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FreedomPop Cash Balances Now Expire After 90 Days

Sprint Freemium MVNO FreedomPop has quietly made a change to their terms of service that will cost unwarry users money. FreedomPop has started "expiring" customer's cash balances if the balance is unused for 90 days. Balances used to roll over indefinitely and never expire. 

This change doesn't affect everyone as many FreedomPop users don't have cash balances. There are two ways that cash balances can occur: 

  • If a user has Automatic Top-Up enabled, and they come within 100 MB of their monthly plan limit (the limit is 500MB on the free plan, higher on paid plans), FreedomPop will charge the user's credit card $10 to cover possible overages. If the user doesn't go over or uses less than $10 in overages the unused amount gets stored as a cash balance.
  • If a user does not have Automatic Top-Up enabled, their data is supposed to shut off when they get within 100 MB of their monthly limit. However there's a three hour or more delay between when data is used and when Sprint reports the usage to FreedomPop, so it's possible for a user to go over their limit before the FreedomPop system detects the overage. When that happens FreedomPop charges for the usage over the limit at the the per MB overage rate of 1¢ to 2¢ per MB depending on plan. The minimum charge is $1.99 with the difference going into the user's account as a cash balance of $1.99 or less.
The change was discovered by a FreedomPop user who posted about it on the SlickDeals Forum. A FreedomPop representative confirmed the change in another SlickDeals Forum post. The FreedomPop rep also said that customers can have their expired balances restored by contacting customer support and that FreedomPop will provide an easier to use method for users to restore their balances "very soon".

FreedomPop provides users with 500MB of free data and 200 minutes of VOIP based phone service per month. The company makes money by selling devices and extra features like voice mail and faster data and by charging overage rates for data, texts and minutes after the free allotment is used up. I guess expiring balances is supposed to be a new source of revenue for FreedomPop. Nothing wrong with that as FreedomPop does need to revenue to keep the free data flowing. But they don't seem to have notified users of this change, which seems rather sneaky. I have two FreedomPop accounts and was not notified. I also discovered that the $1.88 balance I had on one account was expired on Sept. 30, so this practice has been going on for a while.

I recommend that casual FreedomPop users who don't require uninterrupted service turn off Auto Top-Up in Billing > Billing Settings on their FreedomPop online dashboard. To see if you have had a balance expired go to Billing > Overview > Credit Balance in the Dashboard and look for line items labeled EXPIRED. To request that your expired balance be restored send an email to support@freedompop.com. If you are a SlickDeals member you can PM your request to user FreedomPop.

Related Post: Prepaid Operator Profile: FreedomPop

17 comments:

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  1. FreedomPop is quiet about a lot of the shenanigans they pull. Good luck in getting any billing issues resolved.

    I got one of those routers for their service. It came with a free month of a bunch of premium services. I almost immediately canceled the premium services in favor of the "free 500MB/month" service. A week later I login to my account to check the data used and turns out they didn't cancel the premium services. Fortunately the service period hadn't ended yet so I cancel again and login to see that the services have finally been canceled. The end of the service period comes and the service stops running. I look and look and look and finally find an e-mail to send a request for help. A day goes by with no response, then two days, then three. At this point I just give up on them. TWO WEEKS LATER of no response to my message asking for help I get a response. My account was suspended for non-payment. It turns out that between the initial charge (and canceling of all premium services) and the next service period my credit card had expired. Since I wasn't on a premium service I hadn't updated the credit card information with them, but they tried to charge my credit card for the premium services that I had canceled. After a couple back-and-forths with the "customer service" rep in which they first told me there was absolutely nothing they could do, they finally said they could reinstate my account after I allow them to debit my card and then (they promised to immediately) refund the money. RIGHT, I've heard their promises before.

    They say you get what you pay for. If your experience is like mine, they will do everything they can to see to it that you pay for what they advertise as "free" and not offer any help when trying to rectify their "mistake".

    ReplyDelete
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    1. FreedomPop.
      Horrible Brandname.
      Terrible Rip Off Company.

      Giving Them Your Credit Card Number is asking for trouble that you will have problems getting out of.

      Delete
    2. They're not evil: companies simply prioritize some things over others. Feel free to cough up 100 a month or more from Verizon

      Delete
  2. I had a very negative experience with FreedomPOP too.

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  3. "This change doesn't effect...."
    should be
    "This change doesn't affect...."

    see: http://grammarist.com/usage/affect-effect/

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  4. ".....and by their fruits, ye shall know them....." I have read a number of reviews similar to the first one detailed above. These people are slicksters, and you should steer clear of them, or at least use a pre-paid card that you can control the amount of funds available.

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  5. I would have tried Freedom pop long ago if not for their reputation for shady/fraudulent practices.

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  6. Woe to the unwary.

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  7. I have had positive experience with FP, they have treated just as they had said that would. I have the $4 500/mb service (to get 3g access). I use it some times during the year and not others. Nowadays they let you downgrade back to free online, in the past had to do that over the phone, which was a pain. Purposefully painful, so to discourage the customer? Overall I would rate them 5/10. If you know what you are in for, they are a good value but you must be wary of the gotchas (mouseprint).

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    1. I can't complain about FreedomPop either. I've used many GB of their data over the last two years for a total cost of $18 for USB stick modem and $3.98 in overage charges (including the $1.88.balance that "expired")

      Their business model does seem to be based on tricking customers into signing up for unwanted add-on services and sneaky tactics like expiring balances without warning. Still if you go into it with eyes wide open and watch your usage and billing records it can be an unbeatable deal for data.

      Delete
    2. My experience is similar to Dennis'. Several billing issues, but each was corrected after waiting a while. And once they wiped out most of my data balance, but eventually they restored it. They did charge me a fee ("wear and tear") fee for an item I returned, where their T&Cs did not disclose the fee amount. And I tried to downgrade to the free plan online, but that option did not work. You have to have your wits about you at all times and have good eyesight to see faint, small print on some of their pages. But they still offer the most data for the money as long as you have the patience and persistence to stick with them.

      Delete
  8. This company is a joke. Horrible service and always overcharge the customer. Myself and a lot of people from church had their service and we all got screwed. I guess that's the only way they can make money.

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  9. Deception, trickery and fraud are clearly part of their business model. Yes, using a prepaid credit card for them is excellent advice.

    Question ...do their USB stick work with tablets?

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    Replies
    1. LOL! Priceless post that shows exactly why FreedomPop is thriving, and why Sprint and another company are vying to buy them.

      Delete
    2. USB sticks should work with Windows tablets but not Android or iOS.

      Most USB sticks require Windows or OSx drivers which aren't available for Android. A few USB modems like FreedomPop's Bolt Stick do not require drivers and will work with the Nexus 7 using a modified kernel.

      Delete
  10. because of this, i seriously doubt usb modems or hotspots will ever get the same price as smartphones/tablets, if they ever add unlimited throttled 3g...

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