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The Cell Phone Deal Rip Off

iPhone 5 picture

So my wife and I are not immune to the coolness of this world, the technologies, the newest thingamabobs! We like stuff like the rest of you. We were considering upgrading our cell phones to the iPhone 5 a few months ago. As Clarissa was researching the best deal to trade up, she called our cell phone carrier. She learned that they have a program that allows you to not have a contract, thus you are able to change or upgrade phones at any time. You don’t have to pay for the phone either. You just pay a “small” monthly fee to enroll you in this program. “It will be great and you have so much flexibility” they told her. It’s the cell phone deal rip off is what it is.

Now please understand: My wife is an amazing women. She’s very smart and savvy. She can find the best deals available and can spot a bad deal from a mile away. For example, sometimes buying in bulk is actually NOT cheaper than buying something individually. So with this new “No-Contract/Upgrade-Your-Phone-Whenever-You-Want-Program” she saw a big flaw in it. We used to look at something we wanted to buy and only ask how much down and how much a month. But now we try to do the wise thing to get the most out of our money so we simply ask how much (in total something will cost). Clarissa realized that because you don’t have to pay for the phone up front with this program but instead pay a monthly amount, that over time you will have paid more for this new phone than if you would have just bought it in full when you were eligible for that upgrade.

Example: the iPhone 5s (16GB) would be $199 to upgrade (if you’re eligible with the standard 2 year contract). But if you pay the monthly fee over 24 months, you’ll have paid $651. You have to wait 6 months before you can upgrade with this new plan which would be $163. That’s almost the cost of the phone with your upgrade price. And the kicker is you DON’T own the phone. You have to give it back to upgrade. Does that sound like a good deal to you? You pay more and you can’t keep the phone. Clarissa told the sales person “So, it’s basically a lease. Like a car lease but for a cell phone?” They didn’t really know how to respond to that. So we all need to think about what we’re doing and about how much something will cost in the long run and use wisdom in our decisions. This new cell phone program takes advantage of most people’s impatience and inability to think for themselves. Wait on something instead of being so impulsive.

We did upgrade Clarissa’s phone to the iPhone 5 and NO, we did not take the phone lease option. They actually gave her $200 to trade in her phone, making her upgrade free. Maybe we were impulsive by upgrading when we didn’t need too… but at least we researched it and looked into every option to get the best deal. Now the deal is done and it won’t follow us with 2 years of payments. We own the phone. It’s not on lease to us. We try not to live for the moment but instead be mindful of the future. Think before you make a decision in every situation, even when buying a cell phone. Don’t lease things. Pay for it and then it’s YOURS!

What is the worst deal you’ve ever done and how did you feel after you did it? Leave a comment below!

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  • Holly

    I like the way you guys always research things and get the best deals! Good job!!

    • Thanks Mom. Yeah, Clarissa loves to find great deals! It’s like her super power!