Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wireless Communication Miscommunication

My quest for new cell phone service has been similar to that of my quest for a new car. Maybe it's my curse, but I do a lot of shopping around. Trying to find the best product for the best price. I'm a stickler for saving money and ultimately that's what I am trying to do here. 

I had heard a bit about Straight Talk and Net 10, two very similar pay-as-you-go products sold by TracPhone. Upon investigating Straight Talk further I figured it was safe to go ahead and go for it. I learned of their bring your own phone option, which made me happy as I would like to keep the perfectly good phone I already have. So in quick decision mode I went to Wal-Mart and purchased the $63 activation kit which would include one month of service valued at $45. My service would then cost $45 per month there after for unlimited talk, text, and data with no contract. Sound amazing to you? It sounds amazing to me too! It all sounded good and fine until I got home and tried using the activation card to transfer my phone on Straight Talk's website. Things weren't going too smoothly so I had to do what I hate, call their customer service line. Earlier that day I had checked the compatibility of my phone on their website, so in good faith, I got the activation kit knowing I would be able to bring the phone I already have.

I spoke to three equally accented and equally polite men who led me farther and further away from the result I wanted. As it turned out my phone was NOT compatible and the only way I was to learn that was by testing it with the activation kit I had to buy. I stayed nice and calm, truly arguing my poin,t which I knew was right, that  their website has led me unfairly astray.  I became stuck on wanting a refund but 45 minutes and  three kind service reps later I hung up with no positive reault.

My rant was that I was utterly misled when the website informed me that my phone was compatible. I wouldn't have tried going with this plan if I had been told it wasn't. So therefore I was out $63 and was no closer to my goal of getting new cell phone service. 

I ended the phone conversation with their customer service center and decided to call Wal-Mart begging for mercy. I wasn't exactly in a fighting mood but I was but rather a "can do it" kind of mood.  I assumed refunds were not normally allowed on a product such as this but I couldn't walk away from this having "donated" $63 to Wal-Mart so I was going to get my refund. I was told I would have to go in and speak to a supervisor so wanting to get the matter done with, that's exactly what I did.

That night in true Wal-Mart form, wearing sweatpants and slippers,  I approached the customer service desk only eventually to be led next door to the wireless department. Nick, the man working the operation, was on the phone trying to sort out an issue for another customer, so I politely waited my turn. I had all the time in the world. I knew I'd be waiting a while so I made a couple of calls. Eventually I started talking to the woman he was helping and it turned out I graduated high school with her daughter. She introduced me to her best friend, who joined us, whom she met on Facebook by mutual friends. Turned out they went to school together at Jackson High in the 70s but didn't know each other in school. We stood there and discussed our school and noted how small a world it is. These women were kind, funny, and made me enjoy small moments like these.

Why am I telling you this story? Well you all know I like to share my adventures and I surely felt this was one. I was proud of how I handled the situation, kept my head, and took action. What could have been interpreted as a unfortunate and unfair situation, I kept positive about, saw the bright side, and came out happy.