Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
R2D2
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by R2D2 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:43 pm

I have VZ wireless currently and I keep getting texts from them of the form: "For a limited time, get $X off an iPhone ___ with promo code ___."

After chatting with a rep, here's my understanding of exactly how this works:

To keep the numbers really simple, let's say the phone you want is $720. You have to pay it over 24 months for this promo to work, so this works out to $30/month, i.e. you're not charged for "financing" it. You pay nothing upfront (except for an obnoxious activation fee), and your bill just goes up by $30.

With a $240 discount (for example), you'd be saving $240/24 = $10/month. So your total charge would only be $20/month.

Now what happens if you cancel after only (for example) 9 months? In that case, there are 15 months left on your payment plan, so you'd owe 9 * $30 (not $20) = $270. In other words, you "keep" the $10/month discount for those 9 months but lose it for the remaining 15 months.

Does anyone know if my understanding is correct?

If so, it seems crazy to buy the phone directly from Apple; it seems like a much better deal to buy it directly from VZ with a discount code. I know that Clark Howard always says that you should never get into a contract with a cell provider, but I don't think this "contract" is quite what he had in mind.

Is there some gotcha I'm missing?

Jags4186
Posts: 3877
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:11 pm

What you’re missing is that you’re probably paying $60, $70, $80 or more a month for your phone service from Verizon. If you just bought the phone outright and got a prepaid service (say Verizon Prepaid for $35 a month) you’d be saving overall.

If you’re someone who has a large family plan, postpaid can make sense (notice all those great prices in the commercials are for like having 4 or 5 lines). But for 1 or 2 people, prepaid and buying outright is far superior.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 5304
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:21 pm

If you cancel, you are still on the hook for the phone payments and if you don’t have service with Verizon, you’d also lose the $10 discount, so you would owe the 15 remaining payments x $30 to cancel.

The Verizon discounts and 0% payments over 24 months can be a good deal IF you want to stay with Verizon and are planning to stay for 24 months.

mpnret
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 9:16 am

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by mpnret » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:25 pm

I almost went for a iphone 11 from target last Saturday. You pay the standard Verizon 24 month interest free financing on the phone plus get a $200. target gift card up front. I decided to wait and see what black friday brings. After reading a previous rather long thread on Verizon prepaid I decided to stick with my regular verizon.

Topic Author
R2D2
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by R2D2 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:53 pm

mpnret wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:25 pm
I almost went for a iphone 11 from target last Saturday. You pay the standard Verizon 24 month interest free financing on the phone plus get a $200. target gift card up front. I decided to wait and see what black friday brings. After reading a previous rather long thread on Verizon prepaid I decided to stick with my regular verizon.
Great to know! Thanks for pointing this out.

Jags4186: we’re currently paying 80/mo for two lines, so I think we’re getting a decent deal.

Kenkat: it sounds like you and I have the same understanding of how the deal works. My discount effectively gets pro-rated if I switch carriers. I’m just surprised they don’t impose a penalty!

Katietsu
Posts: 2443
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by Katietsu » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:25 pm

Yes, you understand correctly.

If available, I like the gift card offers because you get your money up front without committing to stay with a given provider. However, often the gift card offers require a new line. So you would have to play some games to use it on your existing plan with your existing phone number. Every once in a while you can get the gift card with an existing line.

If you plan to stay with Verizon postpaid anyway and they are giving you a straightforward discount as described, it sounds like it might be time for a new phone.
Last edited by Katietsu on Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
R2D2
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by R2D2 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:34 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:25 pm
Yes, you understand correctly.

If available, I like the gift card offers because you get your money up front without commuting to stay with a given provider. However, often the gift card offers require a new line. So you would have to play some games to use it on your existing plan with your existing phone number.
Interesting! Can you explain what games you can play to get around this requirement?

Katietsu
Posts: 2443
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by Katietsu » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:55 pm

R2D2 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:34 pm
Katietsu wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:25 pm
Yes, you understand correctly.

If available, I like the gift card offers because you get your money up front without commuting to stay with a given provider. However, often the gift card offers require a new line. So you would have to play some games to use it on your existing plan with your existing phone number.
Interesting! Can you explain what games you can play to get around this requirement?
I have known people who add a line with a new number to their existing account to get the gift card. A couple weeks later, they move their actual number to that new phone. Then they original line gets cancelled. You do sometimes incur some charges along the way. But, if you get a $300 gift card and end up with $50 for temporary extra lines and number switching, you can still be ahead.

Topic Author
R2D2
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Verizon Wireless discounts on iPhones (and other smart phones) -- is there any gotcha here?

Post by R2D2 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:48 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:55 pm
I have known people who add a line with a new number to their existing account to get the gift card. A couple weeks later, they move their actual number to that new phone. Then they original line gets cancelled. You do sometimes incur some charges along the way. But, if you get a $300 gift card and end up with $50 for temporary extra lines and number switching, you can still be ahead.
Thanks. Yeah it sounds mildly annoying but could be worth it.

Post Reply