Trade-in offer costed me more?

  • 27 November 2021
  • 5 replies
  • 4707 views

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To provide you with some background, I dont trade in my phone unless it’s like an insane deal. I saw a deal on May 8, 2021 that looked something like this: 

T-Mobile is offering their iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max with Up To $830 Off (via 24 Monthly Bill Credits) with a Qualifying Device Trade-In.

 

 

Available Phones (prices before applicable trade-ins or bill credits):

Eligible Device Trade-in Value (must be in good condition):

  • Get up to $830 off:
    • Apple: iPhone 11, XS, XR, X, 8  

 

I was had and iPhone 11 at the time and saw that I pretty much… don’t have to pay like anything other than possibly activation and what not.  That same day, I went to the Tmobile store downstairs from me and spoke w/ sales rep and I asked him at the start, do I have to pay anything today or over the next few months? and he said “you don’t have to pay anything with this trade-in”. I was like… this is awesome, I’m about to walk out with a 1:1 trade-in. So after ringing everything up at the register, the I offered to pay ANYTHING that same day and the rep  said I didn’t have any outstanding charges and even said that I could get a new case with it. I have my new phone now and I didn’t even have to pay a thing. 

 

First bill that came after was $8.54 more. Then the next and the next and all the bills after. The only difference I see on the bill? Under “Equipment” it says I received T574 2021 Apple Trade P6 of $26.05. These numbers and codes are gibberish to the average consumer and where are these numbers even coming from?  

 

I contacted support after a couple months after realizing this will be reoccuring for god knows how long… I attached the customer support’s response when I asked them to clarify the charges: 

 

WHERE ARE THESE NUMBERS COMING FROM? The receipt I received said NOTHING about any of these. I fail to comprehend what this customer support is trying to explain. Nothing about these things were written anywhere a customer could see. I understood that I would have possibly received monthly credits but I also had offered to pay upfront any future charges. EITHER WAY, $830 trade-in credit? Nope. According to this customer rep, I owe a lot more and the reoccuring +$8.54 lasts for 24-months. This is absurd. 

Please correct me if I am interpreting the deal in error. Even if the deal was executed in this way, the sales rep shouldn’t have denied any additional charges and could have at least explained these things to me when I had asked???????? 


5 replies

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“Up to” X doesn’t mean X. It means “not more than” X. You need to read the offer to be sure that it doesn’t say, “Combined trade-in and bill credits.” I took an offer to trade in my OnePlus 7T for an 8T and I was only given $200 and change for the 7T, The rest is in the form of bill credits each month for two years. It worked out that I’m only paying sales tax on the 8T but the pay-off is over two years. That’s how T-Mobile works these deals. They want you tied in for 2 years.

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I am aware they said “up to” and I clarified it with the employee and he said i would $830 for the trade-in. He verbally stated that himself. So i tried understanding cust supp message again and $205 appeared to pay off two previous months’ bills? And $624.99 was supposed to be paid out over next 24 months…. I mean both adds up to $830 so why am i ultimately paying more still? It’s going to be $8.54x24months extra … am i missing something here? 

Aware this is from a while ago, but hopefully I can shed some clarity on what is happening and maybe help someone else in a similar situation based on an almost identical promo deal I did, and I had the same confused response to my bill at first.

Had you not traded in anything, the Iphone 12 would have been $830.00 or $34.58 over 24 months. 

You trade in an Iphone 11 and will receive $830 credit, but let me explain how that happens

  1. Your account bill is first set-up as if you did not trade anything in (since the credits show as a negative subtraction). So after the trade, your monthly bill will show as the full purchase price financed over 24 mo, which is $34.58  
  2. You receive a one time credit of $205, which pays for your TOTAL phone bill for a couple of months. You are still owed $625 in credit ($830 - $205).
  3. The $625 in credit still owed is divided by 24 months, equalling $26.04 monthly credit.  
  4. This $26.04 is subtracted each month from your bill in the form of a credit, which leaves a balance of $8.54 every month ($34.58 - $26.04).

The $8.54 you pay for 24 months is the same as if you had not received the first $205 credit and had instead had the full $830 spread over 24 months… ($8.54 x 24months = $205) 

You are still receiving the full $830, it is just being paid as one partial payment and then the rest spread out. If you were not paying the $8.54 every then you actually would be receiving a total credit amount of $1,035 because ($34.58 x 24 mo. + $205 first credit = $1,035)

 

I hope this helps! Really wish they made all of this clearer because it also took me a while to figure out if I was getting scammed or not lol 

I had this same question with a similar promotion (slightly different numbers, but the same issue). 

In my case: iPhone 11 trade in valued at $190. New (“free”) iPhone 13 costing $800.

So $800-$190 credit was $610 remaining, which over 24 months came to a $25 credit each month. That left $8 each month, which was billed to me.

That all made sense when phrased that way. But here’s where I was getting confused:

If I received $190 initially but also end up paying $190 over 24 months, wasn’t that a wash? So I didn’t receive 190 (whether it paid my bill or my equipment is irrelevant) if I ended up paying 190.

0 + 190 - 190 still equals 0, whenever and however the 190 was applied or charged.

So then my credit was really just the $610 ($25 monthly x 24 months). 

Then I (think) finally figured out where the confusion came in: the promotion is not a free iPhone PLUS the fair market value of the phone. You don’t actually get to pocket the fair market value of the phone AND get the full price of the new phone credited to you.

It’s a free iPhone AFTER the fair market value of the phone is subtracted.

I think that finally makes sense to me...

Userlevel 5
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I had this same question with a similar promotion (slightly different numbers, but the same issue). 

In my case: iPhone 11 trade in valued at $190. New (“free”) iPhone 13 costing $800.

So $800-$190 credit was $610 remaining, which over 24 months came to a $25 credit each month. That left $8 each month, which was billed to me.

That all made sense when phrased that way. But here’s where I was getting confused:

If I received $190 initially but also end up paying $190 over 24 months, wasn’t that a wash? So I didn’t receive 190 (whether it paid my bill or my equipment is irrelevant) if I ended up paying 190.

0 + 190 - 190 still equals 0, whenever and however the 190 was applied or charged.

So then my credit was really just the $610 ($25 monthly x 24 months). 

Then I (think) finally figured out where the confusion came in: the promotion is not a free iPhone PLUS the fair market value of the phone. You don’t actually get to pocket the fair market value of the phone AND get the full price of the new phone credited to you.

It’s a free iPhone AFTER the fair market value of the phone is subtracted.

I think that finally makes sense to me...

That is accurate, it’s always FMV one time credit + Sum of monthly credits = Total Trade In value.

Also there is no such thing as “nothing up front” unless you live in a sales tax free state and the physical stores waives activation fees. You always pay these fees up front.

I’ve made the mistake looking at my monthly bill a few months after trade in and asking the same “WTF” question, but then I remember “oh yeah, I got xx FMW credit at trade in”. Every time, the credits are 100% accurate down to the penny - which is trued up with the last payment and last credit.

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