Free Tablets Are Free… Until They’re Not…
These days it seems I talk about Verizon a lot; at least in other spaces. Below you’ll see a video I did comparing Verizon FiOS to Time Warner, which is my most popular video to date. In the meantime, I’ve got something else to talk about that involves them. It might be the same with other companies, but they’re the only one I know of so I’m talking about them.
My wife works as a traveling EEG technologist. She’s also setting herself up as an associate with something called Kangen Water, which I’ll probably talk about on another blog post some day.
Anyway, she decided she wanted to get a second smartphone just for that business, since we’re on the same plan with Verizon Wireless. She did that, and they told her she qualified for a free tablet (they’re own brand name, of all things). She asked them what the catch was and they said there wasn’t any catch. Even though she didn’t need it she was happy to take it; free thing after all.
Over the course of the last 9 months, she’s only been home twice, each time for 2 weeks. Because time was so short, and we had other things to do, I never really got to see the tablet except one time. She couldn’t figure out how to work it on her own, so she basically put it away and didn’t think anything about it.
She’s now home and, even though I’d been sending her mail every couple of weeks, she decided to open the wireless bill, which comes out of her money instead of mine (we split some bills, pay some together). She has payments automatically coming out of her bank account, so when she saw this huge balance owed… she literally freaked!
That was Sunday. Monday afternoon she went to the Verizon store to find out what the deal was. They said that by accepting the tablet, she automatically accepted a new phone number (which can’t be accessed in any way) and data plan, and those charges were being added monthly onto her bill. And, because she hadn’t accounted for the extra expense, she was also being charged a $5 late fee for a unpaid balance.
In other words, free isn’t really free, especially when it comes to tablets it seems. She told them she hadn’t used it since December and that they could check her usage but was told that didn’t matter. She asked if she could cancel it and was told that she’d have to pay an early termination fee. Thus, she’s stuck with it for 2 years, along with the extra expense.
What’s funny about this is that, when I switched our home service from Time Warner to Verizon, I was offered a free tablet. This was back in April, and for some reason the Spidey senses tingled and I said “no thanks”. I wouldn’t have known about the extra fees either; how sneaky is that?
Folks, I can’t stress this one enough. When there are things that come to you free, you need to check them out if you’re not sure about the person or company you’re getting it from. Even getting a free book in the mail that you requested isn’t free because you’re probably paying more for shipping and handling than you would have for the book itself.
In any case, if you’re offered something for free that you know has other things that will be involved with it (such as a free printer that comes without the ink, etc), be wary, ask questions, and, if possible, get something in writing. Better safe than sorry.
Now, my review…