I “bought” my Aria from AT&T over the phone a month ago. I put bought in quotes because AT&T actually paid me $150 to upgrade. First, they credited me for the full cost of the Aria including phone, taxes, shipping, and activation. Then they credited me $50 for downgrading from the $30/month unlimited data plan to the $15/month 200MB data plan (I have never exceeded 60MB of data usage in a month). In doing so, I save another $180/year in data-plan fees. Finally, AT&T offered a $100 debit card rebate for the Aria.
How did I get this deal, you ask (salivating at the prospect)? After the first-level sales person couldn’t “make me happy,” he transferred me to the second-level customer-care department that has the power and discretion to cut deals. I started with the price of the phone—free—that I wanted. I then moved on to the data plan deal I wanted (AT&T is highly incentivized to move people off of the unlimited plan). After several long holds to “speak to his supervisor,” he came back with the deal I wanted.
Though it seems like I won this contest hands down, it was actually a win-win because AT&T kept my business and I hung up a happy customer with the phone I wanted at the price I wanted to pay.
I love free-market capitalism!!