After nearly a decade of service from Alltel / Verizon wireless, I decided to make the switch to Straight Talk wireless due to a significant reduction in monthly service charges and no contracts to sign. After six months of personal use, I’ve decided to write a product review.
Cost comparison – Straight talk vs. Verizon: There is of course the initial cost of switching services. This means that you will have to pay just over $100 for the phone. Here’s my yearly savings:
Straight talk: $33.05 X 12 month = $396.60
Verizon: $52.00 X 12 months = $624
Yearly savings: $227.40
Initial price: The Samsung R451C slider phone along with the 1000 min, 1000 text, and 30 MB of web initially cost $140.06 with tax. This includes the first 30 days of service. Your price will vary depending on the phone and plan that you choose.
Shipping: I received my phone in a reasonable amount of time. It arrived in the mail in less than a week.
Porting old phone number: Very easy. I disconnected my service with Verizon first, then ported my old number to the new phone. Process only took a few minutes.
Reception: Call reception is just fine. No complaints here. In comparison to Verizon, it was just as clear and I receive reception just about everywhere.
Monthly charge: Enrolled in Auto pay. Every 30 days, $33.05 is automatically deducted from my account. I am assuming the $3.05 is for miscellaneous fees. There is no clearly visible mention of these addition fees on their website.
Mobile Web: Basic web that’s great for checking email and performing basic functions. No complaints for the price.
Customer Service: I recently experienced an issue with the phone randomly turning off on its own when the slider was used so I contacted Samsung. Samsung referred me to Straight Talk.
Straight talk answers your call in a reasonable amount of time (Around 5 minutes). I explained the problem for literally 20 minutes to the representative. The representative did not seem to understand that it was an intermittent hardware connection issue between the keyboard and the display screen. There was a definite language barrier issue. After being placed on hold 3 times (for “three minutes” as she said) she came back and disconnected the call as she was speaking.
I called straight talk once again. This time I spoke to a representative who had a different dialect. I repeated my serial number three times before he put me on hold twice, only to transfer me to another representative.
“Hello, this is xxx, how may I help you?” This gentleman’s English was slightly better. I politely explained that he was the third representative that I spoke with and I simply wanted a replacement phone because my phone was in fact defective. He seemed to understand and eventually offered a replacement phone, after I return my phone. He said that the process could take up to two weeks. This means two weeks without a phone.
I explained that I needed my phone and I offered to pay for a new phone and send my old phone in for a credit once I have a replacement. The rep explained that this is not how the process works and there is nothing that he can do.
Since I would like to have uninterrupted service, I will now have to purchase a new phone and sacrifice the remaining 14 day remaining on my plan.
– Cheap phones
– Cheap plans
– Great reception
– No contract
– Fast shipping
-Customer service language barrier
-Difficult process to replace defective phone
-$3.05 in hidden fees
Recommendation: You really can’t beat the value when it comes to Straight Talk. However, be aware of the poor customer service and language barrier, hidden monthly fees, and the issues (having no phone for a couple of weeks) that you will deal with when replacing a defective phone.
Personally, I would have been a happy customer for years, as I was with Alltel if I never experienced a problem with the phone. Since I am face the dilemma of purchasing a new phone and scrapping the old one or have no phone service for two weeks while I await a replacement, I will examine other phone carrier options.
Author: Mike Smitt
Mike Smitt can be contacted at Healthyfinancialhabits@gmail.com