T-Mobile's false terms & conditions for Costco rebates

magenta2738723

    I'm new to T-Mobile. I was attracted to the "Uncarrier" when I learned about the "2017 Q3 Costco $300 Off iPhone Launch Offer" that started on 9/22 for the iPhone 8 launch. The exact "Terms & Conditions" were, with emphasis added:

    "Limited time offer, subject to change. Buy an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, 7 or 7 Plus and get $300 off via rebate. At participating locations. Qualifying service and trade-in of paid-off iPhone 6 or newer required. Full device tax due at sale. 12max/account Not combinable with some offers (e.g., Carrier Freedom). Rebate via Prepaid MasterCard® Card issued by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. Use of this card constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions stated in the Cardholder Agreement. Cards will not have cash access and can be used everywhere MasterCard debit cards are accepted. Must be active and in good standing when card is processed. Allow 8 weeks."

     

    T-Mobile listed this promotion for over 30 days at https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-36142 with this description:

    2017 Q3 Costco $300 Off iPhone Launch Offer

    Get $300 off the purchase of an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus after rebate when you purchase it at Full Retail Price at Costco and trade in a functional iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 6, or 6 Plus.

      • Promotional Window: September 22 - TBA
      • You must meet all of these requirements during the promotional window:
        • Already have or activate at least one new voice line per device purchase.
        • Purchase a new iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus at Full Retail Price.
        • Submit a request on the T-Mobile Rebates page using promo code 17COST300NEW within 30 days of purchase.

    Limited time offer, subject to change. Buy an iPhone 8 64GB and get $300 off via rebate. At participating locations. Qualifying service and trade-in of paid-off iPhone 6 or newer required. Full device tax due at sale. 12max/account Not combinable with some offers (e.g., Carrier Freedom). Rebate via Prepaid MasterCard® Card issued by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Use of this card constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions stated in the Cardholder Agreement. Cards will not have cash access and can be used everywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted. Must be active and in good standing when card is processed. Allow 8 weeks.

     

    Costco had a sign at the mobile kiosk with matching verbiage and I attached a photo. Based on the promotional terms, I bought a new iPhone 8 64GB and paid full price at Costco. It has been an almost complete "goat rodeo" ever since . . .

     

    Based on my experience so far, the terms of the promotion are FALSE because

    1. T-Mobile does not fulfill the rebate using a $300 prepaid MasterCard Card.
    2. Instead, with no reference anywhere in the terms, T-Mobile reduced the rebate from $300 by the value assigned to the trade-in iPhone
    3. No one at T-Mobile Rebates (a separate company called YA, by the way) will even acknowledge the promotion terms that T-Mobile had on its website

     

    I am very, very disappointed in T-Mobile. When a company promotes a rebate on its web site, when a customer is prompted to agree to specific terms using the same promotion words, and then the company ignores those terms, trust is destroyed.

     

    At this point, I'm wondering: how much do slightly lower prices make up for false promises and broken trust?

     

    2017-09-22-T-Mobile-$300-rebate-@-Costco.jpg

    2017-09-27 Costco $300 T-Mobile Promotions.jpg

      All replies

      • tidbits

        was your iPhone 6/6S paid off?

         

        Did you take any other offers?

        • tmo_marissa

          Hey, magenta2738723. Thanks for taking the time to post about your experience here -- I'm sorry that it wasn't the kind of experience we'd like for our customers to have.

           

          The $300 rebate offer essentially increases the value of the required trade-in to $300 (whatever the standard value may be). It sounds like a portion of that $300 (the standard trade-in value portion?) was issued in some other way, and then the remainder was provided by the card -- am I reading that correctly? I know we can't pay out for the same device twice (ie; we aren't able to provide a credit for the standard trade-in value and the increased value that the promo offers); but we don't want you to miss out on a portion of the funds if they weren't provided in some other way, and we don't want our promotions to be misleading! When you shipped your trade-in device in to the Assurant warehouse; did you receive a bill credit for the amount that's missing from the rebate card?


          While we can't take a look at the account from this public forum; we definitely want to forward the scenario on as feedback -- you're correct that we should have called this procedure out more clearly if that's the case. It sounds like you've already put a ton of effort into reaching out about this! At any point were we able to determine where the other amount went?

           

          Thanks again for your time, I appreciate your input!

          - Marissa

            • magenta2738723

              Marissa, thanks for the response.

               

              Re "I'm sorry that it wasn't the kind of experience we'd like for our customers to have," the best way to ensure that customers have a satisfactory experience is simple: T-Mobile conforms its promotions fulfillment consistent with its own Terms & Conditions.

