TracFone Wireless / lost phone usage and airtime service due to network upgrade/replacement phone sent did not meet expectations

He May 14, 2019 Medley, FL Review updated:

I purchased a TracFone phone package that included a Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 5.0 Android Smartphone bundled with a 1 year of airtime service plan for 1350 minutes/text/data tripled for life. When I attempted to activate the phone on the Tracfone website, I received the following message:

Our partners are upgrading their network to provide you with the highest quality service. As per our systems, your phone is not compatible with the new technology. But don't worry; we have you covered with a FREE phone replacement for you!

Please call us at [protected] to learn more.

I called the above number and a customer service representative confirmed the information in the above message and that they would send me a free replacement phone. I was concerned that I had waited too long to activate my phone, but was assured that there was no activation deadline with my original phone purchase.

When I asked if I had a choice in what phone I would receive, the response was no, the warehouse would send whatever phone is available for my service area. The representative stated that they do not have the capability to communicate directly with the warehouse and cannot provide any information on what replacement phone I would receive, advising that I could return it if not satisfied. I thought to myself, and then what happens, will I be left without a phone I can use? At this point, I was beginning to have doubts in the level of customer I was receiving.

I called the next day to see if another representative could provide more specific information on the replacement phone I would be receiving. Initially, the representative was unable to provide additional information, but when I persisted, she put me on hold to investigate. When she returned, she told me the replacement phone would be a Samsung Model: S902L. After I got off the phone, I checked my phone that was being replaced and it was the same model number! Still not knowing what phone I would be receiving, all I could do was wait and hope for a satisfactory resolution.

I trusted and expected that I would receive a Samsung Smartphone with comparable specifications to the phone I purchased. Instead, much to my disappointment, I received a significant downgrade, a RECONDITIONED ZTE flip phone with a 2.8" screen that retails for $19.99 online with a 52% 1 star rating on Amazon! I haven't seen anyone using a flip phone in 20 years! There is NO comparison to the quality and advanced technology of the phone I purchased, a NEW Samsung 5.0 Android Smartphone with a retail value of $145.99 at the time of purchase.

I contacted customer service to explain the situation and ask if my original phone purchase could be replaced with a comparable phone or refunded. I spoke to several representatives, enduring hours on the phone as I was put through multiple transfers, without the courtesy of a warm transfer, having to explain my situation again and again. The inconsistent answers I was receiving prompted escalation to more than one supervisor and further escalation to corporate management, with no acceptable resolution. I was eventually directed to a "corporate manager" at the main headquarters in Florida and after having to explain the situation once again, I was offered a refund. While in the process of discussing the details of the refund, the call was disconnected or conveniently dropped. I received no call back or follow up, even though I was initially given a ticket# [protected] and my contact information was obtained. Any reputable company would have followed up!

I attempted to get back to the person I was speaking with at the corporate office headquarters, but doubted that would happen due to the ineptness I had already experienced. I ended up in the "refund department." Once again I explained my situation, and the individual I spoke with, claiming to be a manager, stated a refund was not an option and that the person I was speaking with previously "a corporate manager" was incorrect in telling me that. He stated the only recourse was to accept the replacement phone they sent me or purchase a new phone and a new service plan.

When I didn't think the situation could get any worse, I was informed that the airtime plan that was bundled with my original phone purchase was not transferable to a replacement phone.

I'm now left with a phone that is locked into a TracFone service plan that can no longer provide service for my phone. I spent $129.99 excluding tax and shipping and have nothing to show for it but loss and disappointment. I've never experienced anything as deceitful and underhanded as TracFone's handling of this situation and can honestly say, I feel SCAMMED!

The issue is due to an upgrade in TracFone's partnering network, rendering my phone incompatible with the new technology.

TracFone's resolution of providing a significantly inferior replacement phone without the original airtime plan I purchased included is UNacceptable. My expectation is a full refund as the only satisfactory resolution.

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  • Ra
      Jun 04, 2019

    I had a horrible customer support experience with TracFone. I found that there is an arbitration process in the fine print. You should send a letter to their legal department (address is in their fine print). I got a call from them and eventually a refund of disputed amount. Still I got no apologies for their obvious and indisputable mistake.

    If their legal department doesn't respond in the required time, you can file in small claims court.

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