Friday, December 11, 2009

Jitterbug Cellphone Reviews and Complaints (New! December 2009 from Consumer Affairs)


Deana of Midland, MI December 9, 2009

I too purchased two phones. One for my elderly mother and one for my husband. My mothers phone sat on the charger for over two months while I tried in vain to get the number from her old cell phone switched to the Jitterbug. The Customer Service is awful and the people are rude and nasty. They would never let me finish a sentence, they would continually talk over me. When my check did not reach the payment center on the due date they immediately cut off phone service and left my elderly mother without phone service. The bill's that have come are never the 14.99 plan that I signed up for. The last bill was 86.00 and I still can't understand why. I would not recommend this phone company. They have horrible customer service and I believe they are trying to con money from the elderly.

Karen of Roswell, NM December 1, 2009

I called about a Jitterbug phone for my elderly father. The first question I asked was about service where he lived. I was told it was the best. I also asked about the return policy and was told if I was unhappy for any reason I could return the phone within the first 30 days for a full refund.

I ordered the phone and had it shipped directly to my father. He was so excited to receive it until he tried to use it. The reception was horrid. He could hear us but be could not hear him it was breaking up so bad. There were several calls made to Jitterbug in an attempt to fix the problem. At one point he was "switched" to another carrier and was totally unusable for 6 days out of the 30 day return period. It still didnt work.

I called to cancel the service and return the phone within our 30 day trial period. Had to return with a RA number on the outside of the box or would not take it. We did that. Received at Jitterbug on November 12th and still have no refund. As a matter of a fact on November 20th they deducted another 49.00 from account. Clearly their mistake. According to them they forgot to stop the automatic withdrawal upon cancellation. So sorry for the inconvience.

Called them again today November 30 and still no refund. Refund of the phone takes 21 working days and 5 working days for the additional amount taken after cancellation. The 5 days will start from November 30th not the 25th when I made the first call about the "Mistake".

There are also "rules" about returning the phone. Only 30 minutes could be used, no scratches on phone, and the list goes on. They will adjust the refund accordingly. Here is the best one. When I asked for the number to the financial department I was told from customer service they don't have that number. Their only communication is e-mail or fax. Are you kidding me!

Anyone considering a Jitterbug my advise DONT. I added my father to my Sprint plan of shared minutes for an additional 9.99 per month and it is great! Phone works wonderful and Dad has no problems with it. He is once again happy.

Janis of Arvada, CO November 30, 2009

I recently purchased a Jitterbug phone with a Simply 29 plan (250 anytime minutes, 500 evening/weekend minutes) for my elderly mother. She tried using it for a month but was unhappy with the service for several reasons, so I decided to get her a landline. My mother has difficulty dialing numbers due to the rheumatoid arthritis in her fingers, so she used the Jitterbug operator service to dial her numbers. Little did she know, every time she dialed the Jitterbug operator, she was billed for 5 minutes of Jitterbug service! She though that this was a free service provided by Jitterbug. NOT! Be sure you READ THE FINE PRINT!

Then she gets her bill and she was charged for 120 minutes for dialing the Jitterbug voicemail retrieval number!!! After seeing the initial bill from Jitterbug, we decided that Jitterbug is definitely not "elderly friendly" as had been described, so we got a Comcast landline and changed the Jitterbug service to a basic plan (50 minutes per month for 14.99) for emergency use only. We made this change on the last day of the current billing period.

Here comes the next bill.....WHOA! We received a bill for 86.00 when we were expecting a bill for 14.99! Ends up they treated all the calls in that billing period (400 minutes) as if we had been on the 14.99 basic plan the entire prior billing period! We were never told that we should wait until the first day of the next billing period to downgrade our plan! UNBELIEVABLE!

In my opinion, Jitterbug preys on the elderly population. Many of the elderly will not be savvy enough to read the FINE PRINT and to question what is going on with their bill. Oh, and talking about the bill, did I mention that the bill does not include a call detail list that shows each call made? This information is not available on their internet site either! You have to call the Jitterbug operator (which you WILL BE BILLED FOR!) and ask for a call detail list to be emailed to you; it took them 72 hours to email it to me!

I cancelled my mother's Jitterbug service today. BYE BYE JITTERBUG! GOOD RIDDANCE! I'm out 200.00 for a phone and various accwessories that I purchased, plus an additional 71.00 in phone call charges that I should not have had to pay for.

