I first found out about Scratch Wireless in January of 2015. A free phone plan as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi sounded too good to be true. I finally managed to pull the trigger and purchased the cellphone in August of the same year and after having the phone for a couple of months, I have decided to finally write about my experiences and give my review.

So here is my Scratch wireless review from my experience.

Background story:

Voice communication is extremely important to me. I am on-call for clients who have an issue with their website. In addition to working on call, a lot of my clients prefer to talk over the phone whenever I am working on a website. We make several calls back-and-forth to get websites done in a timely manner. Over the past year, my wife and I have been teaching English in Mexico. My wife does it full time, and I have been doing it as a volunteer. Because of that, a reliable cellphone network has always been essential to me so my clients can always reach me. I was paying $120/month to have limited international calling.

We thought about the fact we would spend over a grand on our cellphone bill this year, not to mention all the money in the previous years with our cellphone provider. I did some research into scratch wireless and read several reviews online. Everything seemed fine to me. I saw that some people had some dated issues a couple years back and nothing seemed too terriblefor my circumstances. There were some complaints about having to change your phone and buying the voice pass but none of that seemed to present a problem I would have. So, after a lengthy discussion with my wife we were finally ready to make the change. We were always on Wi-Fi minus the 20 minute walks to and from the school and quite honestly my wife only used her phone for games, pictures and music. So my wife decided she wanted a kindle fire because she could keep her apps and then she would have more memory, a better camera, and access to kindle books. I flew home last minute because my plane ticket was fairly cheap. I decided between getting the phone and bringing back other things from home that the money we would save would be more than the cost of my ticket. I listed her phone online and left it at my parent’s house until it was sold and I redirected her number to google voice so she could keep her cellphone number. Things looked amazing, that we were cutting out a huge expense out of our lives and I was so excited about this product. So much so that I signed up for the affiliate program, I mean after all I work making websites and I wanted to help promote their company. I never heard back from their affiliate department, and then I ran into some irritations. I paid for overnight shipping because when we decided to make the change, we were on a short vacation from school. I was only in the states for 36 hours. The phone came late. It was a huge disappointment because I came to the states primarily to get my new phone. I even paid overnight shipping only to have the phone arrive two days after the indicated arrival date. After a lot of begging, we convinced my father to visit Mexico to visit for the first time and bring the phone with him so I guess I can thank Scratch Wireless for that (he would have come to visit sooner or later – this just made it sooner). I wish my troubles had stopped there.

My wife’s teaching friend asked to use the phone on the first night so that she could call her family in the states. I gladly handed her the phone and she came back two hours later thanking me for using the phone. I asked her if she had any issues and she said that sometimes she wasn’t able to hear her family very well and that it sounded like they were talking in a tunnel. It wasn’t her family because they were at their house, but it was obviously the phone. I thought that was kind of weird. Upon using it myself, I discovered that the phone did not work properly. Occasionally, the voice control would go so low that you could barely hear the other person.

I started having issues with the phone on the second day because I couldn’t make calls over Wi-Fi. Which, lest we forget, is the point of this phone. Sometimes it would work, and sometimes it wouldn’t. It would tell me that I had to buy a voice pass and use it. I read online again searching for the exact message that I had and then I finally found 2 complaints about this issue. People not being able to call over WiFi with the same exact message that I had. One of the pages was on Scratch Wireless’ website. The other guy made a small blog, essentially to say goodbye to Scratch Wireless. It appeared that I was still receiving inbound calls, so this wasn’t a complete mess for me yet. I would sit there and attempt to call for 15-30 minutes sometimes and finally it would go through. At this point: an irritation, but manageable.

The next issue that I had was the charger. My brand new Scratch Wireless phone hardly held a charge. To make matters more complicated, it was so difficult to charge! I felt like I was playing the board game “Operation” where you try not to touch the walls or you lose. Well in this case, if I put the cord in too far, or not far enough, the phone wouldn’t charge. And when I finally managed to get it into that sweet spot, trying to rest the phone down without losing the spot was incredibly difficult. Sure it got easier after several weeks, but charging my phone shouldn’t be an exact science.

