I passed by a cell phone company’s franchise vendor and saw a sign matching a television ad that has been running. Essentially, trade in your old iPhone for a new iPhone 13.

Too good to be true, right.

So, I go in and I say to the representative, “So, what’s this sign all about”. The rep says, “Just like the sign says, trade in your phone and we’ll give you $800 credit”.

So, out of the box, we’re already at it’s not really free.

I ask what is the out of pocket and the rep said it is roughly $100 but for 128g version and $200 for the 256g version. I went with the 256g version.

Now, the real reason I went in was to drop a second line that I haven’t used in years. That saves me $20 per month. So, my monthly should now be $110 or so. The rep said I still had $84 to pay off the old phone so I paid that cash.

I added a privacy screen, a soft bumper shell, and a jack for the need speed charger. Out the door for about $350.

Now, I will admit the rep told me at least FOUR times and then asked me to sign an acknowledgment that my first two bills would have a $22 charge on it. But, on the third month, it would show a $44 credit and my bill would be the $110 that it should be. Fine. But, I asked why. The rep said, “Well, XXXXXXXX needs to verify the trade in was indeed traded in and that takes about two months to go through their system”.

Isn’t it odd that the cell phone company, or any vendor for that matter, can instantly CHARGE you for a service or product, but a refund, or credit takes time. That, in and of itself has to be a violation of some banking law.

Further, since the vendor is a franchisee of XXXXXXXXX and, essentially, an agent of the company, why isn’t my trade in accepted in the “system” instantly?

Out the door, new iPhone, charger, privacy screen, and bumper protector for $350 or so on my Amex.

When I got home, there were five emails waiting for me from the cell phone company. One of which was a ‘FINANCE AGREEMENT’. Whoa, wait a minute, back up the truck. What, Finance Agreement? Now, it clearly had my signature on it, digitally. Like when I signed my Amex purchase. I did NOT sign any finance agreement.

However, I did sign the “acknowledgment” about the two $22 charges that would be credited back on the third month.

There HAS to be a scam here. My final invoice clearly shows an $800 credit. What did I have to finance?

Either the cell phone company is scamming it’s stock holders by showing $44 per customer in extra revenue – $44 x at least 100,000 customers is $4,400,000 alone.

Or, the vendor is getting credit / a bonus / an incentive to have customers “finance” but the “trade in” is the payoff of the $800 financed (rather than cash).

In any event, something is wrong here. Someone is getting scammed.

And, we’re giving the cell phone company a $44 interest free loan so they can use our money for their own interest game. Maybe that’s the scam.