When Companies Try To Trick You. How To Spot Those Extra ‘Special’ Offers

Special Offers – Why Are We So Skeptical?

Digicel called me twice this week to make me an extra special offer, about a postpaid plan created specially for me. 😮

Wow, I thought. How sweet. My mobile phone company is thinking about me – so much, that they spent their precious time to develop a phone plan just for me, then they had an agent call me (more than once, even after I refused), spend their time to convince me, and then on top of that have a courier company come to my house the very next day to deliver the contract for me to sign?! I concluded that I must be special.

Why are customers so skeptical?

Why are customers so skeptical?

Have you ever received an offer from a company yet? Have you ever been a little skeptical about what the offer is about and who will really benefit? Well, if you answered yes, you’re probably like me and a few other persons I know. But the question is, why are we so skeptical when a company that we know and are doing business with calls us to give us a free upgrade, offers us a new plan, or a special bonus – just for being a loyal customer?

What’s The Catch?

It could be a number of reasons why we behave a little skeptical to special offers and upgrade deals from companies – a history of poor treatment, tricky deals, reams of fine print and the list goes on. I think most of the time, the truth is that, we just don’t trust what they’re coming with next. And I think this experience helps to reinforce that kind of thinking.

So what was the Digicel deal and how did it stack up? As you will see below, the deal I was offered was definitely a tricky attempt at getting me to accept a new more expensive postpaid plan under the pretense that I would receive much more minutes, text messages, free nights and weekends, PLUS a brand spanking new phone – all for free!

Thankfully my wife was in the background telling me that I should watch out before I accepted any offer. And she was right.

How The New Phone Plan Stacks Up

The table below shows the postpaid plans that Digicel currently has (in red) – modified to include the MoreSMART++ plan that I was offered and beside that my current plan, the Select 2000 (both in yellow). I also have a Blackberry with the Blackberry internet service so that information has been included as well. Look at the columns with the yellow headings.

Digicel Post Paid Plans 2014

Digicel Post Paid Plans 2014

As you will see above, with the MoreSMART++ plan that I was offered I would be receiving a free phone – a Nokia Asha 311, currently being sold for J$6,360

Digicel Nokia Asha 311 - Free phone offered in postpaid plan

Digicel Nokia Asha 311 – Free phone offered in postpaid plan

So how does the plan being offered stack up? Well, comparing my current Select 2000 plan with the MoreSmart++ plan (being offered) this is what I’ve found.

Good

  • More minutes (400 vs. 650)
  • More minutes now available to call any network (25 anywhere vs. 650)
  • More text messages (25 vs. 650)
  • Free phone included (Nokia Asha 311)
  • Higher speed data plan – 4g compared to 2g (blackberry internet service)
  • Free nights and weekends included
  • No additional deposit required (they will waive the additional deposit requirement)

Bad

  • Data plan no longer unlimited (now 1gb)
  • The free phone included was not attractive – a practically useless phone
  • Disingenuous plot to get my monthly bill up by $1,000 for a $6,360 phone (explained below)

In the end my analysis was that this plan was a very good attempt at getting me to strongly consider a plan with more calling benefits plus a free phone. However I quickly realized shortly after the offer was made that this same plan (now offered to me as the MoreSmart++ with the phone), is the same as what is being offered to everyone currently as the MoreSmart. Did you realize that in the table above? Same minutes, text, etc.

Comparing the MoreSmart with the MoreSmart++ you can definitely see that the plans are exactly the same except without the phone – while the monthly cost for the extra special plan, created just for me is J$1,000 more. Wow.

This is exactly why customers are afraid of those extra special offers from companies; as they cannot depend on the company to look out for their interests. This experience really showed me that at the end of the day companies seem to be about making money and it sometimes those rewards are the start of a plot to get you in bed with them.

To really develop a plan for me and make me an extra special offer I would have wanted;

  1. A phone that actually made sense. If it’s not an android or iOS phone right now (even a blackberry), I don’t think it’s going to make sense
  2. To be able to apply the value of that new phone to purchase a phone of my choice at a lower price
  3. For you to realize that if I am presently a blackberry user, a FREE Nokia Asha phone is not going to help me much. So why offer me a phone that you know will be of no value to me?
  4. A genuinly free phone. I would be paying for that ‘free’ phone over how long I cant even tell. I think it was really deceptive to throw in a new phone and charge J$1,000 more per month for the plan.

Luckily, when I received the first call, early in the week, I was in my right mind and quick on my feet to see that the plan was definitely extra ‘special’. For J$1,000 more monthly than what it is being sold to the public for (if I walked into a store) I turned down the offer. I thought that was the end of it. About a day or 2 later another agent called me again, making me the same offer. So this time I was more prepared. However in the back of my mind, I could not figure out why were they so persistent to give me this extra special treatment. Now that I’ve accepted the MoreSmart plan without the free phone (instead of the MoreSmart++) I wonder if I did the right thing to trust them. In a few minutes from now the bearer should be on his way with the contract to be signed while thoughts of ‘what kind of phone company am I doing business with?’ continue to flow through my mind.

Before you accept special offers, take some time to think about and evaluate them. I Accepted The Digicel MoreSmart Plan. Did I do the right thing?

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