8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 16, 2010 3:01 PM by briton RSS

    Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.

    briton

      A relative has given us a Verizon pre-paid phone because she moved up a long time ago to a 2 year contract and knows we had bad experiences with our 2 previous attempts at trusting a phone company to provide wireless. She is a die-hard Verizone supporter so I assumed the brochure/terms of service would tell it in plain English. Apparently either they don't or we have lost the ability to read in our dotage! lol

       

      The phone is a Samsung U350. The combination of plans we are considering is Pre-paid Core or Plus (99c or $1.99 daily rate) plus $10 Messaging Bundle. Depending on usage etc, we would obviously consider moving up but our requirement to use a wireless phone is limited and sporadic - for example, we think the messaging bundle might be worth the $10 but would be likely to use the phone a lot during some periods and not at all for months in between. 

       

      1. Am I right in thinking that we can't just pay the $10 per month to maintain activation - we must meet the pre-pay service requirement e.g. $15 for another 30 days, $30 for 90 days etc?

       

      2. If so, is the $10 included? For example, if I purchased $15 every 30 days, we would have $10 deducted for the messaging bundle and $5 added to our balance each time and the service would remain active?

       

      3. Does my unused balance expire if I maintain activation and if so after how long?

      Please try to be specific as the following may or may not be double-talk - three statements on the same page of the downloaded brochure:

      a. "Refill Amount: $15–$29.99 Expires In (once applied to account): 30 days" (with other amounts and periods tabled).

      b. "Refill your account before it expires and your existing balance will be carried forward."

      c. "Once activated, account balance will expire based on initial payment or in 60 days, whichever is longer."

       

      So say I activate, make auto-payments every 30 days of $15 and for some time only use messaging within the limits of the $10 plan:

      "a" would mean that after 30 days, I would lose the $5 balance remaining after the $10 was deducted; but

      "b" would mean that the $5 would remain so my balance would be $10 and this would continue for as long as I maintained activation - so in 2 years time, I could make voice calls using a balance of 24 x $5 = $120 (unlikely that I wouldn't make calls that long but you take my point); but

      "c" seems to suggest that each $5 would expire after 60 days.

       

      (I did search for answers but note http://businessforums.verizon.net/t5/Prepaid-Plans/Prepaid-phone-unlimited-texting-picture-messaging-and-daily-fee/m-p/185829#M68 where a Wireless Employee gives an incorrect clarification only to be corrected by a customer. Hmmm!

      Anyway, does my unused balance expire if I maintain activation and if so after how long?

       

      4. If I set up auto-payments to add $15 every 30 days or $30 every 90 days, can I also set up the "minimum balance" trigger to add money if the balance falls below a certain amount or do I have to choose between one auto-payment method and another?

       

      5. I know I can check VM using minutes or I can check VM by calling my number from my home phone and using a password. Can I also check VM online? (Both previous companies had this option but I can't find it anywhere in the Verizon system.)

       

      6. MMS Messages: From the brochure: 

      a. "Additional and Unlimited Messages apply when sending and receiving ... Picture and Video Messaging Portal Messages"

      b. "Plus, you can send Picture, Video and Voice Messages, a sound within a picture, for just 25¢ per message sent"

      "a" suggests I can send MMS messages with pictures taken with the phone camera the same as regular messages without any cost that I wouldn't pay if the messages were merely text.

      "b" suggests I have to pay 25c a time for them.

       

      7. From the brochure: "Activation fee up to $25 may apply". So how much IS the activation fee?

       

      8. Do pre-paid customers have the same access to things on the Verizon website requiring log-in or are those only for customers with long-term contracts?

       

      9. "Limit of four Calling Plan changes in a 30-day period." So I could switch from $10 to $20 bundle mid-month and switch from Core to Unlimited Talk and back again and the only fees would be the extra $10 for the messaging bundle and the $3 per day usage fee?

       

      10. Regarding the Samsung U350, can I get pictures out of it to, or onto it from, my PC without having to use minutes? On other phones, I could either plug a USB connector into the phone to upload them or pull the memory card out and upload them from that using a card adapter. Are either of these available on this phone (not mentioned in the User Manual downloaded from Samsung support site).

       

      Sorry to ask so many questions, but personally I detest finding out afterwards that I have to pay for something I could have avoided using but was under the impression it was included in the service.

