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May 28, 2018

Samsung Compares Apple and Oranges

Filed under: Electronics,Telephone — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

A new commercial from Samsung urges viewers to upgrade their iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy 9 because the Apple phone is slow and frustrating.



There’s one big problem with this advertisement, and its secret is buried in virtually unreadable fine print.

*MOUSE PRINT:

disclaimer

What Samsung has done is compare a 2014 model of the iPhone — the iPhone 6 — with Samsung’s latest and greatest model. Had it compared the current iPhone models, the 8 and the X, the slowness depicted would have magically disappeared.




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October 2, 2017

T-Mobile Advertises: Ditch Verizon, Keep Your Phone ???

Filed under: Retail,Telephone — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:43 am

Over the past few months, T-Mobile has been advertising that you can bring your Verizon cellphone to T-Mobile if you switch to them. Here’s one commercial with the offer:

If you know anything about how cellphones transmit your calls and data, their offer might sound impossible because the two companies use two different and incompatible technologies to accomplish those tasks. Verizon uses CDMA and T-Mobile relies on GSM radio waves to work.

So how can T-Mobile make this claim?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Ditch Verizon, Keep Your Phone

Certain phones are dual-network capable. They have both technologies built-in so they can work on either network. But the number of Verizon-branded phones that can be brought from that CDMA provider to a GSM provider is very limited — Google Pixel and iPhone 6S or newer only — as noted in the fine print of the T-Mobile ad.

Apple iPhones account for only about one-third of the market and newer models can be used on both Verizon and T-Mobile. But market-leading Android phones generally cannot. AT&T phones, incidentally, are generally interchangeable with T-Mobile phones because they are both on the GSM system.

So, if you think you can take your old Verizon phone to T-Mobile, chances are you cannot.




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January 9, 2017

T-Mobile Intros Honest Pricing

Filed under: Electronics,Humor,Telephone — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

Last week, T-Mobile announced something novel in the postpaid cellphone industry — the price you see advertised is the price you will actually pay on your bill — all taxes and fees included! And they did this by absorbing those charges not raising their prices.

For years, it has been an obnoxious game played by cell providers, cable companies, and rental car companies to grab your attention with a seeming low price, but then jack up the bill with all sorts of junk fees and taxes. And the real costs were never fully disclosed even in the mouse print of the advertising.

To dramatize the deceptive nature of these pricing ploys, T-Mobile released this short video:



To demonstrate how fees and taxes inflate customers’ bills, TMO offers a comparison.

TMO comparison


But lest you think that T-Mobile has completely found consumer religion, plans other than T-Mobile One still play the old game.

*MOUSE PRINT:

taxes and fees extra

Nonetheless, hats off to T-Mobile for taking the first step to bringing transparent pricing to cell service.




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August 8, 2016

Comcast’s Inside Wiring Plan Excludes Most Inside Wiring!

Filed under: Electronics,Telephone,Thanks for Nothing — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:55 am

One of the ways that telephone and cable companies try to make extra money is to pitch inside wiring plans to their customers. For about $5 a month, these plans typically promise to fix the cable or telephone wire in your home or apartment should it cause a problem with your service. Normally this would be the owner’s responsibility. Most consumer advocates say not to fall for the scare tactics and save your money because inside wiring rarely goes bad on its own.

Last week, the Washington state attorney general went one step further. He sued Comcast, a large purveyor of these inside wiring plans because of alleged deceptive tactics they used to sell these policies. The lawsuit accuses Comcast of misleading 500,000 Washington consumers and deceiving them into paying at least $73 million in subscription fees over the last five years for a near-worthless “protection plan” without clearly disclosing its significant limitations.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Here is how Comcast promoted its plan before the Washington AG began investigating. (Here is how the plan it is currently presented.)

It says in part:

“Comcast offers a comprehensive Service Protection Plan (SPP), eliminating any concerns about being charged additional fees for service calls related to inside wiring. … Hassle-free replacement and repair of defective customer inside wiring.”

When one checked the fine print terms and conditions of the Service Protection Plan as originally promoted, the introductory paragraph even reiterates the promise:

“Inside wiring covered under this plan is owned by the customer or a third party and is defined as wiring that begins at the “Demarcation Point,” which begins 12 inches outside the customer’s residence and extends to the individual phone jacks, cable and Internet outlets and extensions in the home.”

Digging deeper into the terms however, reveals the truth (emphasis added below).

*MOUSE PRINT:

Comcast fine print

Maybe 90% of the wiring inside a home is behind walls, and it is excluded! Thanks for nothing, Comcast.

Things get worse, according to the WA-AG’s complaint.

[While] Comcast claimed the SPP covers all service calls related to customer-owned equipment, it does not cover any actual repairs relating to customer equipment. It simply covers the technician visiting the customer’s house and declaring that the customer’s equipment is broken.

Comcast also marketed the SPP as covering service calls relating to Comcast equipment and wiring outside a customer’s house. However, these issues are already covered for free by Comcast’s Customer Guarantee promises.

The Washington AG is seeking $100+ million in his lawsuit.

For its part, Comcast issued the following statement:

“The Service Protection Plan has given those Washington consumers who chose to purchase it great value by completely covering over 99 percent of their repair calls. We worked with the Attorney General’s office to address every issue they raised, and we made several improvements based on their input.”

Incidentally, it is believed that Comcast marketed its service protection plan the very same way nationally… so you probably have not heard the end of this yet.




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September 21, 2015

Upgrade iPhone Yearly Forever for $15 a Month?

Filed under: Electronics,Retail,Telephone — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

  To promote the launch of its “iPhone Forever” plan, Sprint is only charging $15 a month for the just introduced iPhone 6S along with the privilege that lets customers get a new iPhone every year. That is less than half the monthly cost for Apple’s own upgrade plan.

Sprint Forever

This means you are basically paying $180 a year to have the latest iPhone. For people who always must have the latest phone, this could be quite the deal … except for the fine print.

*MOUSE PRINT:

iPhone Forever terms

Besides learning that this is a 22-month lease and that you are responsible for [edited] insurance, what may have looked like a given to some — that you would only pay $15 a month and get annual upgrades forever — that monthly charge is only guaranteed for the first phone. What is not stated here in the headline, but also required, is that you trade in a smartphone when you first sign up for the plan.

According to a Sprint telephone representative, one year from now if you want to trade up to the iPhone 7, you must trade in the iPhone 6S, sign a new 22 month lease, and make monthly payments of the then current rate. She said you will owe nothing on the remaining 10 months of the original lease.

Like “unlimited,” “forever” means whatever the cell companies choose to define it as.




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