After garnering the ire of consumers with unlimited data plans that aren’t actually unlimited, Wal-Mart’s low-cost carrier Straight Talk has belied its name yet again with an even shadier marketing strategy: shill reviews.
While we’re used to spam from the likes of tiny companies that need every eye they can get, we were surprised this morning when Digital Trends saw a bombardment of shill reviews promoting Straight Talk – a prepaid cellular service backed by giants Trac-Fone and Wal-Mart.
A flurry of “reviews” under different usernames left brief comments on the phones in question followed by hyperbolic raves about the wonders of Straight Talk. While we’ve since removed them, our research on the company churned up a slew of complaints about poor customer service, days spent without cell phone service while the carrier attempted to port over an old number, and even PIN numbers that scratch off airtime cards with the scratchoff material above them, leaving users out the money they paid for them.
Although TracFone has earned a solid reputation in the past, we recommend folks read our full guide to prepaid cell phones to learn about many of the hidden pitfalls to prepaid providers.