Monday, February 14, 2011

The Fiasco With Verizon

Recently Silviu and I did a little speculating on a certain product that was coming out with a lot of hype and very little anticipation apparently.  Our contention was that when the iPhone 4 was released on the Verizon network it would one… Sell out on pre-orders, two… it would sell out in stores, and three… that it would create demand that far exceeded the supply of the device.   This would create an opportunity that would allow us to sell the phone for vastly more than it was worth.  Our confidence in this measure was bolstered by the fact that we knew that when all of the iPhone models had been released on AT&T’s network there had been people doing this very same thing.  We were a tad bit strapped for cash at the time.  This was due to the fact that we had the majority of our money tied up in other investments and my job was being a tad bit unreliable.  However we felt that if we did not do it and it turned out to be a solid investment we would really regret it later.  Here are indicators of possible success or failure that we had accumulated going in to this proposition.

We had been doing research on our favorite selling website, ebay, and had come back with a lot of mixed results.  The phone had been selling for anywhere from 500$ and less to well over 1000$ dollars.  The majority of the ones that sold for a lot had a high shipping price and the ones that sold for less than what the actual phone was worth had mostly low shipping.  There are a lot of things that I don’t understand on ebay sometimes and this was one of them.  Still the results showed that the phone was selling for some pretty good amounts.  This was before pre-orders, so we felt that this would only lead to increased sales as the time for the actual phone to be released neared.

We also had the rationale that if the phone did not sell we had 14 days to return the phone for a loss of 35$.  Which would not be the worst loss we had ever had on an investment.  Now it seemed a little tricky on the part of Verizon, because the 14 days started when you actually bought the phone, not when you actually received it.  So we ordered it on the 3rd at 3 AM.  The clock was ticking.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 4 were available at 12:00 AM PST and 3:00 AM EST.  Being as how Silviu was gainfully employed at the time, it was me who was to wake up at 3 in the morning.  No problem I didn’t have much else to do at any rate.  So up I am at 3.  Buying the phone went without a hitch.   The next day we checked the Verizon website and found out that the pre-orders had all sold out.  So far so good.

We got the phone on Feb 6th.  We decided not to immediately list the phone on ebay; because one of our assumptions going in was that it was going to sell out opening day.  Since we wanted to sell the phone in a buy it now or make an offer listing we wanted to wait until the day before it came to stores for the increased attention and hopefully higher prices.

We listed the phone on Feb 8th one day before you could order it off of the internet and two days before you could get it in stores.  What follows are some of the messaged we received.  Keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of the many messages we received. 

Lead to this:
And was finished by this:

Now this seems like a reasonable message, excluding the fact that she actually offered to buy it and somehow didn't read the shipping, however the price she offered us... 25$...  I can only imagine her shock when, upon offering 25$ for an 800$ dollar phone, she comes to realize that these people do not want to subsidize her iPhone 4 purchase... Shame on us!

This was when we guessed that ehhhh it probably wasn't going to sell.

Now this was our favorite message of all...

How dare us people offer a product at a price that she didn't like!?  You would think that we killed someone with the amount of outrage in that message.

After reading the news with much hope that soon came crashing down. We learned that the iPhone was not going to sell out anytime soon, so we removed the auction and returned the phone.  We lost 35$, but that hasn’t’ been the stupidest investment we’ve ever made.  We did gain enormous amounts of entertainment from the trolls.  Hey it's worth something isn't it?

UPDATE:  Apparently Silviu still has the phone so if anybody wants to pay 1399.99 for a brand new Verizon iPhone 4 before 2/17/11 feel free to send me a shout and I will hook you up.

UPDATE 2/24 Apparently my image was unacceptable so that is why you are seeing that big red circle with a slash through it.


  1. Long read, but entertaining! Following.

  2. 1399.99 is pretty outrageous retail.

  3. Good read, I love my droid incredible too much to make the switch anytime soon.

  4. Well the phone is 800 dollars new. I had it where you could make an offer on it and I would of taken far less. When the iPhone came out for AT&T it easily sold for 2000$+ on opening day. I also would of hand delivered it.

  5. A very entertaining read! I quite enjoyed your approach to telling the story.

    Can't wait to read more about your business dealings.

  6. Haha, sounds like a great troll, not so much a great money making scheme

  7. "1399.99"

    I'll stick with my $30 Rumor2, thanks.

  8. hahah, too bad you couldn't see actual income from it. I prefer my trolls free.

    pardon my french but it's just ridiculous!

    well, i'm glad to have found another blog worthy of my morning time, i'll be drinking my coffee and reading this, hope you'll follow back!

  10. Wow, 1500 for a iphone 4, that's not worth it.

  11. Thanks for the read, I found it rather entertaining! Keep us interested!


  12. Hahaha, selling stuff is really funny and you need big guts. Must be hard.

  13. Good read. I have AT&T and iPhone and I'm very tired of them. I've never used my phone the way it should be.

  14. Oh, that never happened in Portugal

  15. Wow that's a lot of money, also that was an interesting story.

    Good luck on selling the iphone!

  16. sorry but the iphone in general sucks, thats why i went with sprint and the evo

  17. I hope it will be good for verizon users, but I'm an ATT user.

  18. That was a very interesting read. Sorry your "business venture" didn't work out.

  19. Haha, I see that sale did not go smoothly

  20. i would be so mad if you got it away with the sale

  21. phone companyes always looking for a way to save money and take yours...

  22. I hear it's a real pain in the ass!