Reader Brandon writes in to share a painful story of shoddy customer service and questionable pricing policies with LetsTalk, an online mobile phone and plan retailer. After ordering a $99 phone with a $100 mail in rebate, the order was delayed, then changed to add a free car charger to apologize for the delay (so far so good), then changed again without notice to $299 with a $200 mail in rebate. After calling to dispute the charges, he was promised the price would be changed back to its original amount—but the next day it was shipped out and his account was charged for $299.
This is where it gets fun, because at this point LetsTalk entered into a creative game of empty promises and excuses (for a while it was a “computer glitch”). Then, in a particularly ballsy move, they told Brandon that they reserved the right to change their prices at any time as per their fine print.
Despite our best efforts to keep pricing information accurate, there may be rare occasions when our pricing is outdated. We reserve the right to update our prices at any time, but will always contact you to confirm any change before you are charged or before products are shipped.
What seems apparent is that Brandon wasn’t given the opportunity to confirm the new charge—in fact, he was told by a CSR that they’d change it back to the original charge before shipping.
Our primary advice in this sort of situation is to return the phone immediately, and in this particular case consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. He can also call LetsTalk’s corporate offices in San Francisco at 415-357-7600. As of March of this year, their CEO was Delly Tamer, so look for that name in the corporate directory rather than leaving a message in the “general mailbox.”
After threatening legal action, Brandon said they agreed to a return, but he’d already canceled his old plan and decided to stick with the new one. So we’ll modify our advice for other readers, in recognition of how difficult it is to get untangled from a new cell phone deal that’s gone sour: if LetsTalk puts your phone on backorder, cancel the order and look for something else rather than risk a similar pricing/CSR nightmare.