Reach TracFone Executive Customer Service

TracFone is a pre-paid wireless cellphone company that people enjoy for its low cost and hate for its customer service. The problem comes from their globally outsourced and non-integrated call centers. Problems don’t get solved. Emails go unreturned. Problems get stuck in infinitely recursive loops. Here’s a typical story from reader Susan, “I asked them to escalate this to a supervisor. Three days later, I get a response saying that they have investigated the problem and I should call their support line. When I called the support line, they had no details of any prior communication and no way to resolve the problem. So I am back at step one. ” Luckily for you, she found the numbers to escalate complaints up to the corporate level and got it solved: 1-800-876-5753 or 1-800-339-9345.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. plj says:

    These folks make the big 3 auto makers look like business geniuses. As the story says I love using the phone, but I hate call customer service.

  2. Hamtronix says:

    I got one. perfect if you dont have to deal with CS. Just what i need and no annoying contracts or obligations and if my phone breaks or i need a new batter I can just buy a new phone for 10$ and there ya go.

  3. emilayohead says:

    I bought a 450 minute card on my double-minutes phone, but the minutes didn’t get put on my phone. When I called, the cs rep accidentally added 1,800 minutes to my phone, instead of 900. In a spasm of honesty, I said, “You added 1800 minutes, and I should have gotten 900.” I suppose in my mind he would have just said “Keep it, my bad.” I’m such an idiot. 40 minutes later, he finally managed to give me only 900 minutes, but by that time I was ready to demand extra minutes for having to deal with them!

    Long story short, they taught me honesty doesn’t pay, and you better believe I’m keeping however many minutes they give me next time.

    • BlazerUnit says:

      @emilayohead: I hate to tell you this, but Tracfone giving you that 1800 minutes may not have been an accident–it may have been an intentional bonus for your original trouble.

      From the FatWallet and SlickDeals forums, I’ve heard of folks being surprised with bonus minutes when transferring TF accounts to new phones. (If you had say, 179 minutes to transfer to a newer phone, Tracfone would put on 200 minutes instead, rounding up.) For the folks playing the bonus code game, some codes haven’t always worked properly or were expired, and the heavily accented customer service reps loaded the minutes anyway when users complained.

      As expensive as a 450 minute card is, the fact that it didn’t double properly should have ticked you off–and Tracfone may have wanted to make it right with you the first time.

  4. nweaver says:

    Who cares about customer service on your burners anyway?

  5. Reenee says:

    A couple years ago I bought a TracFone as a quick and brief way to call my dad to pick me up from college.

    A few days after I got it, I was in a store and it mysteriously turned off during use. When I turned it on again, the thing lost ALL 100+ MINUTES I had bought.

    When I called customer service to reclaim my minutes, the operator told me they did not keep track of that sort of thing.

    I calmly hung up, went outside, and threw the phone as high as I possibly could towards the street.

    • shepd says:

      @Reenee:

      Hmmm, I suppose I would have thrown the operator for a loop. “If you don’t keep track of it, then I can just buy a 10 minute phone card and just keep re-entering it every time I want to make a call, right?”

    • HalOfBorg says:

      @Reenee: Uhhh, yes they DO keep track of it. What YOU have to do is be sure to have the phone’s 10-digit number AND it’s electronic serial number. That is in the phone.

      With that, you can destroy the phone and get you units moved over to your new one. I’ve done it with no problem at all.

      • shanoaravendare says:

        @HalOfBorg: Actually, they really DON’T keep track of that info.

        My first Tracfone got borked after a year and when I went to transfer the minutes from it to my new Tracfone they made me wait 2 weeks to get the minutes and then they just asked me how many minutes were on the phone when I called back as instructed.

        It doesn’t matter if you have all the info for the phone, they don’t know anything.

        • FLEB says:

          @shanoaravendare: I believe that’s where the name “TracPhone” came from– instead of the minutes being tracked on the network end, the balance and deduction is done on the actual phone hardware. (could be wrong, though)

        • magstheaxe says:

          @shanoaravendare: My experience is the same as HalOfBorg’s – I’ve changed Tracphones three times over the last two years, and not had a single problem with them switching over my phones. Of course, I always had the exact # of minutes written down, in addition to my serial # and phone number, so maybe that makes the difference.

  6. TWinter says:

    If you want pre-paid, try Go Phone! instead. Not perfect, but better than TracFone.

  7. jasonlcomp says:

    Tracfone, I believe, has an extremely high rate per minute, and you have to buy the most expensive minute packages in order to keep them for 90 days.

