I'm hoping to find someone who has experience with this plan -- it almost sounds too good to be true, so it probably is!
I got my mom a Tracfone because she uses cell phones so little. She was paying ~$20/month for a postpaid plan, which was a total waste for her. I got her 365 days plus a bunch of stacked bonuses that added even more time and minutes. Despite the extended time before expiration, it is almost time to renew and she has literally hundreds of minutes left. It seems ridiculous to add 400 minutes to get her another year (and even more ridiculous to pay more for smaller increments).
The automatic $5.99 30-day extensions sound perfect... except for a few ambiguous details.
On the Value Plan page, it says: As a Value Plan member you can buy Minutes in bundles of 50 or 100 MINUTES whenever you want! ...so, does that mean you can't buy other "denominations" of minute refills anymore? I didn't even see 50 or 100 minute refills available, so that could be a problem!
I can't find the page now, but in one spot the wording implied that the extension would take effect "after" you missed your due date -- which, if true, would mean you'd lose your phone number -- not good!
Then there is the question of whether you can change plans later if you choose, or just stop the service entirely (which would normally be accomplished by porting your number, but Tracfone somehow gets away with refusing to do that). I have visions of arguing with an outsourced rep, and/or having to have a credit card cancelled and reissued to stop the automatic charges.
This appears to be the only way to buy time without buying minutes. Is it worth it? Is there another way I haven't found?
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posted: Dec. 10, 2009 @ 2:08p
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Senior Member - 2K
posted: Dec. 11, 2009 @ 8:04a
you would be better off if you get in on the Net10 deal, posted in the Hot Deals forum at FW. Without going into details, I end up paying about $5 per month, which gets me about 150 minutes per month.
Senior Member - 4K
posted: Dec. 11, 2009 @ 8:16a
The service protection plan is great for people like your mother, that also can't afford to put out a large amount of cash at one time.
On the service protection plan you are only charghed on the months that your service would lapse. You are free to add any airtime cards you desire to add minutes or to extend your service end date. As long as your service is active you will not be charged. You can leave the plan active and never get charged or you can cancel the plan if you add other airtime.
Tracfone sells minute bundles to customers that are enrolled in their plans. Those bundles are not available to others. A 50 minute bundle cost $10 and a 100 minute bundle cost $20. That is a per minute rate of 20 cents unless your phone has double minutes for life which would double the minutes and make the per minute rate 10 cents. No airtime is included in the bundles, this would be in addition to the plan's monthly charge.
At $6 a month + tax you will spend $18 every 3 months and get no minutes, just service. $20 will buy 3 months of service and also get you 60 minutes, 120 if your phone has double minutes. You can also use a bonus code when adding the airtime card for additional free minutes, can't do that on the plan.
So, for $2 more every 3 months you can get 60 to 180 minutes (depending on your phone and bonus codes). Everyone likes to get a great value and $2 for those minutes is a great value. But is it really a value to pay for something you will not use? The plus side is that you can always transfer those unused minutes to another phone at a later time if you wish.
And of course if you buy airtime cards when they are on sale you can probably get your 3 months of service cheaper than $6 a month.
The best option may be to buy a 60 minute airtime refill from the tracfone site, and select the 12 month option for an additional $50. $70 total for 15 months of service and 60+ minutes.
If she lives in an area that has service from Verizon you might be able to get Page Plus. A Page Plus phone can be kept active for $10 every 4 months. $10 gets 100 minutes and 120 days of service. Minutes roll over with continued service. Page Plus Cellular
As mentioned, using the Net10 deal can result in a very good value at $22 for 4 months of service and 600 minutes. But for someone that doesn't use the minutes there is a risk of transferring them to another phone so every 4 months you are going to start over, unless you know how to play the system. $22 every 4 months is a great deal but you will be paying more for something that you will not use.
The page plus deal is the cheapest one if she uses less than 25 minutes a month average.
posted: Dec. 11, 2009 @ 12:21p
Hawkeye and Jim, I apologize for wasting your time -- I should have been clearer about why I was only asking about Tracfone. My post had already gotten lengthy, so I skipped that aspect. The obvious part is that we're already invested in the equipment itself (money AND time -- every new handset means lots of instructions and hand-holding ). The other part is that mom is tired of changing phone numbers. She had the same number for several years on a non-SIM Tracfone... which I screwed up and let expire . They wouldn't let me renew the handset because it was non-SIM, and of course the number was lost either way. So she got the postpaid plan (2nd phone # and handset). We were going to port that number into Tracfone, but they wanted too much personal info, so she reluctantly opted to get a new number to go with her new handset (#3). Last I heard, Tracfone refuses to port out, so switching service would mean number/handset #4. She's tired of phone roulette! It'll be worth a few extra bucks per year to maintain continuity.
jimates said: On the service protection plan you are only charghed on the months that your service would lapse. You are free to add any airtime cards you desire to add minutes or to extend your service end date. As long as your service is active you will not be charged. You can leave the plan active and never get charged or you can cancel the plan if you add other airtime.So once you add airtime, the plan is cancelled completely, and you would have to go back to the website and sign up for it again?
jimates said: The best option may be to buy a 60 minute airtime refill from the tracfone site, and select the 12 month option for an additional $50. $70 total for 15 months of service and 60+ minutes.*DING DING!* I think we have a winner! I had done something similar before, but didn't see the option anymore as I clicked around the Tracfone site. I thought maybe they had discontinued it (and I was afraid to get past the "point of no return" in an online order to find out if it was still there). How annoying that they bury it til you're at the checkout! I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought I had to buy a lot of minutes to get a long-term extension of service. I guess I shouldn't be surprised about a business wanting customers to buy more than they need...
jimates said: Tracfone Bonus Code Thread Tracfone Deals and Discussions. I maintain this thread.WHUPS, sorry! Those threads/forums weren't obvious in my search results. Does this board have a chart-style main page somewhere that shows all the forums and subforums? When I hit "home" I just get an overview of a few selected threads/forums.
posted: Dec. 11, 2009 @ 2:50p
This is the only way to go in your situation (IMHO).It merely extends her due date a month at a time as long as you keep the plan active.The drawback is for another measly 4dollars you can add 50 mins a month(100 if you have dmfl, but it doesnt sound as if you need them. That is where the 50/100 minutes come in.
Senior Member - 4K
posted: Dec. 11, 2009 @ 9:32p
Once enrolled in the plan it doesn't cancel until you cancel it. If you buy airtime outside the plan and don't need the plan benefits in any given month then you don't get charged, and you don't get the 30 days. At anytime that your service is in danger of expiring because you did not buy airtime, that is when the plan will add the days and charge you the $6.
I have trouble with the search myself. It returns nothing when I know there are topics for my query. Fromt he main page >Forums > Hot Deals and then in the Title Search box enter your keyword. Although neither of those threads are actually Hot Deals, the mods leave them there because they get a lot of action and it keeps from having multiple threads for the same topic each time a new code or deal comes around.
It is very hard to find anything at Tracfone if you aren't familiar with what is available and where is should be. The extra offers when purchasing airtime differ as to whether your phone has double minutes or not. Double minute phones do not get the offers for the 400 or 200 minute bundles or the dmfl, other than that the same items are offered.
posted: Dec. 12, 2009 @ 2:05p
Look at Boost Mobile. They have a prepaid plan. We just carry the phone primarily for emergencies and when we travel. It only costs us $10 +tax every 90 days to keep it active. Your minutes carry over, too.
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