The Cost of a Free Phone with Buy One Get One (BOGO)

BOGO - Buy One Get One

BOGO – Buy One Get One

The Cost of a Free Phone with Buy One Get One (BOGO)

Why the Free Phone on T-Mobile’s BOGO costs $1056

Update 8/31/2017: There is another BOGO promo starting tomorrow on the Galaxy Note 8. With the requirement to buy both phones on EIP (Equipment Installment Program) the actual cost of the “free” phone works out similarly to the math below. The “free” Samsung Galaxy Note 8 from T-Mobile will cost a little over a thousand dollars.

It’s almost Father’s day again, and carriers are running their multiple time yearly Buy One Get One promotions on some of the hottest new Flagship devices from Samsung, LG, Apple iPhone, and anything else that comes along that everyone wants.  Whether it’s a new iOS Apple iPhone or an Android Smartphone from Samsung or LG,  a true Buy One Get One offer is a GREAT deal.

Consider – right now, you can get the current LG flagship smartphone – the LG G6 for an incredible price of $500 from T-Mobile.  And that’s the real thing – $500 for one of the best, if not the best, flagship phone in 2017, for over $150 off! No strings attached. And the fact is that LG did run a REAL BOGO (Buy One, Get One) deal through T-Mobile that lasted for about 48 hours (before T-Mobile ended it early and abruptly).  That’s right, for a 48 hour period, you could get TWO LG G6 smartphones from T-Mobile for a TOTAL of $500!  That’s $250 apiece!  It was real, and I was fortunate enough to get the offer during that period (It was purely coincidence that I stopped by a T-Mobile retail location with a friend when I saw it). I’ve already received my $500 electronic check from LG for the second phone.  What I just described is a REAL BOGO (Buy One Get One) deal on a flagship smartphone from a major carrier!


The main problem with the BOGO (Buy One Get One) Smartphone deal.

The main problem with this fantastic BOGO deal is that they don’t exist. I mean, this one did for about 4two days.  It was supposed to last for two months, but it was abruptly stopped by T-Mobile after 48 hours with no explanation of why. I contacted them several times for a comment, and when John Ledger referred me to his “executive media specialist”, I thought I was finally going to get a real answer.  I could quote here what I received from them, but suffice to say that every reply I received was the same scripted answer that you would receive today if you were to ask why that promotion ended: something that boils down to “ask LG”. It appears as though the offer was made through LG, and somehow T-Mobile let it slip through the cracks.  In other words, the BOGO deal I received through T-Mobile – the really great deal of owning two LG G6 Flagship Smartphones for a grand total of $500 plus sales tax – was a mistake.  LG didn’t make a mistake.  It seems that T-Mobile made a mistake when they let the promotion happen through their stores. After all, this promotion didn’t follow the details of a typical T-Mobile “un-carrier” BOGO smartphone promotion.

What IS the typical BOGO Smartphone promotion and what was this one missing?

It was missing two crucial things. Two things that transform it from being a great deal for the consumer, into being a deceitful tactic of the un-carrier to part you from your money. Here are the two things that were not part of the promotion:

  1. You must purchase BOTH phones on EIP (Equipment Installment Plan). It’s a great plan where you pay for the phone, with the cost split up over x payments, usually 24 – no interest. Great deal
  2. You must add at least one line to your current plan whether you need one or not.


So BOGO (Buy One Get One) Carrier offers are a Scam?

No.  Just as with all offers, there is some fine print. Let’s look at that fine print and see what it means. Maybe it’s still a great deal.  Spoiler: it isn’t.

The problem with these BOGO deals (most of them) is that they are fake. For some mysterious reason, you MUST buy them on what would be a great financing plan to qualify – EIP, quickly turns to a terrible deal when you find out  EIP REQUIRES a $12 month/phone payment for “Handset Protection Plus” – essentially useless insurance ($200 deductible) through Assurant.

The second problem is that new line. If you happen to need one, that’s great.  But most people don’t. And at a minimum of $20/month for that new line, it’s less great. In fact, it’s the opposite of great.

Maybe there’s hope.  Let’s do the numbers on the current BOGO deal, using the most optimistic numbers possible. The LG G6 is still on sale for $500.  Killer deal, especially when you buy two.  This is the cost of doing that under the new promotion.

  • $1000 – Two flagship Phones original purchase
  • $576 – That EIP monthly payment on both phones
  • $480 – Absolute minimum for the extra line you didn’t need.
  • $2056 – Total for the two phones
  • -$500 – Can’t forget this! It is the big deal! Credit for the free phone.

$1556 – Total Out of Pocket. What you end up paying for your two LG G6 Phones from T-Mobile under their BOGO (Buy One Get One) promotion.

Through the FREE PHONE promotion and considering the absolute best case, you’ve scored TWO LG-G6 flagship smartphones for $1556, or $778 each!  Let’s see how that compares. Ok so…

If you walk in and buy two LG-G6 phones on sale and don’t use the promotion, you walk out with two LG-G6 phones for $500 each.  That’s still a killer deal!

If you take advantage of the Buy One Get One promotion, and complete all the paperwork, qualify, etc, you can leave the store with two LG-G6 phones, while they are on sale (I feel guilty double dipping on this one!) for about $778 each!  Maybe my numbers are off.  What is the cost for just the free one if you buy the first one at $500?  Let’s see, that’s $1056 for the FREE PHONE!

So, the free LG G6 Smartphone in T-Mobile’s BOGO (Buy One Get One) LG G6 promotion, costs $1056.

In T-Mobile’s BOGO promotion, the free phone that currently retails for $500, is $1056.

So, for your free LG-G6 at T-Mobile you are paying $1056. I don’t know if the Samsung numbers work out better or worse. But a free phone for a bit over double the current retail price just doesn’t seem right to me.