Matt Rawlings looks at buying handsets online from the consumer’s perspective
Mobile phones are so in demand at the moment that everywhere seems to be selling them. You have the obvious places – the high street retailers and the online stores. Then you have market traders trying to get into the game with second-hand or ‘nearly new’ models, as well as online markets such as eBay. Plus, of course, that friend of a friend who wants a quick sale.With so many places to buy a phone from, it’s just another headache for a consumer who wants to be able to choose a phone; hand over the money; and take it home. If only it was that simple.
When you try to buy a phone in a high street store, you can be bombarded by questions from staff looking to force through a sale when all you want to do is take your time and choose the phone and tariff that are right for you.
After all, there’s no point buying a top of the range smartphone if you just want something to use in the case of emergencies, and no point buying from a network provider who doesn’t cover your area as you won’t be able to use it!
For these reason, increasing numbers of customers are resorting to purchasing their new phones online via store websites.
This way, they can open one window for the shop and another to find reviews and opinions to ensure that they’re getting a good quality phone, and that they’ve researched their options, from the best tariff to the best provider.
By shopping online for your phone, you’re also able to take advantage of some significant discount offers, allowing you to get free delivery; 20 per cent of your bill; extra call time; more messages; almost anything – just by searching around.
Similarly, a number of suppliers will offer discounts on their websites that they won’t offer in the stores – like getting your phone delivered by a courier such as uShip as opposed to picking up from your nearest store.
They can also offer accessories and peripherals such as leather cases to keep the handset safe or screen protectors to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
Before you commit to buying, however, make sure that you’ve read through all of the fine print.
The only drawback to buying online is that you don’t get your hands on the product before it arrives so you’re buying on trust.
What you could do is go into the store first; get a feel for the phone; how it looks; how it works; the functions, and then go and buy online.
It’s all personal preference anyway, but it’s clear to see why people favour buying online, but best of all, they can do it any time of the day.