Smartphone Buying Tips

Here are some important tips and factors that you should consider when choosing or buying a smartphone.

This Guides Outline

Buyer’s Remorse

When buying your Smartphone or any phone for that matter you should know how long you have to return it before you’re stuck with it.

If you don’t like your new phone or it starts malfunctioning right out of the box then you’re going to want to take it back to where you bought it for a refund or an exchange for another NEW phone. If you don’t do that within the allotted buyer’s remorse time, often 30 days or less, 14 days is a pretty common buyer’s remorse period, then you’re stuck with that phone, not to mention most likely stuck in your contract too, but we’ll get to that a little later. Try and know how much time you have to return your device before choosing your retailer.

When and how you buy your phone can greatly affect the number of days you have to return it and some buyer’s remorse dates start when you order your phone or its shipping date, NOT when you start using your phone. So… if you buy your phone online for the newest greatest deal available (which is often a good idea), and it takes 7 days to arrive and you have a 30 days buyer’s remorse then you might only have 23 days to contact your point of sale and request a refund or exchange.

And of course if you’re under buyer’s remorse and want to return your phone then do it! As quickly as possible! Don’t let anyone tell you to just wait, especially store reps. If you wait until your buyer’s remorse date is up, for example wait till day 31 of the 30, then your replacement options just became a lot more limited. You might be able to get your phone replaced through warranty but it’s going to be a refurbished phone and not brand new and its going to be the same make and model. Don’t waste your buyer’s remorse if you have it and need it.

Restocking Fee

This goes hand in hand with buyer’s remorse. Find out if there is a charge or fee if you want to return your phone to where you got it from. If you think you might be frustrated because your brand new phone isn’t working, how much more frustrated are you going to be when you try to take it back and you have to PAY to return it. Sounds crazy I know but this too is often very common so make sure you ask the representative that you’re buying it from to see if there is a restocking fee involved. You might be surprised.

Shop in person, but buy online

When I buy a phone I like to touch it, feel its weight, hold it in my hand, see how big it is, I can read all this online sure but it’s just not the same. When researching on what Smartphone you might want to buy then you might want to consider actually going into the store and handling one of the display phones on the shelf. A phone might seem like the best choice online but you might find something that suites your needs better when your shopping in person. You don’t have to buy it there either, test it out see if you would like it and then go home and get an even better deal online.


Try and get free shipping. If you see a great deal on a new phone and they don’t offer free shipping then make sure they aren’t gouging you with the shipping charges. I know a person who sales big items on eBay and doesn’t make a thing from the sale he makes all his money from the shipping charges, kind of funny but true. Free shipping is pretty common when getting a Smartphone so try not to let the word Free draw you in.  People like free things and even though it’s a common practice it’s still one more selling point in the vendor’s arsenal.

Priority Shipping vs. Standard Shipping

Take the speed of the delivery of your device into consideration, most buyers do this already simply because you want your device as soon as possible to start using it, but even more important is because of that buyer’s remorse mentioned earlier. If you have a 14 days buyer’s remorse that starts after your purchase, which many do, and you buy your phone on Friday evening and it takes up to 5-7 business days to arrive that means it might not be shipped out till Monday then you wait Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, they might not ship or deliver on weekends, its business days after all, Monday, Tuesday, and it arrives by Wednesday, assuming they got your address correct. 

Kind of a worst case scenario I know, but when it rains it pores, and while it’s on its way your buyer’s remorse might be ticking away. 14 days buyers’ remorse minus the 9 days shipping time that’s roughly 5 days to try it and make sure it’s working correctly before you can’t return it to your point of sale any more. During this time you’re also learning the device for the first time and only have a short while to discover an issue. Many people don’t know that their phone is acting up they just assume it’s themselves and that they just need to get used to the phone. Again this is kind of a worst case scenario I know and since its usually priority shipped which is 1-2 days you shouldn’t have to worry about it but read that shipping information or ask the representative that’s assisting you before confirming your order and don’t forget about that dang buyer’s remorse.

How Much Should You Spend?