        • 1. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
          Minniehaha

          1. Am I right in thinking that we can't just pay the $10 per month to maintain activation - we must meet the pre-pay service requirement e.g. $15 for another 30 days, $30 for 90 days etc?

          If you buy a $30.00  dollar  prepaid card (not a text message card) it will be good for 90 days, you do not have to make a cell call and the $10.00 text fee will be deducted every thirty days (be careful here, sometimes there are 31 days in the month, the calling plans are for days and not months, out of a 90 day card there will be 2 months that will have 31 days) The thirty dollars has to be in the account in order to have the text pkg taken  out so the way I set mine up was to activate the phone then 7 days later I got the text package this way I'm always sure the next $30.00 payment will be there before the 3rd text package is deducted. Hope that makes sense. 

           

          2. If so, is the $10 included? For example, if I purchased $15 every 30 days, we would have $10 deducted for the messaging bundle and $5 added to our balance each time and the service would remain active?

           Yes that is the way it will work. But $15.00 gets you 30 days of service, $30.00 gets you 90 days of service. its like getting 30 days free that way.

          3. Does my unused balance expire if I maintain activation and if so after how long?

          Please try to be specific as the following may or may not be double-talk - three statements on the same page of the downloaded brochure:

          a. "Refill Amount: $15–$29.99 Expires In (once applied to account): 30 days" (with other amounts and periods tabled).

          b. "Refill your account before it expires and your existing balance will be carried forward."

          c. "Once activated, account balance will expire based on initial payment or in 60 days, whichever is longer."

           If you do not refill your card on the due day you will not be able to use the phone and your balance will lost  if you refill your card and still have money in your account that money amount will be rolled over and added to your new balance. If you pick a 15 dollar amount it will have to be renewed in 30 days whether you have used the phone or used text messaging you will lose the money. Your allowed to carry over  up to $1,000.00 dollars. Minimum payment is $15.00 maxium payment is $250.00. You may replenish up to ten times or $600.00 in a roling 30 day period.  Your account balance expires at 12.01 am on the day stated on the time of replenishment. 

           

          For #/c According the the Disclosure Information it reads this way: You will forfeit the money in your account if you have activated service without a refill card and did not make an outbound call within 60 days. I always refill with a card instead of using the auto payment and have never had to make a outbound call within the 60 days.

           If you forget to refill your account you will not be able to use the phone but the  

           

          I have been a prepaid customers for years if you have any other questions I will try to help if I can. If anything is not clear here  let me know I am on everyday.  If you use Auto pay just make a one minute call call every 60 days or just go online and buy a card or get one at any supermarket or drug store etc. Be sure it says Verizon and has the picture of all the people in the background.

           

          • 2. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
            Minniehaha

            Part 2: lol

            For the Ten dollar package you get unlimited Verizon Mobile to Verizon Mobile, for anyone on a different carrier it is different according to which plan you choose, Basic Plan it would be 25 cents to send and 25 cents to receive a message, Core it would be 10 cents to cent and 10 cents to receive.  And so on according to the schedule.  Receiving pictures is 25 cents.

            Sign up to My Verizon and you can check you Balance online and the money amount left in your account.   Activation fee is either 25.00

            • 3. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
              Minniehaha

              Correction on the Ten dollar text package you get Verizon Mobile to Verizon Mobile unlimited and 250 texts for anyone on a different carrier. Sorry for that mix up. This part was for no text package.

               Basic Plan it would be 25 cents to send and 25 cents to receive a message, Core it would be 10 cents to cent and 10 cents to receive.  And so on according to the schedule.  Receiving pictures is 25 cents.

              Sign up to My Verizon and you can check you Balance online and the money amount left in your account.   Activation fee is  25.00

              • 4. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
                briton

                Well, thanks for the replies. In fact, according to the details, what they are saying is that although messages Verizon to Verizon are included in the $10 package, the listed types of messages are what is defined as "other" which means they come out of the 250 even if they are Verizon to Verizon. That was fine, but how that 25c applies isn't clear. I was kind of hoping a Verizon employee would answer some of these apparent contradictions but I guess I'll have to phone them - hard to get straight answers on the phone though :smileysad:

                • 5. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
                  Minniehaha

                  Well, thanks for the replies. In fact, according to the details, what they are saying is that although messages Verizon to Verizon are included in the $10 package, the listed types of messages are what is defined as "other" which means they come out of the 250 even if they are Verizon to Verizon.   If you have a text pkg. for $10.00 all your texting from Verizon to Verizon Mobile is FREE for texting and pictures, the 250 other texts are for other cell companies, ATT, Virgin Mobile etc. for texting and pictures, if you go over the amount of texting allowed (the 250) for the other contracts, ATT etc. it would be 25 cents each to send and receive.

