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The Trouble With MEBILS - Bug Cripples New Page Plus Payment Option

Remember that new "Monthly Expired Bundle-in-Limbo Solution" (MEBILS) feature that was supposed to finally give Verizon MVNO Page Plus Cellular reasonable pay as you go data pricing to go along with their already reasonable pay as you go voice and messaging rates?

In case you forgot, here's a quick refresher. Since Dec 5, 2012, if a monthly plan priced at $29.95 or higher fails to renew due to insufficient funds and the account has a balance that's at least $5, the plan switches to new overage rates of 5¢ per voice minute, 5¢ per text message and 5¢ per MB of data. These rates supposedly will remain in effect indefinitely provided the user adds at least $10/month to the account.

That means that after an initial cost of $29.95, you get a pay as you go plan with rates of 5¢ per minute, 5¢ per message and 5¢ per MB of data and a requireminimum top-up of $10 every thirty days. For someone like me who doesn't talk or text that much and only uses a few hundred MBs of data per month MEBILS would be an unbeatable deal, especially as it's on Verizon's great network. No one else offers 5¢/MB data on pay as you go. TalkForGood, another Verizon MVNO,  has 6¢/MB data but charges a $6 monthly fee that drives the effective cost of 200 MB/month to $18 versus MEBILS' $10.

Unfortunately users on the Kitty Wireless Forum have discovered a show stopper bug. MEBILS starts out OK. When a $29.95 monthly plan expires with a balance between $5 and $29.94, MEBILS rates do kick in. However when you add a $10 PIN to cover the next month, the plan reverts to the Page Plus "Standard" plan, which has a crazy-expensive data rate of 99¢/MB! If you don't add the $10 the plan will revert to Standard after 30 days as well. So either way you lose.

According to Kitty at Kitty Wireless, Page Plus management is aware of the issue and acknowledges it as a bug. But Kitty doesn't expect it to be fixed until sometime after the holidays.

So, if you were counting on MEBILS for 5¢/MB data it looks like you will need to keep waiting. In the meantime TalkForGood is starting to look better and better.

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27 comments:

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  1. PagePlus plans are far more robust than TalkForGood, even without MEBILS. Compare TalkforGoods $30 plan with PagePlus' $29.95 and you see that PagePlus plan offers more minutes, texts and even gives 250MB of data, where TalkForGood offers data as an expensive add-on.

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    1. My daughter uses 1200 TnT on Pageplus, and it is perfect for her use.

      This plan is overkill for me, and The 12 plan charges too much for data.

      T4G offers better plans for me, since I can add affordable data to either the $6 Smart Plan or the $10 monthly plan.

      T4G has exploited a hole between Pageplus's two popular plans. They won't kick you off for using an iPhone, and you can even use LTE if you can program your phone. Far more robust. You can't do that on Pplus.

      Delete
  2. These kitty people are very well known for just throwing info out there in an attempt to "break the news" which most times leads to bogus bs. I do not recommend relying on this dealer for much of anything. A very conceited and conflicted blowhard of a dealer who has been banned from many online forums for repeatedly breaking and refusing to follow forum advertising rules.. There are much better options than paying this dealer. Go directly to pageplus and get the same services for FREE!

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    1. Please tell me how can I buy my $80 PIN directly from Pageplus?

      Delete
    2. The $80 PIN isn't sold by PagePlus, only through dealers. I buy mine from Callingmart.com, KittyWireless.com or WirelessRefill.com There are many other dealers. These are three that I've to be prompt and reliable and use whichever one offers the best discount at the moment.

      Delete
    3. Buy the $80 pin at callingmart.com. They will get it to you instantly. No 6-8 hour wait for them to process your order like that dealer.

      Delete
    4. I never wait for KTW to process.
      Her Autopay on demand adds $80 whenever my balance gets as low as I specify (I pay $72.41 because Kitty still honors my original club price, 9.5% off).
      Why waste your time shopping all over and waiting for your 5% discount to re-appear?

      Delete
  3. Kitty Wireless became the largest PagePlus dealer by far by providing the most helpful advice, outstanding customer support, innovative automation that works smoothly with Pageplus backoffice systems, money-saving discount clubs that help customers save money, convenient Autopay and notification programs, and most importantly, the drive to be the best dealer.

