Lyca Mobile

Lyca Mobile has (or had) a pay as you go plan for cell phones. It is 5 cents a minute. It is a great plan if you don't need data.

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is the cheapest phone plan I know of that includes data. There is a crazy Sprint 1 year free unlimited deal, but you need a phone that is compatible with Sprint, and the data rates are quite slow. Lyca Mobile has a really cheap plan. The intro rate is $45 for 3 months with 2gb data per month. There is a special right now, so the plan is $20 for 3 months. The annual renewal rate is $15 per month. Even better, if you use my referral code, you will save $15. Here is the link, so if you sign up now, you will get 3 months for $5, which is a great deal.

For the last 3 weeks, I have had very poor coverage near my home. It turns out that the problem was not with the phone, but with the bluetooth connection with my Tesla Model 3. I have disabled the bluetooth connection, and the phone works fine. I have contacted Tesla to get the bluetooth fixed. Mint told me all kinds of unhelpful things such as them resetting my phone, my sim card, sending me a new sim card, all to no avail. I ended up figuring out the issue on my own. Perhaps one day I will switch back to MintMobile...

FreeChoice Communications

FreeChoice Communications offers phone service in the US. They said for $40 a month, you could make unlimited calls in the US (and perhaps Canada). I had service with a cable company, and FreeChoice said they couldn't switch my number from the cable company. So I switched to a normal phone company from the cable company (and kept my number). I then switched to FreeChoice.

Little did I suspect at the time that they were lying sacks of *!@#!

Everything was good. I could make calls as long as I wanted, and not worry about the billing. FreeChoice even set up automatic billing from my credit card. What could be easier? Then the first bill came. It was $40 or so, plus a bunch of charges they had told me about. I noticed that my caller id was being displayed when I called out. I called FreeChoice and was told that I would have to pay a monthly service charge to have my caller-id suppressed. I told them that was unreasonable. They said tough luck.

I called them around Jan 19 2005, and told them to remove the caller-id at no charge or cancel my service. They said they couldn't remove the caller-id at no charge. I told them to cancel my service. I guess even though they recorded I wanted to cancel my service they didn't take me seriously. I had assumed they canceled my service.

I was quite surprised when the next bill came. Not only did they not cancel my service, but there was a notice that they were raising rates by $10 due to increased costs on their end. I really didn't care, as I had canceled my service. But being billed for service was confusing to me. I called them, and they said that even though I told them to cancel my service, they didn't. I told them I wouldn't be paying them, as I had already canceled my service. I thought that was the end of FreeChoice and me. I was wrong.

I switched the phone back to the cable company. Now, when you switch phone companies, you go through what is called third party verification. When this happens, you go to a neural company which records that you are switching service from the old company to the new company. Everything is recorded. This is to prevent some bad person from switching some good persons phone service without the good person knowing about it. I suspect it is also due to the practice of 'slamming' where some bad long distance company with high rates would somehow get to be the long distance carrier for some good person, without the good person knowing about it.

Well, today I got in the mail a bill form Apr-28 through May-27 from FreeChoice. I called them. They had cleverly listed the wrong number on the bill under 'Customer Service'. They listed Micron Semiconductor's phone number. Fortunately, they also listed in another place on the bill the correct number. I called them. They admitted that I called them Jan 19 and told them I was canceling the service. But I guess they didn't take me seriously, and cleverly decided to keep on billing me. I told them to fix the problem and refund me all the money they automatically billed my credit card since then. They said I have not canceled my phone service, so they would continue to bill me. I said to fix it or I would call my credit card company and report the problem as fraud. They said to go ahead and do it.

So I called my credit card company. I told them the whole story. About FreeChoice knowing that I called Jan 19th, and not listening to me canceling. About the third party verification system which lets everyone know that I am really switching phone carriers. The credit card company said there was no way to deny charges from one merchant, and that I had to switch credit card numbers. I told them to do it. So now the fraud department is investigating FreeChoice.

When I signed up with FreeChoice, I was told if I got another 5 people to sign up, they would give me free phone service. When I called up today, they said they were not taking any new customers. I suspect they are in a very bad way. I suspect there are others, like me who canceled when they raised rates, and are still being billed. Needless to say, I do not recommend dealing with FreeChoice under any circumstances. Better to deal with *anyone* else.

