June 6, 2017
Just wanted to share my unfortunate experience with Speakout. I am what you would call a regular visitor to Canada, but I live in another country. Hence, the fact that I could keep "alive" a Speakout SIM for 365 days by simply keeping adding value at the right times remains quite attractive to me as I can keep the same phone number and also know that it is ready to use the minute I return to Canada. The online access and ability to manage my account is also attractive. The fact that no LTE service is provided is a disadvantage, but I typically did not miss the faster data (much).
I have been a customer of Speakout for the past five years, and in fact had two Speakout SIMs. Because I typically visit Canada every 6-12 months, I try to keep a minimum balance in my account until I need to use the phones again. I have been able to maintain my numbers for five years this way....until around 2 months ago.
As many have pointed out here and in other forums, one of the principal issues customers have with Speakout is the "911 fee" of $1.25 they collect every month. I might add that Speakout charges the highest such fee of any Canadian mobile network, even though the actual provincial charge varies from zero (e.g. BC) to 75 cents (Newfoundland). I imagine this is an important source of revenue for Speakout/Ztarmobile. If your account balance is insufficient to cover the $1.25 a month, the account is "suspended", but you still have a little time to add value to re-activate it. After that time, your SIMs and numbers are de-activated and assigned to other customers.
Important note here: Speakout chooses not to notify you in any way (no e-mail, no SMS) if there are any changes to your account status, not even when they are about to cancel your number!
Unfortunately, Speakout also revamped their website earlier this year. I was not able to check the balance of my account and two SIMs online. When I contacted customer service via e-mail:
1. They did not acknowledge that I was even a customer of Speakout ("cannot find any records in our database"), even after I gave them my phone numbers.
2. They demanded the serial numbers of my SIMs, as apparently providing the e-mail address and my Speakout numbers are not enough to prove that I had given them my business for the past five years.
3. With the SIM numbers, they finally admitted that yes, I am their customer, but my numbers were cancelled because they couldn't collect the 911 fee. "Please buy new SIMs."
4. I replied that it was unreasonable for Speakout to cancel numbers without giving the customer the opportunity to retain them (by adding value, and hence giving them new business). I also pointed out that it was unreasonable that I am not able check my account status and balance online - in order to ensure my balance is sufficient and that my numbers would not be cancelled!
5. The reply was that "your numbers are cancelled; you need to purchase new SIMs."
The e-mail dialogue with Speakout spans around a dozen messages. At no point did customer service even apologise for any inconvenience caused (Isn't that just standard service best practice? Even if you don't actually mean it?). When I told them I would never again give them my business, there was not even a "sorry to see you go" reply.
I understand that the Canadian prepaid mobile market is rather uncompetitive but Speakout's "customer service" is truly terrible. This fact, as well as the state of the new website - check out the ONE flip phone available, as well as the promoted "Figo" Android phone for which there are no clear instructions on how to purchase ("in stores only"?) - makes me wonder if existing customers should be worried about Speakout's ongoing viability.
I won't be worried; Speakout has made darned sure I won't be their customer ever again.
January 18, 2009
August 8, 2017
Completely agree with your points! I have been a long time Speakout customer - years and years. Now I am no longer one because of the screw up they caused, and losing the number in the process for account expiry without any SMS / email notifications from them.
They keep giving me bullshit like "policy", "you can check it with star-code", or "online portal", etc. and also non-apologetic at all for their own way of treating customers and not-informing customers of account / credit expiry.
October 14, 2008
You have been a "long time Speakout customer - years and years." and this was your first and only post in the SpeakOut forum? Your "review" is highly suspect. Sounds like a troll to me. Another one post wonder...
The screw up they caused? Since when is it their fault that you don't know when your expiry date is? It's easy to find out your expiry date/balance on your account right on your phone. It shows you how to do it on the home page of this site, and well as on the official site. It's not up to them to send reminder texts to each and everyone of their customers.