Beginning in 2009, TracFone began selling supposedly unlimited prepaid data plans for $45 under brands like Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America, but without clearly disclosing that users who went beyond certain monthly usage thresholds would have their data speeds throttled or cut off entirely. But today, in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, TracFone has agreed to refund $40 million to affected customers. [More]
2013 ends in a few hours, and in the year since we last popped champagne corks and pretended to know the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” we’ve posted more than 5,000 stories to Consumerist, covering everything from Wall Street to Capitol Hill to the drive-thru lane. Some of these posts attracted a few more readers than others. [More]
While competition in the postpaid wireless world has dwindled down to only a handful of players, the prepaid market appears to be getting more competitive. Target becomes the latest entrant into the prepaid horse race with the launch of its “Brightspot” service starting this weekend. [More]
Once again, a lawsuit calls into question the definition of “unlimited” when it refers to smartphone data plans. This time, the plaintiff claims that Straight Talk Wireless (a partnership between TracFone and Walmart) is effectively putting monthly data caps in place by throttling data speeds for users once they use a certain amount of data. Furthermore, alleges the complaint, users aren’t being told about the throttling until it’s too late. [More]
Mike’s phone spent two weeks in the repair depot at Samsung. When it came back, shortly afterward his data stopped working. Oh, no! Would it have to go back for more repairs already? Well… no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that his mobile carrier, Straight Talk, has throttled his data access down to nothing. [More]
A Straight Talk mobile plan with unlimited everything for $45 per month sounded pretty great to Thom, and he bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy to use with the carrier. All has been well since September, when he subscribed to the plan, but now something terrible has come up. Limits. TracFone (Straight Talk is a joint venture between TracFone and Walmart) tells him that he’s running up against the plan’s unspoken 2 GB limit, and they reserve the right to cut him off.
If you’re looking for an iPhone 5, do you want to pay an extra $450 now, or an extra $1000 over the next two years? Buying an unlocked phone and using a no-contract carrier can give you sticker shock initially, but you can save quite a bit of money in the long run. Our number-crunching colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports looked into it, and found that if you can pay for your new phone itself out of pocket, going unlocked and contract-free is a much better deal. [More]
You might need to get a pen and paper out to help diagram the byzantine shell game that the folks at Straight Talk (the Tracfone prepaid phone service sold through Walmart) have been playing with Consumerist reader John’s phone number.
Having trouble reaching a human at Tracfone or its new, Walmart-exclusive cousin Straight Talk? Call their corporate office at (800) 876-5753. This bit of information comes courtesy of reader Michael, whose service was canceled out from under him for a reason that no one fully understands to this day. Here’s his story, in the form of an open letter to Straight Talk. Which, thankfully, he didn’t send, because it sounds like nobody there would have had time to read it.