    I, too remember the HoFo days, where other dealers complained repeatedly that her helpful advice to customers was "advertising." I did not see it that way, and I thought the mods were way too heavy handed in dealing with the issues. If the other dealers had done a better job taking care of their customers, they would not have needed Kitty's advice in the first place. I expect that most of the complainers are out of business now; I know some are.

    I have been a satisfied customer of Kitty Wireless for two years, with business and personal accounts. My extended family is also very satisfied. I have never regretted using their services, and I never could have received the same level of convenience or savings in time and money if I had dealt directly with Pageplus.

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    1. ummm. Kitty has been banned from more than just one forum. $20 to port in a number when it can be done for free directly with pageplus? $15 to do an ESN (phone) change when it can be done directly with pageplus for free within minutes as opposed to waiting for 6 hours for this dealer to do it? Easy choice, go directly to the source and get it done for free right with pageplus. No muss, no fuss! Callingmart.com gets you the refill pin instantly! No waiting 4-6 hours and longer to get "approved" to buy from Kitty.

      Delete
    2. This story of "helping too much" on howardforums is complete and utter nonsense! She was sending spam advertising through the private message system to 1000's of howardforum members and continued to do so after several warnings to stop. Spin it how you want, she was breaking forum rules without a care.

      Also, you will NOT get truthful unbiased information on her forum or website. It is all geared toward sales. Try to mention free services from pageplus and you will be banned.

      Delete
    3. Hmmm. I mentioned a free service at Page Plus on Kitty's forum and wasn't banned, shouted down, shunned or in any way bothered.

      Delete
    4. I paid $10 to join the original Kitty W. services club in May 2010 for $10, and have enjoyed free services of all type for almost 2.5 years. Without waiting on hold for 20 minutes. Pageplus charges for new phone numbers last time I checked. And they do not give you $2 credit.

      I paid $30 to join the original Kitty W. PIN savings club, and have saved well over $100 on PINs. I get more than 8% off; Callingmart provides 5%, and only if you time it right.

      I followed HoFo pageplus for more than a year and never got a spam message from KTW.

      Nothing direct from Pageplus compares to all the Autopay options offered by KTW.

      Delete
  4. Using this dealer is like paying me $20 to go to the store right next door to your house to go get you a newspaper. Just a foolish waste of money with absolutely no true added value at all!

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. You are free to disagree with me or other users, however name calling and personal attacks are not acceptable and comments containing them will be deleted.

      Delete
    3. KTW is the biggest dealer. There must be plenty of good reasons for this.
      I find it hard to believe that all of these customers are foolish.

      Right now it looks like port in requests are free for everyone, with a $2 credit. New lines are $5 with a $2 credit. That sounds reasonable, especially since you can submit the request online, and not wait on hold for a rep at Pageplus.

      Delete
    4. On the KTW Forum today:

      "We're averaging 50-100 new port ins per day, with hundreds of new activations. It's insanely busy."

      Delete
    5. Page plus charges $10 to activate a line if you are not porting in.
      That is more than $3 net at Kitty Wireless.

      Delete
    6. I don't understand how using KTW is like paying you $20. How is my money being wasted? Does KTW charge you a fee to use? I know I don't pay a fee?

      Delete
    7. Here is the back story for what the OP is complaining about.

      Kitty Wireless says they spent more than $150k developing the software that lets them automate 8 services and their Autopay system, so that you can get things done 24/7 and not wait on hold for Pageplus CS. So they have to charge fees to operate and maintain this system. This software was the innovative idea they had to grow large while still providing great service with only a few employees. You can join their services club for a one-time, up front charge, and all services are free. You can even use the club to help your family and friends, as long as you explain this in the service order. Or you can pay a-la-carte for each service, or wait for one of their frequent specials for free services. If you are a customer or contribute on the Forum helping other members, need a service right away that you do not want to pay for, and call them or fill out a ticket (ask nicely}, you will probably get the service free. They have also had a big problem in the past with other dealers who were using free services from KTW to avoid calling Pageplus. Good endorsement for the automation, but this abuse slowed down the service for KTW customers and caused more work for KTW, who monitors all online orders to make sure they go through at Pageplus. It must have been really annoying, too.
      Charging for services is also one way KTW promotes the services club. The club payments give KTW the money they need to invest in system improvements now, not later.
      Kitty Wireless does not charge you a fee to buy PINs or to port your number in. They charge half of what Pageplus charges for activations with a new number. And you get $2 airtime credit on new lines when you use a dealer.

