This has pissed me off ever since Krissa patiently explained it to me a couple of years ago, and I still have a hard time understanding why it still exists.
I'm talking about mail-in rebates in America.
I have a stalwart yet faltering cellphone that Krissa palmed off on me when I arrived two and a half years ago. It's the longest I've ever had a cellphone, but I'm still not particularly fond of it - the predictive text messaging dictionary never remembers my swearwords, no matter how many times I program them in, and the sound it makes when the battery dies (the battery lasts anything from 13 to 36 hours) is a plaintive tone sound like a death-knell. No matter how hard it is to hear the phone actually ringing in the depths of my bag, the death-knell is heard for miles.
So with my two and a half years of reasonably on-time billpaying behind me, T-Mobile are looking to hook me into another two years, and they're offering a large array of phones - some free, some reasonably priced, others way too much money. But what I hate is that the Razr (not a phone I'd consider getting, because Krissa's not fond of hers) costs $99.99 up front, but you get a $50 mail-in rebate so it only really costs $49.99.
I am precisely the sort of person this rather shady business tactic is targetted at.
I have $100, but also a giant heap of reluctance to part with said $100. I like it.
It is my friend.
In addition to $100 I have a swiftly-settling case of forgetfulness and apathy, which means there's a very good chance that after the two week waiting period I will forget to mail in the rebate slip, or I'll be distracted from the lunchtime errand by something else and end up not bothered, or every single day I will intend to send it in until it's too late...all of which means I'll have paid $100 for a $50 phone.
Which is ridiculous.
T-mobile and all the companies that use this fucking irritating tactic to lure in customers are coaxing, wheedling, teasing you with your money. They're standing in front of you with a hoop wafting your own money around in the breeze on the other side, saying, "Come on! Come on! All you have to do is jump! Jump little doggy, jump!"
I have a hard time understanding why the little doggy that is the American buying public hasn't turned round and bitten the hoop-bearing companies on the arse.
If you're going to offer a good price, offer a good price. Don't put a system in place that means you'll make more money off some customers through their own inaction...what message does that send to your customers? I admit if anyone can look at the telecommunications industry and not see the universal message of "We're trying to make money out of you any which way, fools" they must be a bit stupid, but spelling it out?
Can anyone tell me the accepted "reason" the companies give for offering mail-in rebates?
Er, also...hi. Almost left it a month between posts there. Sorry about that.