Temporarily removed refurbs

I'm sure folks will be wondering why the refurbs vanished from the Ting site tonight (Wednesday). There were some posts around the Internet about using Ting to get cheap phones that don't actually need to be brought to Ting and we had a very "exciting" day of sales. Of course, the buyers will have a tough time taking those phones anywhere but they don't know that and it doesn't help us recover a lot of costly inventory. I hate that good folks end up being penalized (even temporarily) while we figure out how to deal with bad folks. But that's what happening right now.

We will get them back up there as soon as possible. We apologize.

3

Comments

39 comments
  • Just curious, why do you say they will have a hard time taking them to another carrier? I thought ting phones were unlocked and able to be used on any network that didn't require a SIM?

    Use email if you don't want to post reply here. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Hi,
    I am waiting for the shipment of my refurb lg marquee which I ordered on Nov 5 so that I can start using Ting. I was so excited to see that it site said shipment in 2-3 days yesterday instead of 1-2 weeks. Has this sudden influx of sales affected the shipment status of my order?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • @Mike - the concept of "unlocked" doesn't really apply to CDMA phones the same way it does to GSM. With CDMA, each carrier has its own database of ESNs that will work on their network; anything not on their whitelist will not work.

    If you took a Ting phone to Verizon, for example, there's (probably) no technical reason the phone wouldn't work on their network. We haven't 'locked' the phone in any way. However, Verizon would have to add the ESN to their database, and I believe most carriers refuse to do that.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Of course this happens on the day we decide to get the LG Marquee refurbished for my son's first phone.  I hope you get this phone back or something similar in build/cost.  Thanks for the update.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Gary, we will get them back on there as quickly as possible. That's the real cost (to all of us) here. These are great devices at a great price and they are helping us welcome a lot of new people to Ting. We're working on a solution that more intelligently rewards people and actions. Sorry again.

    Thanks.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kat, this shouldn't affect you. We should just be scrutinizing the orders yesterday.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Michael, does the scrutiny extend to/affect orders from Tuesday evening (11/13)?  I should be taking delivery on a M370 feature phone this Friday that was shipped earlier in the week, and I was hoping to hear that the Transform Ultra refurbs I ordered Tuesday would soon be joining it.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • No, Todd, this wouldn't affect you. We are only reviewing the orders from 11/14.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Taylor,

    Thanks.  That makes more sense to me now.

    Michael,

    If the goal here is to discourage sales to people who are not intending to use ting service, then just warn them of that with a message during the checkout process.  More or les, "This device will only work on the ting or Sprint networks".

    Another deterrent to device buyers with no intent of opening a ting account... Make the prices MSRP, but give a rebate on the account.  So however much you are subsidizing a device, offer that as a credit on the account for airtime. 

    Also wondering, do you guys ever check "devices sold" against "devices activated"?  You would know then how many people bought a device without using it here.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Thanks Mike. I appreciate the thoughts. That's totally how we're thinking about it too. We'll move from a device discount to a credit on service on devices that are "dangerously inexpensive" already.

    We do look closely at our activation rates. So far, we don't seem to have a problem. Some people who haven't gotten around to activating, are giving a device to someone as a gift and stuff like that. But nothing alarming (until the seeming influx of non-likely-activators yesterday).

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Sigh, that's so silly. I can't believe people are such sheep to take the word of some random idiot blog/forum posts without taking even 5 minutes to understand the underlying architecture. Serves them right for getting burned.

    Ting folks: I'd suggest removing the subsidies on the devices at the time of purchase and instead offer the same subsidy as a service credit to the account applied once it is activated. I know this would mean you may have to change the subsidy amount provided to be uniform across phones (or disclose the subsidy for each device). At least this way you can sell these at a tiny markup so that these kinds of sales don't hurt the business.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Once again... proof that no good deed goes unpunished :-)

    By the way I definitely fall into the category of "Some people who haven't gotten around to activating, are giving a device to someone as a gift and stuff like that".  We bought an LG Optimus S refurb for a gift (and subsequently saw the price drop $10 two days later) so those exceptions really do happen, probably not a large percentage as you're saying though.

    • Sandy
    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I ordered a refurb Marquee on Nov 9th.  At the time it said it would be shipped in 1-2 weeks.  I was happy to see a few days ago on the devices page that Marquees would be shipped in 2-3 days.  How far out are Marquees at this point in light of this recent ordering issue?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I ordered and activated two refurbished LG Marquees for my wife and myself, and later ordered a third one for my son to use in permanent airplane mode (but with WiFi turned back on) as an Android equivalent of an iPod Touch. We may activate it for him someday, but he is not old enough to need a cell phone yet. I heartily endorse the suggestions to issue a service credit with device purchases, rather than applying a straight-up discount, so that Ting does not lose money in a case like this.  Personally, I would have no qualms about paying a little more for my son's device; I have quickly become a huge believer in Ting and desperately want its business model to succeed!

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Jon, you make me want to be a better phone company.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I am also a huge believer and want Ting to succeed. We ordered 3 refurb Lg Marquee phones on Nov 5. My dh ,ds and I  each ordered one. I have so much faith in Ting (customer service is awesome) that I bought 1,000 shares of TUCOWS stock on Nov 6. (The price difference if we bought  the phones new at retail price.) We have been out of contract with Sprint for the last  3 years , trying to decide whether to change or not.Once I heard about Ting it was a no-brainer to sign up, I can hardly wait to receive and try out the phones before porting our telephone numbers. Do you have any idea when the phones will be shipped?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kat, if you have a question about your shipment, the best thing is to submit the question to help@ting.com. Someone will definitely get back to you and track that for you.

