When deals aren’t all they seem

I’ve noticed recently that some companies are coming up with increasingly creative ways to fool customers into thinking they’re getting a good deal.

One very obvious example is Skinny’s 28-day mobile offerings. Here’s a look at the kinds of phone plans you can get in New Zealand at the time of publishing:

  • 2degrees: $30 a month for 300 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and 2.5gb of data.
  • Spark: $39.99 a month for 300 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, 2gb of data, Spotify and Lightbox.
  • Vodafone: $39.99 a month for 300 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, 2.5gb of data.
  • Skinny: $26 per four weeks for 300 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and 2.5gb of data.

Good deal right? Skinny gives you the same product as all the other providers for $4 less than the next cheapest offering. Multiply by 12 months, that’s a $48 saving! Four weeks is only 2-3 days shorter than a month and the same length as February three years out of four.

EXCEPT – There are 12 months in a year. But there are a little over 13 four week periods. On an annual basis you’d be paying $360 with 2degrees and approximately $340 with Skinny, depending on whether it’s a leap year or not. Still $20 cheaper but not the savings you probably thought you were getting.

Now neither Skinny nor 2degrees nor anyone else are paying me to write this. And to make a final decision you’d have to take into account factors such as discounts for having broadband and mobile with the same provider, whether the modem/router is included for free or whether you have to pay for it up front, whether you’d be paying separately for Spotify anyway if you didn’t go with Spark, etc.

Skinny could well be the cheapest option in the end. And for those of us seeking to reach financial independence as soon as possible that’s really all that matters. It’s an open secret that Skinny are just budget Spark the way Jetstar is budget Qantas. But they sure are being sneaky about their prices!

Comment Policy: For this blog, I’ve implemented a Comment with Kindness policy. You can read more about it here, but the gist of it is: Follow what I call the “Grandma Rule”. If you wouldn’t take that tone with your grandma, your comment probably won’t make it through moderation.

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