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Thread: A limit, according to Tracfone.

  1. #1
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    Question A limit, according to Tracfone.

    Hello!
    I filed an FCC and BBB complaint with Tracfone wireless in regards to false advertising and limited data on an unlimited plan. I am WELL aware of the fact that there is a "safe" 2 gb limit... but, I have gotten my data disconnected for excessive use because I browsed the web for 4 hours on a car ride, and by that, I mean the actual internet browser. I used about 150 mbs. At any rate, I got a cordial email from a Juanita Woodside, who is based in Tracfone's Medley FL office. This is where they have their offices, apparently. The Email:

    Dear Richard Varn,

    I am in receipt of the complaint that you filed with the FCC and apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.

    I would like to assist with the issue and you may contact me at 1-800-876-5753 ext **** Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00PM EST or reply via email.

    Thank you


    Juanita Woodside
    Tracfone Wireless Corporate
    ERD Executive Resolutions Specialist
    TracFone Wireless, Inc.
    Ph: 305.715.6500 ext ****
    juwoodside@TracFone.com

    I promptly called when I got this email on Friday. I spoke with her for about 10 minutes, in which I didn't get any scripting. She wrote down what I said (or so she said) and emailed it to the pertaining department. She then proceeded to explain to me that their unlimited plan isn't unlimited, and gave a couple reasons:
    ~~Tracfone/straight talk doesn't track your usage, AT&T or T-mobile does
    ~~When on a given cell phone tower (AT&T or T-mobile), and you use a lot of data, this affects other subscribers. This is when they call you or text you to tell you "slow it down"


    I think this confirms my suspicions about their tracking via cell tower-- I.E: I have 2 in my area. I'm right in the handoff zone. On one side of my house, I get 4 bars of service, and it works awesome. On the other side, I average 1 or 2 bars (it's a small house, 1700 sq. ft.). I access 2 towers, Which I have confirmed with a cell reception tower map. This is why I often "get by" using more than 2 gb's per month-- I use about 2.5 or 3.
    After she assured me that she would have a response on Tuesday, she wished me Happy Memorial Day. Today, I got an email from her that she had received in response to her inquiry. It was a copy paste of the ToS. I called, at which point she said "this is just verbage. I want to assure you that I will find an answer regarding data usage". She walked down to the department to speak with the manager there, but he wasn't at work yet. I am now awaiting a call before 2 PM today about the limits on an unlimited plan. I will update this post when I do. I hope this will help the community regarding data usage! What say you?

    Richard Varn
    Unlimited**

    **please see terms and conditions for limits on our unlimited plans

  2. #2
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    It already does not sound right. If you were disconnected for using web usage during a car ride, then you obviously were not using the same tower(s) the entire time.

    It is true that AT&T is the one who tracks data usage, because they have to bill Tracfone for usage generated by its users. That is how MVNOs work. However, the idea that they actually take the time to analyze one customers usage and the strain that usage puts on the network in any given area at any give time is nonsense.

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    I suspected that the carrier notified them. But if you were on a car ride again that makes no sense unless it was a flintstone type car. The tower impact would have been spread out as you drove.

    The unlimited plan really is not unlimited. They and others should not say it if its not true.

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    Precisely my point-- How was I flagged if I was traveling? Why? What'd I do wrong? Edit--Oh, and B.S in, B.S out. That is what I was told by the Rep about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by spekkio View Post
    It already does not sound right. If you were disconnected for using web usage during a car ride, then you obviously were not using the same tower(s) the entire time.

    It is true that AT&T is the one who tracks data usage, because they have to bill Tracfone for usage generated by its users. That is how MVNOs work. However, the idea that they actually take the time to analyze one customers usage and the strain that usage puts on the network in any given area at any give time is nonsense.