    I have found T-Mobile to be excellent for prepaid. If you dial 611 on the phone, you get to talk to actual native English speakers on the phone (although I have a feeling some are prisoners). It’s still pretty good customer service, though. MUCH better than Tracfone.

    If you buy a $100, it’s 10 cents a minute, plus you get 15% more minutes just for spending $100 or more, PLUS you get to keep the minutes for the whole year.

    And, when you reach $100 of minutes spent with them (I’m talking about in total, not just for one transaction), you get the same 15% bonus and one year expiration for every other purchase afterwards.

    My wife’s minutes expired one time. I bought a $10 card for her, and I was AMAZED that she got all her expired minutes back. That is awesome!

    The cheapest phone they have is only $30, and is a speakerphone as well.

    So, have I convinced you enough yet? Dump Tracfone!

    • TheUncleBob says:

      @jasonlcomp: A $20/60 Min card keeps your phone active for 90 days. Basically, you can keep minimal cell phone service for about $7/month. I don’t know what T-Mo offers, but it’s probably not that cheap for minimal service, which is all some people need – not to mention you can get a TracFone for less than $10.

    • magstheaxe says:

      @jasonlcomp: Does T-Mobile offer a “double minutes for life” option? I got that for my dad’s and brother’s Tracphones, and it’s been great.

  8. opsomath says:

    I’m a big Net10 advocate, but I have had similar customer service experiences; my wife spent quite a few of her own minutes on the phone with these un-empowered, english-as-a-second-and-a-half language call center types, got all the way to a supervisor, and still never managed to get her massive quantity of minutes she had bought as part of a promotion.

    They would repeatedly say they “would have the issue resolved in 24 hours, and will contact you” and then not fix it and not call us back, ever.

    Eventually, I charged the purchase back on my credit card. We figured losing $400 (for 5000 minutes) might actually nudge them into contacting us, which I look forward to just so I can give someone hell.

    • opsomath says:

      @opsomath: The short version is, buy your prepaid minutes at a store. Never had a problem with that, and it’s gloriously anonymous and simple. Fantastic signal strength, too; so much better than Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile that it’s not even funny.

    • emilayohead says:

      @opsomath: Net10 is owned by Tracfone, or maybe they’re both owned by the same people. But either way, seems like they share the same CS quality.

      • lincolnparadox says:

        @emilayohead: You’re right, they’re one and the same for corporate ownership and CS quality.

        But, I spent $15 on my Net10 phone with the first 300 minutes free. I never spend more than $30 on minutes a month. There’s no contract and if I lose/break my phone, I just spend $15-20 and start all over again with a nicer phone.

        I got spoiled with Cellular One. They had great CS, rollover minutes, cheap packages, and good coverage. When I moved after school, my choices were US Cellular and Cingular, which both had limited coverage, expensive-low minute plans, and no rollover.

        So, I went with Net10. I never have to worry about unexpected cell phone charges, or even a bill. I buy minutes when I need them, otherwise the phone sits in my pocket. It’s just a communications tool, not a digital lifeline or leash.

  9. HalOfBorg says:

    We have 4 TracFones and have only had 1 real problem. We are in the Family Plan (auto bill once month, extra units on all. no contract) but there was a problem getting one phone signed up. Kept saying ‘pending’.

    After several months and several tries one CS rep told me I needed to talk to the “Family Plan’ people! DUHHHH!

    Whoever that was handled it in about 5 seconds.

    Some other issue came up – forget what it was – and I asked for them. Again – handled it NOW.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I protest the use of the DROSTE name in your post. How dare you place the DROSTE name with the likes of TracFone. The company goes back even before Peter Stuyvesant landed in New Amsterdam. If you love chocolate, DROSTE is your brand.

  11. Brtus says:

    I LOVE Tracfone.
    I’ve had them for over 5 years, there are always deals on minutes. Customer service is slow, but any call i’ve made ended up with extra minutes for free, between 20 to as much as 200. There are no strange fees and coverage is excellent. I’ve been places we my blackberry friends can’t get signal and want use my “crappy little $20″ phone.

    • CFinWV says:

      @Brtus: Agreed, I had tracfone for a few years and loved it. Only had a few issues and each time they resolved it right away. No complaints from me!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I had their prepaid 50 minutes for $9.99 monthly plan and things went just fine w/ automatically adding new time for about 9 months. After that, the minutes stopped getting added automatically & I had to deal with the nightmarish international customer service of TracFone for 3 months in a row before I cancelled the plan. The quality & availability of TracFone’s telephone performance also leaves much to be desired. I also want to express solidarity w/ SheelaDeimachus, & agree 100% about the quality of Droste. How is there any relation between Droste & TracFone? Droste is Dutch & TracFone’s based in Miami.

