My new smartphone was stolen. I want a new one, without the price tag.
July 29, 2013 3:43 PM   Subscribe

This past week, when i was away on vacation, my Samsung Galaxy phone was stolen. (I had the service suspended right away). It was a new phone, on a new three year contract with Bell Canada, signed in April. From what i can tell, there aren't any good options that don't cost me hundreds of dollars.

I don't want to replace it with a crappy phone until my contract runs out - i have almost my entire three year contract still to go. And i don't really want to spend the $700 to just replace it outright.

Is there anything magical i can say to Bell or Rogers to get a replacement phone for the same reduced price i paid when i signed the contract? Or at least for a reduced cost? For example, if i switch to Rogers and sign a contract with them (and therefore get a new phone at a reduced cost), is there any way i can get them to pay off whatever exorbitant fee Bell would charge me to get out of my contract? Or are there any other ways to replace this phone at a low cost?

(Also, i cannot lie: i would love to upgrade to the S4).
posted by Kololo to Shopping (12 answers total)
The phone companies really have no obligation to give you a free or discounted phone - the reason you need a new one is irrelevant unless it's covered by an insurance plan you bought from them.

You might be covered by your homeowner/rental insurance policy, though - they sometimes cover thefts even outside the home. Worth looking into, anyway.
posted by randomnity at 3:49 PM on July 29, 2013

I know nothing about Canadian cellular service, but the Galaxy Nexus seems to be going for about $250 CDN on The Nexus 4 in goes for $300 to $350 on, as best I can tell. Two decent options that don't cost too much relative to replacing the existing device.
posted by cnc at 3:51 PM on July 29, 2013

How much is the early termination fee? Maybe it's worth just terminating the contract and starting over with a new one.

Check your credit card as well, they may offer some protection if you used the card to buy the phone or pay the bill.
posted by payoto at 3:53 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sounds like the options are purchasing a replacement phone outright or canceling your plan and pay the early termination fee. Do the math to see which would be the cheaper of the two, but I'd just get a phone from Swappa and call it a day.
posted by evoque at 4:01 PM on July 29, 2013

You might be covered by your homeowner/rental insurance policy, though - they sometimes cover thefts even outside the home. Worth looking into, anyway.

Look up/ask for your deductible before you report to them that you had a loss; insurance companies often record reported losses as a claim even if you aren't actually making a claim against your policy. Getting one of those events off of your report is a pain.
posted by resurrexit at 4:04 PM on July 29, 2013

Sorry, but, you're likely SOL. Definitely one company is not going to pay your ETF for the other, and while you can try persuading Bell to give you a discounted phone, it likely will not be equal to your previous phone and certainly will not be an upgrade. (In my case, I was offered another, much inferior smart phone for free or a different, still not as great phone for a not so great price.)

Other than purchasing a used or refurbished phone, you don't really have any options that don't pose a significant cost to you.
posted by sm1tten at 4:26 PM on July 29, 2013

Buy a new-to-you Used phone; that's going to be your best bet. Someone out there is willing to pay the $$ to get the newest phone despite having a perfectly good phone that'll need a good home.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:27 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just had the same issue here in the US. I lost an S3 with 16 months to go on my contract. Here is what I did to avoid spending the $650US and to preserve my unlimited data on VZ. I had a family plan with 4 of us on it. I added a fifth line and got the new phone from Target for $150 less $25 for turning in a working existing phone. (Actually the salesman used one he had and he got $5 cash.) Net price at the store was $125 plus tax. I then switched the new phone to my existing line and converted the new contract line to a $10 line with simply phone access. I actually gave that phone to my mother who is 70+ and never had a cell phone. She is happy she has an emergency phone. The cost to me was the $125 plus depending on your point of view the $240 for the two year contract or $365 versus $650. I also upgraded to an S4.

You could also get a second line with the discounted phone and pay the cancellation fee which in my case was $375 less $10 per month I kept it. So, I could have also gotten the phone for $500 if I did not want to make use of the new line.

The other way I explored was buying an S3 on eBay. I think if you wait another month or two, the prices for the S3 will drop. There are even new ones for about $350US out there. I also would explore buying a Nexus directly from Google.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:14 PM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you opt for a Nexus 4, Koodo sells them for $19 less than google.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 5:29 PM on July 29, 2013

Did you buy it on Amex, by any chance? They have a great policy of refunding you for the original purchase price if something like this happens. Months later might be a tougher sell, but it's worth a try.

There's also just calling your phone company and moaning until they help.
posted by Sara C. at 5:57 PM on July 29, 2013

nexus 4 for 299/349 or a used phone. Unfortunately with the prevalent carrier subsidized pricing, there isn't any price competition for new off-contract phones. Google is trying to do something about it, but without competition there aren't any price-wars or anything.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:55 PM on July 29, 2013

I was mugged a while back and lost my phone (I just told a story about it here), and discovered that AT&T had piled some secret fees into my monthly payment that included replacement insurance in case the phone was lost or stolen. You might check your phone plan to see whether it includes something similar.
posted by painquale at 8:00 PM on July 29, 2013

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