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Wal-Mart cracks the whip on prepaid phone purchases

Darren Murph

There's plenty of us who aren't exactly fond of commitments, especially those multi-year types that wireless providers try to rope you into whenever they drop a snazzy new phone. But if you're looking to snag a prepaid GoPhone / TracFone for the entire family, you may have to take your business somewhere other than Wally World. The world's largest retailer is cracking down on "entrepreneurs" (read: notorious phone hackers) who are buying the subsidized handsets "by the hundreds to resell for profit," by reducing the amount of prepaid mobiles one can purchase from three to two. While "two national carriers" voiced support for Wal-Mart's decision, the only confirmed provider was said to be Cingular, who certainly doesn't stand to profit from selling prepaid devices sans (pricey) prepaid air time. While the company hasn't exactly figured out how to stop tricksters from circumventing the system by purchasing multiple units at varying registers, at least the restrictions give parents with teenage triplets (or quadruplets) a valid excuse to delay their gratification.

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