and use a spacing but with Tracfone, I had to use one single line to do so.
#10 Need for Customer Service
When you purchase the phone, you buy it at a discount store or a pharmacy store, so there’s no real live person to speak with. You either have to call and wait to speak with a representative on the phone or try to connect with a representative in a “live chat”. Neither are very user friendly if you are calling during peak times.
Yes, this is an economical phone and if you are a Grandmother who needs it for an emergency, then this might be the phone for you. But if you are an active person with a busy lifestyle, shop around and get a better phone, and package. In the long run, you will find something more effective than this phone.