I love my TracFone. In the Tucson, AZ area coverage is great. The phones are uber-simple - primitive web browser, camera, and texting capabilities - but I don't use my phone for those features anyways. The real seller for me is that I have spent a fraction on my TracFone service compared to what I've spent on other carriers (about $200/year as opposed to $30-$60/mo.).
I do not have an automatic payment plan, mostly because they just don't seem like good deals. Out of curiosity, why did you decide to get an automatic payment plan? You can buy minutes or airtime from your phone directly, or from the web, whether or not your phone is on.
Customer service has been hit-or-miss, but are there cell phone carriers that don't outsource their call centers or have idiots running the phones?
I think the takeaway should be "don't buy into a payment plan from a prepaid cell carrier and don't buy prepaid service from a contract carrier."
Shoot to Kill.
Play to Have Fun.