The following is a brief section of things to look out for when buying a mobile phone.
When it comes to contract plans, remember that some require you to pay each month for itemised billing (a complete list of phone calls made and received) or insurance whether you choose to or not.
Some call charges are much higher than you’d expect, especially calls to mobiles on different networks or to other countries. Some networks have few users, so almost all calls to mobiles are to other networks.
Any calls made to 0845 numbers are not normally included in ‘inclusive’ airtime, so be careful. Ringing Customer Services can also be a chargeable call on some networks.
Be wary of some PAYG deals! Look carefully at the small print, where you will sometimes find that unless you make a certain level of calls, you will be switched to a more expensive tariff or that your credit will expire after a short time, whether it has been used or not.
For instance, to keep a 3 phone operating, it must be topped up every month with at least £3 credit.
High Street Dealers
High street dealers are known for their pushy sales tactics and will try every method possible to sell you expensive (and unnecessary) extended warranties, accessories, insurance and more!
There are various companies that tell their staff to use these ‘telesales methods’ to get you to buy, but the deals they are selling don’t often match the promises made, so beware. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Some dealers will offer to match any competitor’s price, as evidence that they offer good value, but the truth is in fact the complete opposite. Price matching is a means of selling at the highest price they can get away with, and only offering competitive prices to people who know what constitutes of a good deal.
Some dealers advertise SIM-only deals. These are splitting the usual handset and SIM packages, by selling the handset separately, often overseas. This method is not allowed by the Service Providers, and buyers may run the risk of being disconnected if the SP finds out what has happened.
When buying a phone or any other product using your debit/credit card, be wary of the system being used by the dealer. Not all e-commerce web sites use proper secure servers, so your details can be passed over an insecure link. Although this is no riskier than letting a waiter take your credit card at restaurant, it is better to be safe than sorry, so use a dealer with a proper secure server.
Look out for postage and packaging charges, as some mail order companies make more profit from the post and packing than they do from the sale.