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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Verizon Promo Fraud

I recently upgraded my Verizon cellphone to a Droid 3. I finally received my new phone via FedEx 1.5 weeks after ordering in the store. The guy in the store originally said my phone would ship the day after purchase. I got two new phones, one for me and one for my sister, on a family share plan.

They had some really confusing promos, when you upgrade.

They have a program "Turn in your old phone for a $100 gift card." I thought we could bring the phone to the store. No. You have to mail it.

When they shipped me my new phone, they included an envelope for turning in your old phone. HOWEVER, that envelope is for donating your phone to charity. If I used that envelope, I wouldn't have received the $100 gift card. That was really confusing and tricky.

I had to separately order a rebate envelope online. However, I need a "promo code". They mailed me the promo code only for my phone, and mailed my sister the other promo code.

I tried their website and it didn't work. I called customer support. I asked "Can't you just mail me the damn envelope?" The support idiot insisted that I use their crappy website.

I finally managed to get it to work.

They also had a "$50 credit for buying a tablet, when you upgrade your phone." When I was in the store the first time, the clerk said "You can wait until later, after the phones arrive, to claim the credit." When we came back 2 weeks later, the clerk said "Sorry! You had to use the $50 credit the same day you upgraded your phone."

I also thought it was a $50 credit on buying accessories. No. It's just $50 credit for buying a phone. It was incredibly confusing and misleading.

Why was Verizon trying to trick me? If I used the envelope they shipped with the new phone, I would have been donating the phone to charity, rather than getting the $100 credit. Why can't they just mail me the rebate envelope like a normal sane person would? Why can't the support clerk just mail me the envelopes, rather than making me use their crappy website? (I'm certainly not computer illiterate. It was a crappy hard-to-use website.) Why make me jump through all these hoops to get a rebate?

Why couldn't they make the promo simple? Why didn't they just give me the right envelope? Why can't I turn my old phone in the store? Why do they make the promos so complicated?

The problem is that Verizon has a monopoly. Even if I get mad and drop them, AT&T and the others are just as bad or worse. Can't I buy a phone without all these stupid and confusing promos? Can't they just give me their best price, without all the stupid tricks?


Scott said...

Well to be fair you have answered your own question. They make it tricky because then you won't claim the rebate and that's more money for you. By the time you try to claim the rebate you've already signed a contract that's impossible to get out of based on their promises, which are carefully designed to just barely not be legally fraudulent. This is a scam of course, cheating and lying to customers, but is a legal scam because teams of lawyers who have carefully designed it so "technically nothing we did was strictly illegal".

Anonymous said...

Why even do business with Verizon or AT&T when there are better, cheaper, more honest options out there? Why reward those scumbags and their sheister business models with your hard-earned money?

FSK said...

The smaller "little guy" providers exists by subleasing extra capacity from the big boys. Even if you go to one of the smaller providers, the money still gets funneled to the big ones.

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