Animas EZ Upgrade Policy

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I think that the EZ Upgrade is a bit of a crock. When the pump was sold to me two years ago, an important feature was the $99 upgrade fee whenever the Vibe was approved for sale in the US. The salesperson was very clear: $99 was the cost, whether it came out the next day, or 3 years and 364 days from the delivery date.

Due to the FDA delays and such, we have the upgrade now.

I call Animas, and find out they want to charge me $799, and when they get my old pump back, in 4-6 weeks they'll return my $700. I ask them if I can use my Flex Spending card to pay it, and the answer is no, because they can't refund it back to the card. How about $99 on Flex Spending, and a $700 hold on my debit card? No. How about you send it to the sales rep, and I pay her $99 for the pump, give my old one to her, and be done with it? No. You must pay the $799, and whenever they get around to it, they'll refund it.

Now, mind you, I just had the pump replaced under warranty, and I returned the defective one the next day after received the replacement pump. 3 weeks later, I get the "you better send us the broken pump or we'll charge you for losing the pump" letter. UPS said they delivered it, and after 20 minutes on the phone with Animas, they found it. Lets just say I'm a little skittish on lending Animas $700 (I think that is their purchase price from their supplier, the rest of the $6300 of the "$7000 pump" is engineering and overhead.

OK, so I raise my concerns to the person on the phone, and I am assured I'll get a call back from someone. The next day, I do, and the guy (he was a sales manager) apologized at least 32 times (which changed my perception, at first sympathetic, then, just pathetic) but said, "well, when we set up the EZ Upgrade, we thought that it would be $99, and it does turn out to be that." My response was, "Why not charge me $7099, and return $7000 when you get my Ping back, or $1,000,099, and return the $1,000,000 when you get the pump back? This is an expectations problem, not a monetary one." He apologized (Hey! that's 33 times!) again, and wished me Merry Christmas.

So, what I am doing is this:
Buying the Vibe for the $799, with the promise of the $700 refund.
Buying my infusion sets from Tandem. (anyone use the Cleo infusion sets?)
I figure that $700 will cost them about $5400 in lost revenue on the infusion sets.

There has to be a cost of deception, and I think I found a way.

Again, sorry for the wall of text. I am just sick of the deception and the feeling of being taken advantage of.

Haha. Nice strategy. I have the Ping, but use AccuChek’s Ultraflex manual infusion sets since Animas doesn’t have a manual 90 degree infusion set and their autoinserters are laughable.

I agree with you 100%! I heard the same thing too about the $99 upgrade fee -which is really $799 but you get a $700 rebate back when they get your pump.

Submitted my paperwork on December 12th, and still do not have the new pump. My warranty ends on my Ping in June - so if I do not get the upgrade in the next week or so, I am going to cancel my upgrade and just get a Dexcom Platinum G4.

When my warranty is up in June, I may not go with Animas. It is too bad because I get the best fine-tuned control with their products. I had Medtronic before and got good results but had a lot more lows because the basal increments were bigger.

I warned them... Don't get an Engineer mad. ;)

Anyway... My Cleo's arrive next week, and if there were a way to get 3rd party reservoirs, I'd do that too.

My thinking on this was this:
$99 for a $7000 pump is a loss to them.
Not buying it would still have me using the reservoirs, so I'm doing the thing that will cost them the most.
Buying the reservoirs is a need, so it is not in the equation
Buying different infusion sets will reduce their income.
Buying different infusion sets from a direct competitor is just funny!

I have had good luck with the Insets so am reluctant to try something else. But at least we can with the Animas pump...

I noticed one thing on my Animas account. Looks like they are charging an extra $20 for the "free" skin they tell you about when taking your upgrade order. I am ok - I guess with the $700 but I do not need the "skin" if they are also going to charge me for it before sending back my Ping. Gee Whiz!!!

There is a ‘Truth in Advertising’ law that probably applies to this situation. Do we have any attorneys in this group that would consider filing a class action law suit. it does not sound like Animas is talking about charging us the $700 only if the Ping is not returned in a certain time period but they plan to charge us and earn interest on the $700 until it is refunded. This is deceptive. I understand Animas is a business and must make money to stay in business but to take advantage of their customers is unethical and possible illegal.

