TikToker shocked by high Verizon bill over 'free' Apple Watch promo

in Apple Watch
A TikTok creator claims she was scammed by a Verizon store over the Apple Watch, after being told a promotion involving the wearable devices didn't use cellular service, except they did.

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE

Retailers often provide extra hardware as a promotional item to encourage customers into buying products or services. While in most cases it's all above board, one TikTok user believes that they were tricked into something they didn't agree to.

In a video posted by "@Meganmauk" on TikTok, her family went to a Verizon store to upgrade their old phones for new models. During the exchange, a supervisor jumped in to provide two free Apple Watches as part of a "promo," reports Daily Dot.

After fearing something may be "too good to be true," the family was assured that there was "no cell gear attached to them" and that they weren't "top of the line" models. It turned out the models were the Apple Watch SE.

The mother of the family handed the Apple Watches to Meg, who decided to give one away, but checked with the store to confirm there wasn't any "strings attached." At that time, the mom also spotted a price increase on the bill, which is to be expected with upgrades, but the employee said the price would decrease in 23 months.

Later, the family were stung by an unexpectedly large $600 bill. Confronting the store, it turned out that the Apple Watch units did actually have cellular service after all, despite assurances they didn't.

After an initial video on the affair, seen by Meg's 216,000 followers, a second was posted detailing the "worst experience" of her life, as she went to the store again and dealt with the same employee to try and return the watches.

Another employee waded into the discussion, accusing Meg of "bullying", though the TikToker says she didn't raise her voice or act insultingly. Meg then went to another Verizon outlet, who apparently agreed that the figures "weren't adding up."

While it is unclear if the situation has been resolved, it does highlight the need for consumers to thoroughly check any deals or contracts that they sign up for, especially if there's a "free" element that may end up with ongoing running costs.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 13
    One thing to know about Verizon is that they only sell Apple Watches and iPads with cellular service. I’m not saying this woman should have known that but it’s something everyone should keep in mind.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    timatima Posts: 8member
    I always thought that IF you bought the Apple Watch with cellular service, you had to physically activate this service and could turn it off, just like you can in the iPad that offers  cellular service. 

  • Reply 3 of 13
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 509member
    I'm not clear what would cost $600?  Apple Watch cellular plans are what...$10-$15 per month?  Was the $600 for the actual watches?  The story makes it sound like it has to do with cellular but cannot figure out how that could cost $600?
  • Reply 4 of 13
    jfabula1jfabula1 Posts: 138member
    tima said:
    I always thought that IF you bought the Apple Watch with cellular service, you had to physically activate this service and could turn it off, just like you can in the iPad that offers  cellular service. 

    You are absolutely correct 
  • Reply 5 of 13
    If only Apple Watches with cellular capability were somehow marked, like maybe with a different color, so that they could be differentiated from non-cellular models. Oh wait...
  • Reply 6 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,265member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    I'm not clear what would cost $600?  Apple Watch cellular plans are what...$10-$15 per month?  Was the $600 for the actual watches?  The story makes it sound like it has to do with cellular but cannot figure out how that could cost $600?
    I'm equally confused. The $600 figure doesn't seem to make sense - unless you're pre-paying for 24 months of Apple Watch LTE service at $25 per month for 2 lines. That kind of makes sense from a dollars and cents standpoint, ignoring the apparent deceptive practice from the customer's standpoint and recall.

    This is simply something that Meganmauk needs to get to the bottom of. I'm assuming this person is an adult and can unwind all of the details by reading the contract and talking to Verizon customer service. Taking the discrepancy to TikTok is probably not the best path to reaching a resolution - in my opinion. I wish people would try to solve personal issues at a personal level rather than making them a public spectacle, but the world has kind of gone mad and stupid with their relationship with social media, using it as the nuclear shaming weapon, which unfortunately is the first option selected in far too many instances.

    I recently had a run-in with Spectrum over service plans and billing when I turned in all of my set top boxes and switched 100% to Apple TVs. It should have been as simple as deleting the monthly service charges for the set top boxes from my bill, which I confirmed when I talked to customer service over the phone. Spectrum offered to mail me boxes with prepaid shipping labels to return the hardware, but I decided it would be easier just to drop them off at a nearby Spectrum wireless store.

