Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I mentioned the other day that I was struggling with getting my new "smart" phone activated. It has been a freakin' saga of epic proportions over the last week and a half... and I STILL have no functioning phone. I know you love stories that make you feel better about your situation (well, I know that I love these stories, so I assume you do, too) so here's the sad tale of my Miserable Mobile Mishap.

I have used Tracfone for years. I pay $9.99 a month for 50 minutes. I rarely talked on it and only sent or received a few texts a week. It was by and large a phone for safety with an occasional "hey, don't forget to get milk" call for good measure.

The Old Grey Mare finally died a couple of weeks ago and I thought, Mrs. Olsen having retired from the operator switch in Walnut Grove a few years back, that I would get a small upgrade: QWERTY keyboard, camera, email capability, MP3 player. I knew I could get such a thing from Tracfone without a huge investment.
A good, if tough, businesswoman, she would have made things right for me.

I used the website to locate a phone that would function at my zip code (this being The Sticks, we are limited to Verizon as a provider). I chose a phone with decent features (and "triple minutes for life, which is most awesome) and it was sent to me without any trouble. I was pretty frustrated when it arrived because I couldn't get my old number transferred and the new phone activated on my own because to do that, the old phone still needs to be functioning. So I had to call customer service and input 4,500 codes (all while Gabriel fussed and Elliott went between sheer boredom and vegging in front of the TV). It took 2+ hours and then I learned it was going to take about 72 hours for the flipping thing to transfer.

Still, I was eager to have all the phancy pheatures of the phone up and running as soon as the number was working, so I trekked out with the boys to Staples to buy accessories. I needed a MicroSD card for the MP3 player to function (woo hoo! ditching the ancient iPod shuffle for my runs!). I needed a case and I (especially) needed a plastic cover to protect the touch screen. I spent about $100 on these things.

I struggled with transferring music files to the phone so I called customer service the next day. After ANOTHER 90 minutes on the phone and ANOTHER 5,034 codes programmed in, the phone was working. Except it wasn't. I had no "bars" and the screen flashed a very nasty "no service" message on the screen.

Me: That's weird that I have no service. This is a Verizon phone, right.
CSR: No, ma'am, this is a T-Mobile.

What the what?? We don't "do" T-Mobile here. I was ripped and asked, "Why in the world would you sell anyone who lives here a T-Mobile phone?" As I was waiting for what I knew would be an unsatisfactory answer, I went on T-Mobile's website and saw their map of coverage. Yeah, it basically says at my address you can get coverage "out of doors and occasionally in a car." That's a GREAT freakin' phone to sell someone!

After NOT screaming at the man on the phone (pat on the back for me), I explained that there was no way I would have bought a phone that wasn't Verizon had that information been given to me on the website. Blah blah blah. The resolution was that I would get a replacement phone (on Verizon) with the same features and of same value. At that time they didn't share what the phone would be and I (completely DONE with the conversation and needing to get back to my poor, neglected children) didn't ask.

Days later, they contacted me to let me know the new phone was shipped. (DAYS later? That thing should have gone out IMMEDIATELY). It was then that I inquired about what model they were shipping. I looked it up the Interweb only to learn that the "same features" were not the same at all: no touch screen, no MP3 player and the value of the phone was $19.99, while I paid $49.99 for the original.


Needless to say I got BACK on the phone with Tracfone and expressed my displeasure. I don't WANT the phone you are sending me. It doesn't have the features I wanted and it's not the same value as the phone I wanted.  YOU GUYS SUCK. (No, I didn't say the last bit).

So, I am breaking up with Tracfone. I don't know what I'm going to get instead. A tin can and a ball of string is sounding pretty good right now.

What are my odds of getting reimbursed for the money I spent at Staples? Yeah, that's what I thought....

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