    Meanwhile, take a peek at TCX (your Tucows stock) today.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Wow! I am impressed.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Just a note of caution: I know you need to find a balance between encouraging people to try Ting and not just giving away phones with no hope to recoup costs, but a service discount rather than a phone discount would have definitely held us back or at least made us think longer about trying Ting.  It was the fact that the phone was such a small outlay to try the service that got us in the door, so to speak.  Service is already cheap enough to try for a month in my opinion.  A discount on service that may not even work well enough where I live isn't a very enticing deal because at that point I could just cancel it and be out the $10 or so it would cost to try service initially.  Being out the cost of a $100+ phone if it didn't work out would give me pause.  We tried Ting with the Optimus S for $13 after the $50 promo code, so for around $25 we were able to try a new phone company before canceling with our own.  That's what got us on board with trying Ting.

    If you do find you need to go this direction, I personally think a device rebate would be more appropriate than a service discount if your goal is to get people to give Ting a try.  Something along the lines of a $[whatever amount] rebate on the phone after activation (perhaps one that can be either paid out or applied to future service bills as the customer chooses)--whether a customer sticks with Ting long term or not--would be reasonable.  It might not weed out all the people giving you a hard time as some might just activate and then cancel soon after the rebate was awarded, but it would probably significantly lower the number of people just looking for a cheap phone while not keeping those who honestly do want Ting to work for them from trying it out.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Great points, Christopher. We are definitely aware that a service credit is not nearly as motivating (or "unpausing") as a discount on the device. We're going to still try to give that device discount except when it gets too close to $0. And we can think more about the difference between a conditional rebate and a service credit.

    We certainly do want to stay focused on giving people a taste of Ting (a Tasting, if you will). 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I'm happy to find this thread and have been monitoring it. I purchased a refurbished LG Optimus S for myself last week and activated it yesterday. I'm already sold, and I plan to purchase another device for my son as a Christmas gift as soon as the refurbished devices return. Not only do I think I will save on monthly minutes vs. the Tracfone he currently uses, but I'm also thrilled about the available dashboard controls to deal with things like internet access. This company has set all the right features for managing a child's' phone access. I'm certain this is going to be a perfect fit for him and Mom.

    I am an instant convert to Ting (and the best part was canceling Verizon)!

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I'm sure glad I ordered that refurb Transform Ultra for my wife on Tuesday!  (I have every intention of activating it, FWIW, but it'll be a month or so before her prepaid Tracfone minutes run out.)

    I noticed the Samsung Galaxy Victory (non refurb) disappeared from the devices page too; did it just sell out?  I've had my eye on that one for awhile, since it's a more pocketable size and more palatable price than the Galaxy SIII, while retaining most of the features...

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • @Taylor I don't agree with what you said on the technical details.

    CDMA phones are not locked. The difficulties of moving sprint phones to verizon is definitely not about adding ESN. Actually sprint bad esn phones can be activated in verizon because it will not be recognized as bad esn in verizon database.

    The difficulties lies in the difference in hardware and software. The phone will need be flashed with appropriate parameters for the new network, and there could be more hassles to get real 3G speed. But it can be done, seriously, with the coverage and depth of BYOD discussion in Ting forums, I think the things above should be known for everybody!

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Couldn't Ting potentially detect "spam buyers" of phones, from the number of orders he placed? Usually the profit-motivated buyers/ebay-ers would place a large quantity of orders.

    I am sure there are many folks who had been following Ting, and wanted to time their device purchase and "contract" end with another carrier. Getting to know about a great price reading a forum by itself should not be a crime in my opinion.

    Anyway I totally agree that this is an extremely difficult item to filter, and many potentially good intention buyers also could be affected by the "bad intention" buyers.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Manoj, we've already got a plan to make the "good intention buyers" completely whole here. We've reached out to everyone who purchased a device on Wednesday and offered to just shift their promo from a discount on the device to a credit against service (and increase it, actually). It's the easiest way to weed out people who never intended to use the service at all. Meanwhile, we are tweaking the way first-time purchase promotions work on the site for very low priced devices and we will get those refurbs back up there as soon as we can.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Let me throw my 2 cents in.

    It's a fine line you will be walking with the credit promo vs device discount.

    I'm of the same mind as Christopher Hayes, but I would not have tried Ting if they hadn't been offering a smart phone for under $100.00 (LG Marquee refurb).

    To be more specific, if had to initially outlay over $100.00,  future credit or not, to use the service, I more than likely wouldn't have Ting service now.

    Even though I understand the need after what just happened with the recent rush on refurb purchases.

    The initial outlay is why a lot of people stay with their contract service even though in the long run it's more expensive, the monetary hit is spread out over time.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I agree with Brian.

    I carefully weighed my options between Ting and another carrier. While both services would have cost me essentially the same over a 24 month period taking into account the price of the phone, the other service heavily marked up its phones to cover its cut-rate pricing.

    I opted for Ting in part because I wasn't willing to shell out the high cost of the other service's phone up front.

    Had Ting's initial price been more expensive, I very likely would've opted for the other carrier.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I have to agree with Brian. I would have waited for another couple of months if the LG Optimus S hadn't been so darned inexpensive. Now I really want to get one for my husband, but if it's not as inexpensive I may not be able to swing it for ... another couple of months. As it is, if it was up on the website at the same price I got mine for, I would buy it today so I could say good-bye to Verizon Wireless before the end of the month.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Michael - I could not be happier with Ting and my refurbished LG Marquee and was ready to purchase another for my wife. Any safeguards these phones that were sold to buyers for other services could be retuned and show back up for sale on Ting. I'm just concerned  they could be repackaged, tampered with, etc.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Sorry - I meant Returned - not retuned lol

    0
    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.