How to Make Bad “Karma”

Karma, a Prepaid Mobile Company with spotty history have decided to make a bold move, and it’s not the one you’re expecting.

The last time I covered Karma, I painted them as a company that used to be about transparency and being brutally honest about themselves and somewhere along the line, they went from being a forward-thinking company to a firm that seems to run in the shadows. For the uninitiated, Karma is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that uses Sprint’s Network to offer prepaid mobile hotspot services. Their original promise; to sell data that never expires.

What made Karma unique in their offerings was that they sell WiFi Hotspots with an open signal. However, by sharing your signal, you are able to make MBs or credits depending on the type of plan you’re on. My previous story about Karma will fill you in on those details. What we’re going to focus on today is the drastic turn they did to current “ReFuel” customers on Friday, May 12th, 2017.

The header of the email sent out Friday evening

During the evening, Karma sent out this email to their ReFuel customers. ReFuel is their original (now called “legacy”) plan in what makes their company great from the get-go. While this part of their service is the most expensive for GBs, the beauty of it is that the data never expires, and since you have an open signal, anyone hopping on it will give you 100 MBs of free data. However, the email stated “Karma has not accepted new Refuel customers for more than 6 months” as they were focused on selling their Drift and Pulse, both monthly options with a major difference; Drift charges “as you go” while Pulse gives you a monthly allowance.

Drift, however, is such a new service, that I can’t tell you when they started offering it. There’s no mention of Drift on their blog, but on their Twitter (and Instagram, since it’s linked via Twitter) they mentioned it in passing on April 4th. However, I talked to them about their new plan before this posting, so getting a established date isn’t possible at the moment.

“Bullish” maybe a good word for their communication methods as well, because they decided to not only fade out their ReFuel plan, but anyone daring to use it after June 1st will have to pay a recurring fee of $2.95 (and yet, along with the expensive data pricing.) Oh, and if you want this option, you have to opt in by June 1st. Counting from the time they stop pushing the plan (which they claim was 6 months ago), didn’t explain that they were fading out this plan until this past Friday, having three weeks to decide what you are going to do with your X amount of GBs you have left is… as most, damning.

The lack of communication, which they pulled in the past, is what Karma is all about these days. You have to dig deep for information about this company, as I have to learn about the outing of the founders and the original team via searches (deep ones at that). However, this company is active on social media (the only advertising they can afford these days since they blew it on making the Karma Go and failing to deliver it in a timely matter.), so you think they would be responsive.

They decided that the “bullish” route is the best route. How do I know? I made my grievance known on Twitter. I am a customer that’s been with them through the thick and thin. They were with me when my wifi was down during the first #BlackoutDay (they even covered me for their blog). The original team followed me and kept me in the loop until they left. But I was also their biggest defender within their original blog’s commentary as I understand the business aspect.

So, you think that they would talk to me and convinced me to get on their side for this, even though I was lightly ribbing on them. They decided to do something I rarely faced on Twitter from a company; Karma blocked me.

For the first time in my personal use of Twitter, I’ve been blocked by a company.

In addition to blocking me and several people on Twitter, they also started blocking Instagram users. Their biggest takedown was their Facebook page. As in a literal take down. This is how bad Karma has gotten. They are not answering their emails nor their public messages, but the lights are clearly on in their house.

So what can we do now? Karma has now made it known that they are not in the business of gaining trust back from their original supporters, but instead choose to drag us, kicking and screaming into the future with their mouths wired shut. Don’t like it? They will deal with new people while deleting their old history in a sloppy manner.

So, instead, as we now try to figure out how to make amends (or get revenge), let’s all reminisce on a Popular Science article titled- which we can look at ironically now…

Finally, A Wi-Fi Hotspot That Isn’t Trying To Screw You

To quote a classic Wu-Tang song… can it be that it was all so simple then?

Update (5/16/17): Karma responded to the Refuel Plan concerns by addressing them on their blog, which is now their newest post and their first one in 2017 (with their last one talking about their biggest offering went live in August 2016). It’s clear that they are reconstructing their business by creating a sustainable business model.

I responded to their FAQ.