Saturday, October 14, 2023

2G Service? I Didn't Know It Existed!

The more complicated you can make any deal, the easier it is to snooker the consumer.

In the junk mail today is an "offer" from Tmobile for "those 55 and over!" (age discrimination? You bet!) to switch to their service.  Maybe they only offer it to 55-and-over as that snares the dementia set.  They claim Verizon and AT&T offer similar plans "in Florida only!" which is a demographic that is quite easy to ensnare.

The whole thing is several pages long, combined in a weird fold-out brochure that is an odd page size, folded strangely.  On the back of the second "page" is two point type covering the entire page, telling you the real deal.  It was so tiny that I could not read it and that was the (two) point.

For only $27.50 a month (not including taxes, fees, CEO's yacht storage, etc.) per line (two line minimum, please!) I could get unlimited calling and texting and 2G data service!  2G?  I didn't know that existed!  It would be like driving a Yugo that is up on cinderblocks with the wheels removed. "Look at Grandpa, he thinks he's driving, again!"

Needless to say, I put the "offer" in the trash.

What was telling was again the siren song of a "free phone" which you could get after 24 billing cycles (that's two years) and no word on what kind (some smart phones these days are remarkably cheap and have all the features you really need, except status, of course).  Don't want the "free phone?"  You can get a debit card with "up to" $800 on it (usable only as online credits) to "pay off the balance" on your old phone.

Pay off the balance?  I bought my current Samsung 7 Active for $199 several years ago and paid cash.  Who the hell finances their phone?  I guess a lot of people who got "free phones" and then realized they were only "free" provided they sign up for 24 months of service - or more.

"You can change to Tmobile now, online, and use your existing phone!" they chirp.  Last time I checked, though, Verizon phones were not compatible with their network.  Maybe a small lie, but a lie nevertheless.

The best deals are the simplest deals.  I pay $31.50 a month for my AT&T prepaid plan.  I suspect that is cheaper than "$27.50 plus taxes and fees" and I get more than 2G service to boot.  No rebates, no 2-point type, no prepaid debit card nonsense.

But it gets worse.  The "come-on" price of $27.50 is so stripped down that it is an easy "upsell" to get people to go to the $40 price (or $60) as you get all these "freebies" including one year of free AAA membership!  Suppose you are already a member?  And lately, AAA is about as useless as AARP. Oh, and you get a free month of Apple TV, too!  (Some restrictions apply).

Gosh golly gee-whiz!  I'll bet they include a complimentary free month of Amazon Prime (provided you give them a credit card number and agree to negative option, right?).  Maybe a free magazine subscription, too?  What wonders will they give us next?

And all because this telcom is so generous and warm-hearted as to help out our nation's senior citizens!  It gives me a warm feeling all over - or did I just wet my Depends undergarment?

I don't need to read the two-point type to understand this "deal" - the presence of an entire page of it tells me all I need to know.  The ancillary free toasters and other bullshit confirm my initial skepticism.  The way it is touted like a carnival barker seals the deal.  I toss the mailer in the trash.

Oh, right, it arrived as junk mail, addressed to "residents at..." - why did I even open it, other than for blog fodder?

Sadly, most Americans do all their business this way - latching on to the next shiny thing to come down the pike, and then wondering where their money all went.  But good cheer, citizen!  Here's an $800 prepaid debit card you can use to pay off the loan you took out to buy your phone.  And that $800 is free, too!  Just like the "free" phone you owe $800 on.

I find it hard to feel sorry for people who fall for this nonsense.  No one ever feels sorry for me, when I fall for it!