Tello Minimum PAYG $20

Minimum purchase for Tello PAYG credit is now $20. Previously, $10. Not sure when change was made.

Thanks. That is a shame but still the best paygo out there if sprint coverage is okay for you.

On my Tello Paygo account, my auto-recharge minimum still says $10, so it could be existing Paygo users prior to the change will be grandfathered and retain the $10 minimum recharge. If not so, no big deal to pay Tello $20 in advance for having a backup phone for possibly a few years before it needs its credits refilled.

My acct still shows $10 if you do the auto refill when the balance falls below $2.

Pay As You Go Service Agreement
Pay As You Go credit is available for a period of 3 months since customer's last order. If no order was placed in a period of 3 months, Pay As You Go credit will expire and the Tello service will be disconnected. This policy is effective since September 1, 2017.


Is this in Tello's TOS, or where'd you see it? Thanks.

EDIT: Nevermind, found it in Tello's T&C.

Evidently, Tello hasn't been enforcing this policy, assuming by "order", Tello means adding money or credit to one's Paygo account. Doesn't sound like a Paygo account if one must add $20 every 3 months. Perhaps by "order" Tello means using some Paygo credit by means of a call, text, or data usage.

"Pay As You Go refunds - will refund the total unused amount still available in an account as long as the Pay As You Go balance is still active. The PAYG balance becomes inactive if the service is not used (there are no calls or data usage sessions or orders placed) for 3 months in a row. Partial refunds can be offered for unused PAYG balances as decided on a case to case analysis."

Like several folks on the forum, I can attest that Tello has not enforced a 90-day "order" requirement, unless it's something new. I put $30 in a PayGo account far longer ago than that, and it keeps being active.

I have used the phone within any 90-day period. I think other forum members have said that Tello is good about texting your number to show some activity should you miss that deadline. (Tello going out of their way, again, to treat customers fairly.)

This is causing some consternation on several forums.
I looked at snapshots of the terms from earlier dates, via Internet Archives (Wayback Machine).

As recently as July 2019, the same section read:
"Pay As You Go credit is available for a period of 3 months since customer's last order or call, text or data session, effective September 1, 2017. If none of the actions mentioned above was carried out in a period of 3 months, SIM and Pay As You Go credit will not be available for calls."

It's definitely a change in the terms, and it definitely took place much more recently than the September 2017 date listed in the current version.

The question now becomes when/if Tello chooses to enforce it-- but the change in the terms leaves them room to do so. I hope Tello will clarify this, and give some warning before enforcing it on individual accounts. I fear they could take a major hit on their well-deserved reputation if folks lose important numbers and/or service unexpectedly.

Especially, note that enforcement would make Tello (pure) PayGo a non-starter for most looking for a budget low-use plan. Tied with the $20 minimum PayGo order, this would raise the monthly average cost to just under $7/month. Tello's regular $6 plan beats this, as does Hello Mobile's $5 plan, or the FreedomPop/Red Pocket $3 plan. (All on Sprint.)

I want to think this possibly truncated T&C statement from Tello is an oversight or proofreading mistake since it conflicts with and is a huge change from the July 2019 T&C statement, as well as being certainly out of sync with Tello's past behavior where they would have notified customers of such a big change. We know Tello does read and respond to posts in this forum and also posts info they think we should know about, so we should hear from them soon. Tello wouldn't be Tello if this out of the blue PayGo statement is true.

I just emailed Tello asking for clarification.

I was considering bringing our two lines over to tello before the end of the month, and keeping my paygo line as an emergency phone, but now i have serious doubts. i will wait to see what tello says before making up my mind.

I haven't ever signed up for PayGo, but I went ahead and contacted Tello Support via chat. Here is a cut-and-pasted excerpt that addresses this (hope my pasting is as good as my cutting :))...

(ME) My question is, if I purchase $20 worth of PayGo credit, how do the newly updated terms and conditions apply? With the old system, we had to use at least one unit of call, text, or data, but now it looks like we have to place an "order" every 90 days or the PayGo balance disappears. Is that correct, or are people like myself not interpreting the new T&C correctly?
In other words, do we have to refill with another $20 every 90 days?

(JULIO, TELLO SUPPORT) Ok, great question.
The best way to explain is as you wrote it.
Your credit will not expire unless there is no usage with in 90 days of purchase.
If you use one unit of any of the services every 90 days then it will not expire.

(ME) So it is usage that determines the carryover, not needing to "refill" the credit, every 90 days, correct?

(JULIO) Correct. It is based on usage.

(ME) According to what I've read on some online forums, Tello used to send a text (automated?) to maintain usage whenever PayGo customers got close to their 90 days, which would keep the account balance valid. Do you happen to know if that practice will continue?

(JULIO, after he checked on this) Ok, we are not sending any notifications at the moment for this topic we are speaking about.

(ME) Thanks for all the clarifications! I will share this information online so that you (maybe) will get less inquiries about this.

Hope this helps -- good luck to all you PayGoers!

Great work D_D. A big sigh of relief for all concerned. You're now our numero uno Chat go-to person.:cheer:

Diedrich_Duo writes: "Hope this helps -- good luck to all you PayGoers! "

Indeed it does, and thanks so much for taking the bull by the horns!

(I have a feeling your post will be linked or quoted on other forums....)

Tello really does set the standard for what customer service could and should be.

I've helped various people port in and out as their circumstances changed and it's always been absolutely painless. And I've got several little old ladies on Tello plans because I can set them up and forget about it. No ongoing care and feeding to keep everything working right.

It just works.

Cellphone service with Tello is absolutely painless, and that really makes a difference when you have a busy life.

Agreed! Perhaps an equal recognition of Ting's CS, which by all accounts is also stellar, is also appropriate (although their plans are generally a bit more expensive).

Here's hoping that your "no ongoing care and feeding to keep everything working right" comment only refers to Tello, not your little old lady friends. :slight_smile:

Whatever it means, my Tello PayGo account renewal amount options still show $10..$20..$30... with the auto-renewal at $2 toggled on. Whether or not the $10 charge would be made when renewed is the question. I'll find out in a year or so.

It is good some confirmations are coming through that the old policy is the one they are using. But I would still like to see it in black and white in the terms. Don't want any nasty surprises. That or I might just chat and get a transcript of it to cover myself.

I understand some folks feeling uneasy about the change to Tello's official terms. There is no doubt that it allows enforcement, even if they're not doing so now. (The difference between terms and day-to-day policy. The operating policy can be anything up to, and including, the official terms.) I agree it would be better if the 2 matched.

There's a workaround for those who are concerned. Just before the 90 day mark, convert to a $5 plan, either talk/text, or data only. You've now made a purchase. Change back to PayGo only. (Near the end of the month to maximize your benefit, or immediately if you just want piece of mind-- but you'll lose the monthly allotment, if I'm reading right).
That would give you an annualized cost of $1.25/mo if you really max out the timing, and $1.66/mo worst case.. Pretty cheap carrying cost if you just need to keep the number active and emergency use. (You'll still be paying PayGo rates when you use it during the 90-day period, of course.)

My past phone changes were processed as orders. So $0/cost

Looks like they have changed the effective date in the terms to last week (said 2017 before) so they definitely are aware of the changes made. CS might be telling us the wrong thing as corporate seem to want the new wording to stay put.