                  That was fine, but how that 25c applies isn't clear. I was kind of hoping a Verizon employee would answer some of these apparent contradictions but I guess I'll have to phone them - hard to get straight answers on the phone though :smileysad:

                  • 6. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
                    briton

                    I signed up and tested most of it so maybe the answers will be useful for other potential pre-paid customers seeing contradictions in the brochure:

                     

                    1. Yes.

                    2. Yes.

                    3. Well, first of all don't let your balance rise over $999 - you weren't planning to do that, right? And secondly, if you only add amounts at any one time that provide a further 30 days of active service, you're going to lose the balance after 60 days if you don't buy more - that's a cut-off for potentially inactive account. Thirdly, make a call during each period - this seems to be a somewhat gray area but the advice of sales was to make one call each 30 day period. This last point needs to be considered if you go through a couple of months not making voice calls as it is effectively a "fee" so perhaps you drop your voice service to Basic and make 1 call costing 25¢ rather than paying a day's service you don't want. You can swap it back up to Core or Plus before using Voice again.

                    4. You can't set up two triggers for top-up. Answer is to buy in with enough for a reasonably long active service period and use the low balance trigger. Warning from sales is that once you top-up between periods (30 days Voice or month Messaging bundle), your activation period is extended and a new (later) expiry date applies, but if you don't check regularly what your expiry dates for the two services are, you might end up with there not being enough balance to cover the next Messaging Bundle payment. Solution, keep an eye on your balance which is easy with #BAL (which isn't a call) or online.

                    5. Voicemail CANNOT be checked online - only from your phone or from another phone by calling your own number.

                    6. MMS messages are included in the Messaging Bundle. For example, that includes Voice Messages, Picture Messages and Video Messages. So they are unlimited to other Verizon Wireless phones and count as Additional Messages for the $10 bundle so no extra charge for them.

                    7. There is ONLY an activation fee if you get your phone activated at a store, i.e. someone does it for you so they may charge (in which case you can ask them before they do it how much it costs). Activating yourself on the phone/online does not require an activation fee.

                    8. You get access to much of the website once you register there. You can check balance, change plan etc. However, some things like the Video and Picture Portal (formerly PIX Place) are not available.

                    9. Yes. However, if you switch your Messaging Bundle mid-term, you effectively cancel the previous one. Example, you are on a $10 bundle and you change to $20 bundle, you must pay the entire $20, get no credit for any unused period of the $10 bundle and you get a new (later) renewal date based on the date you change. For the Voice plan, if you change on a day BEFORE you use the service, the new one applies. If you change on a day you already used to the old service, no refund.

                    10. Sales and the user manual say no. However, all the phones have a port so if you get the right connector, you should be able to connect to your PC's USB port. This phone doesn't have a removable memory chip so that option is out.

                     

                    Hope this helps others who don't see clearly through the fine print on any or all of the questions I asked. Thanks a LOT to Minniehaha who is an avid helper here! I know I have repeated some of her answers, but I thought it would help to have the answers all in one place.

                    • 7. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
                      Minniehaha

                      " which means they come out of the 250 even if they are Verizon to Verizon.   No that 250 does NOT come out of the verizon to verizon texts they are unlimited and not counted towards the 250. That was fine, but how that 25c applies isn't clear.

                       The 25 cents only is charged when you do NOT have a text package. The 25 cents is for sending photo's but thats only if you do not have a text message package.  I was kind of hoping a Verizon employee would answer some of these apparent contradictions but I guess I'll have to phone them - hard to get straight answers on the phone though :smileysad:

                      • 8. Re: Check list of questions before activating pre-paid plans.
                        briton

                        Yep, that's why, once we had attemted to clarify this with no less than two sales reps, we tested as much of it as possible and posted definitive answers to all ten questions (after the message you quoted). In the case you have posted, the answer was:

                         

                        "6. MMS messages are included in the Messaging Bundle. For example, that includes Voice Messages, Picture Messages and Video Messages. So they are unlimited to other Verizon Wireless phones and count as Additional Messages for the $10 bundle so no extra charge for them."