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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Buyer’s remorse


We went to the phone store last Sunday. All of us, en masse.  My phone was really acting up, but on a reconnaissance mission earlier I’d learned it might be curable by being sucked dry and reloaded. It seemed like an opportunity to procure a phone for Emily (mine), and outfit myself with a new phone.

Reconnaissance left me with buyer’s regret for not purchasing the new phone last summer, hang the form of the rebate. Verizon no longer sells phones with a two year contract.  They sell phones on time, no interest, no contract, and a plan a la carte. But, I was open to a new phone and to passing the old to the college bound senior.

My sister, keeper of the phone contract, listened to the dollars and cents of saving money by dropping the old contract and buying a new plan. The young phone nerd explained to me that I would prefer a Samsung analog phone to a Motorola, for reasons I cannot recall. As my only reason for another Motorola was because it is an American company (never mind it went offshore long ago), I was easily convinced by technical talk.

The phone fellow went over the highlights of my phone, and my sister, looking on, said “I think I want one of those. I really wish I had GPS.” So, two phones went on the counter, and two eager granddaughters looking over shoulders gleefully recognized now there would be one for each of them to explain to the old ladies. Uncle Tom sat in the chair by the window and watched the trains go by.

There was a stack of tablets near my left elbow, on sale for fifty dollars while quantities last. Now, with Emily’s phone, and a tablet added to the deal, plus cases all around, we were no longer saving money. But we agreed on a divvying up of the extra charges, signed many forms, packed two handle bags with the swag and came on home.

Emily and Laura were in electronic heaven all afternoon, changing ring tones, adding apps, connecting wi-fi, adding email, turning on this, turning off that. Emails from Verizon began rolling in. “You have used 75% of pro-rated data. 80% of pro-rated data. 85%...” We decided not to worry; it was what was left of the old contract, rolled over to the new plan.

By the time I came home from work Monday, I knew I hated Samsung. The phone book, which I use the most, was maddening. Jan was unhappy, too. A flip phoner for fifteen years, her thumb refused to swipe properly and she was missing calls from friends and customers. Only Emily seemed happy; Laura, whose phone still flips, said it must be nice to not have a dwerb phone anymore.

Then the killer email: “You have used all your data. All additional data used will cost megabucks per kilowatt.” Or something like that.

The next day all the goodies went back into the bags and we were off to the phone store. The solution was too simple. Jan returned her phone and after the restorative business happily tucked the old flip phone back in her purse. Bonus—she no longer needed a bigger purse.

My remorse was not so easily solved. The tablet was returned; the phone could not be. Although I thought I’d gathered all the associated chargers, I missed the one that came with the phone. Back to Plan A.1; Emily could have a smart phone. So, the adept young man transferred my new phone back to my old phone, and Emily’s old flip to my new old phone. It took us time to sort through that boggling transaction, and I had to stop and reconstruct it, in order to type it.


And then the painful remorse—the 30% restocking charge means we will be months recouping our “savings.”


31 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    Uggh... I feel for you... as far as phones go I want only text and call - mainly text. Nothing more. I updated my 18yr old Nokia feature phone just last week - to DORO - specifically for those of a certain era.... mine's the 612 flip-fone and I love it. Not sure if they are available in the US... but I would understand if you never want to go near another phone outlet for another century! YAM xx

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  2. Sigh.
    My smart phone is smarter than I am. It spends a lot of its time firmly turned off.

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  3. Why is it that events related to electronics often become a living nightmare? Doesn't it seem like these things could be designed to be simple and easy?

