how can I buy a cellphone for a non relative and not get stuck with 2 years worth of bills
April 6, 2007 2:35 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend who is a bit of a technophobe, do you know anyway I can purchase a cell phone for him that he can take over the billing after say the 2nd or 3rd month?
posted by kanemano to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can speak only for Sprint/Nextel, but you can easily transfer any phone contract from one person to the next. Just need to call up the service provider after the 2/3 months and have all necessary info (SSN, address, etc).

I would imagine all service providers would be the same.
posted by wile e at 3:25 AM on April 6, 2007

You could buy him a prepaid cellphone and start him off with a nice chunk of minutes. Depending on his specific variety of technophobia, just using a cellphone for awhile, even prepaid, might get him into the swim of cell phone use. (And if he finds that he really likes having one, he can get an actual plan and perhaps a different phone.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:11 AM on April 6, 2007

Second pre-paid. Buy a "phone and first card" bundle, then buy an extra card.
posted by krisjohn at 5:06 AM on April 6, 2007

Be a friend: do this only if you ask his permission. Or are sure you can return the phone for a refund.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:52 AM on April 6, 2007

not sure what the billing part has to do with technophobia--surely he copes with his electric and gas bill, too, right?

just help him with the research and go with him to the store to make sure he gets the cheapest phone and smallest contract you can find.

you really shouldn't be paying for his phone--that always sets up a weird friend dynamic.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:05 AM on April 6, 2007

I had an idiot renter who didn't have a phone and was constantly late on rent. I had an old GSM phone that was unlocked so I bought a prepaid sim off ebay, spent $100 for tmobile minutes which gave a little over 100 minutes, and gave him the phone. Those minutes last a year if you don't use them.

He ended up using all the minutes the first month, not paying rent for a couple months and I finally kicked him out.

by the way, Bob, if you're out there, you still owe me money!
posted by thilmony at 7:06 AM on April 6, 2007

You say technophobe like it's a bad thing. Are you really sure your friend wants to join the ranks of the electronically leashed?

For me, living without a cell phone, and laughing at other people wearing their cell phones on their pants or heads, is a source of great pleasure.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:09 AM on April 6, 2007

If Judge Judy has taught me anything, it's that this is often a really bad idea.
posted by christie at 8:58 AM on April 6, 2007

Virgin mobile phones are pay to play.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:41 AM on April 6, 2007

Can you legally transfer a contract in this manner with his written consent and the consent of the company? Yes of course you can. This is done all the time. Be aware that if you buy it and at the 2nd month he refuses to take ownership of the contract you will be stuck with a contract termination fee (~$250 usually).
posted by geoff. at 10:48 AM on April 6, 2007

seconding pre-paid .. go t-mo, which is usually pretty cheap at target. check Fatwallet to see when they get cheap -- at times there are deals that can make the minute pricing competitive with contract plans.

It's clear you mean well, but I don't know that I'd consider someone who stuck me with a two-year contract a "friend".
posted by fishfucker at 1:43 PM on April 6, 2007

Like above, it seems like a terrible idea to get someone a phone billed in your name and assume they'll take it over later. There's a reason they want your social security # when you apply for these things - if your friend decides to start prank calling Mozambique, you're on the hook for the charges.

These days you can buy prepaid cards and the phones that go with them at Kroger (or Ralph's, Piggly Wiggly, Alpha Beta, A&P...) Not sure if it's cost effective if they make large numbers of calls, but it means you can pre-pay that first period then let your buddy handle it from there on in.
posted by drmarcj at 1:56 PM on April 6, 2007

Why do you think your friend needs a phone? He clearly doesn't think so or else he would have got one by now.

Chances are your friend is not so much a technophobe as somebody who wants to protect his peace and privacy.

There is a lot to be said for not being on the radar all the time - if you don't have a mobile nobody expects to be able to reach you 24/7 etc...

I am known to switch off my work mobile when not working and even refuse to answer my private mobile if I don't want to but a lot of people have trouble doing that...

Anyway, if this is true for your friend he won't thank you for forcing a phone on him and he won't use it!
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:41 AM on April 7, 2007

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