               

              After all, if I returned a trade-in phone different from what I committed to send, then T-Mobile would most likely disapprove the rebate -- and cite Terms & Conditions as the rationale.

               

              The rebate terms were simple: "Rebate via Prepaid MasterCard® Card"  Instead, T-Mobile --without notification to me or to Costco, for that matter -- fulfilled the rebate via a statement credit representing the trade-in phone value plus a Prepaid MasterCard Card with a value reduced by the trade-in statement credit. The statement credit created confusion for everyone: me, everyone I asked at Costco, and everyone whom I contacted at T-Mobile.

               

              The confusion was created because T-Mobile published rebate Terms & Conditions and then failed to act in accordance with its own Terms & Conditions!

               

              Marissa, can you please show me where in the promotion's Terms & Conditions the trade-in statement credit is mentioned?

               

              I purchased two additional phones from T-Mobile, one under the same Costco promotion and another on an EIP. Never, ever again!

              • nelfar212

                tmo_marissa, Question, is there a reason why corporate has decided when advertising promos not to apply the offer at the Point of sale(POS) vs. using this rebate system.  I ask in my earlier days with TMO, I passed on several offers, BCI felt it was a too much of a hassle.   

              • tmo_marissa

                magenta2738723 -- I'm with you, I don't see anywhere that this is called out as part of the intended way that the promotion value is completed. I know you mentioned that you participated in the same promo with other lines -- did those offers play out the same way, with a bill credit for the trade-in value and then a rebate card for the remainder?

                 

                nelfar212 -- I think there are honestly probably a bunch of reasons, but I don't have official ones. Completing a rebate form on the website and receiving a physical/virtual promo card after a trade-in or final bill is evaluated (and eligibility confirmed) isn't intended to be a hassle, but I can see how it's not for everyone! General trade-ins, JUMP! upgrades and JUMP! On Demand turn-ins can be completed in store; but when it comes to rebates that have multiple requirements (plans, services, active lines, etc) and are paid out with a "cash" incentive, at this point the existing system has more than one team involved, and I'm just guessing here but it might be more than we could do with our retail team (not to mention third party retailers), without a bunch of big changes. That's not to say that big changes don't happen (hello no contracts!) and again I'm just guessing -- but I understand your point and appreciate your feedback.

                  • magenta2738723

                    Marissa, thanks for your reply.

                     

                    To be clear, I paid the full retail price for two iPhone 8 64GB phones at Costco, the second one about 3 weeks after the first. Both resulted in statement credits after the old, paid-off iPhone had been received by Assurant.

                     

                    I have received the prepaid MasterCard for the first iPhone 8 64GB and the amount was not for $300 as the rebate Terms & Conditions promised. The second rebate card for the second iPhone has not yet arrived, though I did receive an email that the rebate had been approved.

                     

                    Here are my concerns:

                    1. Clearly, T-Mobile failed to act in accordance with the Terms & Conditions that were published at the Available rebates web page;
                    2. Because T-Mobile contradicted its own Terms & Conditions, the statement credit created an incorrect expectation that the rebate promotion was more generous than published;
                    3. Because T-Mobile contradicted its own Terms & Conditions, the customer (me!) is left with the question, "what other Terms & Conditions will T-Mobile arbitrarily ignore?" That kind of uncertainty is counter-productive to both T-Mobile and T-Mobile's customers.

                     

                    There's just no getting around it, T-Mobile's undermined this customer's confidence and trust.

                     

                    I can appreciate that T-Mobile is trying to act differently than established carriers like AT&T and Verizon, so lots of back-office changes need to happen to support how T-Mobile is trying to disrupt the market. Errors happen, but usually a company acknowledges and fixes errors; in this case, everyone I contacted at Costco and T-Mobile was confused to the point of looking incompetent. Managing expectations is vital to any business, so it should be obvious that "doing what you say" is just as vital. While I did receive $300 back, the method was not per Terms & Conditions and that created widespread confusion -- and disappointment.

                      • tmo_marissa

                        I hear you -- and I think it's valuable feedback. I understand that the total amount provided was correct; but I also understand what you're saying. It makes sense that the bill credit set an expectation of a more generous rebate than the promotion offered, and then ultimately caused disappointment when the amount was in fact the same but issued in an alternate method.

                         

                        I'll definitely forward this feedback on, because I agree that when promotions pay out in this manner we need to be up front so that we're not disappointing anyone. Carrier Freedom promos pay out this way - partially through a bill credit, and partially through a virtual card (previously a physical card), and we definitely make note of that in the content here on our site as well as throughout the process. I'm sorry that we let you down with the lack of clarity around this promotion, but I really appreciate that you've taken the time to let us know. I'm going to forward the feedback to our promo team -- thank you again.

                         

                        - Marissa