Death to Tracfone

Death to Tracfone Reviews

I need a recommendation for a cell phone provider, because I am done with the incompetent folks at Tracfone.

I have been a Tracfone customer for the past 4 years (with my current number). This company is an MVNO on Verizon's network, so reception has been reasonably good for both data and phone. Service was cheap, too, and so long as I kept getting the ($100 to $125) annual plans I could roll over my minutes and data.

I should have several thousand minutes of call time and several GB of data remaining on my Tracfone account. Tracfone  insists I used it all, but has refused to provide any evidence.

I am sure you think I used all those minutes (well, no, it's 2019 and no one talks that much any more). I will grant you that I cannot prove I should have all those minutes, but that is only because Tracfone's system broke repeatedly over the past two months, and has lost all my info. At this point I can't even prove how long I've had my current phone number with them.

Starting some time in June, Tracfone has:

  • Disconnected my service plan from my phone (at least 15 times)
  • Thrice transferred my phone number to, well, nowhere
  • Lost my phone completely (I tried to make a call, and got Verizon customer service)
  • Repeatedly told me that my service had ended the day before (my contract runs through late November)
  • And as a final, indignity, Tracfone has somehow transferred my service to Straight Talk  (that's who answered when I called this morning, anyway).

As I have repeatedly told their service reps, Tracfone did this all on their own without my permission or involvement.

Now, look at that list and tell me again how I used up all my data and minutes. Please.

Folks, this post represents me throwing in the towel on Tracfone. I have spent over 4 hours on the phone, arguing with their reps, and I am done.

The lost time and wasted money is my penance for trying to go the cheap route; I knew better, but I didn't want to pay for quality service, so I got what I deserved.

Can you recommend a cell phone company?

I have a trip next week, so I would need to get the phone in the next couple days.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

63 Comments

  1. Paul K Biba1 August, 2019

    I regularly travel cross-country on my motorcycle and have found that Verizon has the best coverage (I usually carry two phones for safety reasons – one verizon and one AT&T).

    I have also found that Verizon’s customer service has always been friendly and helpful. Can’t speak to price, as I’m mainly concerned with coverage.

    Reply
  2. Michael Anderson1 August, 2019

    I’m with Paul – Verizon. Of course, in our area (central NY) Verizon has pretty close to a monopoly on coverage – everyone else is delivering 2008-standard service at best, so if we want universal 4G coverage for everywhere we go, there is exactly ONE choice.

    That said, we have had zero issues – they have worked with us on billing (ensuring my corporate discount is applied), service, international support and soon. We have a family plan right now still covering our ‘kids’, and would hate to have to change.

    Reply
    1. Natalee Love3 August, 2019

      Hate does not describe my HATRED OF tracfone. Disconnected my phone in the middle of important conversations with important people and when I called them they insisted that they took my minutes away because the month was over. Over and over I tried to tell them that I had service until 2021 and I had bought it on QVC, before they went total price gouge. They just did what they wanted to do and ,I’d say by about the tenth time trying to get justice from them, I was so super frustrated that I told the employee that was not helping me, “Go to Hell” and he said right back to me “after you”

      They also took my debit card that was on file and charged me for another month. Yea, you guessed it,
      After contacting them again, they told me I did it online. No No No, that never happened.

      I could go on and on with other unethical, horrible customer service but I’ll just end with DEATH TO TRACFONE !,,

      Hello Mobile is a great one to switch to

      Reply
  3. Cheri1 August, 2019

    If you’re looking for a budget plan check out Cricket. We had a good experience with them and only switched because we needed international data. They’re an AT&T MVNO.

    Reply
    1. Syn4 August, 2019

      I second cricket. If you auto pay you can get 5gb unlimited talk/text for 35 a month. 2gb plan is 30. They are at&t network. I still think Verizon has the most coverage but AT&T is not far behind. T-Mobile has way more holes in coverage.

      Reply
  4. Paul1 August, 2019

    I’ve been pretty happy with T-mobile but I’m not in rural areas much. If you travel abroad however it’s a steal compared to Verizon and AT&T

    Reply
  5. Paul K Biba1 August, 2019

    I forgot to mention Google Fi. If you use a lot of data it could be a good choice.

    Reply
    1. Clyde Burns2 August, 2019

      +1 on Google Fi. Got a 1st gen Pixel smart phone. My monthly bill is is normally 25-27 dollars depending on how much data I use. And its obviously tied at the hip to all things Google.

