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Holy Crap Cell Phone Contracts are Convoluted (Solved)

DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Background:

When my old cell phone contract expired, I decided I wanted to jump to Verizon for their local coverage. My dad and his wife have a Verizon plan, and adding someone plus some extra data coverage is cheaper than opening and entirely new account. I haven't lived in the same state as them in 10 years, but Verizon apparently doesn't care. So I'm a tertiary line on a family member's cell phone account.

My blackberry went through the wash. I tried the usual tricks for saving it, but it was not to be. It was on when it went in, so it's shorted straight to death. None of the lines on our account are eligible for upgrades earlier than 2011.

I decided I should get a Droid X when it comes out. I considered just trying to ebay a used blackberry, but I'm concerned that I won't get a reliable phone that way, since there aren't any solid guarantees on buying a used phone that has all sorts of device failure possibilities.

Verizon has suggested that I open an additional line on our family account. This would cost me an extra $10 a month, basically. As I understand it, I open a new line and get the discount on the Droid. The droid comes with a requirement for a data plan if it's activated on a line. My blackberry also has that requirement, but if I get a non-data phone I can attach that to one of the lines and then I'll just be paying an extra $10 a month until I can cancel one of my lines. This is pretty comparable to the price I would pay buying a replacement phone off of ebay anyway. Is anyone familiar with this idea? Where's the best place to get a cheap, cruddy phone to fill that line with? I don't anticipate anyone using it at all.

Lastly there are phone numbers. I'm using X number on my current line. I will get Y number when I open a new line. My current line will be eligible for closing without a termination fee long before the new line will. Can I swap the phone numbers that are associated with old and new line, so that X number is on new line and Y number is on old line, so that when I close the old line, I only lose Y number and not X?

Apologies if this is convoluted. American cell phone companies like to make things as convoluted as possible.

Darkewolfe on
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Posts

  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I think I managed to follow this story about 2/3 of the way through before I became lost. I probably just need to go get some coffee and then I'll try this adventure of a story again.

  • FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Getting a Verizon-capable phone from a third party source (say, Ebay or your local university's surplus sales) is going to be much cheaper than doing all the convoluted stuff suggested by Verizon. It's also much less likely to involve you in a billing dispute over the extra line.

    Just make sure that the phone is Verizon capable. I don't know how you would do this except to look at the phone and make sure it has a Verizon logo on it.

    Remember, the phone companies are not there to help you: they are there to squeeze as much money as they can from your dessicated corpse before you give up on them in disgust and switch to a different company. They can afford to wait until you've cycled through all the other companies and come back to them, hoping against hope that this time will be different.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    These number porting issue is something you need to take up with the carrier. Also the carrier really doesn't care if the phone works if you don't care. Meaning you can have X number/line go to a non-working phone and just make sure the bill is paid. Then Y line/number goes to your droid and use that. Talk to the carrier about getting X number ported to the Droid (and Y number ported to the broken blackberry) and you're done.

    If the carrier won't port X number to Y phone, you could set up some kind of call forwarding with the carrier (for a fee) so calls to X ring the Y phone and inform people of your new number, and after everyone knows your new number, cancel the call forward.

    Are you sure the contract you probably signed for the blackberry doesn't have some kind of earlier termination if you downgrade the phone to a non-smartphone since they won't be collecting the $30/month data (or whatever) for the BB data plan? The cheapest new phone option is likely going to be a prepaid phone.

    If your BB was subsidized, I'm not sure how you're going to get a subsidized droid without paying either 2 data plans or an ETF.

  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    verizon will make it very difficult on you to do the swap of the numbers... there are ways of doing so by transferring your old number to a pre-paid phone, and then swapping back to your verizon account but it's a ginormous PITA

    is it really worth it to you to go through all this crap for $100-200 in savings? keep in mind that any smartphone line will have an early termination fee of $350 which will hit you if you happen to do something in the incorrect order... or you may lose your phone number

    my recommendation? buy a used verizon phone on Ebay (a BB Tour goes for about $180 while a Droid can be had for less than $300... Droid X will obviously be much more for a few months after it's released)... i've done this a couple of times a year for the past few years and it works great...

    hell, if you want, i'm selling my BB Tour now :D

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Hmm. May take you up on that Tour. Check your PM box.

    I'm concerned about some of the ebay phones because there's so many small problems with these phones, like dead trackballs for instance, that would mean springing another $50 or so to get a phone working after paying $180 to get one off ebay.

    From what I understood talking to a Verizon rep, there isn't a contract on the actual line that says I have to carry a data plan. It's a weird rule that as long as the Blackberry is the dedicated phone on that line, you have to have a data plan. If you replace the Blackberry with a dumb phone, you no longer have to carry the minimum data plan.

    I can get a used Droid for $300, or I can get a new Droid X for $200 + $100 in extra $10 payments on the line I won't be using. If I had a reliable way to get a used phone in decent shape on the cheap, I'd do that.

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  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Do not buy a cell phone on eBay. This is coming from someone that worked for them for 6 years.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    onceling wrote: »
    Do not buy a cell phone on eBay. This is coming from someone that worked for them for 6 years.

    Vague statements like this should always be backed up with at least an anecdote! I'm assuming you say this because ebay offers no sort of support base for people who get ripped off, and it's impossible to know if the thing you're buying is water damaged or has been reported as stolen or something?

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    My referral code is: 81123930, which gets you a thing to level your guys.
  • Nakatomi2010Nakatomi2010 Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I have a Verizon Omnia phone I'm going to stop using next month.

    My contract is up for renewal so I'm getting a Droid X next month.

