Call Me Idiot of The Moment

If you’re going to upgrade and all you want is a new phone with your carrier plan, please read this first.

I imagine establishments like the one I visited expect the I-feel-stupid revelation to keep their clients from announcing their experiences to the public. Indeed, I felt embarrassed, ashamed because if you read through this, it will seem downright obvious in post-perspective.

However, I am motivated by knowledge of the other mom who visited that store and the me whose brain was frantically nagging her throughout the day, discouraging rest as my toddler napped. I am thankful it wasn’t satisfied and yet again still wasn’t satisfied until I found all unnecessary charges.

Now, I’m getting long-winded, I can tell, probably leaning toward philosophical so I should dive into specifics though I don’t know if I can use the phone carrier’s name so I’ll omit that because it may run true for all carriers in any case.

I’m at the library waiting for story hour and I take out my phone to check the time. My smartphone states “No SIM card.” That can’t be good, I think. This problem persists throughout my library visit and I elect to visit my nearest carrier store. I am unable to text, make calls, or search the internet. I guess an archaic word for SIM card is antenna.

I go to the store, sign a new two-year agreement, collect phone and other items attached to the transaction. Afterward, something about cost, items I possessed, and what I really wanted didn’t balance in my mental equation.

I want to return to the store in hopes of getting the transaction described again. I hesitate and wonder if they’re a trustworthy source and, instead, choose a more direct reference–I call my phone carrier directly. After explaining everything thoroughly, the carrier representative is the first to use the word accessory. As in, I am under no obligation to purchase an accessory package if I want to upgrade my phone. Funny, because the package I purchased never had that word attached to it. The store I visited called it “Device Payment Package.” I had prompted the salesperson during the initial visit and this said person allowed me to say there was an activation fee and the package was the upgrade fee. I even asked her why the carrier did it that way and received a shrug near-to indifference.

Finally, during my talk with the carrier, I establish the store I visited was not a corporate branch. (The best way to know for sure is to have the carrier tell you which store is, I advise not to ask the local establishment, because this one had the carrier’s name in big, loud letters stretched across its storefront and their independent name in tiny, quiet print beneath.) The representative states my option is to return the items I can for a refund. The case and shield are already installed on the phone. However, I come in hot-faced enough that they take the “used” shield back and give me a full refund as well as I negotiate the price down on the case based on internet pricing. After all, I still want the case and would seek the same one out in the future and this one is already installed. I do not, however, foresee myself in the near future using the Bluetooth speakers, headphones, or battery pack. Yeah, it is a great package deal, but not why I had gone there in the first place.

Additionally, they are surprised that I did not receive their receipt via e-mail itemizing my purchases. (I had received my carrier’s  new plan agreement.) The store sends their receipt “again” and I see how everything boils down. This is where I later find number nuances.

So, after negotiating returns and receiving a refund, I leave the store and there is still a mental nagging. I look at the fresh invoice, wondering about numbers. Maybe that is where the issue rests. During my second call with the carrier, I make sure sales tax calculates correctly. Yep, that all looks, sounds, legit. I clear that up but it isn’t enough. Nag, nag, nag goes the brain. Sure enough, I see the SIM card charge and make a final call to my carrier.

I am informed that if I had gone to a corporate branch store, they would have installed/included the card at no cost. This time, I don’t visit the store, I call first. After all, I’m lugging around a toddler. He deserves better than endless car rides. They acknowledge the charge and congenially okay it with the store manager to issue me a credit.

After all this, I felt enraged, disappointed in myself, ready to sweep it under a rug and let no one know my blunder, but I believe they did a real good job of convincing me of what was necessary and laying the blame at other’s feet. As in, I asked them why my carrier issues these package fees and their I don’t know response allows me to think my carrier is the evil one. (I wouldn’t have seen it that way except for the other reviews I saw when filling out my own for the business.) And so, I want to share this in case others are briefly blinded by misleading words i.e. upgrade fee, activation fee, accessory package, device payment package.

In the future, for my case at least, I will do my phone-plan transactions through an authorized dealer/store as their locale information is provided by my carrier. Then I just have to worry about what data upgrades they’ll convince me I’ll need in the future as opposed to physical objects.

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