FreedomPop Review: Not So Free After All
I recently found myself in need of a hotspot mobile carrier, and was drawn to FreedomPop’s service due to the low cost of entry and low priced 10GB plan (which has BTW since been beat by Boost Mobile’s 10GB plan pricing). I really should have researched this carrier before purchasing a hotspot – if I had, I would have known I was walking in to a world of trouble. It seems a very large, vocal portion of FreedomPop’s customers are not happy, many claiming the company has ripped them off. But the beginning offer was so juicy – a hotspot for $40 and 2GB plan for free – that I took the bait immediately.
It took about 2-3 weeks for the hotspot to arrive at my doorstep. Very long time, but they warned that it would be slow, so I wasn’t really upset about it.
Of course, it wasn’t long before I used up the free 2GB data. So I upgraded to the 5GB plan. This is where it gets interesting. The usage meter on the website changed from 2GB to 5GB. I paid (prorated) for 3GB, no 5GB plan discount (which normally knocks $10 off the price). I went over that, so I paid $10 for 1GB. Then that went over, so I upgraded to 10GB, which I also paid for prorated without the 10GB plan discount. Note that this entire time, my meter changed to match the plan capacity. Even when I earned 1GB of free data, the meter stayed at 10GB, claiming my plan data was 9GB.
At the end of my plan’s month, I was suddenly charged $20 out of the blue when I had not been using my hotspot at all. I assumed it was a top up, but my account remained empty on data. If you look at the financial charge records, that morning I suddenly, without any warning or usage, went $20 in to the NEGATIVE.
I tried to resolve with customer service for about 2 weeks. They just ran me in circles. I don’t know if they can’t do the math or what…
The bottom line though is pretty simple enough to see without anyone explaining it to me: at the end of the cycle, the system did a balance check, and charged me for the initial “free” 2GB of data since my payments didn’t match my data usage.
Their customer support and shipping are EXTREMELY slow, and their “free” stuff all comes with catches (like reducing your plan data to compensate for the “free” data so it’s not so free after all). The service works though, and you get what you pay for, literally. So if you’re really that desperate, they’re not that bad, but make sure you don’t trust anything they claim is “free”. You will end up paying for it sooner or later.
***This is a follow up article to my initial (more positive) review of FreedomPop. Your experience and mileage may vary. The original review can be found by clicking here.
***Update: After several weeks of arguing with customer support (who kept parroting the standard statement about how prepaid service worked, like they did not comprehend the issue), they finally offered me 500mb free on my next month of service. I never received a refund and FreedomPop never admitted any error. However, now I’m having issues getting their assistance resetting my Netgear Mingle (lost admin password). At first, they refused support over my account still being suspended (in error, which was then fixed). They evidently don’t know what a MSL code is or what I’m requesting assistance with, because they keep telling me that I can log in to the device to change the settings, even though I keep telling them I CAN’T log in to the device because I don’t know the admin password. I have finally reached out to Virgin Mobile for help, hopefully I’ll get their assistance come Monday even though I’m not a direct customer. It is important to note that FreedomPop’s support is TERRIBLE. They’re slow, and often issues have to be repeated several times along with screenshots before they actually comprehend what the problem is. So far every time I’ve reached out to them, it’s taken a week or longer to get a response back, and up to a month to get my issue resolved, mostly due to the back and forth miscommunication I described previously. Premium phone based support isn’t worth it either; expect to be on hold for an hour or more.