As promised on the other TS thread, I've copied my original answers to your first questions about the new Samsung Galaxy Centura 738 that we purchased last Saturday. Please post any additional questions, comments concerns about the phone specifically and TracFone in general here and I'll try to assist you as much as I can.
This is my 6th handset from TracFone in about seven years. Before that, I had service through Net10, TracFone's sister company after switching from Verizon. Customer Service isn't perfect, but it has improved exponentially from the way it was even a few years ago. My experience can help you navigate the intricacies of problem resolution and I'm more than willing to share this information.
As promised, below are my original posts from the TS thread answering a few of the first questions asked about the Samsung Galaxy Centura 738.
As soon as the clearance prices began appearing on the LG 800g and the LG 840g a few weeks ago, it was abundantly clear that something new and big was about to be introduced. This Samsung Galaxy Centura 738 Smartphone not only met, but exceeded, all expectations.
I'd been checking TracFone's website weekly and still there's nothing. What I noticed were the cut rates on these two former touchscreen stars. The reconditioned LG 800g is listed at $5; the reconditioned LG 840g now sells for $9.99.
It's absolutely true what HSN said about having the Galaxy Centura exclusive. It's not even available yet on TracFone's website.
You can't beat this deal, whether you're a new or existing TracFone customer, where everything rolls over and what are now only Talk minutes suddenly become Text and Data, too.
It's been years since I've purchased an airtime card. I just upgrade my phone every 18-24 months, getting the newest handset with accessories, bonus minutes and this time, that fantastic $25 gift card for the Google Playstore.
I can't wait to get this phone. I feel sorry for anyone who hesitated and missed Saturday's TS (Sept 21st) because today HSN is selling the same package for $149.95, a $20 savings over the MSRP when purchased directly from TracFone or conventional retailers (where it won't be available 'til mid- or late-October), but it's $25 more than the TS price and the ETA is Oct. 7th.
jeannellen your current LG 840g is not a true smartphone, but rather a hybrid built by LG to Tracfone's specifications. I'm sure you've noticed that while it was superior to its immediate predecessor, the LG 800g, there were so many things it simply couldn't do. Limitations regarding access to certain e-mail protocols and restrictions on the size of webpages it could load or even connect with often became frustrating. With this new Galaxy Centura, you'll be able to do everything that you currently do on an Android tablet. In fact, these phones are mini-tablet computers, often referred to a "phablets," for combination phones and tablets. With the 3g Wi-Fi, you won't deplete your stockpile of Data minutes and you can web browse at no cost just like you did on your LG. Always make certain the wi-fi is on and you're connected to a router or hotspot. Of course, if you're not in the vicinity of a freebie hotspot, you'll be able to access the Internet, but it's going to cost you in data mbs.
mooncat7, the best way for existing TracFone customers to port their current number, minutes and airtime to the new phone is to call Customer Service at TracFone. Rather than doing it yourself online, it's good idea to: (1) speak to a TracFone CSR (make sure that you get that CSR's name and ID number as a reference in the event that problems arise). (2) make sure the new phone is fully charged. They tell you that your new cell phone must be turned on during the process, so it's best to (3) call from a landline or another cellphone - not the new one that you're attempting to activate and to which you're porting and transferring. Do NOT turn off the new phone. They'll tell you that it can take up to an hour or more to complete the process. I've done it this way numerous times and it's never taken more than a few seconds to accomplish activation, addition of the bonus minutes and porting my number.
arinta, go to the TracFone website, click Support and click Technical Support followed by FAQs on the drop-down menu. Perhaps someone misspoke in the demo because there doesn't appear to be a third method of phone number porting.
Meezergeezer, you appeared to have some reservations, writing "...I hope if this phone doesn't work out I can transfer the minutes back to my old phone..." Of course, TracFone will allow you go retain your minutes and airtime, as well as re-porting your phone number, if necessary. It's a good idea to: (1) speak to a TracFone CSR (get name and ID number as a reference in the event that problems arise) for help in doing this and (2) make sure you do this before returning the new phone, because you'll be asked for information contained therein. Also note that if you've de-activated the old phone, it may be necessary for TracFone to send you a new SIM card to re-activate, therefore you may find yourself without cell service for several days.
4kitties, you said you're not terribly fond of touchscreen, especially in cold weather. Have you considered using a stylus? I just ordered a mini-stylus for this new Galaxy with a plug on one end that fits snugly in the audio jack, to reduce the chance of losing it. Of course, a screen protector is a must when using a stylus. Were you aware that there are gloves with small pads made of a special fabric at the fingertips that will permit body heat transfer, thereby allow you easy use of your phone, tablet, etc. even in cold weather? Personally, I'd find that cumbersome, so I'd simply prefer to use a stylus. Even when you size the icons and widgets to Normal or Large (some phones even have XLg), there's a tendency to touch more than one, especially if you have long nails.
Linny535, let me see if I can answer your questions. Data is defined as all the webpages you view, as well as songs, games, books, magazines and apps, etc. that you download.
Currently with your LG 840 g, you buy minutes and that translates into voice and text. When you text, 1 voice minute = 3 text messages. The new Samsung will have a 1:1 ratio of voice-to-text, which is still cheaper than a conventional wireless plan. For example, if you had Verizon now, your basic wireless plan of 350 minutes may cost $39.95/month, but you'd have to add a text plan that could cost another $30/month and a data plan that could cost $30+/month.
