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TracFone Sucks (Badly!)

Is it just me? Am I the only one around that is just completely and totally fed up with our global-all-things-to-all-people-call-our-overseas-call-center-and-everything-will-be-just-peachy corporate customer service push-button society?

You’d think that with all the technology at our disposal and all the advancements made in recent decades, that we’d be getting the best-ever service from companies we decide to do business with.

I don’t know about you, but I find the exact opposite to be true, and the customer service experiences I have on a continuing basis just plain suck. It is a genuine challenge for me to find someone to help me that it not an idiot when I find myself in need of help with a product or service I have paid for.

That’s not to say that I am laying all the blame at the feet of the front-line workers out there who are answering the phones. There are some real bonehead decisions being made at the corporate levels as well, and since the higher-ups do the hiring, create the policies and make the big decisions, I single them out as the most prominent idiots.

You may have seen my earlier post regarding TracFone and the problem I encountered due to the way they track (or, more accurately, fail to track) the airtime customers use.

Well, I just had another enormously satisfying experience as a TracFone customer that I can’t wait to share with you!

Only a few moments ago, my telephone rang. Caller ID did not display a name but did display an 800 number, which always sends up red flags as a warning that this could be a telemarketing call.

After saying ‘hello’ about 5 times and preparing to hang up the phone, I finally heard something. It was TracFone with a recorded telemarketing message for one of their lame promotions.

Oh sure, I’ll buy another 400 minutes and hope my phone doesn’t die so you can tell me that you can only give me 150 minutes on my replacement phone because your service is not capable of tracking how many minutes I actually used. Yeah, right.

What TracFone does not realize is that there is one thing I hate worse than spam ‘ and believe me I hate spam about as much as you can possibly imagine ‘ and that one thing is telemarketing! And I hate recorded telemarketing calls most of all!

After all, a recorded telemarketing call is like saying: ‘Hell, we don’t value you enough to actually have a real, live person call you on the phone, so we’ll make a recording and stick it in a machine that just dials all of our customers so we can convince them to purchase more airtime minutes that we are unable to track, so we hope your phone does not break anytime soon.’

So they ring my telephone which essentially demands my immediate action and attention so I can hear a lame telemarketing pitch? They don’t want to pay a real person to call me on the phone because it’s too expensive, so they let a machine do it and apparently don’t care about interrupting whatever I happen to be doing at the time?

You would think that my experience with their sending spam to my phone in the form of text messages and my response to that would provide them with a hint that I am not the kind of person who appreciates sales pitches and that it may have occurred to them to take my name off the telemarketing list. Apparently not. See what I mean about lousy customer service these days?

I am happy to say that putting my telephone number on the ‘Do Not Call’ list has just about eliminated telemarketing calls to my home entirely. It is a very rare event around here these days.

Alas, as the ‘Do Not Call’ list does not apply to companies that you have a ‘relationship’ with, they can still call. Presumably, until you tell them to stop, which is what my recent e-mail message to them just advised them to do. Among other things.

My ‘relationship’ with them, however, is about two months from coming to an end. When the current airtime minutes on my phone expire towards the end of September, I intend to fetch the biggest, heaviest hammer I can locate on my workbench and smash my TracFone to bits with one mighty blow.

Boy, is that ever going to feel good. Come to think of it, I may grab my video camera and record the event and post it here on the site for the amusement of my visitors.

I guess that pretty much sums up my feelings about TracFone and their service, don’t you think?

[tags]tracfone, pre-paid wireless[/tags]


Pingback from Some Companies See Reverse Outsourcing Mistakes
Posted: January 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm

[…] a consumer, I surely can relate to this. One of the major reasons I dumped my TracFone service a couple of years back was the customer service. If I’m not mistaken, TracFone is not […]

Comment from gm
Posted: August 1, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Yes I too hate call centers over seas. However, would you like it if for example Tracfone charged 3x the rates? or if dell pcs were 2x more expensive? Of course not. Unfortunately, consumers want cheap prices but companies need to make profits. So the only way to cut costs is cheap labor. Do you want to work for $3 an hour? If americans did, then all call centers would be here…Sorry, but it’s the price you pay for cheap goods and services…You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

Comment from Admin
Posted: August 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Nice try, but your spammy links have been removed.

And since you brought it up: If jobs keep going overseas, we will be working for $3 an hour, because all the good jobs will be gone.

And at $3 an hour, I won’t even be able to afford cake!

Comment from Tom
Posted: November 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Tracfone really sucks.
Every time I turn around they are shutting my phone off even though I just purchased minutes and my due date is good.
If I call them, they say they have to send out a new sim card and I am without a phone for 3-4 day.
They really suck.
I would not recommend them to my worst enemy.
Tracfone sucks.

Comment from Devon
Posted: November 29, 2008 at 12:15 am

Isn’t it kind of funny that right next to this bashing of Tracfone, there’s a tracfone advertisement! Tracfones do suck by the way, I got rid of mine and got AT&T

Comment from Admin
Posted: November 29, 2008 at 2:09 am

The ads are based on the content of the page, but since I do have some control over them, I will try to snuff them out.

