“I’d like to buy a cell phone on eBay as a holiday gift. Is this a good idea?”
We get this issue at the call center quite often. e-Bay is a great tool and a great way to get quality merchandice for a small price. However, when it comes to cell phones there are a couple of things you need to watch for.
Be extremely careful and check the person’s feedback thoroughly. Since you cant look at the actual phone first hand, you don’t know what condition it is in really.
You need to know if it is a private seller or a retailer who buys and sells phones. If it is a private seller, make sure there is no outstanding balance tied to the phone. Companies will not activate the device untill all balances associated with it are paid.
Make sure the phone is one that your cell phone company carries. This way you can be at least somewhat assured that the device will work with voice as well as data. If it is an unlocked phone (One that can be used for any carrier), make sure that you can program it for your carrier’s settings. Data connections require certain settings in the phone, including user names and passwords to access a carrier’s data service. If the phone you buy does not have access to these settings, you will not be able to use it.
If you buy a phone from e-Bay and you can’t seem to get it to work right go ahead and call your carrier, but keep in mind that because it is a “non-branded” device, there is not allot they can do to assist you.
You will not be able to go through your carrier to access things like warranties or exchanges. The carrier didn’t sell you the phone and will not take responsibility for replacing it should it go bad.