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Huge Profit For Switching to AT&T
Back in September of last year I wrote about an offer from AT&T for Directv customers. As part of the deal, AT&T was paying customers up to $500 per line to switch to their service. I was also able to find other offers to stack it with. My experience of switching was anything but easy, so I thought I would share with you how it all went and how much money I saved along the way.
As a recap, AT&T was offering $500 per line broken down into two parts. They gave $300 for porting in a phone number and $200 for trading in a phone. I also found that Ebates was offering $150 for a new AT&T account and as part of the deal they were giving the equivalent of $100 in Plenti points.
In my original post I wrote that perhaps my family and I would all enjoy new cell phones as part of this promotion. While that sounded nice, I had a brand new Galaxy S6 Edge and my wife had a fairly new iPhone I had purchased for the Discover Apple Pay promotion. In other words, we didn’t need phones.
My strategy then became to purchase the cheapest phones I could find that were part of the AT&T Next program and then resell those phones at a slight loss. Regarding the $200 trade-in, my strategy was to find cheap phones on eBay that met the requirements for trade-in.
After deciding to go for it, I ordered the service online. I ultimately decided to go for a Lumia 635 which was selling for $99 from AT&T and about 75% of that online. Two days after placing the order, a representative called my wife to explain that they didn’t have Lumias despite them showing as in-stock on the website. He then tried to force her into $500+ phones. After she asked to speak to a supervisor he stonewalled her and eventually hung up.
The next day my wife called back and there was absolutely no record of her order. Since I don’t want to drag this out, we escalated to a supervisor, got AT&T’s social media department to help and ultimately figured out that the first representative she had talked to deleted her order. Once it is gone, apparently there is no way to get it back. The only good thing that came out of this was getting in contact with AT&T’s social media manager Jeremie.
After figuring out what happened, Jeremie said I had to order the phones again. Despite the Lumias as showing in stock, he said they didn’t have any so I would have to pick another phone. I ultimately settled on the HTC Desire 626 and placed my order through Ebates for the $150 portal credit. Within two days the phones were active and our numbers were ported over to AT&T. We didn’t use the new phones, but instead took the sims and placed them in our current phones.
In order to make this profitable I had to do two things. I had to sell the HTC Desires and I needed to purchase 3 phones to trade-in to AT&T.
Trade-Ins: These phones had to be worth $10 on the AT&T website to be eligible for the $200 credit. After some compare and contrast, I purchased 3 of the Alcatel One Touch Evolve 2 phones on eBay for $33 each. While the AT&T website did show them as worth $10 when I ordered, by the time my trade-in codes came weeks later it had dropped. Luckily I had a screenshot and Jeremie jumped in to make sure the trade-in was honored.
Selling: The HTC Desire 626 phones I purchased from AT&T ended up selling fairly quickly on eBay for $150 each. After shipping, eBay and PayPal fees I netted $125 per phone. As part of the AT&T next agreement the phones cost me $185.10 each, so I took a $60 loss on each one.
A Few More Facts
In an effort to streamline this, I do want to cover a couple of more facts before moving on to the math.
- The Ebates portal didn’t track properly and it took a few weeks, but I did receive the $150 in portal cashback after an investigation.
- The $100 worth of Plenti points never came. After dealing with this for months (and waiting to write this post until it was resolved) I asked Jeremie if he could just credit my account $100 and he agreed.
- Following the true debacle of our order getting deleted, Jeremie offered $20 off per month on the plan. We also receive $10 off per month since we are bundled with Directv.
So now that I have explained the long and often frustrating journey, let’s take a look at the math and whether or not switching was worth it.
- $900 for porting in 3 lines.
- $600 for trading in 3 phones.
- $150 portal cash back.
- $100 credit in lieu of Plenti points.
- $20 per month off the plan for life and $10 bundle savings.
- $99 for three trade-in phones.
- $180 loss on selling the new phones.
- Even with the discounts, the new plan is $25 more per month compared to my T-Mobile service.
- Total Gains: $1,750
- Total Costs: $279
- Final Profit: $1,471
My bill is about $133 after taxes and surcharges. Another way to look at this is that AT&T gave me 11 months of free service for switching. Also remember that I have no contract and can leave whenever I wish since I have received all credits, etc.
Was It Worth It?
I am not going to sugarcoat it. We went through a lot of hassle with this deal and I really don’t know why. That disgruntled phone agent deleting the order created a ton of problems, but Jeremie was there to fix things at every turn. He even gave me his cell number so we could text when there was an issue. In turn I didn’t abuse it and let him take time to do his work. In the end that meant that after the initial phone calls to figure out the order cancellation, I didn’t really have to do much other than answer texts. Yes it was worth it.
A Better Offer
Update: This offer only works if you have an ETF that needs to be paid. I hadn’t initially seen that. I don’t see any other offer for Directv customers that is comparable to what I received. Thanks to Andrew for pointing that out in the comments.
AT&T actually has an even better deal going on right now and it isn’t only for Directv customers. Currently you can get $650 per line when porting in and trading in a phone. They have added language to say your trade-in has to be the phone on the ported-in number, but you can work around that by purchasing a cheap phone and adding it to your number before the port. You can find the full details of the offer here.
Ebates still has the $150 offer as well and you might be able to get a $25 card for signing up through their referral program. The terms of that aren’t clear, but here is my referral link. I think you register the referral after signing up since it asks for your account number.
While this switch ended up being more time consuming than it should have been, we have been happy with the service and Jeremie from the social media team was amazing. I probably spent a total of 5 hours over the months working to get this resolved and came out ahead $1,471 which I think is still a good value for my time. What do you think? Was this a good deal? Let me know in the comments.
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