April 16th, 2013

denver

(no subject)

Backstory: my uncle had an anerysm about thirteen years ago.  As a result, he'll have epilepsy the rest of his life that's controlled by meds, and he can function on his own, but barely and with a lot of assistance from my mom, my dad and I.   He had prepaid AT&T for his cell phone service but as texts became popular, people would text him and eat up his minutes, even though he'd ask them to stop.  He doesn't even know how to check his texts (he has me delete them for him after a few weeks) or get online, so I figured switching him over to Straight Talk $30 plan would be a good fit, as he was spending about $60 a month in minutes with AT&T since the unlimited plan really didn't fit his needs.

For some reason, Straight Talk nor Walmart.com sells the BYO sim card kits anymore online.  The closest Walmart to us that carries them is 45 minutes away.  They were out, so cue us scouring every Walmart in the outer Pittsburgh region for this SIM card kit.  Finally, we find one, but it came with the $45 card.  The SA in electronics assured us several times that when that month was up, as long as he didn't have a smartphone, we could downgrade to the $30 plan.

My mom pretty much controls his finances, so she gave me the money to get his card.  Buy the card, all is good, until I go to add it to his phone.  It says it's invalid.  So this morning I called Straight Talk.

First CSR was totally unhelpful.  Basically telling me my uncle has an Android, I'm lying about it, go to Walmart and get the $45 card, be out the $30 and deal.  I was getting increasingly irritated because my uncle barely scrapes by on what he gets now, often my mom and dad help him out.  They're laid off.  I certainly don't have the money just to throw $30 in the trash and get him a new card, either.  Not only that, the poor man canNOT be without a phone in case of emergency.  I asked to speak to a supervisor.

This is bad service on Straight Talk's part, and not so much the supervisor.  Apparently, when you get a BYO kit, they automatically assume you have an iPhone or if it doesn't read iPhone, an Android.  I'm not even sure if this is true, I'm going to call back tonight or tomorrow when I've calmed down a little and ask about it again, but if it is, that is horrible service.  What if you're technically impaired, or like my uncle, barely functional with the phone he's had forever.  It's hard to learn a new phone, and apparently if you want to save money with them you have to have their phone if you don't want a smartphone.  At first, she wouldn't do anything for me either until I insisted that I was NOT going back to Walmart to give them another $45.  For some reason she could only do the service month for 20 days instead of the 28, too.  It just seems really shady.