Tracfone reactivation. Service Call Centres. Incompetence.

There is one rule to follow when you are forced to phone into a call centre for technical assistance: You need to reconcile yourself to phoning back as many times as necessary until you eventually find someone with enough technical knowledge to solve your problem.

Unfortunately, this may take some time and an incredible amount of patience.

I have been around the track on a number of occasions with Shaw Cable and Telus to name a couple but I just had an experience trying to re-activate a tracfone, add time and change its area code that  almost broke my spirit once and for all. I should have kept track of the actual time spent on the phone but overall it was a minimum of 5 hours and possibly as high as 8 hours.

I initially phoned in and talked to one of the representatives based in some far off country. I explain that I want to change the phone’s area code from 206 to 623. That apparently isn’t available, but they can use 602, which is satisfactory to me.  I give the phone serial number as requested and she keeps going away for “2 minutes” and has me typing in codes and finally says that I should turn off the phone and turn it back on in one hour and my phone will be as requested. I am elated.

One hour later I turn my phone on and nothing has changed. So, being an eternal optimist, I leave it over night and turn it on again the next morning. No magic.

So I phone again, and get another person, probably at another call centre, in some other far corner of the world and we go through the same routine. Serial numbers and codes. We have some trouble with the code.  She can’t seem to differentiate between 206 and 602. By this time the phone is actually activated and the time added. We are simply down to the area code change. She transfers me to another person/department to do the job. No information is passed on so I again go through the explanation and give the serial number and we type in codes. This time I am told to turn off the phone and turn it back on in 15 minutes. We have reduced the time frame!

But unfortunately, 15 minutes later we still have the 206 area code.

As my wife points out, at this point I could let it drop and live with the old area code. But they said they could change the code and I will persevere. So I call again and go through all of the same procedures – serial number, type in codes, turn phone off and on. No change. After well over an hour of this I get a busy signal and I am cut off from the call centre.

I phone back, but at this point I ask to talk to a supervisor. Of course I go back on hold until someone is available and am on hold long enough that I am beginning to suspect that they are hoping that I will give up and go away. Finally I get the supervisor, but there has been no information forwarded to him and of course we go through the same stuff all over again.

He works away on the problem and lo and behold the 602 area code shows up on my phone. I am ecstatic. I feel as though I have won the game. I thanks the guy for his hard work and for solving the problem. We hang up. I am pumped.

Then I try the phone. I can’t send or receive calls.

I phone back and again wait until someone becomes available in some far off country. And we do everything again but he can’t make the  phone work. He transfers me to a supervisor and we do the dance again. After a while he says he has it fixed and that I should turn my phone off and wait a short time and all will be well. I tell him that my confidence level in their capabilities has been severely diminished and that I don’t think that I have ever worked with such an incompetent group in my life. He tells me that he is sorry that I feel that way, but I doubt his sincerity  and suspect that he has heard this before.

But I did the man a disservice. When the phone gets turned back on its new area code is 480, which is also satisfactory – and the phone sends and receives. Problem solved. I’m exhausted. I feel as though I’ve gone 9 rounds and lost.

However, to add insult to injury, at one point while trying to change the area code, one of the people asked me for the area code where we were. Then he asked for my street address and my email address. I was trying to figure out  what value this info was to him in solving the problem. When I was dealing with the final person, he also asked me for my email address. But by this time I am way bent out of shape and  asked him why the hell he needed my email when he wasn’t sending me any messages anyway. Well, he said, ‘you don’t have to give it but we will send you out promotional material’. At which point I came unglued. I had been on the phone phone for so long with these yahoos that my ear was becoming deformed and he wanted to send me promotional material! And I was dumb enough to give them the mailing address as well.

I can only plead mental exhaustion.

Isn’t technology wonderful.

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13 Responses to “Tracfone reactivation. Service Call Centres. Incompetence.”

