By Chongchen Saelee
Man o man, what a rip-off. FreedomPop, a company that supposedly offers FREE INTERNET AND PHONE service to unsuspecting customers sounds too good to be true, right? Duh. And it fooled me, so it’ll fool you. But now I’m doing my part to tell you to avoid these scam artists!
To be fair, they aren’t legally scammers. Morally and ethically, yeah, I’m going to back my words and say FreedomPop is a shady and scammy company. And that’s why it’s infuriating.
FreedomPop’s hardware works. It’s software works. It’s service works. But all of that comes only via scammy tactics to get you to buy certain packages and certain hardware and in only certain regions. So if you’re not well-versed in any of the technology, the legalese, the lingo, the marketing deception and fine print, they’re going to pocket your money.
And here’s my personal experience:
I just got $39.99 refunded back to me. But that’s not the whole refund. They actually swindled from me $46.98 in the beginning. That’s the total cost of their refurbished Sierra Freedom Spot Overdrive Pro + shipping and handling (and not to mention the $16 it took me to UPS an RMA request of that POS back to them). If you do the math, they didn’t reimburse me for shipping and handling, but they did reimburse me for the full price of the hotspot. Good for them. But that’s only because I made it clear I wanted a FULL REFUND and not to pocket a $10 reshelving/restocking fee. You’d probably get hooked with that one if you didn’t read their fine print. And thank goodness some other poor sap who got duped blogged about that because I wouldn’t have known.
Anyway, like the other complaints, the first clue that FreedomPop was shady was when you first sign up how long it took for you to receive your hotspot. And their marketing is extra deceptive. You’re made to think that if you get this hotspot device, you will automagically get access to you FREE data usage. And that’s not the case.
The Overdrive Pro is a 3G/4G device. And if you didn’t know anything about the differences between 3G, 4G, 4G WiMax, 4G LTE, which are all different protocols of wireless technology, then you’d mistakenly think 4G ecompasses all 4G-tagged technologies, which is not the case. This damn Overdrive Pro only supports 3G+4G! And where I live, we ONLY HAVE 4G LTE. So to my dumbfounded surprise, booting up that puck, I learn I don’t have 4G access and it’s trying to connect to 3G the entire time.
And of course, there is no 3G in my area. Thus, no FREE INTERNET OR PHONE SERVICE.
You can access the Internet but only their website so you can login. That’s how you know it works. You login and the first thing they bombard you with is that you need to buy their 3G/4G montly package to utilize your “free” data. Shady as fuck.
YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR 3G/4G monthly package to use their service. Essentially, you have to pay to take advantage of their “free data” giveaway. Those non-tangible megabytes and gigabytes of data they make up is what hooks our greed into their service. It could be ANY made up number: kajillion bytes free data, infinity bytes free data. But unless you have the proper hardware and software, it’s moot, isn’t it? And they already got your money. And they’ll hold onto your money with their grubby hands until you beg and plead with them to return it. But only after you request an RMA return and refund for your obsolete device.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN CASE YOU HAVE THE ITCH TO SIGN UP, BUT I RECOMMEND AVOIDING AT ALL COSTS:
-When you are first registering, their graphical interface is intentionally meant to be confusing, putting the words FREE next to and actually PAID package, and having the actual FREE package unchecked to begin with.
-Keep an eye on all the pre-checked checkboxes for fine-print nickel-and-dime services. After you ordered your service package and hardware, there is a pre-selected service to carry over your unused data. They’ll charge you for that monthly. And they can do that legally because they put that in their fine print, so you’re left looking like a dumbass while they pocket your money, which you legally owe them for being an ignorant dumbass. Got it?
-There was also a pre-selected “auto top off” feature. Essentially, if you were about to reach your 500MB free data cap, they’d automatically “refill” it for you, but now charging you for subscribing to a monthly service.
-There was also a “maintenance” fee that they charged unsuspecting user if they didn’t use at least 5MB of their free data. But by the time I signed up, too many complaints were filed, so the company discontinued that feature. Woo-hoo, thanks, FreedomPop for being so generous and transparent.
And you give them your credit card information this whole friggin’ time for a supposedly FREE service. Who knows what kind of shit that can start charging you with?
Moral of the story:
AVOID FREEDOMPOP. Nothing is FREE IN LIFE. They’re banking on poor people’s desperation and greed to reel you in. If you really really need phone or Internet service, PAY for it with a reputable company. That’s the only way.