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Old 01-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #21
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I got my Mom a Tracfone last August to replace her old Cingular/AT&T cellphone. It's worked fine for her....no problems at all! It's a Motorola V170 flip-phone that cost $18 @ Walmart.....plus I bought 1 year/400 minutes.

I've had a Cingular/AT&T cellphone for 15 years, and I replaced it with a Tracfone....effective this morning when my number was ported over to a new SIM card. When I purchased my Tracfone last month (Motorola W370), I was told (wrongly) that a Cingular/AT&T # couldn't be ported to the Tracfone. I called Tracfone customer support last night, and was told (in English!) the # could be ported! YEA!!! So I'll have my old # as soon as my new SIM card arrives (no extra charge)!

And as DJRR stated, there are no roaming charges. Also, as I understand it, the Tracfone uses the Cingular/AT&T network.....which has always worked well for me from coast to coast, and border to border....very good coverage!
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:31 PM   #22
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Tony Soprano and his group used Tracfones, calling cards and pay phones....just in case you decide to join the crew.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:05 PM   #23
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I have used Tracfone for almost 3 years and been happy with it. Tracfone works well if you don't use many minutes (I don't). I buy the one year activation cards so the activation isn't much of a hassle--especially since I only do this once per year.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:10 PM   #24
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I bought Tracfones for myself and my 2 kids a few years back - primarily because they were a cheap way to get a cell phone for each car/driver. The phones were fine and were certainly, at the time, the cheapest way to have a cell phone handy for emergency.

My biggest beef with them was their customer service. To make a long story short, I bought a phone and 6 30-day cards for my son's birthday. He would activate a new one each month and at Xmas I planned to by 6 more. Shortly afterwards, they stopped selling those particular cards. They never notified me, even though they sent me marketing emails on a regular basis.

When my son tried to use his second card, it wouldn't work. When I called, I had to jump through hoops to talk to someone, who told me there was nothing they could or would do. The cards were "no longer any good" (apparently they did not convert the cards to their new system, so they had no record of them). When I finally got a supervisor, they said if I sent in the cards, with the receipts, they would consider giving us a refund. Yeah, like I kept the receipts from 2 months ago. That's too bad, they told me. They would not accept just the cards - I had to have the sales receipt also.

I asked for their supervisor's name and address and then sent a letter to the company explaining that I had 3 Tracfones and I thought this was poor customer service. The value of the 4 remaining cards was not that much - I couldn't understand why they would not simply credit them to a new card(s). I never received a response.

I am now willing to pay a little bit more to know I will get decent customer service from a company when I need it. I don't what is out there for inexpensive plans or if Tracfone customer service has improved - but I know I would never use them again.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:56 PM   #25
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I don't what is out there for inexpensive plans or if Tracfone customer service has improved
I called customer service last night to inquire about 'porting' my Cingular/AT&T #, to my Tracfone. I had to wait on hold for less than 5 minutes (which ain't too bad!), and got to talk with a very nice, ENGLISH SPEAKING, young lady. She took care of the whole thing, answered all of my questions, gave me my 'case' #, and wished me a pleasant evening. Over all, a rather pleasant 20 minutes.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:46 AM   #26
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My gal's 90+ YO Mom doesn't cotton to much technology, but does well with the Jitterbug phone and plan we got her. BIG buttons, simple simple simple. They are proud of their phones - cost us $150 or so + $16/month in California for 30 minutes/month. Designed for those with less than perfect eyesight and hearing. Might be an option for some here who are not on the early part of their retirement...
Jitterbug Phones: Easy Emergency Cell Phones
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:56 PM   #27
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I think T-Mobile To Go is the best deal around for folks (like me) who only use their cell phones occasionally. They have good phones and often run internet specials. I got a Nokia phone with 30 initial minutes plus a $25 refill card (another 130 minutes) for $40. The 30 initial minutes were good for 3 months. I then used my $25 refill card which rolled over the minutes left from my initial 30 plus added another 130 minutes, the total of which are good for another 3 months. So I ended up getting a nice phone, 6 months of service, and 160 minutes for $40. The minutes are anytime, anywhere (in the US) minutes, with no roaming charges. As has been mentioned by other posters, once your total refills reach $100 (you don't have to do the $100 all at once), you become a Gold Rewards member, and all subsequent refills, regardless of the amount, extend your minutes for a year. Since the smallest refill amount is $10, once you are a Gold Rewards member your total cell phone cost can be as little as $10 per year, assuming you have an adequate supply of carry-over minutes. For me, this setup is perfect, as I use, on average, fewer than 10 minutes per month. Another thing I like about T-Mobile is that their phones use SIM cards, so you can transfer your SIM card (essentially your account with its minutes) to any other phone that uses a SIM card.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:57 PM   #28
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BTW, a good trick with tmobile is to hang onto that included refill card, put the $100 card on the phone to get the thousand minutes/good for a year/gold rewards status, then use the refill card after 364 days to extend the minutes for a second year.

