Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red Slice, VM Stash

First off, some good\neat news...

Now available from BestBuy is a red version of the UTStarComm Slice. Dunno about anyone else, but some people, me included, think that the red plastic on the phone looks better\sturdier than the black plastic of the normal Slice. And it's red. But then again it's $50 plus tax and shipping (if your local BestBuy is a long ways away\doesn't have the red version of the phone\both of the above), whereas next Friday RadioShack will have the sufficiently good-looking black model for a mere $20 plus tax. But hey, people pay more for red stuff than black stuff, and more for black stuff than white or silver stuff usually. Just ask Apple ;) Oh, and the box of the Slice says "Red" in little letters above "Slice". Nifty...

That's the good part of this post. Now to the bad part: showing what a total ripoff Virgin Mobile's
Stash card is. Take as a contrast my personal bank account, which I'm changing soon to something even better...

I don't get any rewards, but the debit card is just $12 a year. No per transaction fees. And I only had to spend $25 to open my bank account, which has no monthly fees, no minimums, etc.

On the other hand, you have Virgin Mobile's Stash card. Which costs $6 a month...if you have a Virgin Mobile account! Otherwise it's $10 a month! Anyway, to add insult to injury, you can also opt for a per-swipe cost $1 per item bought! I use my debit card waaaaaaay too much for the first, and the Stash card costs as much in two months as my debit card costs in a year! And I'm complaining about my debit card costing, since another local bank offers a debit card for free ($100 minimum deposit).

Adding even more insult to injury is Virgin Mobile's "Rewards" program. Where they start you off with 200 points, if you spend $60 to put $50 onto your card. How much are these points worth? Zippo, until you spend $300 (your initial $50 plus another $250, plus per-transaction or monthly fees) using the card. At which point you have 500 reward points and can get...gasp...25 minutes of airtime for your phone! Let's see...$310 spend...minimum...for $4.50 in rewards. But paid them $10 to start out they're still making money off of you!

It gets just get a point for every dollar you spend after those first 200 points in bonuses. So you're gonna hafta spend $500 (!) plus transaction and monthly fees (!!!) to get another $4.50 in airtime. And I'm betting that you're going to have to pay either the $5.95 monthly charge or $5+ in transaction charges to put $500 of spend on your card.

But wait...this isn't out of character for Virgin Mobile after all! *shrugs* Just don't get pulled in my this whopper that you actually gain something from using the Stash card.

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