TracFone / poor customer service!
I've had a TracFone for about 5 years now, and never really had any problems as far as the actual phone service is concerned. The customer service used to be pretty good despite the fact that the customer service reps had accents that could be a bit tough at times to understand. Unfortunately, the customer service has gone down hill.
I had a TracFone that broke, so I called TracFone and after a rather long wait on hold I got a CSR who verified my info and informed me that a new phone would be sent to me because the one that broke was under warranty. That was good news. I told the service rep that I wanted to keep my current phone number and have it "ported" over to the replacement phone. I was assured this could be easily done- new phone, same old phone number.
This did not prove to be that case. The folks at TracFone failed miserably on this one. I got the replacement phone really fast, we transferred my minutes and annual service time over to it easily enough (but oh, the wait time on hold for a service rep sucks!!), but try as they might, they could not port the old number over to the new phone and get the phone into the cell network. Mind you, they did not have to port it over from another provider that could have messed up the process-- it was from one TracFone to another, within their own system and company.
We tried four replacement SIM cards, and none of them did the trick. The problem was not with the equipment; the problem was with the folks programming and running the TracFone network. Honestly, in this day and age, how hard could it be to port over my old number and get service to my phone? I'm sure I'm not the first person in the world who asked them to do this: they should have it down to a science at this point, no confusion, no guess work, no screw ups.
The customer service reps have a standard script and limited knowledge. If it gets too confusing for them, they assign the problem a case number. I know that they have a lot of phones to deal with, but its not like they are doing me a favor- I'm paying for the service, so give me my money's worth- get on the case and get it fixed.
After numerous phone calls (and the agonizingly long hold times that go with them), multiple case numbers, four SIM cards, and three weeks without a phone, I finally gave up and simply accepted a new phone number. As soon as I did that, I was on the air again.
I consider myself to be a patient and understanding customer. I know things take time and don't always go perfectly. But this was simply a case of inexcusable incompetence compounded with long hold times.
It's a shame. TracFone is a good concept, and like I said, they have performed other tasks for me like adding minutes over the phone without problems.
Maybe they just got too big, maybe the CSRs need better training, I don't know, but this issue left me mad, disappointed in them, and wondering if they will get worse over time.
Check out other cell phone service providers first- TracFone is not the only game in town when it comes to a phone that does not need a contract and can have minutes loaded to it when you need them.
A cell phone is only as good as the network behind it and customer service.
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