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Can You Really Trade In Any iPhone, and Get an iPhone 15 Pro, iPad, & Apple Watch Free?

Anyone with a television has no doubt seen Verizon Wireless’ latest commercial for their big holiday giveaway:

Wow — what a great promotion. Simply trade in an iPhone in any condition, and get an iPhone 15 Pro, an iPad, and an Apple Watch SE … “All on us.” To me, that means for free.

If you could read the fine print, which you can’t because it is only on the screen for about eight seconds and is virtually illegible, you would think you were reading the details of a completely different offer. It is summarized below.


This is what the offer actually requires:

1. Trade in an iPhone.

2. Sign up for the “Unlimited Ultimate” cell plan – their most expensive plan – on a new line of service.

3. Buy the iPhone 15 Pro now for $999.99.

4. Buy the iPad now for $459.99.

5. Buy a plan for the iPad (price not stated).

6. Buy the Apple Watch now for $459.99.

7. Buy a plan for the Apple Watch (price not stated).

8. Over the next three years, get a rebate for those purchases credited to your bill at the rate of 1/36th of the purchase price per month.

Does that sound anything like the way the announcer described the offer?

Consumers should be able to watch a commercial and completely understand the offer that is being made. The details spoken in the ad should match the details in the fine print. I would even advocate that each mode (visually and orally) should independently fully present an accurate representation of the offer being made.

We asked Verizon why they didn’t orally disclose the true requirements of the offer, nor make the onscreen version large enough to read easily and on the screen longer. The company did not reply by publication time.

From watching and listening to this advertisement alone, would you have understood what requirements had to be met in order to participate in the giveaway?

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20 thoughts on “Can You Really Trade In Any iPhone, and Get an iPhone 15 Pro, iPad, & Apple Watch Free?”

  1. I took Verizon up on that offer for the “free 3” in March. It is a nightmare. They subcontract their payments to Synchony who knows nothing about the billing if you have questions. You have to call Verizon and they could not be less helpful. They have overcharged me and won’t own up to it. They nonstop bombard you with offers of more things to buy. I don’t know what has happened to Verizon as I had used them years ago and had a good experience. Now, once the 3 years is over I would never use them again.

  2. I’m pretty sure that you setup a purchase agreement, meaning that cash is not due upfront. Instead, there will be a balance on the account that gets chipped away every month over 36 months. I do not know what happens to the credits and the account balance if you try to switch your plan.

    • Alexander…

      The fine print begins:

      “$999.99 device payment or full retail purchase w/new smartphone line on Unlimited Ultimate Plan req’d first.”

    • I think this is correct, but I do think the wording is very confusing. We have a Verizon plan and when we get new phones we “buy” the phones, but not in full. The monthly payment of the phone cost is reflected on the bill as well as the equivalent credit, which cancels each other out. In this way I am paying for the cellphone service each month. I agree the fine print that MrConsumer quoted is confusing and seems to imply you must pay the full price upfront, but that has not been our experience.

      Also, if I trade in my iPhone 12 right now, for instance, I receive a “credit” towards a new phone of $830. As long as the new phone I get does not cost more than $830, I will not pay anything for the new phone. If it costs more, I will pay that increment on my monthly bill.

  3. Getting phones from carriers has been getting worse and worse. It just isn’t the deal it used to be. Also being forced to change to more expensive plans and being locked in for 24-36 months. Samsung’s offers tend to be really good and they also offer trade in values on old phones and don’t lock you into any contracts. That way I’m completely carrier agnostic.

    • The majority of the Samsung trade-in offers say “trade-in any Samsung phone for a discount”! Well, that just isn’t true! I own a Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit in pristine condition (2018/2019) & they say they will NOT ACCEPT it for a trade-in because it is/was a special model?

  4. I’ve been with Consumer Cellular for years. Honest, straightforward, no hassle, no bull, responsive customer service in good English, great prices and great variety in their plan offerings. They’ll sell you a phone if you want one from their selection, or you can bring your own. They use the AT&T network, so the coverage is great. What’s not to love?

    • Yeah, too bad I can’t use AT&T in my small hole in the woods town. Verizon is the only thing we can get here and it’s flaky at best.

    • Consumer Cellular also offers T-Mobile SIMs.

      I use Consumer Cellular and am generally satisfied, especially with the support, as you mention. However, they are sleazy when it comes to their data plans.

      You select an amount of monthly data you’ll be allocated. If you go over that data limit, they automatically bump you onto the next higher tier, without charging you exorbitant overage fees. So far, so good. However, the following month they don’t automatically lower your data limit back to the original setting. So unless you expressly reset your data plan, you’ll be charged the new, higher fee indefinitely. Your data plan fee ratchets up, but only goes down with your intervention.

      On top of that, they have an alert system that notifies you via email and/or text message when you hit, say, 50% or 75% of your data usage. Very nice, except they will NOT notify you when you exceed 100% and they bump you up to a higher-priced tier.

      So while I like some aspects of the company, and the price is reasonable, they use shady tactics to trick you into paying for more data than you need.

  5. i shop online for a new phone, no way am i wasting money on crazy iPhone.. i bought unlocked Samsung A53.. signed up for At&t prepaid..pay $30 plus tax a month and can change any time i want…$1500 for a phone even with “Discounted” price of $999 on super expensive plan is not for me.

  6. This falls under “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. It’s still immoral, though. They kept bugging me for months to trade in my Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Ultra but when I finally got to the bottom of the fine print I found out I would only get a free regular S23 for it and I’d have to pay a few hundred to get another Plus Ultra. So forget it. Not worth it, especially since there isn’t that much new on the S23.

  7. Well one thing is for sure…..

    Verizon is not going to give you a free iPhone, iPod, and watch for FREE. They want to sign up for 3 years of service to get that so called free stuff.

  8. This is blatant false advertising. It’s also the old “bait and switch” technique. Offer something that sounds too good to be true and then switch it up when the customer bites.

    This should be banned. The customer is king, let’s all remember this. If you cheat us like this or make it hard to secure something you offered for free, you’re exhibiting criminal behavior, and the “customer” will vote with their wallet and feet.

    Times have changed and the public is wising up. Wealthy companies that cheat the public will become poor companies in a heartbeat.

  9. When I first saw this offer I knew it couldn’t be true as presented. I’m grateful for this site who has time to get to the bottom of it, and post the real deal in common folks terms.

  10. I’m exhausted by these ridiculous, ubiquitous “too good to be true” offers advertised everywhere that you are assaulted by cheap-trick advertisements. More of these dreadful companies need to be used as an example to others — Penalize them til they scream, “Uncle”! It’s a travesty how many American consumers are tripped by unscrupulous retail sharks. When is the government going to put the kaibosh on these losers and do some actual good for their constituents?

  11. At the risk of ranting… I remember a time, when ethics, respect for customer, and a good product, meant success for a company, and they competed on that front. Now dealing with these technology companies, it is like dodging bullets on the battlefield. I feel sorry for all of us. If anyone can recommend an honest, cellular company, please let us know.

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