Karen of Santa Cruz, CA September 24, 2009

Here are things I believe greatly need improvement with Great Call's Jitterbug's billing and website: The monthly bill needs to show ALL calls made to help the customer reconcile the minutes used and be on the same page. Currently it only shows the minutes used and cost, but not itemized as other phone companies do. Isn't it a regulation to do so?? It takes 48 hours for the used minutes to show up on MyJitterbug?? The change to the phonebook can be put in right away, why can't not this technology be applied to the minutes?? The used minutes on the phone show TOTAL usage of the phone, not the recent minutes purchased - it's too confusing to NOT show usage of the CURRENT minutes last purchased only. This would greatly help in keeping track of current minutes used.

I appreciate the phone,it's easy to use for my mother-but the billing combined with the site, isn't, and these need some major improvements to catch up with the times. I'm only a consumer, and some companies would rather ignore than deal with the issues. I have used the comments area on the site to bring my concerns, but pretty much ignored. If Jitterbug/Great Call is now promoting a new phone, they had better improve their billing/website as well to accommodate, or folks will surely find other solutions!

Kevin of Glendale, AZ August 10, 2009

I bought Jitterbugs services for my parents as there phones are eaiser for elderly to use. I purchased 500 minutes for them, not knowing there was an EXPERATION DATE on those minutes of 1 year. Parents do not use phone much so 190 of those 500 minutes EXPIRED. In todays mobile phone business I thought those plans were history. Why would minutes EXPIRE? The only reason I can think of is take advantage of seniors?

lynne of Panama City Beach, FL August 5, 2009

We bought a Jitterbug for our 18 year old disabled daughter. She used a handful of times before it died. When it failed to recharge I made the mistake of calling the company instead of taking it back to the retail store. It was so new I could have returned it for a full refund. The service rep that I spoke to told me to send the phone in and against my better judgement I did.

After 3 weeks of not hearing anything from Jitterbug, I called them. They told me I would have to pay 150 for a new phone. I explained that it was a new phone. they basically told me tough! Shame on them. I am contacting AARP, the National Down Syndrome society, the national society for the disabled, retailers and advertisers. There are many stories similar to mine all over the internet. This company should not be allowed to cater to elderly and disabled. Shame on them.

Jeanna of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (USA) June 8, 2009

I looked into getting a Jitterbug phone for my Dad. Jitterbug sent me a phone. Once received I called Jitterbug to activate to be told, that they do not offer service in my area, which is in the US Virgin Islands. They apologized and told me they would send me a prepaid enevelope in which to mail the phone back. After waiting for that envelope for about two weeks I took the liberty and sent the phone back using my personal funds for I did not want to be responsible if something happened to the phone. SO I mailed it back.

Dk of Choctaw, OK May 24, 2008

Dk of Choctaw OK (05/24/08)
Ordered a Jitterbug phone for my Mother that did not want a sophisticated phone. She simply wanted a product that would allow her the availability of emergency service, should she need it. I ordered a jitterbug phone for her, since the service that was offered fit her needs.

The equipment that was received was as expected. However, the service was not! It was virtually impossible to contact my mother when testing out the equipment to see how it worked, I ALWAYS received a busy signal. The Jitterbug rep that I spoke with apologized and said that, that does happen sometimes.

Unfortunately, I did not discontinue service at that point. It seems that if you do not cancel within 1 months time (after sign up), you will EAT the cost of the phone. SO, I have since cancelled my service, put my mom on my cell plan, and am stuck with a paper weight that I would even hesitate to try to hold down paper with! If you are contemplating a Jitterbug service for someone that you LOVE and CARE about... do not do it! Find an alternative! I have lost money on a service that I thought would be great for someone that wanted a simple, easy to use product. Thankfully, money is all that was lost! Buyer BEWARE!!

Read more:


Jitterbug Cellphone Could Fail to Reach Emergency 911 in a No-Service Area

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 22, 2009

Alert #09-744

Samsung Recalls to Upgrade Certain Cell Phones; Could Fail to Reach Emergency 911 in a No-Service Area

The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC.

Name of Product: Samsung “Jitterbug” Cell Phones

Units: About 160,000

Manufacturer: Samsung Telecommunications America, of Richardson, Texas

Distributor: GreatCall d/b/a Jitterbug, of San Diego, Calif.

Hazard: The recalled cell phones that are in a no-service area and display an “out of range, try again later” message could fail to connect to emergency 911.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves “Jitterbug” cell phones model numbers SPH-a110 and SPH-a120 with standard key pads and version BB14 software. No other Samsung wireless phones or software versions are included in this recall.

Sold through: Directly to consumers through targeted national advertisements and publications, electronics and drug stores nationwide, and on the Web at from March 2008 through May 2009 for about $150.

Manufactured in: Korea

Remedy: Samsung and Jitterbug are directly contacting consumers to schedule a free software upgrade. Consumers should call Samsung if they have not already been contacted.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Samsung toll-free at (866) 304-4980 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, and on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT, or visit the firm’s Web site at

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC's Web site at