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    But doesn't the T&C also mention something about "continuous connections?" Can the act of being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours do something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzwnyc View Post
    But doesn't the T&C also mention something about "continuous connections?" Can the act of being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours do something?
    sounds like a valid point. not a friendly way to handle a customer who is not clogging up one or two towers reading webpages on his or her straight talk unlimited plan.

    i bet they don't answer him further and likely wish the ST lady would not have said unlimited is not really unlimited. they are careful not to put that in writing....it would be great fodder for a bored or hungry lawyer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzwnyc View Post
    But doesn't the T&C also mention something about "continuous connections?" Can the act of being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours do something?
    The web doesn't work that way. You connect, download the page and disconnect. (The web works in disconnected mode.) You can't keep a browser connected to the web page, it would be like having dry water - words that don't have meaning. Since you don't use any data by just having the last page showing in your browser, ST (and the web server) can't tell if you're staring at the page for 4 hours or you glanced at the page and closed your browser. (It's why pages have to time the connection out - if they didn't, some people would be "connected" for years.)

    Streaming and non-browser internet connections are different. So is a 4 hour long phone call. But Richard said that the "usage" was using a web browser for 4 hours. Unless he was constantly clicking links, "being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours" never happened. Even with a very slow connection, being connected for 4 minutes would be unusual. (And you wouldn't put up with having to wait 4 minutes for a page to load.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzwnyc View Post
    But doesn't the T&C also mention something about "continuous connections?" Can the act of being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours do something?
    It's an always on connection all the time, data doesn't get turned off when you aren't using it. One of the reasons why in a low signal area you use a lot of battery, the phone is hunting and trying to maintain a connection.

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    I filed a complaint with the FCC as well and received a certified letter from the same representative today.

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    i bet that letter does not say unlimited is really not unlimited. its nice to see the heats on.

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    I wander if they only reply to a chosen few complaints. I filed a FCC complaint well over a month ago and never heard a thing. No email, nothing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by W2PMX View Post
    The web doesn't work that way. You connect, download the page and disconnect. (The web works in disconnected mode.) You can't keep a browser connected to the web page, it would be like having dry water - words that don't have meaning. Since you don't use any data by just having the last page showing in your browser, ST (and the web server) can't tell if you're staring at the page for 4 hours or you glanced at the page and closed your browser. (It's why pages have to time the connection out - if they didn't, some people would be "connected" for years.)

    Streaming and non-browser internet connections are different. So is a 4 hour long phone call. But Richard said that the "usage" was using a web browser for 4 hours. Unless he was constantly clicking links, "being connected to the network continuously for 4 hours" never happened. Even with a very slow connection, being connected for 4 minutes would be unusual. (And you wouldn't put up with having to wait 4 minutes for a page to load.)
    That would happen if you are in one location. A static page does not update continuously. When you are moving, you may connect or disconnect from the same webpage multiple times. The phone has no way of knowing that the page has not changed. It downloads it again anyway since you are accesing it from a different path each time.
    Earl F. Parrish

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andman433 View Post
    I wander if they only reply to a chosen few complaints. I filed a FCC complaint well over a month ago and never heard a thing. No email, nothing!
    Has your data been cut off though?

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    Actually no it wasn't. I actually posted the complaint based on all the posts I've seen on these forums. I'm a relatively light user, but I don't think it's right what they do and are doing to customers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andman433 View Post
    Actually no it wasn't. I actually posted the complaint based on all the posts I've seen on these forums. I'm a relatively light user, but I don't think it's right what they do and are doing to customers...
    I agree though, but I'm just saying that maybe they didn't bother to look into your complaint because you weren't really affected (your service has not been cut off). Complaints from people who have actually been cut off are probably of more importance to the FCC I guess.

    It's why I haven't filed a complaint. I don't think it's right that Straight Talk is being untruthful, but I don't think the FCC would have time to deal with my complaint.

    This is probably one of the few times that I wish that a government agency actually had more power. I heard that in Australia, there's this department that you can complain to, and they will actually are responsive and will do something about your complaint.

    Meanwhile, whenever I file a do-not-call complaint with the FCC I get a standard e-mail reply saying "Thanks for you complaint, we can not respond to individual complaints... and so on." Basically telling me, "Since you're just one little person, you're not really important and your complaints may or may not be resolved at all."

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