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  4. I had to laugh about the emails about using so much about your pro-dated usage as we suffered through that when we put son back on our cell phone plan a few years back. We were always nearing the top of our usage and then would have to tell him to back off using it so we wouldn't get additional charges. It is a nightmare though to keep track of it; we would also have it set up for getting text messages at 50%, 75%, 90% and the text messages always went off at night that scared the heck out of me. Now we somehow have it manageable :)

    When they get you inside the store, it is hard not to fall into their traps; everything looks so cool and easy to use; but I'm holding on to me smart phone as long as possible even. I don't like the new way Verizon does it with phones and buying them, but I guess that's part of technology.

    betty

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  5. The only reason I have an I-phone is because my husband negotiated the deal. It was free with an up-grade on our plan with Sprint. I needed the Wi-Fi feature while I was at my Dad's so that I could keep up with the reservations on-line. Oddly enough, he was able to show me how to access the internet and the reservation line, but swore he did not know how to record and verify the reservations! All the other apps were added by my step-sister's granddaughter and my grandchildren. I like my I-phone okay, but I was content with my old phone. I am a simple person. The one thing this phone does is give me the ability to listen to audio books. My son set it up with the library system in Minneapolis so that I have access to huge library of audio books ..... and it is free!

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  6. I had to laugh at this. My first ever Smartphone arrived today and I have spent hours learning how to use it. I have always had flip phones before and sadly this isn't one. But I am treating myself to a new cover for it. I only really need this phone because Daughter often sends photos etc which I could not open on my old dumbphone.

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  7. My head is spinning. How on earth can you write this and understand what you are writing? My brain hurts.

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  8. I hate new phones, takes me weeks to figure them out.

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  9. Oh Joanne, what a mess. I need a new phone so I am glad to hear about it. I've got an old iPhone and haven't upgraded yet. My sone and daughter in law have androids which the like very much. It is all confusing to me. I just have to be able to have the iCloud which I couldn't tell you what it does.

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  10. I think all cell phones should be blown up....I have no patience for them and it irritates the heck out of me to see people walking around with their heads down and their thumbs twiddling frantically. Sounds like you went through H E double hockey sticks at the store.

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  11. What a pain in the a-- that sounds almost as bad as car shopping. I just recently traded my flip phone in for a fancy iPhone and still haven't figured out how to use it.

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  12. Oh hon, I feel for you. We had a similar mess. I think the Phone Nerds can easily spot us as we walk in. The "free" tablets cost an extra $20 each month for the next two years, and $400 to get out of it if we change our minds, and the new phones and plans that would save us so much ended up costing us the same as the old. I guess that was some sort of progress. WARNING: make sure to use WiFi for EVERYTHING you can while at home. Otherwise, you'll end up with more over-charges. We have our phones set JUST to WiFi while we're home, and we don't watch Youtube or anything like that while on the go, unless connected to a WiFi.

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  13. I just upgraded the kids to iphones for their birthdays. I use Family Base so I can monitor their data usage and shut them off when they get close to their part of the data plan. Darian almost always goes at least a week with no data. Harley hasn't gotten her phone yet so I don't know how that will go. Soon I will have an almost brand new Droid mini and a Samsung slider to see if I can get anything out of! They never sell for anywhere near what they are worth!!

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  14. I have one of those smart phones 'straight talk' from wally world that costs unlimited talk text and minutes for $45 a month and no contract, downside is I have to buy a card and upload it but since I go to wally world at least once a month, no problem. I've had the same phone for three years now, (I did drop it in the water in the motorhome due to close quarters but had it replaced free since I bought the replacement plan) so far so good, once I start taking credit cards at the farmer's market closer to summer I will have to upgrade to a new phone but the increase in pottery revenue should offset the cost after a couple of months.

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  15. I hate technology. I have an Apple and it's not too bad but then it lives in the bottom of my purse turned off most of the time. Only time I turn it on is when we travel. I have a tablet, but I use wi-fi and there's no charge for that.

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  16. I ran into that new way of selling phones, which is installment rather than outright purchase, at my last upgrade. I have to say I didn't understand a word the fast-talking "helper" was saying. Later when I was talking with somebody who does understand, the topic of limited data came up. I worried, but soon discovered that I use very little data, so I'm OK. I hope.