With TracFone and this new Galaxy Centura 738 smartphone, whenever you buy additional minutes (whether it's an airtime card, online purchase or you add on through the phone), whatever minutes you purchase will triple automatically (e.g. - 200 becomes 600) and they will also split into 3 separate buckets (e.g. - you'll get 600 voice, 600 texts and 600 mbs of data - all for the same price). When you go to a retail outlet, you're not going to see separate cards for data. Simply add the airtime and TracFone does the rest for you.
Remember, too, that just like your LG 840g with Wi-Fi, you won't deplete your data supply if you web browse, download, etc. while using a hotspot or a Wi-Fi router.
BTW - it's a good idea to hang onto your LG 840g as a reserve even after you've activated your new Samsung Galaxy. Suppose your new phone is lost, stolen or damaged. With the old de-activated LG 840g still in your possession, while you're waiting for a replacement Galaxy, you can call TracFone and request that they reactivate the LG (say it's an emergency and they can do it immediately over the phone) or send you a new SIM card to insert in the old phone and bring it back to life with all your minutes and airtime intact temporarily, until your replacement smartphone arrives. Yes, you'll have to switch back eventually, but you won't be left without a phone.
After you've done your Bluetooth transfers, it's also a good idea to leave your CONTACTS and other important info in the old phone that you've stored carefully in a very secure place until you're absolutely certain that you're going to give it away or recycle it. Then delete your personal information by restoring Factory Settings.
You also asked about buying a new phone from HSN, returning it but keeping the minutes for your old phone. I'm guessing they won't let you do that because the minutes are part of the package. Just buy minutes anywhere from the more than 80,000 retailers nationwide. Or go online or buy minutes through the phone. Often you'll find that Walmart and Target will discount the airtime card. Additionally, unless you tell them to stop, TracFone will bombard you with special offers for airtime, usually coinciding with holidays and back-to-school.
I sincerely hope that clarifies everything for you. If you have additional questions, I'll try to answer them for you.
A huge thank you to KERIGA - you were some complete and thorough in answering all of our questions. My husband and I ordered two - pretty excited to get the new Centura phone God bless, be well, Meezer
Thank you so much, Keriga, you were just as helpful when I bought my 840G last year. Can you imagine what a zoo it will be at Tracfone as HSN customers start receiving their phones, with over 30,000 sold on Saturday?...
You're very welcome, mooncat7 and Meezergeezer. The Centura is going to be my first true smartphone, so I'm going to be learning its inner workings right along with everyone else. It's a simple matter of paying it forward because when I got my first Android tablet, I was ready to pitch the thing after a few frustrating days. There was a wonderful person on this Forum who was so incredibly patient. She answered my questions, offered helpful suggestions and generally got me to the point where I was comfortable with it. I went from wanting to return it to never leaving home without it in less than a week.
I had to laugh mooncat, when you theorized that TracFone Customer Service will be inundated in the next few days as the thousands of HSN buyers begin receiving their new phones. I can tell you from experience that many CSRs are relying on the same manuals that are available to the public online. In fact, in some cases, I found that I knew more about the LG 800g and the LG 840g than the "expert" on the other end of the line.
I'm amazed at how much content we've generated on the Electronics Forum with our LG 840g Q&A. It's pages and pages. As always, I'm happy to help whenever I can. I'll try to do the same with this Galaxy. Since this thread is mainly for the TS and already it looks as if we're going to rival the volume produced on those LG 800g and 840g threads, I'm going to copy the responses that I posted here and transfer them to a new Galaxy Centura 738 thread on the Electronics Forum. That way, after the phones arrive, if anyone has questions, we can explore and learn together without monopolizing this thread. Please post your questions over there.
The main thing to remember is to relax - don't stress - you've got a wonderful, brand new toy in your Galaxy Centura. Play with it; have fun with it. Quite honestly though, I expect it to be a fairly easy transition for those already using other Android devices because the phone has the same OS with widgets and icons. Even if you're upgrading from the LG 840g/LG 800g, there shouldn't be much of a learning curve, because you've already mastered the basics from this semi-smart hybrid phone. If you run into any obstacles, I promise to do my best to help you resolve those issues.
Still absolutely giddy at the prospect of receiving the Galaxy Centura; can't wait! I checked the status of my smartphone and still it says "Packaging." I wondered has anyone's status had changed to shipped? I placed this order online at about 2 AM. I know HSN was inundated, but they should've anticipated the overwhelming response. I'm wondering why it's taking so long? If shipping is so delayed now, this doesn't bode well for the holiday season. Perhaps we all need to order extra early to ensure our gifts arrive on time.
Recently I've noticed that it takes longer to receive HSN orders. I purchased a Netgear Media Streamer on Sept. 19th and it seems as if it took days to process. Now the order status is showing that it should be delivered on the 30th. That's even slower than the usually snail-like pace of QVC.
Coincidentally, Target has a Roku this week for the same price - $99. I'm thinking of cancelling the HSN order because it took too long to arrive. Also, with Target, I don't have to pay S&H and get a 5% Red Card discount. (If you're interested, check Sunday's circular - pg 13).
ShopNBC is about the fastest, followed byThe Liquidation Channel, which has the best shipping rates. I ordered a pair of Tanzanite earrings last Thursday, paid $1.99 standard shipping and the package arrived today with a DHL label.
UPDATED 10:54 PM - Status: "Shipped."
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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