Thanks for calling that to my attention!

Comment from TracFone Suks
Posted: August 19, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I am not a customer of tracfone and they call my office work phone constantly and leave spam messages. So TracFone is a spamming pos!

Call TracFone back at their office 1-800-867-7183. Talk to someone in sales. Tell them to take your phone number off their automated calling list or you will pursue legal action, especially if your number is on the DO NOT CALL list as mine is.

Comment from Carly
Posted: December 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm

TRACFONE LIES Ok, i realise that this blog was posted 3 years ago, and I realise that what I’m about to say is utterly redundant vis a vis what you’ve written here, but you are definitely not the only one. How I wish someone could have advised me to do anything and everything but buy a bloody track phone. I live in the UK, but spend about 6-8 weeks a year in the U.S. When I arrived this time, my rear end was still sore from the reaming I got from AT and T the last time I was here so I decided to try a tracfone. Now my rear is in tatters. It’s all lies. The phones don’t work, the customer service personnel, who are extremely rude, either do not speak English or have single digit IQs, the complimentary 20 mintutes you get to set up are used up easily by the hold times at the call centres and, best of all, tracfone is not capable of of sending or receiving international texts. Oh, they say they are, but as I said, it’s all lies. You see, to tracfone, international is Canada and Mexico. Now this is going to sound like I’m tooting my own horn but U.S. citizens should really be fed up with your cell providers because they are pathetic. In Europe you can go into any mobile phone provider, buy a sim card for about 10 pounds (I’ve bought them as cheap as 5), put it into any bloody phone you like, roam all over Europe and still get cheap calls. At home I get free calls and texts to anyone on the same network, for life, as long as I top up by 20 pounds a month. Calls and texts to other networks are still cheap. The service you have here is really just ridiculous. I can’t believe these people are getting away with it. Substandard, not acceptable, and really infuriating to someone who has just shelled out fifty bucks for basically nothing.

Comment from Admin
Posted: December 10, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Actually, I agree completely regarding this poor excuse for a wireless infrastructure here in the U.S.! It is ridiculous and it has been that way for a long time.

I’ve argued for many years that I should be able to buy any damn cell phone and go anywhere in the country where wireless service is available and have it work. No! Instead we have this mish-mash of different providers with different formats — GSM, CDMA, TDMA — and depending on who has an agreement with who, your phone may or may not work with a cell site owned by another company!

I completely understand your frustration. The wireless system needs a complete overhaul in this country!

Comment from David
Posted: February 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Not only do they not speak english, but their phone service is terrible (!). So much crackling I can’t understand even a single word. They are actively not helpful and RUDE. What’s more, I accidently entered a number wrong when buying airtime online, and they gave it to the other number (NOT ON MY ACCOUNT!), even though I notified them immediately, and refused to give me a refund.

Comment from Michael
Posted: April 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I’ve been a Tracfone customer for over three years and the longer you’re a Tracfone customer the worse they treat you. I have over 900 units of airtime on my phone because it’s so hard to use. The signal is fleeting, coming and going as I move around the house or drive around town. When you have a problem, they always make it your fault. They don’t speak English very well so I try to accommodate them because I understand the outsourcing of labor issue for cost containment and I also respect the Tracfone reps for working hard and for talking to us in English, their second language.

What I don’t understand are Tracfone Reps and former Tracfone reps complaining about “Americans” on consumer complaint webistes. Especially when they call us names and make fun of us for calling ourselves Americans. How it can possibly help Tracfone’s already tenuous reputation as a wireless phone service provider to have their own employees blast “Americans” on the Internet is totally beyond me.

Yes, I like Tracfone but their total lack of respect for their “American” customers will one day soon precipitate my untriumphant return to Verizon Wireless.

Comment from Brett Harmon
Posted: June 1, 2010 at 1:54 am

Tracfone has been nothing but a pleasure. International calling rates are very reasonable and don’t cost any more than regular domestic calls. Phones are not unbelievable but will satisfy just about every consumer. Tracfone gets the job done when it comes to average talkers offering quality service.

[Sounds a bit too much like a commercial written by someone who is making money selling TracFone. They do have an affiliate program. Interesting. – Admin.]

Comment from I love Tracfone
Posted: June 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I love Tracfone. Honestly. After watching the commercial with the mom (you can view it on Youtube at I decided to make the switch. Being a mom of 4, it is important for me to save any way I can. I love the peace of mind that comes with knowing that at the click of a button, I can know my kids are safe. My husband loves it too. The coverage is also great and the phones are cool.

Comment from admin
Posted: July 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

Just wait until you have to call “customer service” a few times.

I loved my TracFone as well — until I found out what “customer service” means to them.

Comment from Des
Posted: February 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

Pardon if this appears more then once it says the caption letters below aren’t working.