      Delete
  5. A few things to factor in. The monthly $6 "fee" for TFG provides the minimal 30/30/5 so for the light talker/texter such as the author, none of your overages need go to talk or text and text comes in at a penny per text so minimal impact. To get to 200MB then would entail an extra 195MB which'd go for 11.70. But many, like myself, don't use 200MB and 100MB is closer to actual use. In my case, since most of my access is over wifi, I'm only using around 75MB a month. To cover that cost, TFG would require an additional $4 so the net result is $10 per month. And if you don't use that much, the "top off" money rolls over and is good for an entire year. Realize that TFG (and I don't work for them!) is just getting started so there are bound to be a few bumps in the road. But at this point, PP's side door to these prices does not work and is kind of hokey to begin with. If they want to offer a $10/month plan at 5/5/5 prices then just offer that. What's the point of requiring an introductory $29.95 month? Oh and while you're at it, stop playing games with the iPhone. The fledgling TFG is supporting it right out of the gate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Initially the $6 plan didn't come with any airtime/txts/data and expiration on all refills was stated at 120 days. Can you document the 1 year expiration?

      The 30/30/5 addition makes the $6 plan a little more attractive but you are still paying $3.90+ a month just for network access. At least it gets you data access without having to buy a data bucket.


      Delete
  6. NM on the 1 year thing. I just read that your overage balance floats indefinitely as long as you are paying the $6/mo.

    I did just read this interesting tidbit regarding airtime billing on the $6 plan...

    For outbound calls, minutes will be deducted for incomplete and/or busy-no answer calls.

    ... does any other carrier charge airtime for unconnected outbound call attempts?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Banning someone from a forum doesn't mean anything at all. I like the Kitty guarantee. I've had a positive experience using her service. Sure, you might save a small amount of money dealing directly with Page Plus but who can you turn to in case of a problem. The double edged sword of non-contract is that the company isn't contractually bound to provide you service. So, if you've got trouble ... oh well. Kitty mitigates that risk.

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    1. Two months ago, my daughter left her phone on overnight, the night her plan renewed. The phone leaked data for several hours, and used about $7 worth of data from her cash balance between the time the old plan was removed from her account (around Midnight) by Pageplus and the time they added her new plan around 2:30 am.
      Because she is on Kitty Autopay, KTW takes a snapshot of her account before Midnight, checks the account in the morning to make sure it renewed properly and requested Pageplus to restore her $7 cash that was lost while she slept.
      Do you know any *other* dealer who does this automatically? Pageplus does not do this automatically for their customers; you would have to keep track of your balance, notice the reduction in cash overnight and fill out a ticket or wait on hold with Pplus. Then wait for them and follow up if necessary.

      Delete
    2. Or learn how to use your phone properly (leaking data... LOL). Or get a carrier who doesn't charge a ridiculous $1/MB or MEBILS (maybe I will screw your 5ct/MB up and you'll have to pay the price).

      Joining the Kitty club is ridiculous, paying $100 to get a 8% discount when I can get 5% from callingmart? I calculated that it will take me YEARS to "breakeven", i.e. cost of joining Kitty club is equal to the extra 3% savings, which is like signing up for YEARS of contract.

      Delete
    3. Correction: $100 is for the 10% discount. The ~8% discount club tier costs $50.

      I paid $10 for the original club to get 9.2-9.5% discounts. This has already returned ~$150 so far. This does not include savings for 3 family members who now get ~8% discounts.

      If you pay $50 to get the first tier discount club, the membership will pay for itself if you stick with Pageplus. Of course you have to do the math, compared to Callingmart or your other source.

      As to being perfect every time, it seems possible that some people have never lost money with unintentional data use by a smartphone. Even after you are taught, and remember the instructions, and have cellular turned off and WiFi turned on, this problem could happen to you some day, though. Maybe you are on WiFi, and forgot to manually turn off cellular data anyway.

      Perhaps you also read dozens of posts on HoFo or the KTW forum before learning that turning off the Pageplus phone for a few hours on the night a plan renews prevents loss of money for texts, data, wrong number calls, after you old plan is renewed, before your new plan is added. And you remember to do this every month, year after year, without fail.
      For everybody else, when you use KTW, they tell you about these kinds of issues to help you avoid them. They do the homework for you and let you know in your renewal order a few days before the plan renews.

      Delete
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