This week I upgraded from a first gen iPhone to the iPhone 3Gs. The 3Gs speed really does make a big difference for me – I feel less like I’m waiting on the device all the time (especially compared to the very snappy BlackBerry Bold I’ve used as my primary device recently).
Unfortunately my AT&T contract didn’t allow for the cheap upgrade, so I looked a couple of options:
- Cancel the second (iPhone) line and pay a $145 penalty, then create a new second line and get the iPhone 3Gs for $299 (total cost: $299 iPhone + $145 penalty + $35 activation fee = $479).
- Purchase the iPhone 3Gs as an upgrade on the iPhone line for $499 (total cost: $499 iPhone + $18 upgrade fee = $517).
I was leaning towards the first option to save a few bucks, twitter’ed about it, and got this response from Dougal:
…have you read about the possible discount if you buy the new #iphone via a #bing search?
A quick search resulted in this explanation, which led to reading more on the Bing site and the following option:
Purchase the iPhone 3Gs as an upgrade on the iPhone line for $499 with a 35% discount via Bing Cashback (total cost: $499 iPhone + $18 upgrade fee – $174.65 Bing Cashback = $342.35).
That’s only a few bucks more than the $299 new line cost without a penalty – which seemed like a fair price to me. It was definitely the best option for me because with option #1 above the $145 penalty wouldn’t have received the discount, resulting in that option costing $374.35.
The Bing Cashback system is a little uncomfortable to use. The discount isn’t referenced or displayed anywhere on the AT&T site or in the checkout process – you have to trust that you will indeed get the cashback check. I figured this was worth the risk – and that Microsoft with this being a push to get people to use Bing, they would probably care about making sure I had a good experience and make sure I got the discount.
Things didn’t go smoothly, but I don’t think it was Bing’s fault. AT&T’s site was having problems and kept kicking me out. I think that caused the transaction token to get lost or not applied properly. Bing Cashback has an FAQ describing what to do in these situations.
I followed the instructions, sent in the order # and a PDF of the order confirmation email, and a day later the credit appeared in my Bing Cashback account. Took about 5 minutes work or so, seems like a fair trade-off.
So I’ve used Bing for the first time – and it seems to have gone pretty much as it was supposed to. I typically just buy everything online through Amazon since I have Prime, but I’ll certainly consider Bing Cashback in the future for larger ticket items.
And I decided to blog about it. I’d say their promotion/campaign worked in this case.
When did you buy the iphone on bing? What time and day? it looks like it is not coming up anymore. Bue there is a link that looks like it kind of works so not sure if they will honor it.
Were you permitted to change your AT&T service from the original iPhone to your new iPhone 3Gs? I was told that the original iPhone data plan wasn’t available on 3G models.
To avoid the early termination fee, you’ll continue paying the monthly service fee for the old phone in addition to the new “3G” plan on the new one, right?
[…] How to get an iPhone 3GS for cheap ($175 off) with Microsoft Bing’s Cash Back (via Alex King) […]
Glad that turned out to be helpful!
It might be a while before I can think about upgrading. There’s all these other things demanding attention from my bank account, like our back deck needing to be rebult, possible hail damage to our roof, kid’s braces, etc. 🙂
Thanks for posting this, I was looking for someone to take the jump on the bing search trick. Very cool.
My cashback never showed up either, and I sent Bing support request through there site. I just got an e-mail back that said that AT&T was not allowing the cashback becuase it was considered an “upgrade” and they do not qualify. I was not in contract any longer, and paid the same price that everone else would have paid for a new phone with a 2 year contract. I’ve emailed back to Bing and will see what happens.
You did the same I did. They won’t help you. They’ll keep citing the same terms on AT&T’s site about how upgrades are not allowed, even if you were not on a plan contract anymore. I’ve been on AT&T’s network for years and “upgrade” has always been defined as being able to upgrade your service plan or hardware while still within your current contract without the normal penalty. In our case, it was a new contract.
Bing doesn’t care. Despite AT&T’s Bing terms not clarifying, they’ll keep citing the same subsection and keep claiming it means anything that isn’t a brand new customer, even if you point out the difference.
I even asked them to cite a different passage of anything in AT&T’s dozens of terms of service and agreements that defines upgrade the way they are, and the support guy I was assigned wouldn’t do it. He just kept apologizing for being unclear and then repeating his same interpretation.
Oh, and if those fuckers call screwing me out of nearly a hundred and thirty bucks an “inconvenience” one more time I’m going to… piss and moan about it on the internet some more.
Yep. That’s what I call a fantastic first impression for Bing. I know what I won’t be touching again any time soon.
is the 35% still working right now ?
can someone give me a link?
i cant find it on bing.com.
Unfortunately for many customers they have not been reliable in honoring the cashback requests. Please read more about this at http://digg.com/d1wcdx – When presented with the screenshots and evidence from customers at this Get Satisfaction link, the initial response from Bing Cashback has been to stay silent. With only a few customers posting there so far, this is a good strategy for them if they expect this to go unnoticed. Negative experiences please post your Bing Cashback ticket number so they can help you if they so choose. Positive experiences please post so that it can be documented they have already honored this in some cases, and should do the same for the rest of us. By posting your experiences, you help to hold them to what was advertised and remind them to deal with you in an honest manner in the future. Thank you for your help with this.
I wonder if this post says more for Twitter than it does for Bing Cashback? 🙂 Nice saving btw