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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If YOU are stupid enough to do this you deserve to be f'ed over - Predatory Unethical Business Practices


Predatory Business practices ARE this economy!

Oh Lord.. this one just about had me rolling in the floor laughing but ended up simply severely pissing me off..

I can't even find the text in the ad in a form I can copy on-line.. Only images of the ad..

This outfit called GreatCall is marketing an outrageously expensive cell phone to seniors presumably suffering from Alzheimer's..

Some basics first.. I'm not too proud to admit that I use StraightTalk from WalMart..

Some simple math shows that 1,000 minutes / $30.00 a month = 0.03 cents per minute. Plus you get 1,000 txts (plenty for us) and whatever amount of internet access we get (it's not used much). But ignoring the txts and internet access it's 0.03 cents per minute.. Keep these numbers in mind..


The ad we got [which I mysteriously am having a difficult time finding in a text version that can be copied] begins..

"Finally, a cell phone that's... a phone with rates as low as $3.75 per week! (Exclamation point theirs, not mine).

It's printed as a 3rd person ad which apparently is intended to appear as if written by an elderly American who has come across a great deal.. Brother..

I'll just type the damn thing out while waiting for my trades to work.. Brother.. Quotes & highlights and [comments] are mine.

"Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to "enter the digital age" and get a cell phone. My kids have been bugging me, my book group made fun of me, and the last straw was when my car broke down, and I was stuck by the highway for an hour before someone stopped to help. But when I went to the cell phone store, I almost changed my mind. The phones are so small I can't see the numbers, much less push the right one. They all have cameras, computers and a "global positioning" something or other that's supposed to spot me from space. Goodness, all I want to be able to do is talk to my grandkids! The people at the store weren't much help. They couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want a phone the size of a postage stamp. And the rate plans! They were complicated, confusing and expensive... and the contract lasted for 2 years! I'd almost given up when a friend told me about her new Jitterbug phone. Now I have the convenience and safety of being able to stay in touch... with a phone I can actually use.

Sometimes I think the people who designed this phone and the rate plans had me in mind. [No f'ing doubt about it! LMAO] The phone fits easily in my pocket, and flips open to reach from my mouth to my ear. [old habits die hard] The display is large and backlit, so I can actually see who is calling. With the push of a button I can aplify the volume, and if I don't know a number, I can simply push "0" for a friendly helpful operator that will look it up and even dial it for me. The Jitterbug also reduces background noise, making the sound loud and clear. There's even a dial tone, so I know the phone is ready to use. [again, old habits die hard]

"Affordable" plans that I can understand - and no contract to sign! Unlike other cell phones, Jitterbug has plans that "make sense". [Sure.. they make sense if your prime objective is stealing fiat from old people who don't know better] Why should I pay for minutes I'm never going to use? And if I do talk more than I plan, I won't find myself with no minutes like my friend who has a prepaid phone. [This would have been a good spot to talk about additional charges for those minutes but I guess they forgot..] Best of all, there is no contract to sign - so I'm not locked in for years at a time or subject to termination fees. [Are there any "other fees" that I WILL be charged??? Like perhaps the "one time" $35.00 activation fee?!] The U.S. - based customer service is second to none, and the phone gets service virtually anywhere in the country.

Call now and get a FREE gift when you order. Try Jitterbug for 30 days and if you don't love it, just return it. Why wait, the Jitterbug comes ready to use right out of the box. If you aren't as happy with it as I am, [Who TF ARE you anyway?!] you can return it for a refund of the purchase price. Call now, the Jitterbug product experts [expert con artists maybe?] are ready to answer your questions.


That was the ad..

Here's the rate plan..

Monthly minutes 50 [50!]$14.99, 100 minutes [for only] 19.99

Remember those StraightTalk numbers from before? 0.03 cents per minute NOT counting 1,000 txts and internet access, but only the 1,000 minutes for $30.00?

This GreatCall outfit [someone take out their website, come on! lol]] is trying to charge your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather 0.20 per minute for the 100 minute plan and 0.30 cents per minute for the 50 minute plan! PLUS if you go over your minutes in the month additional minutes are charged at 0.35 cents per minute!

These ripoff con artists are charging TEN TIMES as much for a worthless phone that costs $99.00!

I suggest that THIS is a big part of what is WRONG with America today! When / if a company is allowed to commit fraud in this way in an attempt to prey on the elderly. Where is the oversight?! Is there none?! Is it wide open and anything goes?

To me this company exists only to score that one time, big score, $2,000.00 / $3,000.00 phone bill from unsuspecting elderly consumers.

This is about as predatory as it gets people!

Here's an on-line complaint I found that sums it up pretty well..


Jitterbug Phone / GreatCall, Inc. Complaints & Reviews - Predatory Unethical Practices
Review all Jitterbug Phone / GreatCall, Inc. complaints
Jitterbug Phone / GreatCall, Inc.
Posted: 2010-11-07 by Unhappy Jitterbug Owner
Predatory Unethical Practices
Complaint Rating:
Company information:
GreatCall Inc. / Jitterbug Phone
United States

Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)!!

I purchased a Jitterbug phone as a gift. Jitterbug and GreatCall Inc. targets Seniors as their customer base (because of the elder-friendly designed large buttons and supposed ease of set-up and use of their phones). This phone is advertised as "Affordable, No Contract, Simple Phones". This is far from the truth. It seems that this company takes advantage of Seniors, because of their age and their vulnerability to be convinced/tricked/coerced into agreeing to things that they don't quite understand.

Here are the hidden fees which the customer is not made aware of when buying the phone:

1) A one-time $35.00 activation fee - (which you discover ONLY after purchasing and opening the box, after reading all included literature)

2) Additional fees for voice mail! Voice mail with any other mobile/cellular provider is inclusive with service.

3) Additional charges for operator assistance. 5 extra minutes are charged per call ($1.75), in addition to regular minutes used). One minute of use is 35¢. Customers are not aware of the high cost of each minute before signing up for a plan.

4) A voluntary recall on certain phone models. 9-1-1 emergency calls do not work with certain models.
For service and exchange, the customer assumes responsibility of paying for the return mailing of the phone (in like new condition) to the company.

5) Additional fees for:
a) Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge
b) Components of the Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge
c) Federal Universal Service Fund Fee
d) State Universal Service Fund Fee
These charges are normally associated with local landline telephone fees. For a supposed "no contract" service, a physical address is required, as well as a billing address, AND credit card number, as well as other personal information.

If the Jitterbug / GreatCall Inc. / Verizon service is truly "Pay As You Go", then why are all of these ala carte charges hidden? Buried would be a more accurate description. These extra fees and charges were found after extensively plowing through all of the literature, and website links.

The activation fee and other surcharges were not even discussed or disclosed when I called Jitterbug's customer service number to activate the phone.

I assume that I would be "surprised" by these charges on my first billing to my credit card (as with other customers). Or perhaps the other customers did not notice the additional charges. This wreaks of predatory business practices. To prey on the elderly (the majority on fixed incomes) is a terrible breach of trust, and a crime.

Shame on Jitterbug and GreatCall, Inc.!!

Did I mention that this service is a monopoly? These Jitterbug phones cannot be used (unlocked for use) with other mobile / cellular providers.

I am now stuck with a phone that I cannot return, and do not want to use because of their practices.
Comments United States

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