media logos

Tracfone wins unlocking suit

Maybe you remember back in August, when we mentioned Tracfone suing mass-unlockers. (Thanks to TV, I can’t remember what happened eight minutes ago.) Tracfone filed a number of cases against people and operations that bought a whole mess of their phones, unlock them, and resell them at a profit. This is problematic, because for the most part they’re buying those cheap prepaid packages, where you get an old phone real cheap — below market value, actually. The company takes a hit on the phone with the hopes that they make up for it in airtime. Tracfone has won a suit against one such reseller, winning a $1 million decision in a federal district court.

You know things are bad when you’re dealing with a guy with three names. And no, we’re not talking Mark Paul Gosselar. We’re talking James Ray Thomas, a.k.a. Jim Thomas Hollis, a.k.a. James L. Ford. But this ring has been busted, and his business destroyed.

Problem: He’s not the only one doing this. Yeah, it’s always nice to take one of your biggest illegal competitors out of business, but when there are plenty others, the fight is hardly over. In fact, Tracfone is working on a case against a group of 80 defendants, all over the resale issue.

So why do we care so much that these rogues are taken down? The more they succeed, the more money Tracfone loses. And that means higher rates for the rest of us. Plus, it’s not like these rogues are modern day Robin Hoods or anything. They’re buying from the rich and ripping off the poor (most of the handsets are sold overseas at a considerable profit).

So may Tracfone continue its righteous war against these rogues.