Don't believe a word Net10 says,
by Jim Barry
I saw Net10 advertised on the window at Dollar General. It sounded like exactly what I needed. I called and spent over an hour talking to a woman who didn't know anything. I wanted to know which of about eight phones was right for me.
She promised me that "handsfree speaker" meant I got an earphone that hooks over an ear. Net10 doesn't even sell those.
She found out after 15 minutes that it did not create a "hot spot", but she and at least two levels above her assured me that the W408g would, with a USB cable, allow me to connect my PC to the Internet. One person said he did it himself. It WON'T.
Copied from the display for the Net10 Motorola W408g: "(snip) Get a $20.00 Gift Card when you follow the instructions included with your phone. (snip)"
When I called and asked why there were no instructions included with the phone, nobody knew what I was talking about. I spent 3 1/2 hours with them that day.
Finally one person said there was no physical card, but you got $20 extra free minutes for the phone. That was ridiculous because it came with unlimited time for 30 days. Another said it was like a lottery whether or not you got the card. That's not what the ad says. Another told me that it was a "free food card". She assured me that I would hear from them within 48 hours with information for getting the card and "compensation" for my time on the phone.
Five days later, that's 120 hours, I called again to see why they hadn't contacted me. During this 1 1/2 hour call, I gave them the number that was supposed to identify my problem and have all the info about my previous calls. Nope. I was still assured that my phone would connect my PC to the Internet. Their ad had been changed by then; so they knew nothing about the $20 gift card.
They grudgingly gave me 20 extra days service (a $33.33 value) in place of my card and compensation. I then bought the $25 USB cable so I could connect to the Internet. (All I can find that it does is charge the phone from the computer. A charger came with it.) None of the instructions online explained how to connect; so I called AGAIN. This time I was assured that there was NO WAY for my phone to connect my PC to the Internet.
If it all had worked as promised, I could have eliminated my home phone, long distance carrier, and AOL for the same total price. As it is I get free long distance for 50 days for $75. Not what I call a good deal.
One last comment, you need to be on a level of a supervisor's supervisor in order to get a person who speaks and understands American English. They still aren't in America, but they are very well spoken.
Come on, tell us how you really feel! Just kidding, finding out info about prepaid cell phones can be difficult at times, hence this site.
Let me try and address some of your points so it may help out other readers in the future.
The Dollar General Net10 Ad for a free Gift Card
Net10 does run promotions every now and then for a free gift card with the purchase of a select phones or phone bundles. I personally have never bought a Net10 phone during one of those promotions so I don't know exactly how they work. I have bought phone and airtime card bundles and have always received the airtime card promised.
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that someone forgot to take down the ad at DG after the promotion had expired. You may know different.
I've had difficulty at times getting the right info from customer service. This usually happens when there are some changes going on at Net10 so the staff hasn't been fully brought up to date yet. This happened for example when Net10 introduced its 30-day plans and I called to find out about some of the details.
For calls related to actual customer support such as with transferring minutes I haven't had any problems. Also, regarding the language, while some other readers have also said they felt the reps didn't have a good command of English, I, personally have not had a problem understanding them or they understanding me. That doesn't mean I always got what I wanted, though.
One thing that is true, is that the process is slow and does take more time than it should.
Connecting to the Internet 1: Hotspots
Most Net10 phones allow some access to the web on the phone itself (mobile web), but none of them can currently act as a WiFi hotspot so that you can use it as an access point to get to the internet from your PC. This capability is currently only available with the latest smartphones and is, frankly, not a feature one should expect to find on an inexpensive prepaid cell phone.
Connecting to the Internet 2: Tethering
Connecting your PC to the internet by first connecting it to a cell phone via a cable and using the cellphones ability to access the internet is known as "Tethering". It was not that uncommon to access the internet with your PC in this way a few years ago before most people knew you could even do it. Nowadays, most phone companies do not allow tethering. I recall Apple even banning a couple of apps because they allowed people to tether their iPhones without having to pay data charges.
As far as I know, only PlatinumTel at one point allowed you to tether your PC to the internet. This capability was enabled in response to a customer request on their online support forum, but even there, you're pretty much on your own in terms of instructions. Also, they only support this feature with their pay as you go plan and not their unlimited plans.
Getting stuff to and from your W408g
You can transfer photos from your W408g phone via Bluetooth to your PC if your PC has a (built-in or external USB type) Bluetooth adapter. Also, if you insert a microsd memory card in your phone and use it as your primary storage, then you could physically remove the microsd card from the phone, stick it into an SD card adapter and insert it into an external or built-in SD card reader.
(Note, if I were getting a Net10 phone today, I would opt for one of the new models such as their version of the EX124g.
I probably haven't covered everything you mentioned, but I hope this is of some help.