  13. TPS Reporter says:

    We have Net10 and have the minimum 150 minutes ($15) just automatically billed to our credit card each month. Works out great and we’ve had them for a couple of years. The signal strength is great as I believe they use both T-Mobile and AT&T towers. If your phone breaks, just buy a new one at $30 and it comes with 300 minutes and 60 days of service. Even their unlimited plan is $79.99 which isn’t bad really. Never had to deal with their CS though.

  14. DogiiKurugaa says:

    @opsomath: I’ve never had a problem dealing with Tracfone/Net10 customer service. I have one of their lifetime plans with my Net10 phone and in three consecutive months my additional minutes and extra 30 days never arrived even though I had been charged. Called them up and they fixed the problem within five minutes including hold times. Twice they even gave me extra minutes and days because of the problem.

    Either things have changed in recent months or I got some of the good ones. Even if I couldn’t understand them sometimes they were all friendly and helpful.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used Tracfone for many years and I like them. Yes customer service tends to be a little slow and you have some times to explain your problems more than once but they are very polite and eager to help, a litle civism and good manners go a long way.

  16. notbob50 says:

    I’ve been using a Vigin Mobile phone for the past three years and am very satisfied. I only have it because if I’m out and about finding a pay phone is near impossible. I also use it for the occassional international call. Virgin has very good customer service. When I researched pay as you go phones three years ago Trac Phones were the most expensive to use. Maybe that’s changed.

  17. TemporaryError says:

    As a former RS salesperson, we always HATED doing TracFone activations. Or adding minutes for that matter. GoPhone’s were always the easiest. They were activated just like a regular ATT plan phone, and it was very easy to add minutes. (just punch in *811#(MINUTE PIN)#+send and then you got a confirmation. What really sucked is when people would come in to buy minutes for someone else and request the wrong carrier.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I can’t say they are the best, but my family has had good experiences with them. Two standard setups with no trouble. I went through tranferring a phone number from ATT to Tracfone with no trouble at all. The Tracfone customer service even went so far in suggesting I wait a day with the transfer to avoid the fee for ending my ATT contract early. So far so good, but I’m pretty low maintenance.

  19. Anonymous says:

    My girlfriend and I have used Tracfone for years and although it is sometimes a frustrating language barrier to deal with Customer Service, I chose to hang up and take a chance on getting an English speaking rep.
    Our circumstances with our phones is primarily for emergency use, but we will talk on them if the need arises out on the road.
    So far it has been the most economical way for us considering we have spend less than $50 in way way over 6 months. That makes it very affordable.

  20. rte148 says:

    Thank you Consumerist! After 3 days, and 7 calls to the regular customer service # to add minutes to my phone to no avail, I used the exec. cust. svc # and within 5 minutes, everything was fixed so that my original 200 minutes/90 days turned into 400 minutes/15 months.

    Never had problems with Tracfone until now, but if you’re having trouble and want to avoid the Darjeeling express, use the executive #

  21. Anonymous says:

    BUYER BEWARE!
    My family has been using various models of Tracfone for years. Yes, it is much less expensive and there are no service contracts than other cellular services. However, Tracfone is the worst when it comes to customer service. The 1-800 number you call for Tracfone is in the Philippines and not very many representatives speak English very well. I had three inactive phones that I wanted to reactivate. I purchased three 60-minute airtime pins on their web site and discovered that they combined them all into one 180-minute pin. I called to explain the problem. The willingly walked me through the process of reactivating 2 of the 3 phones with 60 minutes each. However the third phone needed a new part (SIM card), which had to be mailed. They informed me that once the new part arrived to call them and they would then be able to reactivate the phone. In the meantime, the number two phone would not work. I called them about it and they walked me through the process of getting it working again. When the part for the number 3 phone finally arrived, I called Tracfone as instructed. They informed me that I would have to buy more airtime for the phone because they added the airtime to my number 2 phone and blamed me for the problem. I explained the problem to a supervisor and still got nowhere. I reversed the charges to my credit card and I’ll never do business with Tracfone again!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I used to work as a customer service representative, and I know all you say its true. Customer service can sucks the most of the time,maybe because sometimes agent dont speak english as good as they speak spanish, but sometimes its about the system, I had hard times trying to fix the fxxx system and handle with a very mad customer yelling at me in my ear at the same time….is very hard to work under those conditions, but i have to say, I had good customersand stupid customers as well and Im glad to helped them all and solved the issues when I could. Thank God that is not my work anymore , because..sucks. If you have a tracfone celphone…good luck.