TracFone / beware
My father purchased a card with the intent of expanding the number of days, but confusion over the terms led to an incorrect purchase. Both the store clerk and my father made the same error trying to understand the terms. The store clerk had already attempted to activate the purchased service before the error was discovered, so he could not obtain a refund.
TracFone support offered to exchange the erroneous purchase for 180 extra days of service and 180 minutes of time. This is roughly the equivalent of purchasing 2 of their $19.99 options with a few extra days thrown in to cover the price difference. We accepted and a happy resolution was at hand, but then our call was mysteriously disconnected.
We immediately re-contacted customer service, but suddenly everything had changed. They would not offer the 180/180 option again and refused reconnect us to the support rep who had offered it. They wouldn't even tell us her name. Instead they changed the offer to 250 minutes and 90 days, which was not acceptable.
We tried to escalate to management but the offer of 250/90 remained unchanged with each "manager" we spoke to. What good is having an escalation procedure if the only thing they can do is echo the same options that led to the escalation? We asked for a refund, but the unused service had been "activated" and could not be refunded. But they would have to deactivate that same service in order to process the 250/90 option, so we knew this was false obstacle.
All our calls to TracFone support are hampered by the horrific quality of the headset microphones the reps use. They sound as if they are speaking while gargling and what words can be made out are electronically distorted. If you check around the web, you'll see this is a well-documented issue. You'd think a company selling communications products would be more aware of the amateurish image this conveys, but TracFone may have a good reason for allowing it to persist. My father abandoned efforts to activate a $60 card because he simply couldn't understand the support rep. I think TracFone hides behind the lousy quality of their support lines because they can embarrass customers into accepting poor solutions to their problems. The caller feels self conscious constantly having to ask the rep to repeat what he/she said until they take whatever deal they can get just to get out of the call.
I will defend most of the support reps, though. Although most reps did have thick accents and spoke through the cheap-o headsets that garbled their voices, almost everyone we spoke with treated us politely and professionally, even though their hands seemed tightly bound by policies designed to make consumers regret the day they ever thought of using this rip-off mill.
The big exception is a "manager" named Sherry Davis. She spoke with a condescending sing-song tone that immediately angered us. She also refused to honour the 180/180 terms the other rep had offered. The call became angry and contentious. Ms Davis said we could not escalate higher than her. Her disrespectful attitude and confrontational tone are prime examples of why so many complaints about this company are on the web. If she is the highest level of management available in their support department, you'd probably be better off taking your complaint to a block of wood. At least a block of wood has the potential of serving a useful purpose and is less bound by bone-headed "policy."
If you haven't bought a TracFone yet, then don't.
Right now, two cans and some string are a more attractive option than anything TracFone can offer.
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