Read Before Buying A Cell Phone

Read Before Buying A Cell Phone

I’ve been collecting quite a number of stories from clients on poor or questionable experiences at cell phone stores.  I do help clients get set up with new cell phones and yes I  charge normal service rates.  However, I provide a level of competence and honesty that is seldom seen out at those retail stores.  Setting up a smartphone can be like setting up a computer if there is a lot of data involved.    Recently, I’ve had clients tell me…

– plans have been changed

– they were stuck with a more expensive plan

– they were not told a more expensive plan was required to get a free / discounted phone

– discounted phone was not clearly explained in the form of monthly “bill credits” not a straight discount at the time of purchase

– not told that they would have to keep service for 2 (or now even 3) years to get  these monthly credits for your phone discount

I know just about all of the schemes these cellular stores and ultimately their managers can dish out to you through sales staff.   To some extent, I don’t like criticizing these stores.  For the sales people that work there and succeed, this is a place where they can actually make a respectable middle class living.  However, management is getting increasingly unreasonable with their demands.  Customers are being told they need “insurance” or other features added to their accounts.  They are being forced to buy worthless tablets (not even good ones like iPads) and car navigation devices.  When the customers actually figure out what hit them, it’s nasty, like sour milk in the mouth.

However — I  respect that you may want to try to go it alone in cell phone shopping.  A couple of places where I have had decent experiences shopping for phones are

-Apple Store:  for iPhones, obviously.  You can sign up for carrier financing at the Apple Store.

-Verizon Store (Bishops Corner – West Hartford and other locations, operated by Wireless Zone):  They are a step above other Verizon stores I’ve dealt with.  If you actually have them set up your phone — they charge a $40 setup fee — but I’ve seen them spend an hour with customers.

-Xfinity Store:  Obviously you would be signing up for Xfinity Mobile  and have at least their internet service at home.  However, they sell discounted plans and their service utilizes Verizon towers.  There is not a lot they can do to cheat you. 

At this time, I do not have any great AT+T or T-Mobile stores to recommend. If you know of some — let me know.

What I use — I have had the same 2 carriers on my iPhone for 2+ years.  My personal line is with T-Mobile ($70 a month for 2 lines. ).   My business line is with ATT Prepaid ($30 a month, unlimited talk and text, 5 GB of data).   I never try to oversell T-Mobile to my customers even though the price is great for an Unlimited data plan.  There are some areas where Verizon and ATT have better coverage, but the price is hard to beat.  Having ATT as that 2nd line on my iPhone gives me confidence to stick with T-Mobile on Line 1.