How was my phone “free” before and now I have to pay so much?

Phone free with 2 year service agreement

Why was my phone free and now I have to pay so much? Fine print says "with new account".

You recently got your new phone for free on a promotion at your local phone store. 3 months later you were drunk and left your phone in a taxi cab. The next day you proceed to go into your local Verizon store only to find out your phone is going to cost you $599.99 to replace the device. The sales person in the store says you are not eligible for an upgrade on your phone for another year and 9 months! The sales guy says the only reason you received your phone  for free was because you agreed to a 2 year contract with your phone carrier. Oh no, what am I going to do you think to yourself.

The reality is, cell phones are expensive devices. Think about it.. The latest and greatest phones have 2 or more core processors, 8MP cameras and are basically the equivalent of a full computer packed into a 4 inch x 2 inch device. Kind of crazy when you really stop to think about what you take for granted on a day to day. Your phone provider loses money initially on the device they are giving you for free in exchange for a sign on the dotted line. They lock you into a long term contract at $140 or more a month in exchange for that free phone. Do the math – $140 x 24 months is $3,360! So your so called “free” phone does not look so free when you do some simple math.


The fact of the matter is that we can not live without our smart phones or any other mobile phone for that matter. Recent medical studies show we go through withdrawal without our phones. No seriously – cell phone addiction and withdrawal symptoms is something serious that has been recently recognized by a number of researchers worldwide. So if you have an addition to something you would obviously do whatever it took to get more of it. In the event of breaking or losing your phone you stumple into your local Verizon Wireless phone store only to find out the phone you received for free just 3 months prior is now $599.99! Holy crap you would think. How the heck can a company like Verizon charge someone who is clearly addicted to their phone so much money? Well, you are addicted remember…

Luckily there are alternative solutions out there available to you. Have you considered a used or refurbished phone alternative? You can save 60% or more on a used cell phone or a refurbished variation. With all the smart phone options available today, a lot of phones are returned and exchanged for different models. Almost every store has a 30 day money back guarantee so if you did not like your first choice, you can try out something else. The phone store can not resell that device as brand new so it is resold elsewhere as either pre-owned or refurbished. An example would be like buying a used car. As soon as you drive that car off the lot for the first time, if you went to resell that car you would get much less than its original price tag retrieved. Phones in particular are a technology item so their price tags are often affected even more significantly.

Just because you got your original device for free doesn’t mean you should not protect that thing with your life. Otherwise, be forewarned to replace that phone with a brand new one, it is going to cost you a whole lot of money.


  • Squeeky Wheel

    before smart phones even existed, replacing a phone before you were due for an upgrade was ridiculously cost-prohibitive. Phones are cheap. the real money is in the monthly charges because the US has not gone to the same system as other countries where phones are really cheap because the user must agree to see advertising. as long as US phone companies continue to use this outdated model, consumers will continue to be chained to a particular carrier thru never-ending contract extensions . and customer service will continue to be non-existent. that’s the power of monopolies. hopefully some day, consumers will have the freedom that we were afforded after the break up of “Ma Bell.” it used to be you could only get a home phone (land line) thru the phone company. thats why most homes only had one phone (two if you were “rich”) then when Ma Bell was broken up , anyone could buy a phone anywhere and simply plug it in the jack in their home. Aaah. freedom! until the 3 major cell phone companies are forced to play nice and make it an even playing field, we are all handcuffed to our carrier and whatever phones they offer on THEIR terms!

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