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The Telecom Digest for June 3, 2013
Volume 32 : Issue 120 : "text" Format
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Cellco cheating with Prepaid? (Frank Stearns)

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Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2013 08:38:05 -0500 From: Frank Stearns <franks.pacifier.com@pacifier.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Cellco cheating with Prepaid? Message-ID: <c6GdnTcpq-Ag1zbMnZ2dnUVZ_oOdnZ2d@posted.palinacquisition> Along with land lines I've had wireless in one form or another for more than 15 years, initially done as a 1 or 2 year contract; in later years month-to-month. In the past 18 months I've gone all prepaid. For my call patterns (no data, no text) this is wayyyy cheaper. A US$100/1000 minute, 12 month prepaid from T-mobile typically lasts 6-7 months. This translates to roughly $16/month, with no additional junk fees. Contrast this to the most minimal "post-paid" T-Mobile plan of $30/month, with another $10 in fees and taxes tacked on. I also moved recently and ported my old land line number to a cheap Tracphone prepaid. This account acts as a "place holder" until I can decide what to do with that old number, which I've had for 30+ years. Here's what's odd. With all those years, I know my calling habits fairly well, both inbound and outbound. It seems that in the past two months way more wireless minutes are being used than should be the case, based on 16 months' prior experience with prepaid. The T-mobile minutes seem to be going by at 1.5x what they should; the Tracphone minutes seem to disappear at 2x (on a "double minutes" phone -- how ironic). No one but me has access to these phones. Maybe I'm imagining all this or am not accounting for something. But before I start some elaborate external logging to verify actual usage, have there been any rumblings about Cellcos attempting to subvert their prepaid customers? Any rumors or actual cases of Cellcos padding the meter (or making it run faster) to burn up any extra prepaid time they can? Is there any auditing that takes place, something like the state Weights and Measures office certifying the accuracy of the pumps at the corner gasoline station? Cellcos no doubt hate users like me, who have noted the unused minutes each month, switched to prepaid, and cut the gross revenue on the account (sometimes significantly). If enough folks did this I could understand Cellco motives to engage in accounting skulduggery. Mainly curious if any other prepaid users have sensed something like this and if so, how they've pursued it. Thanks in advance, Frank -- .
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