A lot of people automatically put that small refill card in first, wait the 3 months, then put in the 1 year/$100 card.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
BTW, a good trick with tmobile is to hang onto that included refill card, put the $100 card on the phone to get the thousand minutes/good for a year/gold rewards status, then use the refill card after 364 days to extend the minutes for a second year.

A lot of people automatically put that small refill card in first, wait the 3 months, then put in the 1 year/$100 card.
The $25 refill card that came with my phone said on it that it was void if not activated within 90 days of purchase. Otherwise, I would have done exactly what you are suggesting. Also, if it had been possible to do it that way, you would get 150 minutes instead of 130 for $25 card, since you would be a Gold Rewards member
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:06 PM   #30
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I've also have had Tracfone for 5 years with no real problems. I got a new phone and one yr./400 minutes for $106 with tax last year. $8.83 per month for cell service is cheap. Tracfone + AAA = ablility to drive older cars and save thousands.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:24 PM   #31
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BTW, a good trick with tmobile is to hang onto that included refill card, put the $100 card on the phone to get the thousand minutes/good for a year/gold rewards status, then use the refill card after 364 days to extend the minutes for a second year.
This is what we did last week. Have had T-Moble to go for about 2 years now never any problems, and CFB's trick works like a charm for us. We use the prepaids because we do not use much, and while our overseas cellphones work in the states, buying each T-mobile to go +1000 minutes was much cheaper than 60 minutes of using overseas roaming. Had Tracfone before but would never go back. Too bulky, no txt msg (at the time anyway), Best Buy stopped carrying them and their re-fills, so had to go on a hunt, codes and activation much more hassle than T-mobile to go, etc.

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Old 01-05-2008, 03:27 PM   #32
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Well actually, we bought a $10 card...extended the 900 minutes we had let for another year...
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #33
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By the way, anyone with a tmobile phone that wants a good deal on the $100/1000 minutes card for $88, go here

T-Mobile To Go Refill Wireless Prepaid Cell Phone Airtime Minutes Online at CallingMart.com

Use the coupon code 12offtmo1031 and google checkout, comes to $88 and the codes are delivered to you in a few minutes via email. Done it several times with no trouble. Not sure how long the code is good for.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:34 PM   #34
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I plug Net10 as one of the cheapest services. Flat $0.10/min, reasonable expiration dates, and good coverage in most places. Probably even cheaper than TracFone, or I would have bought a TracFone
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:16 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Goonie View Post
I've had a Cingular/AT&T cellphone for 15 years, and I replaced it with a Tracfone....effective this morning when my number was ported over to a new SIM card. When I purchased my Tracfone last month (Motorola W370), I was told (wrongly) that a Cingular/AT&T # couldn't be ported to the Tracfone. I called Tracfone customer support last night, and was told (in English!) the # could be ported! YEA!!! So I'll have my old # as soon as my new SIM card arrives (no extra charge)!
I received my new SIM card by DHL Friday morning. Swapped out the old one, and put in the new.....Turned the phone back on, and in just a few seconds I had my "old" number back! Yippee-Yah-Hoo!
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:15 AM   #36
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When I got my son his first cell phone, I got him a TracFone. My idea was that he needed some way we could call each other to let someone know somebody would be early, late, arriving with friends, needed picking up, whatever, and I wanted to have a cost-control mechanism in place.

