Even though this isn't a blog, I will write this page in that style. Right now I am considering blog software for a few of my pages.
Tracfone has discontinued the referral program. The Tracfone web site indicates they are working on an improved program. So at the moment no free referral minutes.
First off Tracfone has sweetened the referral offer to 120 free minutes, so if you would like a referral email me at firstname.lastname@example.org pleae include "Tracfone Referral" in the subject line.
Now on to a review of Tracfone. I just took a trip from Denver, CO to Superior, WI. I stuck to the interstate, and had coverage all along the way. In some places when I was between bigger towns the call clarity wasn't that good, but I did have coverage.
I do have a complaint about how Tracfone replaces defective phones under warantee. By default when you replace a Tracfone under warantee they will change your phone number. If you need to retain your phone number you have to tell them when you are exchanging your phone, and even that is no gaurantee that you will keep your phone number. I will include some advice a little later on how to retain your phone number.
Here is the sad tale of how Tracfone lost my phone number. I use my Tracfone for business purposes, and had some signs printed with my Tracfone phone number on them. When my phone had an intermittant problem I called customer service to get a replacement phone. I let them know I needed to retain my phone number.
The day before my replacement phone arrivied, Tracfone deactivated my phone number, and the voice mail was deactivated at the same time. When I tried to activate the replacement phone it had the correct phone number, but it didn't have service. I waited the required 24 hours, and still didn't have service. When I called customer service they said that it was really 24 business hours, so I should wait three business days. This is my business phone, and when people call the phone number they get the message the subscriber is not available.
For a week I talked to countless customer service representatives and supervisors. They in turn talked to an internal technical services department. After a week we activated the phone with a different phone number since the problem was related to my phone number. I used the replacement phone with the changed phone number because Tracfone is my only phone.
Because I had signs printed with my phone number I was not giving up on trying to recover my phone number. I bought a second Tracfone so that I would have a phone I could use while customer service tried to recover my business phone number. The thought was I could use my new phone number and replacement phone, while Tracfone tried to activate a phone I didn't need with my "real" phone number. Tracfone tried for another week to recover my phone number. As I understand the problem there wasn't any lines available for the area code and exchange I needed. The tower(s) that serve 303-332-xxxx didn't have any lines available. At the end of the week I was informed I couldn't have my business phone number back because Tracfone had released my phone number back to T-Mobile.
Since I couldn't get my phone number back I said I should be compensated for my expenses related to the phone number that was lost. I had $40 in signs and I spent $50 for an unnecessary second Tracfone, Tracfone did compensate me with some minutes for expenses, but not enough. I received 137 minutes in relation to my replacement phone, at my current rate of 15 cents per minute that is $20.55. Out of that $20.55 I had to pay $4.65 to DHL to return the defective phone.
Near as I can tell the only sure way to retain your phone number when you replace your Tracfone for any is reason, is to have a second Tracfone. If you need to keep your phone number buy another Tracfone. Call customer service so they can deactivate the old phone and then activate the new phone using your phone number. Because the deactivation and activation happen within minutes of each other nothing should go wrong. After that you can go through the warantee replacement procedure with the now deactivated old phone. Tracfone assures me this will work to retain your phone number, but then again for two weeks I received several assurances I could get my phone number back.I still intend to use Tracfone as my telephone service partly because of the monthly cost. The main thing to remember is if you need to keep your phone number be careful. Oh, speaking of cost I now have two months of data available for how much Tracfone cost me for my usage. With the initial referral, a subsequent referral, and the compensatory minutes my per minute rate is 14.8 cents per minute. Based on the minutes used the April phone "bill" was $11, and May was $29. In May I was out of town for two weeks and used the Tracfone a lot. June will probably be about $15 again.
In March 2006 I started researching options for telephone service. I didn't want a land line because I knew I would be a full time RVer in the near future, but I didn't want to pay a lot for cell phone service either. I started checking on traditional cell phone service, and prepaid services as well. I entered the costs of various traditional and prepaid carriers into a spreadsheet so that I could compare monthly and per minute rates with my anticipated usage. I figured all I really needed was about 100 minutes per month.
The results of my research was traditional cell phone service would cost about $30/month, plus the phone, and a two year agreement. Since I was not going to use all the included minutes my real cost per minute would have been close to 30 cents per minute. If I included the cost of the phone in my calculations both the monthly cost and price per minute went up.
With Tracfone prepaid service I should be able to keep the cost closer to $15/month. With the Tracfone prepaid plan the air time will end up costing about 15 cents per minute. I found an offer on the web from Tracfone where if I bought an annual card at regular price, Tracfone would give me a phone. Just like with the traditional plans sometimes you can get a free phone, but in this case I don't have a two year agreement to get the "free" phone.
Conclusion if you don't need lots of minutes per month consider a prepaid plan. For my usage Tracfone turned out to be the cheapest on a monthly basis, by using an annual "Double Minute" card, and buying one 400 minute card that gets doubled to 800 Minutes. I will get about 100 minutes per month at a cost of $15/month and about 13 cents per minute.
While I was researching Tracfone I found someone who would give me a referral to Tracfone. The advantage of a referral is that both the person giving the referral, and the person receiving the referral get 100 free bonus minutes of air time with the new activation.
Right now I can't speak to quality of service with Tracfone since I haven't used it much yet. I will write more on that subject as I use my phone. Meanwhile if you would like a referral so that you can start with 100 free minutes plus the minutes you receive at activation email me at email@example.com and I will send you a referral.
For more information about Tracfone you can go to their site at www.tracfone.com.
Image from the Tracfone web site.