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Posts Tagged ‘cell phones’

If You’re Ever Tempted … DON’T!

This is our story on recent changes in our cell phone plans that I hope will help others avoid the mistake we made. If you're ever tempted to go with Walmart Family Mobile, DON'T!

My wife and I each used Straight Talk's plan of $30 a month for 1,000 minutes and 1,000 texts. It worked very well for our needs until my mother became gravely ill in September and I had to spend lots of time on the phone concerning Mom's condition and care. Two months in a row I either had to ignore calls the last day or two of the month or pay for the next month early since I had run out of talk time. Previously that would not have been a problem for me since I don't usually talk for long on the phone.

In November we saw an ad on TV for Walmart Family Mobile. Since the first phone was $29.95 and the second phone was $24.95, it was going to cost us $5 less a month, and we would have unlimited talk and text. Sounded great! I read reviews and it seemed as if it would be a good move. It did not take long to find out that there were several places we go to frequently where we had no cell signal. I was telling a colleague about this, and he recommended that we switch to Republic Wireless. He and his wife and her parents had done so shortly before then and were extremely pleased with the service.

And so after having Family Mobile's spotty service for only 3 weeks, we made the switch. We had paid Walmart Family Mobile a $53 activation fee to begin with. What I had read on their site made me think our plan was pre-paid, like Straight Talk had been — especially since we had to pay $53 up front. Since there was no contract, I assumed that since we stopped the plan before one month was up, that would be it. A few weeks later I received a bill for $39.41. When I called Family Mobile's customer service number to ask why we were being billed, I was told that our plan was post-paid and the amount for which we were being billed was pro-rated. So I went to Walmart and paid the bill. I asked if that would finish up our commitment with Family Mobile and was told it would. I thought, "Well, OK." I had not understood the post-paid thing, and I considered that the $39.41 would be a fair pro-rated settlement for 3 weeks' service.

Not long after that I got another bill from Family Mobile for $40.79. I went back to Walmart and was told they could not do anything to help me. I would have to send all the information to the customer relations e-mail address. I did just that and received an e-mail back saying I would hear from them personally in 5 business days. Well, 11 business days later — over two real weeks later — I received an e-mail saying they could not locate my account information. I was to send additional information to the e-mail address I had first written to. When I did, the e-mail bounced. I tried it again, and it bounced again. After I tried it the next morning and it bounced a third time, I printed out all the correspondence and mailed it to the return address on the bill. I heard nothing more for another week, until I got a letter telling me that if I didn't pay the bill immediately, it would be turned over to a collection agency!

I spent 45 minutes on hold waiting to talk to customer service. The young man Sergio told me that the first amount ($39.41) was for November 26—December 13, but he was certain that the second amount ($40.79) for December 14—December 19 must have been a computer error. He told me he would enter that information into the my account history, but he did not have the authority to do anything about it. I would have to send an e-mail to "Credit Request" to ask that that amount be lowered or waived since it was for only 5 days' service. I e-mailed the address he gave me and heard back from them the next morning, saying that that amount was in fact correct.

I wrote back and told them we would pay them what they insisted we owed them and would consider this an expensive lesson — $80.00 for 3 weeks shoddy service, followed by a nightmare in trying to even plead our case. I told them also that I planned to do a blog post about my experience with myfamilymobile.com that might lose them more money than the $40.79 they were getting for those 5 days of service. I let them know that my blog had over 1,000,000 hits in 2013.

In less than an hour I received the following reply:
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Texting for Seniors

picture of seniors texting

Cell phones have revolutionized our lives, maybe as much as any other invention in recent memory. My son-in-law Jim and I were talking about it recently and we each gave several great examples from our lives of where having a cell phone made a difficult situation much more manageable ... or in one case, of how my traveling through an extremely heavy snowfall in 1974 (a total of 22 inches!) would have been very different if I had had a cell phone.

Earlier this year I was surprised to read that cell phones are now used more for data than for calls. (Among many things, data includes Internet activity, various apps, music, games, and especially texting.) There's even something now called tethering, whereby you use your cell phone as a modem for your laptop to access the Internet. I have noticed more and more seniors with cell phones and wonder whether they use them most for calling. I pay for limited texting on my cell phone (250 messages a month) and text mainly my kids, a couple of friends, and a few students. We're trying to decide whether to add texting to Becka's cell phone.

One part of texting that I'm not too good at is the use of acronyms or abbreviations to cut down on the number of characters in a message — for instance, ttyl is "talk to you later" and thx is "thanks." It's not always easy to figure out what some of them mean. Today's post is a list of acronyms seniors might use in their texting.

Texting for Seniors

BTW: Bring the wheelchair

LOL: Living on Lipitor

OMG: Oy, my grandchildren!

ROFL. CGU: Rolling on the floor laughing. Can't get up!

IMHO: Is my hearing-aid on?


SUP: Speak up, please
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Cell Phones

I know I just posted last evening, but since I'm home convalescing (I came back from vacation with a bad cold), I'm getting lots of little things done that don't require much effort and that keep me from spreading the nasty bug. One of those little jobs was calling AT&T to ditch our land line. We found out we could still have their Internet (DSL Direct) without having to pay for a land line phone! How cool is that?!

If you normally call us at our home and need our Verizon cell phone numbers, you can contact me through the contact tab at the top of the page. I've let BJU and our church know our new numbers also.

Here's a little humor about cell phones...

There are several men in the locker room of a private club after exercising. Suddenly a cell phone lying on one of the benches begins to ring. A man picks it up and the following conversation ensues:


"Honey, It's me. Are you at the club?"


"Great! I am at the mall 2 blocks from where you are. I saw a beautiful mink coat... It is absolutely gorgeous! Can I buy it?"

"What's the price?"

"Only $1,500."

"Well, OK, go ahead and get, if you like it that much..."

"Ahhh and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the 2001 models. I saw one I really liked. I spoke with the salesman and he gave me a really good price ... and since we need to exchange the BMW that we bought last year..."

"What price did he quote you?"

"Only $60,000..."

"OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

"Great! Before we hang up, something else..."


"It might look like a lot, but I was reconciling your bank account and...I stopped by the real estate agent this morning and I saw the house we had looked at last year. It's on sale!! Remember? The one with a pool, English Garden, acre of park area, beachfront property..."

"How much are they asking?"

"Only $450,000... a magnificent price, and I see that we have that much in the bank to cover...."

"Well, than go ahead and buy it, but just bid $420,000. OK?"

"OK, sweetie... Thanks! I'll see you later!! I love you!!!"

"Bye... I do too."

The man hangs up, closes the phone's flap and raises his hand while holding the phone and asks to all those present, "Does anyone know who this phone belongs to?"


"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=

For people who like peace and quiet: a phoneless cord.

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