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  17. I HATE phones... would never use one except for the kids/grandkids/great-grandkids.... but we've been forced to go with the flow because we were (okay, our phone) obsolete. Damn... the BS they throw at you... the crap you have to endure... sometimes I wonder if the new technology is really worth trying to live with. Sorry... I'm off on a rant...

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  18. Phone Things are never easy....

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  19. My daughter is giving me an old smart phone (probably a year old). She thinks I need it. I presently have a dumb phone that meets my needs perfectly and has a reasonable cost. I can call and text and that is good enough for me since I only use it for emergencies or to find my husband in a store. Data plans and the shell games they play in selling them to you are something that I don't want to bother with at this point in life, so I might not be ready to throw my old phone away.

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  20. I'm still hanging on to my flip phone though my husband keeps saying he's going to get us both new phones. So far it's just talk.

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  21. We are dinosaurs here with our flip phones and minutes purchased by the year - and we like it that way! I sympathize with your shopping experience.

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  22. I'm dreading the day I need a new phone and all of this just makes me hope desperately that my old flip phone never dies. I really don't think I could handle apps for this and apps for that and do we really need all those apps anyway? All I ever do is text messaging with a very rare foray into actual phone calls.

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  23. I had a Samsung first, Joanne - and when after two years it had worked out the acquisition cost - it gave up its spirits! All data lost (so from that time on I use to write addresses too into an old-fashioned adress book - just in case, it was not funny to get all addresses back (I had an old register, luckily). Now I have a Motorola - son told me it is much cheaper - and I am very content with it.
    I loved your sentence "The young phone nerd explained to me that I would prefer a Samsung analog phone to a Motorola, for reasons I cannot recall. " They ARE nerds!

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  25. I'm sorry your savings turned out to cost you more money but am glad the youngsters will get something they can use especially if you have wifi to make it more cost effective. I painstakingly check everything out before plunking down any cash and I will no longer go on any contract plan. I have an Android phone which is very good. My last phone was Android too. I am on an unlimited data plan for $39 a month and I never get the contract plans which want to suck me into getting a "better", "fancier" phone while I pray through the nose every month. I buy outright and try to make it last as long as possible. With my very inexpensive unlimited data plan, and unlimited long distance calling in my country, I think I've got a sweet deal. The only drawback is the signal gets rather weak in certain parts of the city. I think it could be better but it is a small company which is playing catch up to the other services.

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  26. We got our SAmsung-Galaxy-Verizon phone when we were preparing to visit our daughter in Switzerland. The plan would work there, could take photos, all good stuff. Here I am still working out how to do what, with out...my 11 yr. gr-daughter is showing me what to do.
    I had a simple phone once, worked well for two years. I took it in for repairs, only to be told that my phone was fazed out that year.
    I growl and rage along with you.

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  27. My phone is one of the first to come out and I have never changed it. Other than my laptop I have no other gadgets. My son has recently bought himself a tablet and waxes lyrical about it, but I am happy as I am. It is so different for youngpeople these days who all have all the latest gadgetry.

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  28. You might recall my post about my flip from the flip phone over to the dark side of smartphones. I don't have any desire to go back to the flip phone. However, I can related to the frustration of getting use to answering a call with the smartphone. Hands down the answering a call task is easier on a flip phone. Now the reality of this "phone" market is no one values the calling part. It's all apps, data, displays, and the camera. I would not be surprised if some teens have never even talked on their smartphone. I'll agree if you are mostly talking - use a flip phone. I found with my smartphone, I'm now texting and looking up stuff on the internet than talking.
    Here's an idea to get you money back from Verizon - buy their stock.

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  29. I don't own a smart phone. I own a flip cell phone and a landline phone. Good enough for me.

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  30. I can hardly be doing with mobile phones, can't remember the last time mine was turned on, certainly not this year. I'm proud that these phone companies who confuse us with marketing aren't getting any of my money, well maybe around £10 per year no more.

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  31. Yikes -- I cannot bring myself to getting involved in these new phones. My old one will have to do until it dies and then I will live with Skype alone -- call me old fashioned. -- barbara

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