Another topic that really depends on what kind of a person you are, please remember that you don’t NEED to pay hundreds of dollars a month to have a phone. If you wanted you could head over to your local Wal-Mart, retail location, or the all powerful Amazon, buy a Smartphone for $19 or so dollars, it depends on what device you actually want to buy, then buy a $19.99 phone card with that phones wireless provider, getting about 200 minutes or 400 texts, go home, activate it and have a phone for $40 dollars then only less than $20 dollars a month from then on. No commitment, no contract, no early termination fees, no lock ins, no one year warranty on a 2 year contract, no hidden fees, and if your phone breaks and you get tired of talking to someone in the Philippines for hours with no results other than a headache and a ton of frustration guess what. Donate the phone or recycle it (don’t throw it away), and get another one for 20 bucks. 

This is the perfect solution for someone that might not use a phone often enough or barely uses it enough to justify even owning a phone. For example, if you just need a phone for a month or two while you’re looking for a job, it’s perfect! Get the phone find a job and stop buying minutes. Most of the minutes usually roll over anyways, I have a prepaid phone that has over 900 minutes because I just kept buying the airtime for the 30 days of service, I didn’t even use all the minutes or text available, they just keep rolling over.

If you’re a simple person, like me, with simple needs, who likes to save money, and keep it low cost, then a basic prepaid phone might be what you’re looking for. Consider pre-paid as an option. If you like you can also buy a Smartphone for full price and pre-pay it as you go as well, using the data connection of your home WiFi, remember if you have a smart phone you’ll need access to a data source of some type, which includes a home wireless internet. You can even use many of the features of a Smartphone at home on your wireless internet with no wireless service provider at all! So keep in mind your upfront costs and new monthly payment and how it’s going to affect your budget.

How much can you afford?

Pretty self explanatory, if you can’t afford a Smartphone then don’t get one. If you have to have a phone then look into a basic phone or a pay as you go option like prepaid. Shop within your budget and don’t forget to consider those monthly payments.


Just because you’re thinking about getting a Smartphone doesn’t mean that you need to sign a contract to get one. When using prepaid you can use your phone and pay as you go by the month. You can use the phone temporarily or when traveling or when doing seasonal work or even loan it to a friend or family member to use under their telephone number and you won’t be any worse for wear. Having chosen prepaid is wonderful if you fall under financial hardship as well, simply because you won’t have the obligation of paying a bill next month. Then once you get back on your feet, you simply call in and buy another month of service. Prepaid is often times cheaper as well. Pay now or pay later.

Pay Now or Pay Later

Wireless providers use discounted pricing on phones as bait for potential customers and often hook them with their contract. Did you know that over the long run prepaid is often the cheaper option? Not just a little cheaper either, depending on your provider plan and phone you choose, it could save you around a thousand dollars per phone line over the 2 years that you would have been locked into a contract. Don’t be lazy when shopping for your phone. Do the math! It’s a lot easier for a sales rep to get you to part with a penny or $50 or $100 and get you into a contract, than it is to have you pay the full retail price which can seem expensive up front, often times hundreds of dollars , but like I mentioned can save you hundreds. Compare the contract price with the prepaid price and calculate the contract length and see which one ends up being the cheaper solution, then of course use that solution to make your selection.

When to Buy

You might not always have the opportunity to pick when you’re going to purchase a Smartphone but when you actually buy your phone can affect how much you’re going to have to pay for it. Often times you can get some pretty nice bargains if you can wait until Black Friday (November) or Christmas (December) to buy a Smartphone.

Remember this though, if you plan to give the phone as a gift your buyer’s remorse might be ticking away while it’s waiting in the box for Christmas day to arrive. So check your buyer’s remorse timeframe as mentioned earlier in the article. It would be a frustrating situation if you did your holiday shopping early and then opened the gift only to find it doesn’t work and even more frustrating when you try to take it back to the store and you find out that you can’t get a new one because you bought it over 14 days ago.

Smartphones can be pretty exciting gifts just try and take these things into consideration when buying the device.


