Last year, while in Denver for defrag, I purchased an AT&T GoPhone PrePay SIM card. Rather than incur large roaming fees from home in New Zealand, it made sense to have a local phone number and, more importantly, data plan, for my frequent US trips.
I’ve not been in the US since December so, prior to my trip next week for Cloud Connect and SXSW, I decided I’d top up my prepay card. I decided (more fool me) to head online to the Pay As You Go Online site where I was invited to register to use the service. So far so good, I entered my mobile number (lucky that I keep paperwork huh?) and then entered the last four digits of my number which had been set as the temporary ID.
I was then taken to a page which, in fantastically circular fashion, told me that a new PIN number had been sent via SMS to my mobile.
Yes… it was sent via SMS to a service that only works within the US.
I figured an operator might be able to reset my PIN so I spent the typical half hour navigating an incredibly annoying AT&T AVR system, only to be told by an operator that, yes, she could reset my PIN, and would SMS it to my mobile.
I can’t believe that I’m the only user of this product from outside the US, after all GoPhone is marketed as a great solution for people spending only some of their time in the US. Why design a system that completely fails for those who it’s actually designed for?
In the end the operator was able to process my transaction, but only after she forced me to give her a fake zip code because, you guessed it, GoPhone only works with those with a US zip code.
I think I need a drink….