09-29-2013 05:50 PM
09-29-2013 09:55 PM
Based on past experience with TracFone, I anticipated difficulties with this new Samsung Galaxy Centura, but I never imagined that the horror stories some of you have recounted here would be equal to anything that sprang from the mind of Stephen King.
I am so sincerely sorry for the problems that so many of you are having in ACTIVATION, PORTING, TRANSFER, CONVERSION, ADDING BONUS (APTCAB). It shouldn't be this difficult. It's totally unnecessary. This is happening because TracFone didn't adequately prepare and train its personnel for this initial wave of Android users who purchased the phone in the exclusive premiere with HSN. If this is what's happening based on some 30,000 units sold on HSN, imagine what's going to happen toward the end of October when the Samsung Galaxy Centura becomes available at retailers nationwide and on TracFone's own website. This is living proof that "failing to plan is planning to fail."
taurus2313, it seems that you've had one of the worst experiences of all. It was wise of you first to attempt APTCAB on your husband's phone with fewer minutes, but no one should have to spend several hours trying to satisfactorily complete a process that should've taken minutes. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I'm sure all of you can attest that while there's some solace in finding that you're not the only one, it's certainly not a case of misery loves company.
Mooncat7's phone isn't due until Monday. If only that meant that by the time it arrives, they'll have all the errors corrected and problems solved by then after dealing with the rest of us test cases and guinea pigs over the weekend and it'll be smooth sailing, but we know that's probably not going to happen.
I had to laugh when msmickey said that I was "Keriga The Intrepid Tracfone Conquerer." I only wish that were true. I haven't conquered them, far from it, but I've learned how to work the system. TracFone is like stress: you can't eliminate it, but you learn to manage it.
Lest anyone think that my APTCAB went smoothly and without incident - think again! I'm not complaining because I didn't face the nightmarish scenarios that so many of you have written about (perhaps there's a long-standing notation on my file from the horrendous porting and activation I endured several years ago with the LG 840g or the subsequent hack attack. They know that I'm aggressive and won't rest 'til I get satisfaction). It's only reasonable and fair to expect what's been promised.
This latest update/advisory contains the warning that things can (and will) go wrong even after your Samsung Galaxy Centura has been activated and APTCAB completed successfully - or so I thought.
TIME ZONE SHIFT/DEFAULT SETTINGS
I was late for an appointment Saturday after setting an alarm in the phone and it failed to work. I didn't think anything of it, other than perhaps I'd made a mistake. I was just too tired to deal with TracFone CSRs, but what was concerning was that suddenly the phone went crazy less than 24 hours after APTCAB. I couldn't make or receive calls; despite the opening screen displaying the correct date, there was a time difference of plus 5 hours. Still, I felt too tired to deal with them, so I waited 'til Sunday to call.
By mid-morning Sunday (09/29), I discovered that despite the home-screen time and date displaying properly, suddenly my GOOGLE CALENDAR, that I'd sent via Bluetooth from my tablet Friday night, was reading Monday, September 30th and the time was 12 hours ahead. I double- and triple-checked the DATE, TIME and TIME ZONE settings, shut off the phone and rebooted; even removed and replaced the battery. Still no luck. Then I noticed that next to the Battery Strength Indicator, it, too, displayed the wrong time (12 hours ahead) and it said AWST. I guessed that was somewhere in the Asian-Pacific Region, since I'm on the East Coast of the U.S.
I was passed from one CSR to another (BTW - they're mandated to complete a customer interaction in 15 minutes or they must pass you along to someone more experienced). After two more failed attempts, I was passed along to a Tech Support Rep (NOTE: They get 30 minutes to solve your problem before passing you on to another level). TSR Angelo told me to do everything I'd done already without his help and prior to calling. When he and I were at the 30 minute mark, but there was no supervisor available, he continued leafing frantically through an instruction manual, as I continued playing with SETTINGS. Suddenly I found the answer and I shared it with him.
SETTINGS (VIRTUALLY INVISIBLE ICON)
Below the very dimly lighted SAMSUNG logo at the bottom of the phone are three icons: (left to right) for SETTINGS, HOME and BACK. They're impossible to see; a silly design fault that future models should address and correct. When I opened GOOGLE CALENDAR, it opened another menu, again with SETTINGS. There I found yet another sub-menu of SETTINGS, containing USE HOME TIME ZONE. Unfortunately, the default factory setting, AWST, was Australian Western Standard Time. Once I reset that, everything was fine. Beware that this could be the same situation with your phone. Merely selecting your correct TIME ZONE, then automatically or manually setting TIME and DATE has no effect whatsoever on whatever default is in your GOOGLE CALENDAR. You should check and reset it, if necessary.
$25 GOOGLE PLAY CARD
A big Thank You to msmickey for the warning that the $25 GOOGLE PLAY card isn't a scratch off, but rather a peel off. Another less than brilliant bit of planning. I wonder how many people ruined theirs before you alerted us.
INVENTORY PACKAGE CONTENTS
Along the same lines, I wanted to alert buyers that it's important to check the package contents, confirming that they've received not only the phone and accessories, but also all the other things - Red Card Activation guide, instruction manual and HSN invoice with TRACKING/PIN needed to get the 200 Triple BONUS (600/600/600 + 90 DAYS).
TRACFONE EXECUTIVE RESOLUTIONS DEPT.