    I originally offered it to my Dad, though since he lives in Canada he'd only use it as a palm pilot type device. I can double check with him if he still wants it. If he doesn't I can always send it your way for the cost of shipping.

    Note: I am in no way promising you a phone next month, I'm just saying that if you want a Smartphone, and my Dad no longer wants it, then you can have it.

    The phone is less than a year old, my wife and I got it on a one year contract in September of last year, and our contract is up for renewal now, so you could be getting an 8 month old phone. Bonus: While the Samsung Omnia is a dated phone that runs Windows Mobile 6.1, I did do research and found a way to run Windows Mobile 6.5 on it, as such the phone is not running the original OS, it's a modded phone that about every month or so I've updated to a newer version of 6.5.

    Anyways... If you're interested...

    Otherwise I do also have an old POS Samsung Hue from Alltel that you might be able to activate.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I have a Verizon Omnia phone I'm going to stop using next month.

    My contract is up for renewal so I'm getting a Droid X next month.

    I originally offered it to my Dad, though since he lives in Canada he'd only use it as a palm pilot type device. I can double check with him if he still wants it. If he doesn't I can always send it your way for the cost of shipping.

    Note: I am in no way promising you a phone next month, I'm just saying that if you want a Smartphone, and my Dad no longer wants it, then you can have it.

    The phone is less than a year old, my wife and I got it on a one year contract in September of last year, and our contract is up for renewal now, so you could be getting an 8 month old phone. Bonus: While the Samsung Omnia is a dated phone that runs Windows Mobile 6.1, I did do research and found a way to run Windows Mobile 6.5 on it, as such the phone is not running the original OS, it's a modded phone that about every month or so I've updated to a newer version of 6.5.

    Anyways... If you're interested...

    Otherwise I do also have an old POS Samsung Hue from Alltel that you might be able to activate.

    PM'd, thanks.

    Brave Frontier for Android and iOS. Final Fantasy-ish graphics/basic gameplay with a Puzzles & Dragons/Rage of Bahamut collection model.
    My referral code is: 81123930, which gets you a thing to level your guys.
  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    onceling wrote: »
    Do not buy a cell phone on eBay. This is coming from someone that worked for them for 6 years.

    Vague statements like this should always be backed up with at least an anecdote! I'm assuming you say this because ebay offers no sort of support base for people who get ripped off, and it's impossible to know if the thing you're buying is water damaged or has been reported as stolen or something?

    Well yeah, there's no real way to guarantee absolutely anything. I am sure people here are familiar with PayPal's rules about delivery confirmation and refunds, no way to even really make a claim if someone mails you a registered empty box. But thats not even really my concern because there are good ways to avoid that....

    However my major concern is that eBay sellers are just a random bunch of people trying to make a few bucks. Yes, there are some good honest people there but there are a LOT of people selling really awful refurbs, bricks and totally fake phones or phones with garbage replaced batteries, interior parts that have been swapped for total shit, chargers that are dangerous. I dealt with a ton of "data" while there and it was horrifying. Percentages, incomes, buyer reports of fraud. Electronics is a TERRIBLE eBay category that I would never, ever touch. I feel sorry for the sellers who have such a teeny tiny profit margin and they are squeezing as much as they can out of it by being really freakin shady.

    Anecdotally, too, someone I actually know in person is a huge phone-fan. That is, must have the latest and greatest. She bought no less than 12 phones on eBay and EVERY SINGLE ONE was screwed. 3 of them she never got a refund on because the seller abused certain rules.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Thanks for the advice, I think I got everything I needed!

    Brave Frontier for Android and iOS. Final Fantasy-ish graphics/basic gameplay with a Puzzles & Dragons/Rage of Bahamut collection model.
    My referral code is: 81123930, which gets you a thing to level your guys.
  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    onceling wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    onceling wrote: »
    Do not buy a cell phone on eBay. This is coming from someone that worked for them for 6 years.

    Vague statements like this should always be backed up with at least an anecdote! I'm assuming you say this because ebay offers no sort of support base for people who get ripped off, and it's impossible to know if the thing you're buying is water damaged or has been reported as stolen or something?

    Well yeah, there's no real way to guarantee absolutely anything. I am sure people here are familiar with PayPal's rules about delivery confirmation and refunds, no way to even really make a claim if someone mails you a registered empty box. But thats not even really my concern because there are good ways to avoid that....

    However my major concern is that eBay sellers are just a random bunch of people trying to make a few bucks. Yes, there are some good honest people there but there are a LOT of people selling really awful refurbs, bricks and totally fake phones or phones with garbage replaced batteries, interior parts that have been swapped for total shit, chargers that are dangerous. I dealt with a ton of "data" while there and it was horrifying. Percentages, incomes, buyer reports of fraud. Electronics is a TERRIBLE eBay category that I would never, ever touch. I feel sorry for the sellers who have such a teeny tiny profit margin and they are squeezing as much as they can out of it by being really freakin shady.

    Anecdotally, too, someone I actually know in person is a huge phone-fan. That is, must have the latest and greatest. She bought no less than 12 phones on eBay and EVERY SINGLE ONE was screwed. 3 of them she never got a refund on because the seller abused certain rules.

    yeah, i'm going to call complete BS on that statement... unless she was buying used phones expecting to get pristine untouched/unopened ones, that sort of luck is a statistical impossibility

    i've bought the last 5 of my phones on eBay... and sold all of the previous ones there as well, and i haven't had any issues b/c i look for a comprehensive description, close/clear pictures, and a seller with a positive feedback history... just like with anything else on eBay

This discussion has been closed.