I just joined AARP the American Association of Retired People and thought I'd check out a cell phone.
First, I'd like to preface this experience by saying I have attempted to get someone to respond to me since April. I'm a new member, surely someone would help? After customer service ignored me for a month, I tried to contact the CEO Bill Novelli, President Marie Smith, AARP Services President, Dawn Sweeney and finally got Dawn's assistant. I'm still waiting for a legitimate explanation of the pricing for this benefit.
Here's where members are getting clipped. And, obviously, it can't be the only high-priced product or service that AARP offers at a discount to its members.
Their benefit partner for cell phones is Wirefly Wireless.
Here's the AARP rate: $39/month for 200 minutes offered.
YET, go to the Wirefly website and the general public gets these choices:
$29/mo for 300 minutes
$44/mo for 1000 minutes!
AND, ALL other plans - Verizon, Sprint, Liberty are cheaper, by far, than our AARP "BENEFIT!" Verizon, for example is $39/month with 450 minutes DOUBLE the offering.
What's going on here? AARP has the buying power of tens of millions. And this group is paying higher rates than a guy walking off the street?
Is the assumption made that members won't shop? Is AARP receiving $20 or so a month as a revenue-sharing deal from AARP wireless subscribers? This makes no sense.
Who would be ignorant enough to buy into this?
But wait, there's more...
I called AARP who couldn't respond/answer my question about the above concerns.
They sent me to Wirefly sales where they couldn't answer.
Sales then sent me to Wirefly customer service which is totally automated and won't respond unless I key in an order number. That's the AARP vendor partner.
This is a summary of my first experience with AARP.
Evidently their customer service strategy is to ignore people until they go away.
Now, I'm skeptical about whether any of these benefits are truly benefits.
These vendors are spending small fortunes to market anywhere and by going through AARP in some revenue-sharing deal (scheme a better word?), the can get the leverage of access to a huge membership list. And they are outrageously over-charging members.