Getting A Free Cell Phone: Why You Catch More Flies With Honey

personal finance, product review, saving money, Uncategorized / Monday, May 7th, 2012
Poor little broken Android

So, my phone broke again. I’ve had the Verizon LG Ally for almost two years and this is the second time it broke. The phone just decided that it doesn’t want to let me to send or receive email, text messages, or use gchat. Wonderful. So my phone is just a phone.

This happened once before about a year ago. The phone was still within it’s 1 year manufacturer warranty and Verizon’s tech support people mailed me a new version of the same phone. I ended up with the LG Ally because it was free with my New-Every-Two credit. My inner cheapskate came out and I didn’t want to pay the $50 to get the Droid that my husband had and was raving about. This was my first smart phone and I figured I didn’t need to pay for all the bells and whistles.

Well, here’s a good lesson in being cheap. It’s one thing to get a quality product for a good price. It’s another to buy the inferior quality product to try to save some money and have nothing but headaches. That’s what I ended up with. My husband happily zoomed around the internet, downloaded apps with confidence, and his GPS navigation found him instantly. My phone had memory problems from the start, I could only download a handful of apps before the phone was full (even after I transferred them to the memory card), my internet was slower because it was a slower processor, and it took for-ev-er to get my GPS navigator to find where I was and give me directions.

So last week, at the beginning of my busy week with two papers due and getting things together for my sister’s bridal shower, my phone decides that it’s time is up and decides to stop working. No texts. No email. No gchat. Ugh. Well, I’m back to just having a phone. I’m sure I can limp by. But then people are texting me and thinking I’m blowing them off by not responding, and there’s only one way to get ahold of me, by phone. Now I’m old school, like 2005.

I had way too many things to deal with and way too little money to just pick out a new phone. So, once my papers were turned in, I went into the Verizon store on my way home one day and talked to their rep about new phones, used phones, and their new 4G network. Then I researched online to see what kind of credit Verizon was offering me. My upgrade date is July and then Verizon would give me a $50 New-Every-Two credit, but they were running online promotions and instant rebates which gave me some phones for Free, $50, or $99, depending on the model. And I found out that Verizon just instituted a new $30 upgrade fee that I would have to pay, early upgrade or not.

So, lesson learned from the last time, I was gonna research and get the best phone possible for the best price. I compared memory, processor speeds, camera pixels, and whether the phone was on the 4G or 3G network. I selected a pre-owned Droid Bionic which had an online promotion price of $49.99. Sweet! This is a 4G phone with 8MG of Memory, a 2.5 Android Operating System, and a waaaaaay better camera. This phone can run circles around my old phone.

Alas, after balancing my checkbook, I was still not in much of a position to shell out $80 for the phone plus the upgrade fee. Plus, I felt frustrated that I would have to upgrade early and lose out on the $50 New-Every-Two credit in July. So I called Verizon. I asked nicely what they could do to help me out. Perhaps they could waive the upgrade fee or give me the credit early? The woman I spoke with was very nice and she said that they unfortuately couldn’t waive the fee or give me the credit early, but, because of my tenure with Verizon (I’ve been their customer for over 10 years)she offered me a free month which would give me an $80 credit on my next bill! YAY! She suggested that I choose to bill my account for the new phone and that it would all zero out on my next bill. No money out of pocket. No muss, no fuss!

I’m so excited that patience, research, and some kind cajoling paid off. My husband always reminds me when I have to call a company’s customer service line that “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. Getting angry with the customer service people doesn’t work. I’ve tried it (unfortunately) one too many times. But when I call and nicely ask what they can do for me, I am surprised to find that frequently the customer service reps have a discount up their sleeve. Caching! Saving sanity and money simultaneously.