Home - , , - TracFone Sues ShopCellDeals' Parent For Selling Discounted Airtime

TracFone Sues ShopCellDeals' Parent For Selling Discounted Airtime

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For years, eBay seller ShopCellDeals has offered some of the best prices anywhere on new in box TracFone phones as well as on TracFone airtime. ShopCellDeals mainstays were TracFones bundled with 1200 minutes and a year of service for less than the retail price of the phone alone, discounted TracFones without airtime and TracFone airtime priced 17% to 25% below retail.

Then around the middle of October, ShopCellDeals' TracFone bargains started to disappear. The prices of phones bundled with a year of service doubled and then mostly vanished along with the discounted airtime. TracFone watchers wondered if ShopCellDeals had suddenly gotten greedy or if they had been cut off by TracFone for some reason.

The mystery has been solved by HowardForums member hpham who discovered an article on legal news site Law360 reporting that ShopCellDeals' parent company, Simply Wireless Inc. had been sued by TracFone for "improper" airtime sales. According to the lawsuit, TracFone furnished Simply Wireless with phones bundled with free airtime that were meant to be sold on the Home Shopping Network, QVC, eBay, Amazon, and Groupon as a package deal to attract new customers. TracFone alleges that Simply Wireless violated the terms of its agreement with TracFone by selling the phones and and airtime separately to current TracFone customers. According to TracFone, since 2007 Simply Wireless sold more that 100,000 of the 400,000 bundled airtime PINS that it received directly to customers. The disputed sales allegedly occurred on the ShopCellDeals website.

TracFone is seeking an injunction to block Simply Wireless from selling TracFone bundles as well as unspecified damages, including punitive damages.

I suspect this means the end of TracFone airtime discounts over 10%. It also puts the future of cheap TracFone plus airtime bundles in doubt.

Law360 is a subscription site and the TracFone, Simply Wireless story is paywalled with only an excerpt visible to non-subscribers. At the moment the full article can still be found in the Google cache.

Sources: HowardForums, Law360

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19 comments:

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  1. Lol.... Can l Sue them for locked phone(tracfone).. Lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just say NO, NEVER to any America Movil owned MVNO.

    It will save you many headaches, not cost you more than going with alternatives and you won't be giving your money to a corp. which treats it's customers as a bother / problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's the alternative for those who want/need Verizon coverage & don't want to pay a minimum of $30 per month? That's right, there isn't one! Tracfone is the only game in town for low-end Verizon coverage using modern 4G LTE phones.

      Delete
    2. Wrong. Shop. Selectel has a $20/month plan. Puppy Wireless offers $10, $15, $20 and $25/month plans. Puppy is adding $12 and $17 plans. Red Pocket will sell you a year of service, 1000-1000-1000/month for $16.67/month.
      All these plans are described on this website.

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    3. Selectel & Puppy have their own issues plus very limited texting & data (or no data) on their low cost plans. Tracfone rolls over everything if you refill before your expiration date. With the other Verizon MVNOs it's use it or lose it. Sorry but I like keeping what I pay for instead of losing it every month.

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    4. "I like keeping what I pay for instead of losing it every month."
      For the same $16.67/month, you would rather hang on to what's left of your avg. 375-375-375/month on Tracfone rather than having 1000-1000-1000/month use or lose on Red Pocket. When you run out of those fewer minutes, texts OR data on Tracfone you will have to pay even more to keep them going. Most people would not like that choice, and they certainly DO have alternatives to Tracfone.

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    5. I'm not a Tracfone fanboy & acknowledge there are other options for those who are willing to spend over $15 per month. But for those who want a good mix of usable voice, text, and data under $15 per month on Verizon you really only have Tracfone as an option. I pay $10 per month for 150 voice/text/MB without having to pay a big up front yearly amount to RedPocket and can add 1000 texts or additional data as I need to typically every 3-4 months. You have to admit the options are slim for those who want usable voice, text, and data for less than $15 per month.

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  3. I don't care to much about Tracphone because they lock their phones and you can't unlock it without voiding your phone warranty.

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  4. I hope they use this lawsuit. Doesn't matter where stuff gets sold. Just more frivolous harassment...

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  5. In most cases SCD made more selling the PIN and the phone separately, yet the customer who bought either received a good deal. In the case of the bundled deals many just bought the bundle and used the air time separately and many of those turned around and flipped the phone. Same happens with HSN bundles as well.
    While they most likely improperly sold "airtime, it comes down to six of one and half a dozen of the other.
    I would imagine SCD is down for the count and the HSN and QVC deals will ultimately require you to activate the air time on the device it came with, which is not currently the case.

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  6. tracfone is nothing but junk. the byop for tracfone needs a dumb cookbook to figure how to get your smartphone on tracfone. and then they take away or do not put in what's suppose to be in your triple buckets that you paid for. tracfone is terrible terrible terrible.

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  7. I read the article link and this is what TracFone claims (and if the below excerpt is true, shopcelldeals is in the wrong if agreement terms were breached):

    "TracFone said it negotiated with Simply Wireless this fall to settle the dispute, and that the sides reached an agreement on Dec. 7 that governed how the program would operate while it was phased out. TracFone said it let Simply Wireless continue the sales through a special Home Shopping Network broadcast on Dec. 9 — after which Simply Wireless “deceitfully repudiated the agreement” and cut off talks unless TracFone met new demands.

    TracFone filed its lawsuit two days later. The suit accuses Simply Wireless of unauthorized access to TracFone’s protected computers in order to activate the PINS with free airtime, trafficking in password information, and fraud and unjust enrichment under Florida law.

    It seeks an injunction to stop Simply Wireless from carrying out the bundle program, along with unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for lost income for diverting free airtime that was supposed to bring in new customers."

    FYI - I like shopcelldeals because of their good customer service. I use TF and have purchased only handsets (non-bundled phones) from shopcelldeals via Amazon. This should be about fair business dealings .. though I'm not privy to the exact details of their agreement. I'm rather certain that shopcelldeals did help bring in many new TracFone customers - I'm one of them.

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  8. I approve of the use of Tracfone if it suits your needs. Suits me fine. byop / gsm user.Never had one dropped call,and coverage is excellent.

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    Replies
    1. Hope you never need CS for anything beyond the most basic request / issue. God help you if you do, you may experience the most incompetent / couldn't care less MVNO service out there.

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  9. True, their CS is horrible, but you know that going in. For my use (about 60 minutes talk, 200 text and 200MB of data a month) nobody came close to what I paid for Tracfone. An SCD bundle switched over to a BYOP and some Tracfone bundles w/cards + discounts & cashback and my monthly cost is <$5 for AT&T coverage.

    Granted, I had a problem with a ported number that eventually took a call to their American CS. But the end result was my account had about another year of service added in the ensuing mess. So sometimes the CS problems work for you.

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    Replies
    1. Amazing - the self-abuse some people will endure to save a couple of bucks per month. The driving force behind Am. Movil.

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    2. Sorry to hear you have suffered such abuse. One year of byop AT&T service is working just fine for me.

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  10. I've been upgrading TracFones since 2003, and have never even had to contact CS. Not so for my husband, who has an iPhone.

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    Replies
    1. I had to contact TracFone Chat three times in the last year because airtime PINs extended the expiration date but didn't update the talk, text and data buckets. Two times chat was able to resolve the issue quickly, but the third one took a week and two hour long calls to Miami.

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