      Reply
  6. Kate1 August, 2019

    TracFone, Straight Talk and Net10 are all the same company, each offering a different variation on no-contract cell phone service.

    Reply
  7. Scott1 August, 2019

    Generally happy with T-mobile. Family of 4 is on it. But coverage even in semi-rural suburban areas leaves a lot to be desired.

    Reply
  8. tony1 August, 2019

    I’m with Cheri above. We’ve been using Cricket for three or four years now, paying $80 for two phones. We had AT&T before, so the change was pretty seamless, except the bill went down by over half.

    Reply
  9. Blueskies1 August, 2019

    Here is a comparison list of Verizon MVNOs.

    https://bestmvno.com/compare/verizon-mvnos/

    As a previous poster commented, tracfone, net10, straight talk, total wireless are all owned by the same company – América Móvil
    Of course Verizon also sells prepaid directly too.

    Reply
  10. Don1 August, 2019

    Wow I never had that much problem with them. I agree though if there is a glitch, it will be hard to prove you lost the actual minutes. What I did was buy a couple of cards on occasion then get the “emergency” plan/option. It kicks in if you run out of service time (every card gives you 3 months of service with the minutes). The emergency is $6. If you don’t talk much and just want a phone on occasion, I would say you can’t beat $6 a month. I never did the large plans since I never use that many minutes or data.

    I tend to wonder if the phone you are using was having a problem with their systems. If you hung up, but it kept thinking you were still talking for some reason. Was it a phone you got from them? Or did you do the “bring your own phone”? I have only used phones that I got from them. Usually the cheapest they had at the time.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 August, 2019

      it’s their phone

      Reply
  11. Don1 August, 2019

    That is crazy. :/ I wonder if the phone screwed up or their system. Either way it is a big screw up and trying to prove you had the minutes is about impossible. :/ BTW- I checked my account and it is called the service protection plan where it adds 30 days of service if you run out. I haven’t had to use it in a while since I had a lot of service days built up. I don’t see it offered on the site, but I am still enrolled so that might be why.

    Reply
  12. jooomachone2 August, 2019

    Usmobile

    Reply
  13. Mike Cane2 August, 2019

    I was with Tracfone back when a card bought you only minutes. It was hell because my minutes were deducted when people *called me*. And I was never convinced they calculated properly. I’ve since been thinking of Metro (aka MetroPCS). Let us know what you decide and how it works out.

    My Tracfone — a Nokia dumbphone — now acts only as my watch and flashlight. And prop to make make troublemakers think I’m dialing 911 on their asses.

    Reply
  14. Chris2 August, 2019

    Ting

    Reply
  15. TracFonesux2 August, 2019

    We are switching to Mint mobile. We were using an Xfinity landline to make a lot of phone calls to Mexico. I was upset when I transferred from TracFone Byop SIM and my account didn’t balance to my new TracFone phone. Lost quite a lot of money on the account balance!

    Reply
  16. DaveMich2 August, 2019

    Everyones case is slightly different. In my case I text and call but use no data (minutes). Instead, I rely on wireless access which I am almost always within reach of.

    So I made the switch years ago to T-mobile “pay as you go”. Every so often I buy a card at the grocery store and top it off. It can be done entirely online but there’s some pin somewhere that I forgot. Because I don’t call and text *that much*, and use no data plan, I get buy for under $10 a month on average. I have an inexpensive samsung that works fine for me and I just put the chip (and a micro-sd card) in. The lower-end samgsungs let you maintain the battery and chip yourself.

    Reply
    1. wehoho2 August, 2019

      I also use T-Mobile prepaid for phone/text, and a free data plan from Freedom Pop – just 200 mgs a month, but enough to check email and headlines when away from wifi. I spend between $3 – $5 each month total.

      Reply
  17. Kit2 August, 2019

    I’ve been with Verizon since the first Droid came out; 2009? Something like that. They’ve always been fine; no problems with service, or coverage, or using the phone outside of the country. I’ve had to use their help a couple times; it’s been good. No problems with changing phones or anything; I’ve got a iPhone 6s plus now. I don’t know if it’s the cheapest thing out there, but I think it’s worth it because it’s been so hassle-free.

    Reply
  18. Em Pm2 August, 2019

    Whatever you do RUN don’t walk away from anything to do with StraightTalk!! They offer LTE service but actually 2 days after purchasing their plan, I was reduced to 3G, which is nothing better than the old “dial up” service from years ago. Absolutely pathetic, no wonder they are in bed with Tracfone!!

    Reply
  19. Richard Hershberger2 August, 2019

    I have a pay-as-you-go plan with Ting. It is inexpensive and I have had no problems with them.

