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WARNING: Beware of Cowboys selling “cheap” rugged phones
Some big rugged phones sites and TradeMe sellers are trying to flog-off phones that don’t work in rural areas, and which may not work anywhere once Vodafone and Spark switch off the 3G cellsites next year – and they’re lying to their customers about it, still promising “compatible with all NZ 3G/4G networks”.
To help you avoid being stung, we’ve compiled a database of all rugged phones and whether they are really compatible. Read more at the links
Buying phones online: 5 Tips That Could Save You Hundreds
TIP ONE: IS THE PHONE THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL ME GLUED SHUT?
Did you know that more than 80% of the rugged phones offered to kiwis are hermetically-sealed: glued shut?
Phones like this can’t be opened without risking a very high chance that they can never be made water or dustproof again. Often they cannot be repaired at all. They are designed as plastic throwaway phones, which means they are not environmentally sustainable due to their short lives and high e-waste.
We sell very few of these models, and always disclose if a model is glued. Unfortunately other retailers don’t tell you which phones are glued shut, but there’s an easy way to tell: check for screws on all corners of the rear cover
TIP TWO: IS THE PRICE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, AND WHY IS THE WARRANTY SHORT?
Sounds like a dumb question – we all want a good deal, right?
Here’s the catch: we are the ONLY rugged phone store in New Zealand that has its own specialist techs equipped to deal with these phones, so we are in fact the only full-service rugged phones retailer. If something goes wrong we can usually fix it.
Other stores and sellers have no ‘techxpertise’, and they can’t fix your phone or tap into our relationships with the manufacturers, so they are not carrying tech overheads and choose to sell really cheap for a quick sale, and adopt a really, really hard line on warranty claims. If the same phone is $700 at retail or $500 from a cheap trader, your biggest risk is not the marginal $200 but the risk of losing your entire $500, like Fraser in the image below.
Oh, and don’t forget to check the warranty: Does it include screen breakage? If not, what’s the added cost of a broken screen? Is it a two year warranty like us, and even if so is there any evidence the store has its own tech team so they can genuinely “stand behind our warranty” rather than just weaponising the slogan? Stand behind it with what?
Maths is your friend here. You get what you pay for. Subtract 15% GST from the price and you will find some of the cheap sellers are only making a $50 profit, so to replace ONE customer’s dodgy phone under warranty they would need to sell 9 or 10 phones just to cover that cost – and THEN, if one of those ten was faulty AS WELL…well, you get the picture. That’s why getting a warranty claim approved is near impossible:
Finally, though, there’s one other point to consider: if none of the cheap retailers can service their phones, and most of their phones are glued shut, how the heck can you rely on their warranty? They can promise the earth (and they do), but none of them actually know how to fix a problem. So when they tell you “it’s not covered by warranty”, how would they really know? They can’t open your phone to find out.
Whereas, at the Outdoor Phone Store, we are all over these phones like a rash.
TIP THREE: WHAT’S THE COST TO FIX A BROKEN SCREEN OR CHARGE PORT?
It’s a rugged phone, less likely to break but not impossible to break. Before you buy from a cheap seller, ask them this easy question: “how much will it cost me for a new screen and installation if I break it?” Then use the “Leave a Message” option here on our site with their quote and we’ll better it. Get informed on the real costs before you buy, so you don’t get caught out.
Here’s a clue: on one Blackview model where they’ve cut the price below $500, another store will sell you the replacement screen at $255 and then get you to pay for a two hour installation at $149 per hour…making the screen repair $553, so total cost of phone and repair is over $1000, whereas if you had paid $649 for that phone with us, the subsidised screen repair would have been $200 all up. For most of our phones at normal retail, you actually get one screen replacement FREE!
TIP FOUR: DOES THE RETAILER HAVE A PHONE NUMBER?
You’d be amazed at how many sellers make it really difficult to contact them. Why would that be?
TIP FIVE: DOES THE RETAILER HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE?
A business can’t hide unhappy customers on Facebook, UNLESS they don’t have a Facebook page. How popular is the page, how engaged are the customers? In this age of social media, why would a retailer not have a Facebook presence and phone number? Join the dots at your leisure.
IN SUMMARY: WHY BUY FROM THE OUTDOOR PHONE STORE?
- Reliable, sustainable, repairable phones
- Realistic pricing that allows better warranty cover and cheaper repairs
- Easy to contact when you need us
If you follow our tips you could save hundreds of dollars. Avoid glued-shut phones, avoid high external repair costs forced on you by retailers who have no tech staff of their own.