It's great and especially helpful that so many of you posted the HSN Wireless Center phone number. pajeff listed 1-305-715-6500 for TracFone's Executive Resolutions Department; here's ERD's toll-free number that I posted earlier: 800-876-5753.
POWER BUTTON VS. VOLUME CONTROL
You were absolutely right, ArleneHu, my notes didn't transfer because that wasn't a GOOGLE category. I'll have to reenter them manually. You're right about the Power Button placement; totally inconvenient that it's located directly opposite the Volume Control. Samsung can add that to the "Needs Improvement" list for future generations of this phone.
Call quality shows a marked decline on this Samsung that's using Verizon; the LGs used AT&T and T-Mobile.
BACK COVER REMOVAL
Don't do it if a CSR suggests using your fingernail to remove the back cover. Yes, it's great that the microSD doesn't have to slip under the battery like on the LGs, but worst case scenario, you'll snap your nail; at the very least, ruin your manicure trying to remove that back cover. It's better to use a butter knife or letter opener.
VOICEMAIL, E-MAIL; ESTABLISHING TRACFONE ACCOUNTS
Voicemail set up was easy, but e-mail other than G-mail - uh, not so much. I ran into a communication problem with CSR Vivienne or CSR Erdalynn (can't remember which one) this morning trying set up direct access to my Yahoo! account. She asked for my e-mail address, my DOB and asked me to select a Security Question and Answer. She said she'd e-mail a temporary Password, that I could change later, if desired. I questioned the necessity of my DOB, but she assured me it was "necessary to establish the account." Hours later, I got a Welcome e-mail from TracFone, thanking me for setting up an account, but nowhere was there a Password. When I went on the website, I learned this was either a misunderstanding, a sneaky way to gain more personal information, get you to establish a totally unnecessary TracFone account - or all of the above. Either way, I didn't want it. I called back and they were able to delete my DOB, but said they couldn't delete the e-mail address or the Security Question. GREAT!
HACKING INCIDENT & SECURITY ISSUES
This is extremely concerning because two years ago, TracFone's less-than-secure servers were hacked and thousands of customers - myself included - got bombarded by hundreds of non-stop text messages each hour for four consecutive days from some unknown source(s). The only way to stop it was to remove the battery, rendering the phone useless. Worse yet, TracFone was totally unaware this had happened until I informed them that their security had been breeched. They said "don't worry," and assured me that no personal information had been obtained or compromised by the hackers. Sorry, but I didn't believe it. TracFone said it was a mechanical issue with the LG 800g. LG had a different idea. See, I discovered this by spending three days investigating the problem by contacting LG's Engineering Department, where technicians told me their phone was fine; it was a problem with TracFone: their servers didn't provide adequate firewall protection. Do I need to tell you that it was a battle royale to get all those wasted minutes restored? I pressured them for additional minutes and an extension of my Service End Date as compensation for the inconvenience. I got what I'd requested, but TracFone never admitted liability. In fact, they said only I had experienced this, but the HSN product reviews and Forums told a different story. Just as with the current Samsung Galaxy problems, buyers were so enraged by the non-stop texts that TracFone couldn't stop and wouldn't acknowledge were caused by their own negligence, they returned thousands, vowing never to use TracFone again. Sound familiar? Who knows if TracFone has addressed the problem and implemented necessary safeguards? I'm not willing to risk it.
Once burned, twice shy. I told TracFone today that based on past experience, I never would've given them that info or access to an e-mail account that I use for family and friends ONLY. When she said that the address couldn't be deleted, I asked if the e-mail address could be updated? When she said "yes," I gave her one of my throwaway e-mails that I never check. I hope it's true that my DOB was deleted. The only remaining bit of info was the Security Q&A. I urge everyone: NEVER disclose your mother's maiden name or your father's middle name. It's too easy for phishing crooks to find you, to link to you and data-mine after hacking.
All in all, about 7 calls today with 4 CSRs and 1 TSR for a total of about 3 hours. I'm tired, but I accomplished my objective. I get a small thrill and a big sense of satisfaction when I know I've beaten TracFone/figured out the solution that eludes their personnel. I guess that's the trade-off for the low cost, but TracFone needs to take ownership of this debacle and own up to the fact that they simply weren't ready for this rollout. I'd like to think differently, but it appears that greed exceeded ability, causing them to over-promise and under-deliver. Ultimately, the brand suffers in a PR nightmare.
Mine was a minor problem compared to the major crises that so many of you have endured. All I can say is persevere. Don't try to transfer large amounts of airtime and minutes online; let a CSR do it. Better yet, skip the middle- man or woman. Go directly to TracFone's Executive Resolutions Department at 800-876-5753.
Thank you for sharing and offering encouragement. Please keep posting about your experiences in this ordeal. This documentation, along with our personal notes on individual interactions with various and sundry TracFone personnel could prove invaluable and provide excellent evidence should anyone deem it necessary or appropriate to launch a Class Action lawsuit on behalf of the legions of dissatisfied TracFone customers who purchased this Samsung Galaxy and encountered seemingly insurmountable obstacles attempting APTCAB. There was similar action taken years ago against Gateway and all aggrieved parties shared in the hefty settlement. More importantly, Gateway mended its ways prior to the Acer takeover.
Let's hope that at TracFone, at least some good rises from the ashes of this disaster.
09-29-2013 10:01 PM
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