Personally I like to buy new devices. Not just when buying a smartphone but buying any electronic. I get them clean and shiny and make sure they are working at 100%, then I do whatever I can to make them last as long as possible. I plan to get every single penny that I paid for out of my device, and when it finally goes, because nothing lasts forever, I might get sad, but it’s rarely within my control so I move on. My Devices remain looking brand new and usually continue to function properly for a long time after I buy them.


There is usually nothing wrong with buying a used smartphone. In fact the price of a used phone is pretty much always better or at least lower than a new phone. If you’re a thrifty shopper and plan on buying your phone used then make sure to take this article to heart. Definitely check the LDI, Headset jack and for any signs of liquid or physical damage, and if you find any then I recommend you don’t buy or return the phone to wherever you got it from. I also recommend performing a reset on the device when you get it too. Wipe everything from the phone and start using the unit on squeaky clean software and maximum available storage.

To Refurbish or not Refurbish

Refurbished phones are used phones, period. Usually returned for one reason or another, whether it was just a screen that went out was replaced and is now as good as new, or maybe the phone was returned for a bad headset jack, which was replaced and now works perfectly fine, or maybe it had a pretty serious software problem and the phone had to be Flashed again because standard software troubleshooting wasn’t successful.

Whatever the reason the phone was returned and should now be working at 100%. Here is what you should consider about refurbished phones.

  1. It was returned for a reason, you don’t know what that reason was. Who is to say that it was an issue that can be easily duplicated and thoroughly tested to make 100% sure that the issue was resolved? If the phone was returned because it power cycled a few times every couple of days, the manufacturer might believe that it fixed the issue, but they are not going to pay an employee to actually test that specific phone for a couple of days to make sure it’s working correctly. Not when they have thousands of phones to fix and test. So take that into mind when buying a refurbished smartphone.
  2. Shorter Warranty – when buying a refurbished phone chances are that it WILL NOT come with a one year warranty. Typically the warranty on a refurbished phone is 90 days. Make sure you bring this up with whomever you’re interested in buying the phone from. If this is the case you might want to consider investing in some type of insurance. Insurance usually handles anything that the warranty doesn’t, including out of warranty by date.
  3. Refurbished phones are usually tested. So when buying a refurbished phone it might actually work better than a new phone right out of the box, simply because it has been tested to make sure that it is working correctly.
  4. When you file a warranty or insurance claim you usually get a refurbished phone anyways, there is typically nothing wrong with owning a refurbished or reconditioned device.
  5. Refurbished phones are often in Like New condition, so you shouldn’t have to worry about dings, nicks, or damage on the unit and no one’s going to know its refurbished but you and whomever you buy it from.
  6. Can get one of the newest phones for a fraction of the price.


If you’re looking at liquidated devices then you better be getting a pretty swinging deal on that device. Usually liquidated phones don’t even come with any type of warranty.

Keep in mind the Latin phrase Caveat emptor meaning “let the buyer beware”, especially when it comes to liquidated phones. Make sure you read all the fine print when considering this option.

Want to learn more?

This article is PART 6 of Choosing a smartphone. Click HERE to start at the beginning or feel free to jump to a different part in this series of posts by selecting one of the links below.

Part 1: Choosing a Smartphone – Getting Started

Part 2: Specifications to Consider when Choosing a Smartphone

Part 3: Choosing a Smartphone Operating System

Part 4: Choosing a Smartphone Manufacturer

Part 5: How to Choose the Best Wireless Service Provider

Part 6: Smartphone Buying Tips (YOU ARE HERE)

Part 7: Things to Check in Person after Buying a Smartphone

Part 8: Things Often Overlooked when Choosing a Smartphone

Thanks for reading

I hope that you find the advice listed above helpful and useful when buying a smartphone. If you take anything away from this list of suggestions then make sure to remember to ask about any possible restocking fees that you might incur if you choose to return the phone and how long you have to return your phone if it starts having problems or you don’t care for it for whatever reason. These two things are two of the most annoying and frustrating issues to run across when buying a smartphone so try to avoid them whenever possible.

Thank you for visiting the site and if you found this article revealing or enlightening then don’t forget to share it with the Facebook Like or Google + buttons and feel free to post a friendly remark in the comment section below as well.

Enjoy and I hope you have a fantastic day.

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