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Phone Payment Fee with Return



I purchased an iPhone 12 Pro Max over a year ago for $1,099.00 and only have a remaining balance of $476 on my device (Still have months of promo-credits from trading in my S20+ Galaxy). I'm interested in upgrading my iPhone 12 Pro Max for either the 13 Pro Max or the New 14 Pro Max that is coming out in September. 


I checked on returning my phone for an upgrade. My Phone is in Excellent condition. I wanted to see what offers are available to me. According to the Verizon Online Shop,  I have to pay the remaining $476 on my device (even though around $300 of it is promo credits from prior trade-in), In order to upgrade to any new device. 


My question is, Why do I have to pay this cost if I am returning the Device as a whole, in excellent condition. If I am returning a Device that I paid over $550 on and have to pay the remaining balance of $476, What exactly is Verizon offering me for getting a New device? Because at that point I'll have already paid my device in full and will have no incentive to purchase another, especially when they're offering me $440 towards the iPhone 13 on my device which they claim is worth $1,099.00


When you pay into a device, do you not build any equity into it? You just have to pay the full price even if you return it? That sounds like a nice bait and switch to me. Imagine buying a house for $200k and paying 180k into it, then returning it so that the retailer can re-sell the Home for the same $200k essentially making double money on it, but still looking to me to pay the small remaining amount on top of allowing them to sell it at nearly full value.


I don't remember ever having this issue at Sprint / T-Mobile and I've upgraded a few times with their 18-Month Flex Plan, which gives you the ability to upgrade at No-Cost except for the New Device.