Cox Accidentally Offers Everyone In Arizona A Free PlayStation 3

Christopher writes about a promotion from Cox that sounded pretty great. The cable company and ISP offered a free Playstation 3 slim to customers who either signed up for a new account or upgraded to faster broadband. The problem with such a great offer? People tend to tell their friends. And those friends tend to call Cox to see if they can get in on the deal, too.

Cox in Arizona has had an offer out since January for a FREE Playstation 3 slim in exchange for either a) signup for a new broadband account or b) upgrade to the next higher tier of service (i.e., Basic to Preferred, Preferred to Premier) with a 12 month contract. That’s a pretty good deal. I learned about this Friday Feb 4th from a co-worker, who received a flyer in the mail, and responded. He had the exact same Cox service as me (Preferred). His PS3 is on its way and he was so tickled he was telling everybody he could find. I was thinking about upgrading, so I called. The CSR acknowledged the offer and that it is valid, but “Do I have the code from a flyer.” “No, I didn’t receive a flyer,” I reply. “You’re not eligible.”

Apparently this was set up as an offer to attract new subscribers, but due to an error by their marketing team, it went out to existing subscribers as well, and Cox is honoring those. A few threads have opened up on http://www.dslreports.com and a few other sites about this offer, and Cox is definitely honoring this selectively, even for people who didn’t receive the original mailing! As of Saturday, Feb 5th, they’ve really clamped down, I heard they’re running out of PS3s!

Unhappy about this, I called again, this time requesting to cancel. The loyalty rep I talked to knew all about the offer. I explained I did not have a code, but I was willing to upgrade and agree to the terms of the offer. She went on a 7 minute consult with her supervisor, and returned with bad news. Cox was not going to honor it. She admitted “some subscribers got it, and some didn’t”. She couldn’t explain why. I told her this was all leaving a very bad taste in my mouth, I could not understand why this was such a “lottery”, and it appeared their sales CSRs were making exceptions all over the place. She then told me that anyone not on the original marketing mailing list who was told they got the offer would have their PS3 shipment revoked! (I really feel sorry for Cox if that’s true.) I proceeded with the cancellation of my phone and broadband services. She offered the 10% off my bill, and kept upping the offer, but I made it crystal clear that it was because of the PS3. I’ve been a good customer for the last 11 years. Too bad for Cox.

I really have to hand it to Cox’ marketing department They came up with such a great promotion that it’s spreading via word-of-mouth, and they’ve succeeded in offending their current customers. They really know how to mobilize their installed base to move to Qwest. I’m so disappointed with Cox. I wish I had never found out about this in the first place.

Indeed, it’s poor customer service to allow some customers who never received the flyer in the first place to sign up for the PS3 deal. This is why making sure all of your customer service reps are on the same page is essential. But canceling an account because a CSR won’t perpetuate the mistake and bend the rules for you? That is an overreaction–but hey, the free market and competition are a beautiful thing, and you can cancel and switch providers any time you feel like it for any reason.