I’m switching cell phone providers and I was reading the…

February 12, 2006

Satisfaction Guarantee that my new provider has and, well, either I’m incredibly stupid or this Guarantee contradicts itself. See for yourself as I’ll highlight what I mean:

Satisfaction Guarantee
You may terminate service for any reason within 15 days of activation. If you purchased equipment from us at a promotional price at the time of activation, you must return that equipment to avoid being assessed a $175 early termination fee. You will be responsible for all applicable usage fees, prorated access charges, taxes, surcharges or other charges that accrued to your account through the termination date. If you paid a security deposit, it may take between 30 and 60 days to process the return of your security deposit. The charges for any service used on the account before the service termination date may be applied against your security deposit.

Return and Service Termination
You may return any or all of your merchandise for any reason within 15 days of purchase. *

The original customer receipt must accompany all returns.

If you cancel your service within the 15-day period, but prior to the expiration of your minimum term, you will be responsible for all applicable usage fees, access charges, taxes, surcharges or other charges that accrued to your account through the termination date, including a $175 early termination fee.

If you return your merchandise, even by mistake, more than 15 days after your purchase, you will not receive a refund and the merchandise you returned will not be returned to you.

So, the way I read this, you can return the equipment within 15 days with no penalty for doing so. But you can’t cancel the service without incurring a termination fee – meaning you have no phone, but still have to pay for the service.

I especially love the last paragraph – if you make a mistake and return the merchandise (how exactly would someone accidentally return a cell phone?) you’re out of luck. Does that actually happen?

I know this is way off topic, but I just thought it was interesting. I’m not bothered by it simply because I do loads of research before ever switching cell phone providers and I know it works in my locale. But, I wonder if people actually read this stuff before signing up? Enough people band together and this kind of self-serving “agreements” would be history.

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