What the Flip is Wrong With the Phone Companies?
All my wife wants to do is call someone in case of an emergency. So I got her a Tracfone. Tracfone allows you to pre-pay with a phone card that you have to buy for about $20, every three months. But the past few years I’ve found it harder and harder to get the damned pre-paid cards to work.
Last week I gave up on Tracfone. My wife bought a new pre-paid card, and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t upload air time on her phone. So we’re out $20.
Then my wife got all excited about Jitterbug. For $15.00 a month she could have a flip phone that would be easy to use, and never require those damned pre-paid cards. The Jitterbug company advertises a lot and has a good reputation. Seemed like a good deal for us, even if it was a little more expensive than a Tracfone.
So she bought a flip phone. Then she left me with the job of activating it. That’s because I’m the supposed technology brain in this household. My wife is lost when it comes to electronic devices. She hates smart phones. She can’t figure out how to work them. She just wants a simple goddamned phone for making what?
You guessed it.
But I couldn’t activate her new fuckin’ phone. I tried to activate it online, and everything seemed to be going peachy. Until the very last screen. It popped up a message that said there was a problem, and that I had to call their customer service line, which is available 24/7.
It was 6:30 PM. I called them. But all I got was a recording that said they were only available for calls from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. What? Don’t they know what the hell “24/7” means? Maybe they think it’s a math equation, with the end result being the amount of hours they’re available for calls.
Alright, so the next morning I called them again. I got a recording that said, “Due to our overwhelming call volume, you may experience a long fucking wait.” Or words to that effect. And then they gave me another message: “However, if you want to experience faster customer service, please call back between the hours of 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.” WTF?!! I had just tried to call them the night before at 6:30 PM, and got a recording to call back later.
That’s when I came to the conclusion that Jitterbug is a real fly-by-night operation. Or rather, an operation that claims to fly by night, but really only flies between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM.
Anyway, I waited nine minutes on hold, listening to jitterbug style old-fogie music, until a customer service rep answered. She then put me on hold to try to straighten the problem out and activate our new phone. I was on hold for 45 minutes. Then a new customer service rep got on the line and said some mysterious things about technical support working on the problem. And then she hung up on me.
That was it for me. I found a new phone number to call, to cancel our account and get a refund. After about 25 minutes on hold, while seething with suppressed rage, I finally was able to negotiate that transaction.
But now my wife has no phone. All she wants is a flippin’ flip phone. Not a stupid-assed smart phone, but a flip phone, godammit. She just wants to be able to make phone calls. Nor do we want to pay all those exorbitant smart phone data rates.
Does anybody know of any phone companies out there with reasonable rates, that offer flip phones, along with good customer service? Our needs are simple. But our choices are complex. And it seems difficult to negotiate the mine fields of all the fly-by-night phone companies out there, where the wheat seems to be buried by the chaff.
We would appreciate any suggestions.