I recently decided to upgrade my cell phone, from an LG 200c I wanted to get a camera phone and downloadable ring tones, as my current phone doesn’t allow it. My story starts back Christmas eve 2009 purchesed a phone at walmart. Turned out to be a sim card phone, Called tracfone, traveled around the countries from my couch. They tried sending me four sim cards (keep in mind I was activating two phones). Then fineally they said we will have to send you a replacement phone/s because you live in a CMDA area. I got the two replacements, and they were a downgrade if you will from what I bought (no camera, ringtones DL or pic texting), I called them they impatiently advised me that is the best they could do. BULL! Again this started christmas eve 2009 and ended almost the end of Jan 2010.

So this time I figured I would call the company, explained to them my area, they told me nicely that I would have to make sure its a “CDMA” NOT a “Sim” phone. Thing is you can’t do that cause they don’t put it on the outside of the packaging, but I was assured three times (as I asked them three different times) that it was infact a CMDA phone. So I went out a bought the LG420G phone, guess what it’s a…. SIM phone. I called tracfone, they said well you want to transfere your number and minutes you need a new card, I was like fine but that sim cards didn’t work in my area. I was told they had improved (first I heard) that not to mention the rep was rude. I waited the required five to seven days, still no sim card.

So I called them they asked for the ticket number I said she didn’t give me one, that we were discussing the sim card not working in my area, she got rude and suddenly I wasn’t talking to her but hearing press one to activate blah blah blah. Moving forward. I was also informed that she never completed the process to send me the required sim card for my phone, therefore I would have to start all over again. and wait another five to seven days.
Now I can keep my temper but this set me off, because this was a supervisior whom I had to ask to speak up cause I couldn’t hear. She told me she could do it one of two ways, transfere the minutes and number to the new phone now, and when the sim card comes in in 5-7 days I can finish the activation. But then that leaves me WITHOUT a phone. I explained I live with my father helping him and he has a heart problem and an aneurysm and if I have to go somewhere he has to be able to contact me.

Think they cared about that, she said that is your only two options, I reminded them again their company is the one that told me that this was a cmda phone, and I could find it at walmart, so of course it was now not just my fault it was walmarts, why buy one from there if they only sell sim card phones. I said they don’t know if its sim or cmda until it’s open, and to open and check would ruin the merchandise, then they can’t sell it. Okay that gets both WM and me off the hook, but only the two options (wait for a new sim card, or transfere now and wait for the sim card) well after an hour and a half, my temper is on the edge of exploding. I said actually (and I said this nicely) you know you said I had two options, I actually have three, 1. wait for new sim card, 2. transfere and wait for new sim card but have no active phone, 3. Stop it all, take the new phone back to the store and when my blood pressure and temper comes down find another company and they can shove it.

See I have been with Tracfone for about 16 or so years, no other company ever, from the first analog tracfone with the antenna you had to pull up (remember those good days) to now. A loyal customer. And I didn’t hesitate to mention that, and that I wasn’t sure they would see me for a seventeenth. That they were rude, inept, incompetent, and apparently liars as well if they can’t see for themselves (in the sales department) that the phone is a sim not a cmda phone.

So now this phone that I came to be excited about, and love and was a gift from my father for all I have done for him (though he didn’t have to do that and it was part a bday present he couldn’t get before) I have to take it back. Which upset us both.

Tracfone did say that they couldn’t send me a replacement phone cause this was one of their newer models, but yet on their site they are selling reconditioned versions of the same model. Then said well you have the DMFL phone I am not sure we can transfere that, BULL. Besides the new phone is also DMFL so that was a lie. I don’t know what it is with this company but if anyones tried to get ahold of corporate in florida you don’t, you automatically get shipped (no pun) to another country, I get a rep once in florida, but she needed help and shipped me to the phillipines. Never got florida again.

I agree we can’t help it that outsourcing is part of the norm, but all these folks need senesitivity training, and knowledge of their phones. I bring up my zipcode on their site and I get five or six phones (of which most I don’t like or want) that might work in my area (ie LG420G was suppost to), but if I list the zipcode down the road from me (less then quarter mile) and you get similar phones but a little broader selection. *Shakes head* which they say won’t work.

Also no where on their site do they state if the phone is a SIM (GSM) or a CDMA phone, then I was informed by a rude supervision who wasn’t so super, that you can tell by the letter after the model… Current phone I have LG200″C” = CMDA, new phone LG420″G” = GMS. Like anyone pays attention or may know this. Especially when you talk to the sales department and three times they say this is a cmda phone. I am not the only one that needs to learn that.

Thank you for letting me have my say, I needed to get this out of my system.

Comment from Lauren
Posted: June 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm

ok, i think we can all agree here that TRACFOnes do suck… I’ve had mine for 2 years …make that 2 years and a half. And i have got nothing but lousy service, rude customer personnel who can’t even remember the number i tell them or even have the brains to right it down, lousy minutes, plus i keep getting those spam messages that i cant evven dial back to and when i answer dont say anything cause its company is to cheap to afford an actual service to talk to you directly. When i answered it didnt even sound like the person was educated. :/ Oh and get this: when i tried calling them for a new, CRAPPY tracfone cause my other one was falling apart( shocker), the personnel made up this bullshit, most stuppdest excuse ive ever heard from a cell phone company: “we don’t have enough cellphones in the warehouse”. yeah right. :/

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