Yesterday I upgraded my plan and purchased my first smart-phone, a Samsung Galaxy A51. I was quoted a monthly price of $70.00 for the “Start Unlimited” plan, and $17.41 monthly installments on the price ($420.00) of the new phone.
When I received the agreement via email, the monthly plan was listed as $80. I went back to the store and was informed that I had to enroll in “auto-pay” and “paperless billing” to receive the lower monthly rate. It would have been helpful to know from the outset that the price quoted was based on that contingency, but it was not made clear.
I went to the Verizon website and enrolled in those plans this morning. While on the site, I noticed that the phone I bought for $420 yesterday was listed at $239 today. Rashad at your call center insisted that there was no inequity in this disparity because it was related to a promotion to get customers to add lines to existing service. Upgrades, such as mine, although equally costly, do not count. Technically, Rashad was correct, in that he could parrot the terms of that promotion, but he failed miserably to acknowledge this customer’s point of view.
If I sold you a car for $40K and the next day advertised an identical car for $20K, perhaps linked to a promotion of extended warranty coverage, roadside service, or something similar, you might feel a bit ill-used. Aside from attempting to force a customer to purchase something he or she does not need, the huge price difference reveals that you were unquestionably overcharged. Promotions aside, this is unconscionable. Rashad’s defense of this sort of thing was that “it has always been done this way.” That might account for Verizon’s extremely poor reputation for customer service.
At present, the (exorbitant) cost of the phone is set up in installments for the next 24 months. I would be willing to pay the lower price in full, and have the installment payments removed from my monthly bill. If that is not possible, the other option would be a credit to my account for the price difference ($180.01).
In good faith, I expect to hear from you very soon. (N.B.: This is my third letter to Verizon’s correspondence team—the previous two have yet to be answered. The issues are piling up.)
We understand your concern with the price of the device you have purchased, macwnj. We want to make sure that you're getting the correct pricing on the device based on your situation, as our offers on our site do have requirements in order to get the promotional price. To get started, please send us a Private Note.
All the other carriers do the same thing. The car analogy wouldn't apply here since the purpose of those deals is to add a new line of service for revenue. Carriers don't make money off the phones, they make it off service.
Even at regular price, the A51 is a cheap phone. Depending on what plan you have, a typical shared data plan costs $20 per line. 24 months of service for that new line would set you back $480 on top of that $239 price.
You'd be giving Verizon more money since you aren't the target audience of these types of promo. These are for people who need a new line of service, not just a phone.
I fully understand Verizon's strategy here, but because Verizon has little competition (zero in the combined geographical areas where I will need to use this), straightforwardness in pricing would be a better, more ethical practice. Here is the service, here is what it costs, period. Dealing with Verizon feels more similar to buying a used car.