But wait, there is more. Around May-12-2005, I got yet another bill from FreeChoice. It said Invoice 05/09/05. They charged me for 05/28/2005 - 06/27/2005. I called them again. After being on hold for about 10 minutes, I told them I canceled my service in January. I was told I had to call another number. I did. I spoke to 'Kim', who was very rude and told me a collection agency would get the unpaid bill amount from me. I called back, and spoke to 'Dontae'. He was much nicer. He admitted I no longer had service with FreeChoice. He didn't seem to know I canceled service Jan-19-2005. He did say he would try to straighten the bill out. He said I would have to pay an additional $25 'charge-back' (that is when they refused to explain why they were still billing me, and I had to have my credit card company talk to them and they eventually refunded me the bogus charges). Of course I should pay my bill through Jan-19-2005, but there isn't much I can do if they failed to disconnect the phone when I asked them to. As best I can tell, they owe me for about 15 days of service. I won't go after them for it, as they are clearly clueless and it would be a huge hassle. After all, if they had the smallest clue, they wouldn't have sent me a invoice dated May-09-2005.

I thought I had heard the last of these folks. I was wrong. On Nov-28-2005 I got an invoice dated Nov 7 2005 for $308.42, along with a threat unless I pay them before the due date, my credit card will be charged the amount, I would be subject to a $5 late fee, and other threats. I called them up and let them know they have been listed as weasel of the month, and that I wanted a written apology for all the $%#@ they had put me through. I was told the matter would be referred to a supervisor who would contact me.


Freedompop offers 'free' cell phone service. They will sell you a phone that supports this service. Sounds too good to be true? It is. I bought a refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 phone for $55. It even worked, for about a day. It did not hold a charge, and it could not be recharged. No problem, right? That is what customer support, and exchanges are for. So I called Freedompop to get an exchange. First you need a RMA number. They said I would have one in 24-48 hours. I ended up calling at least 10 times as well as emailing them. After a week, I called and said if I didn't have a RMA number in one hour, I would dispute the charge with my credit card company. About 3 days after that, I eventually got a RMA number, after over a week.

The RMA did not include a paid return shipping label. I called them about that. No problem, just wait 24-48 hours. After a few days, I called a few more times. They eventually emailed me a return shipping label, but it was not prepaid. It is curious that the subject of the email was prepaid shipping label. It is now well over a week, and I have no prepaid shipping label. I have called them at least 4 times, and emailed them once. I wonder if I will ever get a prepaid shipping label? They sure were fast to confirm the order. It didn't ship so quickly, but it did ship a lot faster than the RMA authorization. I have probably spent over 10 hours on hold in my attempts to phone them. At the best, their customer service sucks. At the worst, they sell crap that doesn't work, and won't stand behind it.

So FreedomPOp did finally send me a paid return shipping label. It was after my credit card company issued me a full refund. It was 28 days after they sent me a non-prepaid return shipping label. I really should have e-waisted the broken phone, or charge FreedomPOp for a months storage, but I will send it back. If I recall correctly, it has been at least 6 weeks since I asked for a RMA. I cannot recommend FreedomPOp under any circumstances.

US Mobile Cell Phone carrier

My old cell phone service provider was PlatinumTel aka PTel. The shut down last month, so I needed a new carrier. US Mobile seemed like they had a good deal. I ordered a sim card from them. It wouldn't work in my phone. Their 'tech support' was clueless people reading from scripts. They tole me to reinsert the sim card. They told me to reboot the phone. They asked me to try another cell phone. I was finally able to find another cell phone with a sim card. After about 10 or so calls, they finally figured out what took me about 5 minutes to figure out - their sim card was bad. They sent me another one, which worked perfectly. So I was able to use their service, but there was a big catch. I tried to dial my home number. I got an error message saying "We're sorry, this service is currently unavailable for non t mobile users roaming on t mobile's network. Thank you." I reported the problem on Thursday. They couldn't figure it out. I checked back on Friday - no joy. On Tuesday night I still couldn't call my house. US Mobile had no idea what was wrong, how long it would take to fix, or anything else. I cancelled my service. I ended up calling them at least 20 times. I switched to another carrier, and I was able to call my house with no problems.

So US Mobile sent me email reminding me to sign up for my next months service. Even though their support people told me multiple times that I was never charged anything except for getting the sim card, on Feb 15, they charged me for a month's service. I did sign up for it and agreed to pay for it, but I only successfully placed one phone call, to a friend with a cell phone number. I never was able to successfully call my house. So their reps lied to me multiple times. I contacted them today to dispute the charge. They said it would take 2 to 5 business days to fix it. If it isn't fixed in 5 business days, I will dispute the charge with my critic card company, which is like a rabid dog when dealing with shady companies. So in addition to having a track record of cluelessness, they now have a pattern of lying to me about charges.

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