Solving A Problem With StraightTalk Is Not All That Straightforward

Like most of the StraightTalk customers we’ve heard from, Barb was happy with Walmart’s mobile phone venture…until something went wrong and she had to deal with their customer service. In her case, the problem was that she ordered a smartphone that didn’t work. Simple enough to solve, right? Well…not quite.

Barb writes:

Straighttalk has been my carrier for several years, and basically I have been satisfied. This December I ordered a smartphone from them, and began using the phone. It was faulty and I called ST technical desk.

One of the more serious and frustrating problems with the phone was when a call was made, the dialpad was not available to press any of the numbers to forward my call.

Since the customer service/tech support is outsourced, I ran into the usual problems with the agents not understanding what my problem was. I’m one of those who won’t take “no” or stupidity as an answer. I’ve been in customer service myself for many years, and understand what is/is not acceptable and possible, and will not tolerate anything less than.

After demanding to speak to a “manager” each time I ran into problems, I kept being transferred from one to another to another with no resolution. Eventually, after I was forced to get mean, I did get someone to listen to my problem and attempt to help me with troubleshooting. Unfortunately, nothing took care of the problem. This happened at least on 3 separate occasions on different days.

I returned the faulty phone to Wal Mart after checking with them to be assured that I could get a refund from them for a phone I bought online. Wellllll, you know that didn’t work – at least for almost 2 hours. Sam is surely turning in his grave! Finally after calling the credit card company I used for the purchase, and having them fax a copy of my statement verifying the purchase and amount, I did get a refund.

Then I went to a competitor provider at a corporate store and purchased a new phone and service. Everything was better than I could have expected. The phone worked perfectly, my number was being ported, I had new service, etc.

Almost a week later my number was not yet ported – it’s supposed to take no longer than 24 hours to happen. I called the new provider several times and had to leave call back information on their voice mail. No response.

Today almost a week after activation with the new provider, I was at a grocery and saw a local franchise of the new provider, and stopped in to see if they could help me. The service was very good. But, when they called their porting team I was told the other carrier’s account with me had been closed and a port would not be possible. I was told I would need to contact the previous provider to take care of the problem, since I had not authorized anyone to cancel my service – I only returned the phone.

I spent over an hour basically arguing with several customer service/billing department agents at Straighttalk, was I able to explain that I would be contacting the FCC regarding their refusal to reactive my unlimited service which was still intact until January 16, 2012. Their argument was that since I no longer had the phone, they could not provide service. What a crock!!!! Eventually the service was restored, and my port request has been confirmed by Straighttalk and tomorrow I will again have the number I have had for years.

I’m in my 60s now, and I recall contacting the local phone service (hard line) about what the charges were on my bill that I didn’t understand. Over 20 years ago, hard line customers were being charged and paying for number portability. All these “service agreements” now with wireless services apparently don’t know that. It IS possible and your right to demand your number be ported, whether you are an active/inactive customer.

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