It turns out my son would rather use Internet IMs to keep in touch with friends than use his limited cell phone minutes, so his phone has cost us a around $9 a month for the last two+ years.

My mom and dad, both in their 80s now, are also planning to get a cell so they can call people to let them know when they are delayed, etc. For them I suggested one of the nicer $50 TracFone handsets (because it has a larger, easier to read display and easier to press buttons) plus a one-year card with 1000 minutes of airtime and a double-your-minutes-for-life on future airtime purchases for $140. Assuming they keep their usage low, that TracFone continue to offer one-year cards with 800 minutes of airtime (after doubling) for $100, and both they and the phone handset last for three years, that would make their monthly cost about $10.83 a month.

But that got me thinking: how does my wife's and my Verizon account, which has three phones (my sister has one of our phones), 500 minutes of "talk time" plus "free" evenings and weekends and Verizon-to-Verizon calling stack up? It turns out that the three of us actually only use an average of 450 minutes airtime (all types, with a range in the mid 300 to upper 500 minutes) per month at a cost of $78 or so. That's 17 cents per minute.

With pre-paid airtime running 8-12 cents per minute when purchased in bulk and comparable phones (or phones with TracFone's $40 one-time "double minutes" upgrade, a one-time cost that should be bundled in with the price of the phone) running $100 or so, our cost would run from $44/month and 10 cents per minute to $62/month and 14 cents per minute, a savings of $18-$34 per month.

All with no contracts and two-year agreements to hassle with. Better yet, my sister can get a better deal on her own cell phone and pay for it directly herself without depending on our "family" calling plan. (This arrangement has been somewhat of a logistical hassle, as you might expect!)

I think we'll move over to pre-pay!
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:27 AM   #37
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we are going to dump our cellphone accounts and move to a prepaid version. We never use all of our minutes and typically only use it for brief phone calls.

I believe we can cut our phone bill in half by going to the prepaid cellphone.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:27 AM   #38
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Since making my last post, I went online to add minutes to my tracfone. Got to the step where it said "We have now charged your credit card, click Continue to add the minutes to your phone," and when I clicked Continue, nothing happened.

So now I'm waiting for a response to my email.
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:25 PM   #39
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We have had a Tracfone for my wife for over two years and are very happy with it.
They recently changed the cards to 90 days service so we can get a year(4 - 60 minute cards) for 80 bucks plus tax.About 7 bucks a month including tax.
Gives us 240 minutes a year.
There are always specials to get extra minutes(20) or more with larger cards.
I would recommend them for folks who don't talk a lot and want an emergency/travel phone.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:45 AM   #40
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Final update: No response from my email to tracfone, but when I went back to the web site, it detected that my last transaction had not completed successfully, and added the minutes to the phone. However, instead of 60 minutes and 150 days, it gave me 90 minutes and 90 days.

Since I usually have more minutes than I need, I telephoned to get it resolved. I was connected to an operator quickly. I could only understand about 1 out of 5 words that she said, but we were able to communicate.

The operators have some kind of detailed flowchart script, such that instead of "OK, I see" they say something like "I understand that you are having a problem concerning a recent addition of airtime and you are calling to resolve that difficulty." I was able to get across that adding 60 days to my phone would solve my problem, and she did that.

Today I got a response to my email saying "I see you've gotten it resolved."

This is typical of my interactions with tracfone -- something won't be quite right, and I might have to resolve it over the phone, but it turns out OK in the end.
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