Buying a new cell phone

Published November 4, 2015 by lynn k scott

I will say, I am becoming quite the expert on purchasing new cell phones.  Over the years, I have been a customer with almost every major cell service provider.  I don’t have the best luck with phones.  I think it’s because I use them so often, they just wear out when I’m not dropping them into water or inflicting some other damage to them; completely on accident, mind you.

Yesterday, the time had come.  My 11-month old, Note 4, was telling me we were through.  It really hurts when you love your phone and it refuses to reciprocate.  That being said, I started researching my current plan, and found I was eligible for an upgrade.  I found a comparable replacement; same phone, newer model.  Why is it so difficult to just make the switch?  Ok, so I don’t have the best credit, but I do pay my bill.  Well shucks, a deposit is still required?  I’m not really feeling that option. After speaking with customer service, then the retention people (who can pull up my account), being offered a lesser option, and then finding out the representative really has no interest in retaining me as a customer, all goes quiet when I hang up the phone.

What to do….


A girl has to shop around for the best option, right?  Well, the quoted price, was better, lower monthly cost, and it would only take 1-3 days to get my new phone with shipping.  Ummm….hmmmm…my phone is dead.  Last resort…need to go to the teenage hangout, over-priced, too many stores in one location destination…THE MALL!  (que scary music)

I first head to the store that repairs shattered screens.  Perhaps it’s just my battery.  Could be.  Also could be the charging unit. The $58.00 quote to replace the charging unit, not guaranteeing to fix the issue, is what drove me to my carrier’s store. Let’s try to work this out so I can be in touch with the rest of the universe, shall we?  No such luck.  I get a mid-20s kid (yes I can say he was a kid) who wasn’t that sure on plans, was going to charge me more for the phone vs online and I’d still have to pay off the old plan since I didn’t pay the monthly fee to waive the upgrade.  LOVELY!!!

Went to the competition’s store.  It was PACKED!!!  Thinking, “just great…I have to be at a meeting in 70 minutes”.  I check-in and let them know I must leave in exactly one hour.  “We’ll get to you as soon as we can”.  Ahhh, the polite, “sit down and wait you’re turn” brush off.

I was lucky.  I was the second person waiting for assistance and the person ahead of me needed a Spanish-speaking representative, so that bumped me up to first place.  I had been noticing all the indecisiveness while observing the other customers while waiting for my turn.

I witnessed people not having any idea what plans were available.  One woman had to call someone and discuss her options before committing.  Another couple must have gone through every available option.  All of these people were well into being serviced prior to my arrival at the store.  One person concluded their transaction while I was waiting.

It was my turn in just 20 short minutes.  The rep approaches me.  I say, “I need to be out of here in 25 minutes to make a meeting.  I know the phone I want.  You just need to tell me is it cheaper to add on to my husband’s plan or create my own plan.”

He stepped right up to the plate.  Cheaper to go with the hubby’s plan.  “What color would you like?”, he asked.  Simple response, “Whatever you have in stock.”  He counters with, “now that’s what I’m talking about”.

After covering the additional charges, trading in my phone, purchasing the new phone and porting over my number, I was out in exactly 25 minutes!  I didn’t get a chance to swap all my numbers over, but my old phone barely allowed us to factory reset it for the trade in.  I was done before ALL the people being helped when I initially walked in.

There is no excuse for a cell phone purchase to take hours; and yes, I’ve seen it happen.  Take 20-40 minutes to review information on-line, get phone stats, review plans and make a tentative decision BEFORE visiting a store.  Then, go into the store, play with the phones and make that decision while you are waiting for assistance. Ask a few plan-related questions to clarify anything you aren’t sure of when it’s your turn and finish the transaction.  Doing a little “homework” can save you from the rep selling you items you don’t need or want.

I see this as a way to be considerate of others.  Get in, get out and be on your way!  I for one don’t have all day; even if you do.

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