Usury In Drags - SmartPay
On August 14, 2014, I decided to treat my husband to a Samsung Galaxy S5. I was all set to pay the 649.00 with my debit card, when the Metro PCS agent suggested that I could use SMARTPAY instead of using up my cash. A few minutes and a phone call later, he told me I was approved and that SMARTPAY would take 85.81 from my checking account twice per month, a total of 772.29. He also mentioned that I could pay off in 90 days same as cash or at any time without penalty.
I never received the email explaining all the details that I was supposed to. In fact, I never received anything from SMARTPAY, but noticed the deductions from my account. Some time in November, it occurred to me that the 90 days for same as cash would be ending soon so, on a trip to Metro PCS, I asked for the SMARTPAY number. The agent got distracted and we both forgot about the number. I subsequently forgot about the 90 day deadline I had planned to make.
Today, I finally got the number and called to request the pay off amount and was flabbergasted when I was told 432.85. Added to the 772.29 I had already paid, that would make a whopping 1205.14. When all my reasoning proved futile, I asked for a supervisor. I was put on hold for 12 minutes, then the employee came back on the line, told me the supervisor was still unavailable and disconnected the call. I redialed and got a young man who gave his name as Jason Cruz . I explained my concern, but he too was adamant that the numbers are generated automatically and there was nothing that anyone could do. When I asked about their rate of interest, he reiterated that the figures are calculated by a computer. In the process of verifying my identity, he realized that my email address was incorrect, which explained why I had never received the contract or any notice of payment. Using this angle, I reasoned with him to at least reduce the pay off amount by 200. His response was that he could not do that, and they were already doing me a favor by not charging me for the nine months remaining in my 20 month lease so I was saving over 500. My other option he advised, was to return the instrument.
Outraged, I was prepared to do just that: return the phone at the loss of what I had already paid, which is about what I would have paid with tax, and then launch an investigation into this company! However, by the time we drove to the Metro PCS store, reason dictated that instead of throwing 772.29 down the drain, or into SMARTPAY’s coffers, and buying a new phone for cash, it would be more practical to just pay the $432.85 to close the account.
The moral of the story is, if you have cash, use that to buy your electronics, if not, use your credit card because the interest rate, no matter how outrageous, is not likely to be over 100%. It is incredible that for having missed my 90 day same as cash pay off date, and those are calendar days, not business days, by a month, my 649.00 phone, plus screen protector, a case, and tax cost me 1205.14. But, as the SMARTPAY representative pointed out, at least that is better than the $1716.20 it would have cost had I not paid before the end of twenty payments!
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