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Is a "free" phone ever really free? Potential customer with questions


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I went into a store today and salesperson told me that phone is free with activation. She also told me that I could get an $800 credit for my old Galaxy S8 and use the credit to buy an $800 S21. Free upgrade! I do not believe this and I’m sure I will end up paying for the new phone in some way. Nothing is ever as good as it sounds and nothing is free. I am not talking about tax or setup fee. I’m fine with that. It was explained that if I stay for 2 years, billing credits will pay for the phone. I’m also fine with that. I’m talking about a sneaky way of T-Mobile making me pay for the phone.

For example, does T-Mobile do this or anything like this?

I got a "free" phone from AT&T a few years back and it cost me $600. They would give you a "equipment credit" of $25 per month per line on phones you outright owned and charge you full price (read $25 more per month) for lines with phones that you got from them for "free." This charge would last for 24 months, then you would get the $25 per month credit. You would then have "paid off" your "free" phone.

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Best answer by syaoran 13 May 2021, 13:25

99.9% of all trade-ins never receive the full value of the promo.  Those free devices are given with device monthly credits over 24 months.  If you terminate your service before that 24 months is up, then you are responsible for the remaining balance of the device.  Is there a specific promotional offer they mentioned?  The most important thing I can say to anyone about promos is, to make sure you read all of the terms and conditions of the promotional offer before deciding whether or not to enter into that agreement.  

T-Mobile’s services are the same price whether you bring your own device or whether you buy a phone from T-Mobile.  So, if that line is $50 a month as an example.  It is still $50 a month if you bring your own device or is still $50 a month, plus the cost of the phone EIP if not bought outright.  

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Nothing is ever free there's always a catch.

Userlevel 7
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99.9% of all trade-ins never receive the full value of the promo.  Those free devices are given with device monthly credits over 24 months.  If you terminate your service before that 24 months is up, then you are responsible for the remaining balance of the device.  Is there a specific promotional offer they mentioned?  The most important thing I can say to anyone about promos is, to make sure you read all of the terms and conditions of the promotional offer before deciding whether or not to enter into that agreement.  

T-Mobile’s services are the same price whether you bring your own device or whether you buy a phone from T-Mobile.  So, if that line is $50 a month as an example.  It is still $50 a month if you bring your own device or is still $50 a month, plus the cost of the phone EIP if not bought outright.  

I'm having the same issue at the moment. So I went into a T-Mobile store in Hartford CT look into upgrading my Ole phone which is a galaxy S7 on May13, 2021. I was told about a promotion wherein I could get $200 off the galaxy S21 by trading in my S7. I agreed, however I was told by the district manager that they couldn't complete the transaction on said date because the promotion starts the following day. He, however, proceeded to switching my current plan to a new plan on the said date and asked me to return to the store on the following day to complete the transaction.

On May 14th, 2021 I returned to the store and met with an agent complete the transaction.  The agent proceeded to tell me that I now qualify to get the phone for free. I asked the question why, because I was told it was going to be $200 off the new phone. The  agent told me that they made it work because I was with the T-Mobile for over 5 years.

I asked him, are you sure? His answer was “yes I am sure.”

I asked him, what is the catch? His answer was “there is no catch, all you have to do is stay with T-Mobile for two years”

I said to him that that was easy because I have been with T-Mobile forever.

I then asked another question to make sure I was not being misled. I asked what will my monthly bill be? He told me the dollar amount and it matched the plan that the district manager had switched me over to on the previous day. I asked again will I ever have to pay for the phone and I was told NO. 

A couple of weeks after I completed the transaction (June 12, 2021) I got a notification saying that my first bill was ready to be and a surprise $25 device charge was on it. I called customer service and explained the situation. They asked me to visit the store where I got the phone and have them call in to clarify the situation. I did but it was on a Saturday and the store manager doesn't work on the weekends (this is what I was told) I explained the situation to the representative and she told me that it will be rectified when the store manager was back at work because they can “pull up” the camera feed and all that was said can be clarified. I thought this was great because I know what I was told and I also remembered the clear questions that I had asked on the day of the transaction.

I went to the store on Monday, June14 2021 and spoke to the store manager who proceeded to tell me that I misunderstood what they had said to me. I asked him to pull the camera feed in a effort to not go back and forth about what was said. He explained to me that he will have to speak to the district manager and he would give me a call after reviewing the information.

On Thursday June 10, 2021 (Today) I called customer service because I had not heard back from the store or T-Mobile at all. The representative was very helpful however I was not getting anywhere so I asked to speak to a manager. I spoke to the manager (call him Mr. B) explanning the situation and and also mentioned to him that one of the representative had told me that they could pull the camera feed. The Mr. B then put me on hold and called the store to speak to the manager. On his return Mr. B told me that the store manager checked the camera tapes told him about the $200 off promotion that we had discussed on May 13, 2021 however he made no mention of what they told me in the store at the register on the day of the transaction (May14, 2021). He even went as far as to say that he doesn't think that the manager is lying.

I would really love to get some clarity on this situation T-Mobile. I was told that I cannot return the phone because the 14days have passed.  I feel cheated and misled and I am 100% certain that the camera feed will show that  I did not utter one word of untruth.

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