.by Anura Guruge
We are not big phone users, I even more so than Deanna. Anybody who has tried to call me would have realized that I am in no way tied to my cell. Unless I am at this PC and my cell happens to be close by, my cell and I are usually not in the same place. I can go for days without ever picking it up. I have never texted and have no desire. Though I was involved with computer support for decades I refused to carry a pager. E-mail is my preferred means of communication. We have an 800 minute plan (or similar) with U.S. Cellular and typically use about 200 minutes a month. But, we pay $80+ a month to U.S. Cellular — and that is not because I am calling Sri Lanka (which I don’t do often). I have been with them for about 14 years! We also have a TDS landline (and pay for two) which we hardly ever use.
So every once in awhile I get on a kick to reduce our cell bill. Last week (or the week before) we had a visit from two of Deanna’s aunts from Maine and Maryland. The one in Maine has been a department manager at Walmart for 7 (or 9) years. She told me I should switch to Straight Talk with the $30 a phone plan. She had been using Straight Talk for a number of years — albeit with the $45, unlimited plan. So, I checked it out — with some trepidation. Once I determined that they support cell number transfer I decided to give it a try, especially because Deanna’s aunt was getting a good (AT&T) signal at the house. So, as ever, I did some poking around. The ONLY way I could beat my U.S. Cellular rate was to go with this $30 refurbished phone plan — which included the first month free. It was essentially a free refurbished Motorola phone with the first month of service. I had Motorola phones for years and was kind of partial to them. We currently have LG phones that look just like old Motorola phones. Plus, Motorola used to be a very good client.
So I ordered two of the $30 refurbished phones last Wednesday. They came in the mail Saturday. I charged them for about 8 hours. Noticed that one phone didn’t start charging for about 10 minutes while the other started immediately. My antennae went up. Last night before I went to bed, i.e., around 1 am, I checked both phones. They were both fully charged.
This morning I went to activate them and transfer the numbers. Was NOT good. I was NOT impressed.
1. Said that my Alton zip, 03809, was NOT supported! That really got me mad. I had never seen a warning that this service was only available in certain areas. I decided to take a chance and gave it a Concord ZIP. It took that.
2. Then I got a Server Error and lost all of the data I typed. By now I was not amused.
3. Finally entered all the data required to transfer the cell number and hit enter. Nothing happened. Checked the phone. It was DEAD as a doornail. The other one was fine. There was NO way I could bring this one back to life. I plugged it back in. Nothing. Yes, I could have swapped batteries, but I would still have ended up with a dead phone.
Nothing happened with my activation, transfer etc. because the phone wouldn’t power-up. I am not impressed.
Yes, immediately got an RMA from Walmart online. No hassles there. I can return the phones at any store.
But, I lost an hour. I am not amused.
A pox on Straight Talk.