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Page Plus Says It Has Fixed the Renewal Gap Bug

TracFone's Page Plus Cellular Verizon MVNO announced that it has fixed the long standing Renewal Gap problem. Since the launch of monthly plans in 2009, the Page Plus plan renewal system has had a tendency to expire the previous month's plan up to three hours before renewing it from an available cash balance or stacked plan PIN. The bug affected auto payments as well.

During the Coverage Gap between when the previous month expires and the plan finally renews the customer would be without service. The coverage gap typically starts around Midnight ET so except for night owls and graveyard shift workers it often went unnoticed by users.

A workaround for customers who actually needed their phones to work 24/7 was to add a cash balance to their account in addition to a plan PIN.  The cash balance would cover the cost of calls, texts and data used during the renewal gap at overage rates. That worked but cost the customer extra money, which Page Plus would sometimes refund to persistent customers.

According to PagePlus, effective immediately, 72 hours before the plan renewal date the system will add any stacked plan PINs as a cash balance to a special "Reserve" balance that can only be used for renewal.  When the plan is due for renewal, the system looks in the Reserve for funds to process the renewal. If it doesn't find enough money in the reserve it looks for sufficent funds in the account's regular cash balance.

The fix sounds rather Rube Goldbergish but hopefully it works. Unfortunately, Howard Forums users have already found a bug in the new process. The cash sitting in the Reserve is not visible to customers or dealers. So 72 hours before the plan's renewal date, the user's stacked plan PIN disappears from sight, hidden in the invisible Reserve, confusing customers. Page Plus customer support can view the reserve balance but you have to call or chat with them if you need to confirm that everything is well with your account and that it will renew.

Related post: Prepaid Operator Profile: Page Plus

14 comments:

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  1. One more reason not to use a Tracfone service.

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    1. I was under the impression this was an issue with Page Plus well before they were acquired by America Móvil/Tracfone and was unique to Page Plus itself.

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  2. How exactly does this reserve eliminate the 12-4am down time when the stacked pin is applied?

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    1. Magic? Page Plus did not share details of the fix's implementation.

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    2. A purposeful omission from their announcement :). From what it sounds like, it ensures the stacked pin funds don't get used up by airtime during this period. What it doesn't explain is whether or phone service is still available during this period. Cryptic to say the least!

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    3. Page Plus says that their fix eliminates the renewal gap which was the cause of customers losing service. I'm not sure what you feel they omitted.

      I don't think stacked plan PINs were ever used to cover overages during the gap only balances added with cash PINs (PayGo PINs).

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  3. Just say no to any America Movil MVNO

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    1. Yep. I moved to Selectel but I wish that their OLAM and call history were more refined.

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  4. This renewal bug was also in now defunct BYO wireless and Budget Mobile system.

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    1. I never experienced a gap in service using the BYO auto-pay feature for the short time I used it? The only thing I noticed was the dashboard showing all zeroed out, but service still functioned normally. I switched to just manually topping up since everything rolled over when you did, it is the only way to renew on Budget and everything still rolls over.

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  5. This renewal gap has been around forever with PP, even before AM's acquisition. AM fixed it. So good for them!

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  6. I use page plus so Im glad that there will be no more interruption of service. Sometimes I get a lot of messages or calls after 9pm CA time so I need to have a functional phone. This is a great improvement for PP! I hope they keep making even more improvements and continue to up their data and international plans even more!

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  7. I have been a long time Page Plus customer. Since the summer, they have cancelled my phone service twice. Like before, last night I had a balance but they dropped it to zero with a note stating "Confiscated Credit". They state it is for non payment. Do they not realize that their service is PREPAID!!! I am done with them.

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    1. PagePlus has always dropped the cash balance to zero if you do not renew by the time service expires. This is stated in their terms of service. The only time I got the balance restored was when their system had a problem. My number did not show up in one of their systems, so I could not add a PIN in time. A supervisor can approve restoration of your cash balance when it is their fault.

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