    Reply
  20. Cliff C. Shoemake2 August, 2019

    Mintmobile.com. Have had it for over 3 years, and have only had 1 Problem! It did turn out to be a fairly serious problem, what with
    having no service in a nearby town on a day when my car broke down. But since then several friends have told me that I could have probably fixed it by doing a restart, which I didn’t know about. Anyway, Fantastic customer service, and cheap. $35 a month with unlimited talk and text, with 12 GBs of data per month. So far I’ve bought service 6 months at a time. Would have liked to buy a year’s service, which would make it Even Cheaper, but couldn’t afford it at the time. Anyway, we live out in the middle of nowhere, on a dead end gravel road, and get fantastic reception. Way better than we ever got from AT&T, which we used for years @ DOUBLE the price. AND AT&Ts customer service was absolute garbage.

    Reply
  21. victor morales2 August, 2019

    You can know visit a local TracFone store near you they can help you with the problem.
    The stores are called Total wireless.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 August, 2019

      shit, there’s actually one of those near me

      that didn’t used to be the case – Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Mike Cane3 August, 2019

        You have to update us in a separate post as to how this all shakes out. These Comments are gettin too numerous to plough through!

        Reply
  22. Cliff the Gypsy2 August, 2019

    mintmobile.com. We’ve been using it for over 3 years with only one glitch, when my phone wouldn’t work when my phone wouldn’t work in a nearby town when my car died. Friends have since told me that I should have restarted the phone. Anyway, we pay $35 a month for 12 GBs data, and unlimited talk and text. They’ve had absolutely fantastic customer service, all American, and always available. It would be cheaper if we bought a years service, but at the time we couldn’t afford it. My brother also uses it in a Nearby DEAD ZONE where nobody gets service. He’s tried many different servers over the years, and mintmobile.com is the ONLY ONE that has worked. We both brought our own phones, Samsung Galaxy J3s, and we’re both extremely satisfied with phones and Service. BTW, I used AT&T for years and their customer service was crap, as was their phone service, and the price was double what we pay now for HALF THE DATA! We will never go back to AT&T. Depending on where you are, and what’s available, mintmobile uses many various servers.

    Reply
  23. Chris Hussey2 August, 2019

    ting, ting and once again ting.
    They use Sprint’s network. I was a customer for years. Had five lines with unlimited everything (technically based on usage), and average bill was about $100. Yes, I’m serious.
    Their customer service is spectacular. You do have to provide your own phone, but can easily find a workable one on Swappa or Glyde.

    Reply
  24. LaShondra R Parnell2 August, 2019

    I’ve been using TracFone for four years,And I tried to call them to get my data and my minutes. Well, I will done with them until next year.

    Reply
  25. Cynthia Grove2 August, 2019

    Tracfone is a piece of dung. They want you to pay all this money and when something goes wrong it take 3 to 4 weeks if not more to correct the problem.
    I was better off switching to another carrier and I am very happy I did.
    Lose the jerks.

    Reply
  26. Kirk2 August, 2019

    Ive had trac phone for 6 yrs never had a problem have great coverage everywhere i go!

    Reply
  27. me2 August, 2019

    go to the MVNO and prepaid forums at Howard forums.

    they got the lowdown there.

    https://www.howardforums.com/forumdisplay.php/325-US-Prepaid-MVNO-Discussion

    Reply
  28. Kevin2 August, 2019

    I use Visible phone service and they have been really good for me. $40 for unlimited text, talk AND data. Also, they are on the Verizon network!
    They do have a few minor issues, but what carrier doesn’t? They sent my SIM Card two days after I signed with them. Oh, the only bad things are: one account one line
    Pay through the app
    5MPS download
    But other than that, I have gotten free stuff, hats, pins, water bottles and more.
    Until something better comes, I am going to stay with them for awhile.
    If you use the promo code “tFhQL” you can try it for a month for $20!

    Reply
  29. Fi Man2 August, 2019

    I used TracFone for years and switched to Google Fi in April. Unlimited talk and text with $10 a GB on data. I haven’t had a monthly bill over $30, the lowest was $25. Got a Moto phone when I switched and it worked seamlessly overseas.

    Reply
  30. Barry Marks2 August, 2019

    I’ve been using Safelink, which is Tracfone’s free service for people on Medicare and Medicaid, for more than 10 years. I have to use my phone at least once a month to maintain free service and they send me a notice that I haven’t used it at least every 3 months even though I use it nearly every day.

