Loyalty doesn’t pay in the highly competitive world of wireless communications, but with a little help from the ink-on-paper world, it can sometimes get what you are owed.
Judy Perkl, of DeForest, sent a regular mail to SOS in July to say that despite 20 years of patronage from her husband and TracFone Wireless, the company was taking a hard line on its 5,000 prepaid minutes.
Their story unfolds as follows:
Perkl, 82, said he bought his first TracFone in the 1990s, shortly after the company was founded in 1996 as Topp Telecom. For the uninitiated, TracFone differs from traditional wireless service providers by selling customers prepaid minutes without the need for service contracts, with the signals carried over the networks of traditional providers, such as Verizon and AT&T.
Perkl said that at the time their parents were getting older and they wanted to be able to stay in touch with them when they were out of town. Over the years, they have faithfully purchased new TracFone minutes every January with the understanding that this would preserve the old unused minutes.
Then came the worst year ever 2020 and “with everything going on in this country and our lives, I completely forgot to call” and renew in January 2021, she said. When she finally did, on May 4, her account and the 5,000 unused minutes it contained had been deleted.