And lastly, at least in regards to the actual phone: I started getting complaints from clients that I wasn’t returning their calls and that I wasn’t answering my voice mails. This seemed odd to me because I always have my phone on and with me. I had no missed calls or voice mails. I decided to test the issue. Sure enough, I had someone call me about 10 times, telling me via Facebook each time he called, and only half of the calls went through. How incredibly disturbing to discover that I didn’t get any notification of a missed call. No voice mails. Nothing. I depend on my phone and its reliability for my livelihood. I could have lost money from potential customers or I could have angered one of my customers. Worse yet, I didn’t even know it! Luckily, our existing customers love us and we have a great track record with customer service. I don’t think this situation caused any of them to leave us. As far as losing potential customers, I am unsettled to think of what it means for my family to have lost work.

Now, let’s talk about Scratch Wireless in regards to customer service. I put in a ticket on their website when I first started having issues with the phone, and guess what? I am still waiting for any response. On October 29th, 2015 they emailed that they were no longer going to offer a completely free service for their product. The email promised “you will still get free data over Wi-Fi.” Awesome, thank you for not charging me to use my own internet, Scratch Wireless. The next email announced that this change would take place on November 16th. Customers would have to start paying $10/month to use their phone service. So, if you are okay with using a crappy phone with several problems, Scratch Wireless is a good place to be.

Here comes the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the reason for this review. Before November 16th arrived, I wasn’t actually able to use my phone anymore. For business purposes, I returned to the states and my wife had to stay in Mexico for a short time to finish the semester. She tried to call me with her Google voice number and couldn’t get through. Scratch Wireless had me in checkmate.

No longer could I use the redial until it worked properly trick over Wi-Fi. I broke down and bought a voice pass for $14.99 (marked up suddenly from the normal $10) on November 13th. I was foolish enough to cancel my other phone plan at the start of this fiasco, so I had no other options. But guess what? The phone still didn’t work. It kept asking me to buy another pass! So I thought “Well maybe it takes a day to update.” The next day, it still didn’t work. I thought “Maybe it takes two days to update.” I then emailed Scratch Wireless and asked them to refund my $5 and credit the extra days back onto my account and…you guessed it. No response.

We’re coming up on the month mark and I am still not able to use my phone.

So here is my honest review for you, Scratch Wireless, with your smart phone.

You sell a crappy phone. It is not at all user friendly.

What is the Scratch Wireless reliability like? Unacceptable. It is the worst, most unreliable phone

I have ever had in my entire life. I would revert back to a dumb phone instantly to have a reliable phone.

What is the Scratch Wireless battery like? Horrible. It is extremely difficult to charge and it doesn’t hold a charge nearly long enough as it should.

What is Scratch Wireless’ customer support like? Almost non-existent. They’ll send you boiler-plate information if they feel like it, if it’s convenient for them. But once you ask for too much, like, say, asking them to activate the pass that you purchased – radio silence.

I believe them to be a dishonest company falsely advertising that they offer number porting only to find out that its a feature that they don’t actually support yet. They need to get themselves organized and update their information properly before executing whatever they decide to. You cannot advertise a product you havent developed yet and quite honestly this is Scratch Wireless’ phone, an unfinished product.

Would I recommend Scratch Wireless for a friend? Nope. I would never ever recommend this phone to anyone. Not even my worst enemy deserves this aggravation. I regret wasting my time, my energy, my $100 for the smart-phone, my $29 for them to unsuccessfully overnight the phone. I regret wasting my time on submitting tickets. I regret placing my trust in this company. If you are considering Scratch Wireless and find this review and my experience, please do yourself a favor and stay away from Scratch Wireless. Save your money and find yourself a better company, because this company does not offer a real product nor do they offer any real customer support.

-Matthew Karasawa

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