Verizon Wireless customers that have attempted to purchased an iPhone 8 or 8+ since the network first offered them for sale have been met with sheer disappointment. Verizon ran a promotion giving people up to $300 toward their upgraded device’s payment plan if they traded in select phones. Since Verizon has been aggressively promoting their unlimited plans since the beginning of the year, it’s only natural that you’d have to sign up for one to be eligible.
The day the promotion was scheduled to in, I stopped into corporate store and initiated an upgrade. The associate informed me that it would have to be ordered as no store had any in stock. November 7, 2017 was the ETA for the phone to arrive on my doorstep. In order to put my order in, I had to give them a credit card that would be charged once the phone arrived. There were some miscommunications given that the salesperson was more about the money than he was the customer experience, but I placed the order.
Every other day, I placed calls to different Verizon corporate stores asking if they had the phone I wanted, and they redirected me to my order date. I also spoke to the general manager of one store who explained that half the battle is the hype that went into pushing their unlimited plan upgrade promotion, and the other part is what amounted to “the demand trounced the supply.” The vast majority of customers are going to purchase their phones directly from the network, versus through a third party.
Last Friday, I made a call to Best Buy Mobile (BBM) and spoke to Lily, a gregarious and knowledgeable associate who not only had the phone I wanted in stock, but explained the differences in their promotions. I also learned through her that it was fairly easy to process a down payment on the retail price of the phone that would be used to calculate device payments. In addition, I was happy to learn that I could accrue Reward Zone (RZ) points on the final price of the phone.
Given that I had already ordered the phone and with their Unlimited plan promotion, I was guaranteed $200 toward my device payments, I called Verizon to determine the trade-in value of my iPhone 6. Since electronics depreciate over time, their system would estimate the value at $150. I had to balance continuing to wait until November 7th and being guaranteed $200, or cancelling it and going to Best Buy and taking a chance on their trade-in value.
Last Sunday, I walked into BBM and approached two associates and only said, “I’m here for the iPhone 8 Plus in 256,” and the response was “Which color?”
I ended up choosing Gold mostly because my 6 was. The phone would be hidden behind a slim case as it is, so color wasn’t all that relevant. It didn’t occur to me that she was the Lily that I spoke to over the phone (irrelevant, but it’s nice to put faces to names).
After checking her inventory, it turned out she didn’t have any in Gold, but had some in Silver, which worked for me. Her coworker, Adam, ended up taking the transaction. In addition to walking me through everything in comprehensive detail, he also explained the protection plans available – the Asurion insurance that comes through Verizon, or AppleCare+. The only difference I could infer was that the AppleCare+ required a visit to the Apple store, whereas the Asurion required a Verizon store. What prompted me to choose the AppleCare+ was greater odds that an Apple store would be able to fix any issues on the spot, or replace it expediently.
Considering I had to have them repeat the information several times (which is mostly attributed to me having a moderately short attention span), both were accommodating and cordial, which was a stark contrast to the Verizon stores I’ve experienced in the past.
Next came accessories: With Verizon’s buy three accessories, get 20% off each promotion, I knew I would be getting a screen protector and slim case. Since the 8+ has wireless charging capabilities, I picked up a Samsung charging port. This was also another transaction for some RZ points. I did appreciate that Adam allowed me to test the slim case with the belt holster I’d purchased previously. It accommodated a naked 8+ better, but was adequate for my needs.
We returned to the desk and processed the transaction. We came to the trade-in decision, which yielded a market value of $125 through Best Buy. I had him compare the device payments that I would have with down payment and trade-in, versus just down payment, and the difference was less than a dollar, so I decided to keep my 6.
After acknowledging Best Buy’s disclosures and signing an agreement to make payments on my device, I had been upgraded.
Adam offered to help me transfer my data from the 6 to the 8+, but I wanted to get a screen protector on it, and start a restore process from iCloud.
After shaking hands, I headed out to find some lunch. I did find it interesting that the phone wouldn’t allow me to use public WiFi to start the restore process, but I suppose it’s a nice protective mechanism.
Overall, it took me less than a half-hour to restore the 8+ to an iCloud backup and transfer pictures and some videos to it.
While this article isn’t meant as a call-to-action to make that next phone purchase at BBM, it is a reminder that there are other stores and vendors that sell the same product.