    No problem, so I thought. But when I checked everything upon leaving the store and heading home, I realized the Spectrum representative (salesperson) that removed the set top boxes from my account also changed my base service plan over to an entirely new plan that included phone service and a router. Like WTF? I returned to the store immediately, but they had closed the store an hour earlier than the time posted on the door. So I called customer service and explained the whole thing to them. You know what? They fixed the problem and gave me a substantial reduction in my monthly service cost, probably the rate they give new subscribers to lure them in, and gave me a one-time credit for $50.

    The takeaways for me are; 1) communicating with people directly, rather than through online shaming, can actually work in your favor and solve issues, and 2) be very wary of all dealing with salespeople who are working on commissions or getting rewards for pushing certain products, like phone service and wireless service. I should have been wary after the 5-minute spiel about the many benefits of Spectrum Wireless over my current wireless service plan. Okay, I'll throw in a 3rd lesson, which most everyone here already knows, which is - if salespeople are offering you anything for "free" you're a fool if you believe that you're not actually paying for it. Salespeople are obviously not all bad, but always be wary and triple check, have everything in writing, and read and understand what the writing says.
    edited May 2023 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraAlex1Nneilmtokyojimu
  • Reply 7 of 13
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,891member
    Not surprised at all. My daughter had something very similar happen when she went to a Verizon store to get a new phone. They sold her a ‘free’ iPad with cellular service. Completely glossed over/lied about the fact that it was a cellular iPad that came with a 2 year contract. 

    You can say that people should read the contract and while technically true the reality is that it’s several pages of fine print legalese that’s difficult to understand and the relevant parts are often obscured ¾ of the way in. When a consumer comes in and a salesperson says ‘this is the contract. It just means xxx, sign here’ people take them at their word.  

    Also, people on AI know that cellular watches are marked, but the average consumer doesn’t, and iPads aren’t really marked at all.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    The $600 charge was probably from the one they gave away to a friend. These are usual “free” if you carry the $10 a month in cellular. Once the unit switched to a different account/service, they were billed the full amount.

    A lot of tiktokkers are not the brightest bunch and like to invent drama for hits. This seems less a shady dealer than a customer that a) accidentally or willfully didn’t understand what they were told, b) made a big deal on social media to pad their views and get a deal they wouldn’t have normally.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    All cellular service providers only offer Apple devices that use cellular service. And whether you get it free or pay a little each month for the device, you are expected to also subscribe to a cellular plan for the device for a minimun time for freebies and for the duration of the payment plan for those you buy over time.

    As plainly stated in the Service Contract, cancelation of the cellular service early results in you owing the full cost of the device immediately.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Verizon had a door-to-door salesperson try to get me on their 5G Home Internet plan. The sales tactics were sketchy and when he showed me the price it didn’t even match up with what he was quoting. I pointed it out but he called it just a prorated amount in the first month. I kept pointing out that it looked like I would get charged a full month’s charge and this proration, but he just kept glossing over it.

    The encounter reminded me I don’t get good Verizon cell service at my work office which luckily I only have to visit once a week for now. So, I switched to T-Mobile. 
  • Reply 11 of 13
    neilmneilm Posts: 984member
    It’s worth reminding ourselves that Verizon is in the business of selling cellular services, not giving away non-cellular devices. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the iPads and Apple Watches they’re promoting are those that will generate ongoing revenue for Verizon.

    That doesn’t excuse Verizon for any attempts to film-flam their customers, but it should help to set realistic expectations.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    ITGUYINSD said:
    I'm not clear what would cost $600?  Apple Watch cellular plans are what...$10-$15 per month?  Was the $600 for the actual watches?  The story makes it sound like it has to do with cellular but cannot figure out how that could cost $600?

    Your confusion is entirely understandable.  Verizon, and the other carriers, are deliberately obtuse about what their products and services actually cost.  They hide reality behind phrases like "introductory" or "qualified purchases" or "bundled services".  Lying by omission is common.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Is crazy how I went to the Verizon store bought the iPhone 14 plus that had a promotion. It was suppose to come with the Apple Watch SE. This dude seriously did his thing and did not provided me the promotion. But gave it to the female next to me. Mind you I’m still waiting and observing this dude like bruh are you for real?????? It’s been six (6) months and I’m still asking for that promo. They keep doing me wrong. Like why am i still with this company. I should report their asses and take this to the channel news. So much scammer in-stores and the representative over the phone don’t even know about these things. Nor does corporate. This is messed up. SMH - I want my WATCHHHHH
    edited August 2023
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