Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Caveat Emptor

Posted by urufish on October 22, 2007


Charles and Luba are coming back to Uruguay this week.  Charles asked  us to pick up a cellphone for them.  I usually go to Motociclo to pickup inexpensive CTI phones.  I biked there around 8pm, but they close at 7pm.  A friend told me there’s one at Montevideo Shopping, so we drove over there.  Wrong…  But there was a CTI agent. 

We saw the selection of inexpensive pay as you go phones.  We chose a nice looking, colour pantalla from Samsung with a big, bright screen.  Easier to see in the daylight.  It was advertised for UYP799.  We asked the clerk and she said it includes UYP100 of usage.  We said OK… we’ll take it.

While she was preparing it, we read the promotional material at the booth.  There were 2 items that caught our attention.  The first was a sign that stated you get UYP200 off if you buy a pay as you go package. 

The 2nd was another sign that said you get UYP300 worth of calling and UYP250 worth of SMS messages if you purcahse the UYP799 Samsung,.  

We asked the girl for these discounts.  As soon as she opened her mouth, I knew this was going to be the Uruguayan shell game I’ve seen several times before.  My interest now is in hearing how they explain these things away, without you getting what is promised….  

First was the UYP200 discount.  That was an easy one.  She said the prices of UYP799 reflected the UYP200 discount.  It was really UYP999.   Duhhhhhhh…  Are you for real???  My wife, having lived in Canada for 30 years, pointed out that the phone was marked at UYP799.  There was a sign in full public view that said you get a UYP200 discount.  Subtract one from the other and you get UYP599.   If the phone really was supposed to be UYP999, it should be marked as such OR the sign should be removed.  You cant have it both ways.  OK.. Here’s the part I actually knew was coming.  She said she mentioned this to her boss before, but he said the signs stay.  We ask can we speak with the boss.   The boss is neither available nor reachable in these situations.   I kind of like this ‘the boss made me do it’ defense.  It’s clean.

 The next question was about the UYP300 and UYP250 discounts in the other promotion.  OK… Here we get a little deep.  This is more like the shell game defense.  Now you see it, now you dont, but dont worry, you will.   This one works this way… Every time you buy a calling card, you get bonus minutes.  Eg.  You buy a UYP150 card and you get an extra UYP50 pesos worth of calling/SMS, whatever.  For me, the problem is that I know about that promotion.  It’s generic..  covers all CTI card purchases.  It’s not specific to the two phones that show it as a unique promotion.  But that’s the explanation. 

I figure it’s worth it just to hear these stories…  The only problem is if you do this enough, they all sound like the same story after a while.  The entertainment value is gone.  You’re just left with the feeling someone passed their hands through your pocket 🙂    


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