    I have to recertify every year and they notify me at least 4 or 5 times a year that my recertification is due when it isn’t. This has been happening since I first got on the plan.

    I live in a retirement home and a number of people use the same service and have the same problems. It seems to be just how they do things.

    That said, their phone service has been very good. When I’ve needed technical support from the Tracfone side of things they’re easy to reach, friendly and helpful. I have no complaint. However, when I have to contact the Safelink part of it it’s a minor horror story every time.

    Barry

    Reply
  31. Jacob2 August, 2019

    I would definitely recommend Consumer Cellular. Great service anywhere you go and their customer service is hands down the best to work with!

    Reply
  32. Ebony2 August, 2019

    I Would NOT RECOMMEND TRACFONE 2 ANYONE…YES THEIR SERVICES IS HORRIBLE…

    Reply
  33. Chris2 August, 2019

    I have had TracFone since 1994. The few problems I had with them were always fixed. I the beginning they were pricey but not any more. They are one of the most reasonable. I have good reception just about any where

    Reply
  34. Dick2 August, 2019

    My wife and I have had TRACFONE more than 10 years. Three different phones and now we have SMARTFONES. No problems to speak of in all these years. Travel all over the Midwest and never without coverage.

    Reply
  35. Al Kendall2 August, 2019

    I have been with Tracfone over 10 years. Originally had a Nokia analog candy bar phone and when they analog towers were shut down, Tracfone gave me a free digital phone. I need only emergency service, so I have been using a dumb (feature) flip phone. Realizing that these 2g Verizon towers are being shut down in Jan. 2020, I am dreading the process of transferring my number and minutes to the LTE smart phone I will be compelled to purchase. Of course I will do it online but I do hope I do not have to phone Tracfone for any reason and have an experience like Nates.

    But for one who rarely uses the phone, 20 texts and perhaps 10 minutes talk per month, the $20 card for 90 days is a great deal and I have accumulated 1400 minutes. I am almost positive that it will screw up when they are transferred to a new phone.

    Reply
  36. Rhia2 August, 2019

    As far as I’m concerned tracfone is a bunch of scam artist. Recently tried to put my teenage son on a tracfone plan. I’m not only out of money but the cards wouldn’t work nor would the 3 different tracfone we purchased. My husband and I have been with straight talk for 4 yrs we love it. No contact no problems with service. And its $45 a month unlimited talk, text, and data.

    Reply
  37. Racheal Tilman2 August, 2019

    They outsourced my job when they aquired SimpleMobile all those years back and I’m still salty. They violated the Warn Act and laid off over 600 people in 60 days when they closed our call center. I hate them.

    Reply
  38. Irene2 August, 2019

    I have been with Trafone for 2+ years. I take a screenshot of account balance, at least once a month, as proof of my account balance.

    The account balance can be obtained on a PC or a smart phone.

    Reply
  39. Dimitri Borozny2 August, 2019

    Try Tello wireless! They have some excellent plans!

    Reply
  40. John2 August, 2019

    I have been using TracFone for a few years now have run into a few problems but nothing as bad as what your going through with them. I have noticed in the last year that TracFone products aren’t available in stores. Everything is Straight Talk now. Although online everything is still available. In early 2017 on eBay TracFone was selling 365 Airtime 1200 min 1200 texts & I believe
    it was 1.2 GB of Data & a LG Rebel Android for $50 so I bought one of those. After the year was up I checked eBay but any offers like that were gone. After Googling around I read about a way you could get 365 days of Airtime for $50 on an Smartphone which involves adding a cheaper plan to your cart & during checkout they will offer you the 1 year $49.99 of Airtime as an add on. It took a few tries as I think the offers are random. Anyways once the offer is available you can select it & deselect everything else in the cart. Now when it comes to their service the only problem I had was when I tried switching my plan to an Unlocked non carrier tied iPhone I have. Everything seemed to be going good but once I switched over to the iPhone it kept directing me to Verizon when trying to make a call. Anyways long story short ended up switching my plan back over to my Android TracFone.

    Reply
  41. Suzanne Graczyk2 August, 2019

    I just left TracFone and switched to Total Wireless. It was recommended by Clark Howard the financial advisor guy as being one of the best.

    Reply
  42. Marlene2 August, 2019

    My friend is visually impaired and has only a flip phone with tracfone, I was not happy with their service so dropped them. Actually have no phone. I am disgusted with having to be a slave to their fees, all phones at that. Since cell phones came out prices began to climb faster than the cost of living increase in my pay check. I may try Mint Mobile 15 a month put pay in 3 or 6 or 12 months in advance. Much more reasonable. I did not know what my friend will do, any suggestions in his choices since he is visually impaired?