  1. Beepa Says:

    I too have lived the horror story above as you have. I bought a new tracfone and a 400 minute double card.about a month ago. I got on line, activated my phone in the 413 (nw Ma.) area code. I can see the tower from my house. Lo and behold tracfone gave me a Boston area code from the northeast cornet of the state one hundred miles away. Several calls to tracfone, talking to many different people that I could hardly understand who never passed on the info to the next person. I went through the very same routine as you did, codes, turn the phone off and on, wait a few minutes to wait 24 hours. I finally got the area code changed to 413 and the phone actually worked, twice. Then every time I tried to make a call from my tracfone I got a Verizon Wireless recording telling me that I weren’t authorized or something like that which used up my units each time. Even if I call my tracfone number from my land mine I get that same recording. Now it’s been another 5 or 6 one to two hour phone calls to tracfone and my tracfone still is not able to make or receive calls without connecting to Verizon Wireless. I believe I have talked to every tracfone employee in South America and no-one can get my phone to work and also told me that I can get no refund. I am beat. I can’t get up the will to bother calling tracfone again simply to hear the same people tell me the same thing with the same results. You might say I am paying for my education for dealing with a company like tracfone. One side note here. I went through this same routine with tracfone a few years ago over and over and over. They finally did send me a new phone which I did activate succesfully. Now years later I figured they had their act together. Obviously they don’t and they should not be in business.

    • totalrecoil Says:

      Your experience sounds even worse than mine, although I wish I had kept track of the amount of time that I spent on the phone trying to get some resolution this last time. What is frustrating is that if you keep calling back enough times, sometimes you actually get someone that has some kind of a clue how to fix the problem.
      Another problem I had a couple of years ago was that I could not phone from the U.S. back to Canada. Again I spent considerable time on the phone and kept being told that they had it fixed, but they never did make it work. I had the same problem this last time – no calling ability back to Canada. But I never even tried to get it fixed. Instead I bought a Magic Jack and used it for all of my long distance calls. All you need for it is a working internet connection.

  2. Beepa Says:

    Hi,
    Well, I made one more attempt to get my tracfone up and running today but to no avail I am not surprised to say. After listening to those clones read their script and me give each one the same answer as the one before them the end results were the same, phone not working. Finally the last clone told me that his computer says that my phone is working and that was the end, no more options. Everything remains the same, every time I try to make a call to or from my tracfone I get the same automated recording from Verizon Wireless saying that I am not a customer. I give up. I will toss that Tracfone piece of crap into the river and figure that I paid for my education of thinking that Tracfone was a real company. How can the so-called business of ripping off Americans be allowed by the FCC, Department of Consumer Affairs and BBB be alowed in the so-called modern country? It’s sickening and duscusting.
    On the Bing search engine I typed in problems with Tracfone and it’s unbelieveable how many web-sites there are duscussing the very same issues you and I are dealing with and it’s been going on for years.

  3. Beepa Says:

    Totalrecoil,
    Go to http://www.tracfone.pissedcustomers.com if you want to see that we aren’t alone.
    beepa

  4. Beepa Says:

    Well, for some reason that link doesn’t work here. Sorry.

  5. LJohn Says:

    Ugh! I could almost not read your post as I went through the EXACT SAME THING TODAY!! Yes!! I’m yelling! :-) I’m so frustrated (not at you!) Glad to know that I am not alone but yet even more frustrating too. I felt exactly like you felt, couldn’t believe they were asking for my email too…same conversations over and over today. Such a waste of time not to mention money.

  6. Mike Kohl Says:

    Never had a problem so I never have called customer service. Hope I don’t have to. I like the fact that it’s cheap tho and got a double minutes phone which is cool. Hope it always works so I don’t have to make that call! LOL!

  7. Free Calls Says:

    I believe I have talked to every tracfone employee and no-one can get my phone to work and also told me that I can get no refund.I spent considerable time on the phone and kept being told that they had it fixed, but they never did make it work.

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