Beware of MetroPCS's New Multi-Line Discount Plan
If you have Metro, you know that the service is marginal at best. The company's market appeal originates from its slogan "NO CONTRACTS." This allows them to tap a previously ignored but substantially increasing group--the subprime credit consumer.
Recently, the company has also benefitted from increasing consumer awareness about the pitfalls of signing up with companies that require 1 and 2-year contracts (e.g., early termination fees).
But did you know that you are under contract with Metro. Yes. It's their dirty little secret. They do not advertise it, nor do they publish it (at least not in larger than 6 point print). They merely slide it in there, betting that the average Metro customer is too stupid to locate it. And even if you do, the company is betting that you will not understand its significance.
Perhaps they are right. I just discovered it myself after 2-years with them. You see, I signed up for their multi-line discount plan in order to get my son a phone. I wasn't really looking for a discount. I was only looking to add a line. But I thought, "Why not?" The plan requires that consumers authorize automatic monthly payments from their credit cards. Not a problem, I thought. Until several months later, I happened to take a rare peak at my credit card statement and saw that my card was billed 5 days prior to my billing due date.
When I inquired about the problem, I was directed to the approximately 6-point print at the bottom of their web page: "terms and conditions." I click on it and what do you know! There's a rather lengthy contract that they say I agreed to merely by using my phone. Buried in this alleged agreement is a statement that: "As a convenience, you may authorize recurring payment of your MetroPCS bill through a credit card; this authorizes us to charge all amounts you owe us to the credit card up to five (5) days prior to the due date and to demand immediate payment from the card issuer."
If you read the language carefully you will note that it says nothing about use of a credit card being mandatory. In fact, the language states that the customer "may authorize" credit card payments. How does this language pertain to a service plan that makes a credit card payment mandatory? It doesn't. But is there a separate set of terms and conditions that specifically pertain to the Multi-line discount plan? No.
So, what is the big deal? So what if they bill you a little earlier, right? Wrong. If you have the kind of experience with the practices of these companies that I do, then you know that nothing is benign(sp?). If it's a practice, it's profitable. Metro could merely put the language on the advertisement. It could set due date five (5) days prior to late payment deadlines, etc. But it chooses to misrepresent to the customer that the due date is five days later, probably to cash in on late fees that are associated with a denied transaction so close to the actual due date.
I could be wrong on motive. However, it's clear that the practice does not help Metro's customers. To be fair, Metro claims that the purpose of the 5-day rule is to prevent the customer from incurring late payment penalties. They claim that a customer will receive a text message informing him or her that a payment was declined. Let's just hope everyone sees that message because certainly there's little time to do anything about it.