Today my cellular phone started to have some charging issues. I have been “eligible” for an upgrade, and I have been out of a contract for some time. So, today, I started looking at my options with my current provider. Not to name any names here and cause a big stink, I am going to call this provider “Dash” for the remaining of my little rant here.
First things first – I did some research. I am very technology savvy. I am a nut for technology. I know too much, but I still want to hear some things in plain words to understand it all. So, as the technology nut I am, I did much of my research before going into the store. I like to read, so it is all good.
Next, as I wanted to hear some information in plain speak, I went to Dash’s store. I walked into the store and made my way over to the new phones they had on display. I was quickly greeted by a very friendly salesman, let’s call him “Johnny Five” because I am a huge Short Circuit fan and to make it easy. I explained to him that I have been looking into a newer, more advanced model of phone, the Android Galaxy S4, and I wanted to compare it to some other options they had.
Before telling me about the phones, he told me the plans have changed for new phones. I guess he needed to let me know that before anything else. Here is how the conversation progressed (paraphrased some).
“So, I was looking into these two phones here,” I said.
“Great! We have some great new options with our ****** plan. No contracts, so you can get new phones every year!” said Johnny Five.
“Well, some that sounds great,” I said. “What about discounts?”
“We do not have discounts any more,” explained Johnny Five.
This is where I began to wonder what is going on. No discounts? Then how do I get a phone with your company in a way which it would look appealing to me? I do not remember reading about this on the website. I pressed him further.
“No discounts? You mean I pay for the phone outright?” I asked.
“Yes, it is through payments,” Johnny Five explained. “It is kind of like a lease. No contracts.”
Okay, I thought. Pay for the phone, no contracts, sounds like it would be good if I ever wanted to change carriers or frequently changed phones. I could live with this deal even if I had no intentions of leaving the company because so far I have had no problems with them.
“So, no contracts, monthly payments for both service and phone in one bill?” I asked. “Then, if I wanted to, I could leave or change my phone or something in this deal as a trade? It is like a lease?”
“Yes,” Johnny Five said. “That is now the only way we roll.”
“How much would my monthly rate be?” I asked.
This is where I became irritated and confused. He told me the new plan price which was the same price I had been paying plus $25 more a month for 24 months for the phone. I do not like the new “roll” of Dash. I quickly got out of the store.
I understand how this can be appealing to some people. It does not catch me as a good deal for what I need, and I do not change service providers or phones often. I am a loyal customer. Loyal! Then I looked up some information online and my loyalty soured.
Online, the company’s website to be exact, I can order the new phone with the 2-year contract extension for about $200. Great, same plan and price without that extra $25 a month. That saves me money being I had no intention of leaving within the two years. Then I started thinking about $200 and how expensive that was compared to previous “deals” the company gave me.
I thought for a minute or two about it when an idea came to mind. I understand how the sales and deals work as a former salesman for a different telecommunications provider. At that company, attracting new customers and stealing them from the competition was where the big money was to be found. They had plenty of great deals for new customers while the other, loyal, long-time customers paid more and more and more. It did not seem fair to me at the time, but to some degree, I get it. It is a numbers game in sales. Money. It is all about the numbers and dead presidents.
I wondered, as I stared at the website, what if I was not logged into the website while searching for phones? I logged out, deleted cookies, and went back to the website as if I were a new potential customer. The screen loaded and voila! Eureka! What great deals! Instead of $200, it was $100 for the same phone if I were a new customer. Seriously, Dash, what about me? Your good friend and loyal customer? I kept looking.
I found another place to search for deals. Through a well-known electronic store website I found the same phone for the same provider at half the price as Dash had for new customers! It had the same terms as Dash’s website for new customers except I could come in as a current customer and get the deal. That means less money out of my pocket with the rebates! Well, I have much to think about.
Why, I wonder, can the company I pay every month not give me a better deal like that? Why are they not catering to me as a long-term customer? What am I? Chopped liver? Well, I am not chopped liver, I am an educated consumer with a fist full of cash and an open eye for some other company to take my money. Get it together, greedy bastards, or you will lose a customer. Then again, do you, Dash, care if you lose me? My money every month enough for you to care? Do you even give a damn? I have much to decide, and maybe I need to do some shopping around at other providers. Digital gears are grinding now.