    Reply
  43. Linda Short2 August, 2019

    I have been with Trafone, since the beginning!!!! Recently when I put a card on my phone, all of a sudden my minutes were taken off!! Just like the above you can not talk to the representatives!!! Plus the other day I received a email stating that they were taking my number!!!! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO TRACFONE??????

    Reply
  44. Betty DuBose3 August, 2019

    I’ve been using Tracfone for a few years and I haven’t had any problems with it. I’ve switched from a flip phone to the smartphone. I’m still trying to figure out all of the things I my smartphone, all in all, I love it.

    Reply
  45. David3 August, 2019

    I just got a Motorola smartphone, a 249.value, a Bluetooth stereo headset, and a 125.dollar Tracphone 1 year card w.data and minutes for 69.00 from Home Shopping Network .
    I’m happy !

    Reply
  46. Fred a3 August, 2019

    As I am in the same boat with TracFone as the author he didn’t ask for endorsements he asked for alternatives to TracFone hope they keep coming cuz I need to get out as well

    Reply
  47. Christine Duffy3 August, 2019

    I’ve been with TracFone since 1990 something. I’ve had one or two problems and it was fixed. And I do not get dropped calls at all.

    Reply
  48. Bob3 August, 2019

    I just left tracfone for Verizon prepaid. I had 7Gb of data disappear in 10 days. Tracfone insisted my phone had used it and I should check my phone’s data usage. Told the representative I had and that it claims I used only 2.53Gb data in the last month. Despite my evidence to the contrary Tracfone still insist I used the data. Do NOT use TracFone, they are either stealing by accepting money then deleting data and minutes or their system has compromised.

    Reply
  49. Pat Douglas3 August, 2019

    I’ve been a Tracfone customer for several years and have experienced superior service with very few issues. I continue with them because the overall cost is so reasonable. If you try another carrier and are not satisfied with them, perhaps start over with Tracfone. They have tons of customers and are not going anywhere.

    Reply
  50. Felecia3 August, 2019

    I been with tracfone since 2016 & had similar experience with data & minutes disappearing but I put up a good fight and my minutes and data were given back to me due to an error on their part.

    The last straw for me was loosing service during the first earthquake last month, customer service representative kept making up excuses and then my phone couldn’t receive texts or phone calls for 4 days.

    I switched to Walmart Family Mobile,
    I pay $30 a month for unlimited talk & text with 5 GB data service through Team Mobile. Very happy with service with no issues at all & I was able to keep my number. The phone is sold by TracFone but other than that no problems in the month that I’ve had it.

    Reply
  51. Lois3 August, 2019

    My husband and I have had Tracfone for over 20 years and never had any trouble. He has a flip phone and had to update from a G2 to a G3. There was no problem. He couldn’t wait the 6 weeks for a free one so went to Walmart and bought it. Transfer went smooth. I switched from flip to smart about 5 years ago.again o problems. We both recommend to family and friends. We only spend around $250 a year and each get 1400 min.

    Reply
  52. barbara reeves3 August, 2019

    I’ve been with them 6/7yrs. Last year they started stealing my minutes too! My original plan call for any purchase to be tripled that went well for years. Then all of a sudden last year my minutes disappeared and they tell me they nolonger do the x3 purchase. Last month after purchasing a new phone w/1yr plan, I find my data has disappeared. I need a new company too!

    Reply
  53. David L. Empey3 August, 2019

    Hi everyone. I also had years of frustrated attempts to receive satisfactory customer service from TracFone. I just gave up and endured the lost- in-traslation concussion, etc. That is until I found Assurance Wireless.
    Eureka!
    So far I have found that elusive CS! Try them fellow travelers and Kerie Eleison!

    Reply
  54. G.B. Miller5 August, 2019

    I’ve had Sprint for the past 20 years or so. Never had a problem and their customer service was always spot on, with very few hiccups over those decades.

    Reply
  55. Anthony5 August, 2019

    I currently use Metro (T-Mobile’s prepaid subsidiary), though I was on T-Mobile-proper’s prepaid service before. It works pretty well; Metro/T-Mobile were both cheaper than what I had before (Sprint, who ironically T-Mobile is merging with).

    Reply
  56. Doug8 September, 2019

    I have used Straight Talk for years and if I have a problem, I use the chat feature and talk to someone and its fixed.

    Reply

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