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I Can't Afford a New Phone! What are My Options?

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Advice and Guidance on Buying Second Hand Phones

For most of us a mobile phone isn't a luxury item any more, it's a necessity. Maybe you've finally given up your home land line , or maybe you need a phone for work, whatever your reason, the vast majority of us depend on our mobiles. And when your mobile breaks, or gets stolen, getting a new one is a pretty big priority. But what happens if you just don't have the cash to buy a new mobile? There are some options that will get you a mobile cheaply, or even for free, and today we're talking about those options. So if you need a new mobile but you don't have much cash, then keep reading to find out how to get one.

Maybe You Can Go New...

Budget smart phones are actually a rapidly growing sector on the mobile market, and you might just be able to afford one. You can get a pretty decent, touch screen, smart phone for less than a hundred and fifty pounds. You're going to have to be careful that you get a phone that's capable of doing everything that you want it to do, which means checking out the specs carefully. But if you can get 800 MHz of processing power, a four inch screen, and at least 4 GB of internal memory, then you should be fine. Check out some of Huawei's budget models, which tend to be good quality and low price.

Refurbished Phones Can Save You Cash...

If you can't afford new but baulk at the idea of buying second hand, then refurbished phones might be for you. Here's what happens. A customer buys a phone and decides that he doesn't like it or doesn't need it, maybe it's an unwanted gift, so he returns it. Usually the mobile hasn't even been used beyond being switched on. Retailers can't just sell the phone on though, because it would have to be sold as used for a low price. So it goes back to the factory. There is undergoes a technical inspection to make sure that there's nothing wrong with it, and it's also cleaned and rebooted. Refurbished phones and brand new phones will look and act exactly the same; you won't be able to tell the difference. You'll even get a warranty. But you can save a fair amount of money on what is essentially a new phone by buying it refurbished. You can find refurbished mobiles with some mobile operators, but you'll have better luck checking the web page of the manufacturer of the phone that you're interested in.

And Reconditioned Will Save You More...

A step down from refurbished mobiles are reconditioned mobile-phones. These are phones that have been used. Usually a company rents these phones to be used as business phones, and then they are returned at the end of the rental period. They also go back to the factory, and they're also inspected, making them a less risky buy than a second hand phone. They're cleaned and rebooted and will get a software upgrade if it's necessary. If any parts are worn or broken they will be replaced, and the battery is sometimes replaced too. Reconditioned phones won't usually come with a warranty, and there might be some surface damage such as scratches, but you can rest assured that they'll be in perfect working order. And, of course, they're even cheaper than refurbished. You can find reconditioned online, though it's best to buy direct from the manufacturer if possible.

Buy a Phone in Instalments...

Another option for getting a brand new phone is to get one on an instalment plan. Some major electronics retailers offer payment plans for expensive devices such as mobiles, and you'll get your phone either for no money down or a low down payment. If your current mobile contract has ended, or if you don't have a mobile contract, another way to do this is to sign an incentive contract with a mobile operator. Again you'll but little or no money down, and the cost of the mobile will be divided into instalments and added to your monthly phone bill. If you have no cash these are both excellent ways of getting the phone that you need. However, you should be aware that with nearly all instalment plans you end up paying a little more than market price for your phone, and that includes mobile incentive contracts. You're paying for the convenience of not having to spend too much at once, as well as for the company taking a risk and giving you a phone without full payment.

Second Hand Models and How to Buy Them...

Finally, you can always get a mobile second hand. This is a bit risky, since the phone probably won't have been technically inspected and there's no guarantee that you're getting a good device. But there are some bargains out there. If it's possible you should always buy second hand phones in person, so that you have the chance to inspect it before you part with your cash. You're looking for scratches and dents on the outside , as well as for dead pixels on the screen. Take your SIM card shopping with you so that you can use the phone to call, text and connect to the internet to make sure it works properly. Also, take a photo with the phone's camera and examine the picture for distortion or blurring to make sure that the camera lens isn't broken. Buying in person isn't always possible though, since many second hand models are sold over the internet. Try to avoid buying person to person from sites like eBay or Craig's List. Instead opt for a reputable web site that sells second hand models; if the site has a return policy that's even better, since you'll have some recourse if things go wrong. It's a good idea to check out customer reviews of a site before buying to see what kind of experience other shoppers have had.

Contract Phones from AT&T

Samsung Galaxy S III, Blue 16GB (AT&T)
Amazon Price: $699.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 12, 2013)
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