The dPhone – struggle to return to a dumb phone (part II)

verizon-logoMy decision to go back to a dumbphone was easy. My experience switching to a dumbphone, however, sucked salty rocks. (That’s a bad thing. I can see how this metaphor may seem like a good thing, since if you need salt, salty rocks may come in handy.) Part of the reason we were moving backwards in technology was to save money. At first, we didn’t care what service we went with but we decided to go prepaid because my parents had several phones in pretty good condition and we could take our pick. So I took all of them. Two Tracfone phones and two Net10 phones.

Before I go any further, I should add that I had just finished reading the book “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard and I was very eco-conscious about buying something new when we could reuse.

BOOST MOBILE: We looked over the plans and prepaid packages for both of these, and a couple of others. We liked Boost with their shrinking payment plan – but after a phone call to customer service, they said they couldn’t activate any of the phones we got for free. They were nice, but they said no, we’d have to buy new Boost phones if we wanted service. Kind of expected, but it was worth a shot.

Net10: We called Net10, and we were told that we couldn’t activate the two Tracfone phones. Oh, yeah, they also said it wasn’t possible to activate the two Net10 Phones. We’d have to buy new . This was kinda crazy. Net10 wouldn’t activate their OWN old phones.

Tracfone: Just like Net10, Tracfone wouldn’t take the Tracfone or Net10 phones. They said we’d have to buy new.

Verizon wouldn’t touch them either. We were really going to have to buy new phones instead of reusing perfectly good (amazingly good, actually – my parents take care of their things, so they looked brand new – my mom’s old phone still had the plastic on the display) phones.


Since we were stuck buying new phones, I looked at Boost again because I really did like the shrinking payment plan. And I got pretty excited, and went and bought a smart phone – an Android, as described in Part I, which was a pretty stupid thing to do, considering that this was my attempt to go back to the simple life, you know, before smart phones. Or at least, before I owned a smart phone. FORTUNATELY, it didn’t work at all at my house, even though according to the map I was well inside the service area. I paid for the month, got it turned on, saw ZERO bars of signal for two days, and I returned the phone and got my money back.

When I called to get reimbursed for the service, I was informed that they don’t give refunds for monthly plans or minutes. I actually had to say (in all caps) “YOU LIED TO ME AND TOLD ME THAT MY PHONE WOULD WORK IN MY AREA, THEN YOU STOLE MY MONEY IN YOUR DECEPTION, AND NOW YOU ARE TELLING ME THAT AFTER HAVING MY PHONE TURNED ON FOR TWO DAYS WITH NO MINUTES OR DATA USED WHATSOEVER, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK. THAT’S PRETTY SHITTY.” He put me on hold for a minute, came back, and said, “Under the circumstances, we are able to offer you a refund.” I was going to mention that they weren’t offering me anything, I was demanding – but since it sounded like I was about to get what I wanted, I ought to just keep my mouth shut. It worked, and I was refunded immediately.

Where it gets really weird is the series of events that took place after we decided to go with Verizon Prepaid Wireless. The price seemed right, and we knew for a fact that Verizon worked at our house. I went to a box store and picked out two Verizon prepaid phones, took them home, and began the next leg in this odd adventure.

MY PHONE: I activated my phone and tried to switch my phone number – I had an iPhone with Verizon, and then switched my number to Boost, and then back to Verizon prepaid. There was an iffy moment when Boost mobile lied about my account number, but a Verizon customer service person helped me out, and called Boost on my behalf to get my REAL account number (Boost makes it look like your phone number is your account number, but they have a real account number that you can only get by calling customer service.) In about a half an hour, my number was switched over and my phone began working as it should.

I didn’t realize how lucky I had been until I tried to activate Janelle’s phone.

JANELLE’S PHONE: Janelle never left Verizon, we were just trying to switch her number from her iPhone to her prepaid phone. I provided her user name and password, and was told that she was not able to switch the number. During a very odd call to customer service, they asked me if I had access to any old Verizon dumb phone that had an MEID number. They couldn’t switch her number directly to her new dumb phone for some reason. They had to switch her number to another phone, and then back to her new phone. But it had to be a dumb phone, and it had to be Verizon. The rep asked me if I had any friends with old Verizon dumb phones. I wondered, and asked, didn’t they have old phones laying around their offices for just such an occasion? They did not, it’s a call center, not a store. So STUPIDLY, I had to do all of the footwork to find an old Verizon phone so that they could switch. I found one two days later, and the switch was taken care of – it took me some time to find, though, and I wondered how often that scenario plays out. This is the reason for the iPhone poop above, mixed with the Verizon logo. Cus the whole situation was poop.

About six hours on the phone, this whole process took about four days, two of which Janelle went without any phone at all, because her number was tied up in VERGUTORY. We now have two working dPhones, however, and that’s was what it was all about, so I guess there’s that.

Mission Accomplished.


(stay tuned, as they say, for a small part III)

7 thoughts on “The dPhone – struggle to return to a dumb phone (part II)

  1. I am tempted to go truly retro and obtain a “house phone” (wired) that plugs into the wall. Advantages: You never have to worry about running out of minutes, you never have to worry about losing it, you never have to worry about having “no bars,” you never have to worry about running out of charge. And the biggest advantage of all: You can’t reach me 24/7! Please leave a message at the sound of the beep. If you’re particularly nice, I may even return your call. 🙂

  2. I admit that the invasion of cell phones into our lives is partially my fault. I spent six years of my life helping build the towers that make our cell phones work. Interestingly, I have never had a smart phone. I want a phone that makes and receives phone calls. That’s it. Kinda dumb, isn’t it?……

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    1. On the contrary, you left the campsite better than it was. So thanks for that! I don’t blame you for the cell invasion – I think it’s really good that we are so connected – I thinks it’s actually a brilliant thing. The problem is US being attached to STUFF, I’m pretty sure. The kids that are growing up with all of this now, it’ll just be a tool, like anything else. We feel the power because it wasn’t there when we were growing up.

      Thanks for you comments and your blog!

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