There is a ‘Truth in Advertising’ law that probably applies to this situation. Do we have any attorneys in this group that would consider filing a class action law suit. it does not sound like Animas is talking about charging us the $700 only if the Ping is not returned in a certain time period but they plan to charge us and earn interest on the $700 until it is refunded. This is deceptive. I understand Animas is a business and must make money to stay in business but to take advantage of their customers is unethical and possible illegal.

I don't think there's a case with this, as the fine print says that this can change at their discretion.

That's in their power.

What is in my power is how I react to it, and here is my thinking on why I got the Vibe (well, it's on order):
1. If it is indeed a $7000 pump, and their cost is $700 (hence the deposit on it), me getting it for $99 is a loss-leader to them. My emphasis is on the "loss" part. I have 2 years left on my warranty, so I'm not getting a pump for 2 years, so paying $99 for this is a loss to Animas that they have to make back somehow.
2. I have to order Animas reservoirs, so that is a net-zero in the equation, whether I get them for the Ping or the Vibe.
3. Ordering the infusion sets from Tandem is my way of not ordering from Animas. The fact that I get infusion sets from a direct competitor is just icing on the cake.

Wow... just wow...

I’ll have to ask about that! I did get a response back from the customer service people (the guy that took my Vibe order), and he is sending my very detailed (2 pages) e-mail to “management for their review,” and I was assured that my happiness was one of their top concerns.

We’ll see.

As for my skin, I ordered the pink camouflage one.

You may be thinking (please be thinking…), “Why does a strapping middle aged man want a pink camouflage pump skin?” Well, I’m glad (I inferred that…) you asked!

I got that, so that when people ask me why I have a pink camouflage pump skin, I will tell them the story of how Animas handled their upgrade. It’ll be a hoot at the pumpers meetings!

If they do charge me $20 for a “free” skin (shipping? Are they a telemarketing company on at 1am selling sham-wows and pump skins?), I’ll add it to the top of the story about dealing with such a company.

Like a pink camouflage cherry.

I checked and Medtronic charges $399 for their program to upgrade plus any additional costs for a starter kit. Non of it is refundable.

My issue wasn't the cost, but the deception involved with the expectation of $99 vs. the $799 out of pocket shenanigans.

If Animas would have said, from the get-go, "Hey! when the time comes, there will be a deposit of about $600-$800, which you can put on your card, and we'll refund it when we receive the other pump." then the expectation of more out of pocket costs would have been understandable.

I agree with you. They are actually making money off our $700. If Animas does not get their act together, I am going to cancel my upgrade. My warranty ends in June and I am thinking about not continuing with Animas. For a company that is owned by J&J, they sure are hokey and unprofessional.

Last thing on the experience, and it's positive...

I received the Vibe (they really need to change the name of this... It's not fun saying in your office, "I'm looking forward to my Vibe upgrade..."), on Monday, March 2, and returned the Ping on March 3. It arrived at Animas on March 10, and I got the $700 credited back to my account on March 12, so I say, Kudos to Animas for the quick turn around.

Their policy has gotten better, from 6 weeks to 2 days (I don't count UPS time - they're not accountable for that).

I notice every time I call they are running a customer service survey you can take at the end. Maybe good changes are here to stay?

Good news all the way around! I may still do the upgrade, but am considering the T-Slim in June as my next pump. Not sure how I feel about the batteries on it - as I know how the PING/VIBE works.

Having worn it for 3 weeks, I like it, and if Tandem does get the G4/G5 in the T:Slim, I'll go with that, as long as it talks to my iPhone.

My experience with the Verio Sync meter makes me wish I had researched this more.

Apple manages to tell their customers what the customers want, and they manage to pull it off well. J&J (Animas/OneTouch) tries to do the same, and it infuriates me.

Well I have been using Cleos since my Cozmo Pump from what, 10 years ago(??). When I first started pumping, the manual insert was a real pain (pun intended), the Cleos are IMHO the "BEST" infusion set ... easy to use, zero hassle (pick location, quick snap, done!). So now my Ping is 7 years old and I figure it is time to get a new pump ... it must be Cleo compatible to be considered. Anyone else have ideas on this? Just started my research ...