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Fees For Days… 720 Of Them!

, , , , , | Working | June 11, 2020

My phone has suddenly lost its speaker function, so I am looking to buy a cheap phone as soon as possible. 

Employee #1: “We don’t do contracts anymore; you just buy a phone at retail price and we bill for service.”

Me: “Okay, what’s the cheapest non-smartphone you have?”

Employee #1: “We have this one for $99 and this for $199.”

Me: “What’s the difference?”

Employee #1: “Uh…”

Employee #2: “This one—” *pointing to the $199 phone* “—is heavier.”

Me: “And…?”

Employee #1: “It’s heavier duty.”

Me: “Okay… I’ll take the $99 phone.”

Employee #1: “Do you want to pay today, or use a twenty-four-month installmant plan?”

Me: “What’s the difference going to be?”

Employee #1: “If we break it up over twenty-four months, you are protected in case the phone you get is a lemon, because you haven’t paid for it all yet!”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Employee #2: “Yeah, if you pay for the phone in full before you leave the store, it voids the two-week return policy.”

Employee #1: “So, if the phone is a lemon, you’re stuck!”

Me: “Wait, so you’re telling me that if you sell me a broken phone, if I pay for it all at once you won’t let me return it?”

Employee #1: “No, because that voids the return policy.”

Me: “So, you can only return defective items if you haven’t paid for it yet?”

Employee #2: “That’s right, so you should take the twenty-four-month plan.”

Me: “Okay… Well, do you charge interest or anything extra?”

Employee #2: “Nope, just break it up into payments.”

I think paying it off slowly might be convenient.

Me: “Okay, let’s do it.”

Employee #1: “Great, I’ll ring you up. So, with the Store Fee, that will be $129 plus tax.”

Me: “What ‘Store Fee’?”

Employee #1: “It’s $30 to purchase a phone in the store.”

Employee #2: “It’s because you are eligible to buy a new phone. You only have the $30 fee. If you weren’t eligible to buy a new phone we’d have to double the cost of your service fees!”

Me: “What? So there’s no contract, but I’m somehow ‘eligible’ to buy a phone at full retail price, as opposed to somehow… not being allowed to buy a phone? And for the privilege of buying a phone in your store, there’s a fee?”

Employee #1: “It’s only $30.”

Employee #2: “It seems like a lot because you’re buying a cheaper phone.”

Me: “Say I got my phone fixed or bought it somewhere else. Is there an activation fee to get it on my service plan?”

Employee #1: “Um…”

Employee #2: “No…”

Me: “All right, then.”

I left and found the $199 phone online for $79. And, much to my surprise, they were telling the truth; there was no activation fee. And I wasn’t charged $30 online for the privilege of buying a product!