The Big Think

March 24, 2008

Fine Print

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:32 pm

Upgrading my cellphone to a nice spiffy new Razr. The problem with the old one was that it wouldn’t “pick up” when I opened the clamshell. The new one was only $50 after rebate and I got a bluetooth earpiece, which will definitely be nice when I’m driving.

Anyway, I’m filling out the rebate form today and noticed this in the fine print:

“Offer is valid only with the purchase of a qualifying handset upgrade at wireless retail stores that are authorized to sell T-Moblie products and services (locations not owned and operated by T-Moblie)”

followed immediately by this paragraph (emphasis mine):

“Offer is NOT valid for purchases made at T-Mobile owned and operated retail locations”

Huh? I called T-Mobile and told him I bought it from a T-Mobile-only storefront and he told me I was okay, but am I the only one thrown by this fine print? It seems to be saying that if I bought it from a T-Mobile store directly the rebate wouldn’t apply, even though the store was advertising it with the rebate. It’s probably just a case of the rebate form being overlawyered, but it’s annoying anyway. I’m the kind of person that fills out all my rebate forms and tracks their progress, i.e. the kind of person the industry hates because I actually get my money back. This silliness seems to be giving them a way out, not that they’ll take it.

UPDATE: Wow, it turns out I’m not crazy after all. Other people have been having a problem with the same exact thing. It seems T-mobile is denying perfectly legitimate rebate forms because of this very same fine print. Who’da thunk it? T-mobile has always gotten good marks for customer service, so this surprises me. I’ll definitely keep an eye on this. This guy (same link) says he filed a complaint with the BBB and heard back from T-mobile only to be rejected again in a letter a few weeks later. He called the office of the president and got it taken care of, but please… do you really need to go to those lengths to get a legitimate rebate back? Shame on T-moblie if this is a common practice.

For the record, I’ve spoken to two different people at T-mobile (Michael at my local store), and they assure me I’ll get the rebate. This is why I try not to mess with rebates much. Too much trouble.

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