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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a SlickDeals member you can PM your request to user FreedomPop.
Related Post: Prepaid Operator Profile: FreedomPop