Friday, September 14, 2007

Consolation Prize

So, K bought an iPhone. He's wanted one since...well, since before they were invented. It's his Dream Gadget. And with the price drop, he couldn't resist. He didn't take it out of the box, though, because before he could get his sticky fingers on his new toy, he had to make sure he could get out of his half-up Sprint contract.

Which he couldn't. He argued that an increase in text message prices was a materially adverse change that voided the contract, but the retention specialist with whom he was on the phone for forty minutes held firm, arguing that because his text message package was a separate element and not an integral part of his contracted services, the change didn't void the contract. Now he's trying to decide whether to pay the contract cancellation fee ($200) and gleefully rip open the shrinkwrap, or return the beloved object and settle for the 10% discount on his bill plus bumped-up text messaging package the retention specialist offered.

I know what I'd do—stick with my contract, then buy the phone next summer—but that's because electronics aren't a big priority with me. I use a two-year-old phone the size of a double compact (the fat mirrored kind, with a brush inside) with no bells and whistles but a useless camera function, and it doesn't bother me. And I know how it can be, wanting something only to have it moved slightly out of your reach. And I sort of want him to have it—he'd enjoy it so much, and I'd get to poke around with it...

Still, though, for me personally, frugality would win out—I just couldn't stomach paying that fee, and the discount would serve as a consolation prize.

10 comments:

deb said...

Alternatively, he could transfer his current contract to someone else.

The Wall Street Journal had an article about this just the other day - I've linked to it in my name.

I would personally wait it out, though :)

Mya Moola said...

Sadly, I think I've bought my way out of a cell contract more than once, twice I think? $150 the first time, $200 the second time.. clearly dumb purchases, but it's amazing how gadget lust can take hold of you.

I just called the other day and found out my phone contract is up to June, which is the closest to finishing a cell contract I think I've ever come lol

Ms. M&P said...

There are tips on the consumerist re: how to get out of a cell phone contract without the termination fee. It looks like it takes some work, but here's the link, in case you haven't seen it before:
http://consumerist.com/consumer/telephony/materially-adverse-clauses-for-all-major-cellphones-+-so-you-can-escape-contract-without-termination-fee-258943.php
The consumerist also has numbers for the executive Sprint customer service department--maybe he would have better luck there instead of through the typical CSR. I have Sprint, and the CSRs I've spoken to have not been very helpful. Good luck!

English Major said...

ms. m&p, those Consumerist instructions were exactly the ones he used. No go. The executive line might be worth a second go, though. I'll nudge him about it. Thanks!

ben said...

My brother recently left Sprint to sign up with Verizon. He wasn't even nearly done with his contract, but Verizon agreed to pay his termination fee, all for a two year contract and the purchase of a fancy phone. K might try buttering up AT&T to see if they'll do the same. Couldn't hurt to try.

k said...

Sounds like that CSR was well-trained. I suggest calling back (he won't get the same CSR) and if that doesn't work, escalating up the phone number food chain. Hope he's able to wrangle free!

S/100/30 said...

On a somewhat related note, did you notice that Feist is the new voice of the iPod commercials? ;)

Anonymous said...

There's a cell phone store on university that will pay your cancellation fee if you switch plans with them. You also get to keep your number. I can't remember what the place is called, but again, on University around 12th or 13th and they have a big sign outside with this deal on it.

c2a said...

Sprint will cancel your service without fee if your address is in a location that does not get reception at home.

I had sprint and got reception everywhere but at home, which made the nightime minutes worthless.

SavingDiva said...

I also wouldn't be able to pay $400 for a phone!