Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I WON a Palm Treo Pro, and then was asked to pay $500 to get the "Prize".

Here's something really annoying that happened to me recently. On March 29th, I went to an internet business convention which hosted businessmen from Israel, the US and other countries. It's a respectable and known convention called Com.Vention. One of the largest booths, by a large cellular phone carrier called Pelephone, presented a cute little game based on Wii and huge screens. They asked people to register with their phone numbers and every hour and a half the highest score won a brand new Palm Treo Pro (I wish it was a palm pre, but pro is nice too.) I WON! Yes, I got the highest score at one round and was one of the winners (there were ~5 winners that day). This screen shows my WIN. After all the clapping and bells, I was taken aside and I was told that in order to receive the phone I must sign-up with the phone carrier for at least 18 months in which I need to pay for services and must subscribe to internet access too. A short calculation made me realize that the so-called "prize" will cost me at least $500. This was annoying. I told them to keep the phone and went away, rather angry. This is the place to tell you that I actually like the palm series. I owned a Palm III, Palm IIIc (bought one for my wife too), Palm 505 and Palm T2. I even developed a small application for the palm. After I got home, I was still angry, so I blogged about it in Hebrew and friends of mine started referring to the post on Twitter nad Facebook. The next day I got a phone call from the spokeswoman of Pelephone. She told me that she saw my post and tried to explain how this is an "expensive prize" and how they can't give away such prizes to customers, to which I replied by explaining to her that I'm NOT their customer. As I see it, the price of the phone was payed by the leads they got in the booth, including my business card, and what they did was not only greedy but also stupid from the marketing perspective. After two long phone calls, Pelephone's spokeswoman offered me three months of free internet subscription if I take their deal. That's $30 worth discount on the $500 they want me to pay to get the prize. She called that a gift too. The nerve! My company wouldn't do business with a company that conducts their business in such a manner, and instead of posting about the virtues of the palm I posted about their poor marketing skills. I also told many of the people in the convention, friends who are all business people in the high-tech industry about the incident and they were all surprised and angry when they heard that. I took some videos and pictures of the booth before I realized what a bad deal it was. Have a look (HD video, using my Panasonic TZ15). They havn't contacted me since. The irony is that the main theme of that convention was how social networking can be used to help businesses. They should have entered one of the lectures. I really hope that the bad reputation they'll get from this will change their mind about pulling this kind of stunt again.

No comments:

Post a Comment