Advantages see op
Disadvantages see op
Last week I took the plunge and bought a new mobile. Because I wasn't actually bothered about keeping my number I cancelled the contract I was on and decided to start a new contract so that I could take advantage of the numerous special offers. After a good search on the Web I decided which phone I wanted and that the best deal was at Carphone Warehouse. I didn't want to order online (why wait for delivery when I could walk out of the shop with one?) so I wandered along to my local store to make some enquiries.~~~ The Store ~~~
~~~ Salesperson ~~~
The girl I spoke to appeared quite knowledgeable, that is she would have appeared quiet knowledgeable to someone who didn't know what they were looking for. Of course she would have had you spending a lot of money if you listened to her advice. I explained what I wanted and asked if it was OK to take out a new contract with the same operator who I had just cancelled one with. She told me this was no problem as they used a different service provider (very confusing, you have a contract with an operator Cellnet, Orange etc and you are signed up through a service provider such as Cellular Communications).
~~~ Incorrect Information ~~~
Carphone Warehouse do a lot of radio advertising. In these adverts they always stress how knowledgeable their staff are and how much training they do. I asked the girl what extras I get with this phone and this contract and she told me I could get a £50 trade in on my old phone if I returned it complete with the manual and charger. I liked the sound of this as I had read it on the website but she neglected to mention that I wouldn't actually get £50, but a £50 credit to spend on accessories when I purchased the phone (same day only!). I then asked about the cashback offer on BT Cellnet contracts and she told me that wasn't Cellnet it was One to One. Not only did I know it was Cellnet it was printed in the brochure she was showing me!
~~~ Sales Pitch No 3 ~~~
Finally I was treated to the biggest and best sales pitch. Insurance. I never buy extended warranties and I hate paying out for insurance but here was a beautiful sales pitch to get me to fork out a further few quid every month. I was reminded that if my phone was broken they would not supply a loan phone whilst mine was away for repairs unless I bought insurance. If my phone is lost or stolen it will cost me £250 to get a replacement. I just listened with a glazed expression as I know none of these problems are as great as they make out. If my phone is away from repairs I can pop my SIM card in an old handset (I have plenty of handsets at home). If your phone is lost or stolen you ring your service provider and they block the SIM card and send you a new one, if its too soon to buy a handset upgrade (you can't get one for 12 months) you find an old handset. I know this from experience, my Dad has lost 2 phones in 18 months!
~~~ Salesperson No 2 ~~~
The salesperson in the second store appeared to be more knowledgable. She explained that the £50 trade in on my old phone was to spend on accessories in store that day and that I would also get 25% off the price of any accessories I bought that day. Again I was told the handset I wanted was £9.99 and I said that it was shown as free on the website (I had a printout in my handbag!). Apparently Carphone Warehouse don't have the same deals in store as they do on the web site and although the handset would cost £9.99 I would get a free pair of Calvin Klein sunglasses. I was itching to get that new phone in my hand so I handed over my proof of ID and bank details for the direct debit. It took the girl about 5 minutes to get me all signed up with my new handset.
~~~ The Deal ~~~
Finally I left the Carphone Warehouse with a lovely new phone. I had purchased a Nokia 3330 on a BT Cellnet Net 100 tariff. I used my £50 trade in on my old mobile to purchase a nifty hands free kit/charger for the car (RRP £49.99, but I got 25% off) and pay the £9.99 for the phone. I have a pair of Calvin Klein sunglasses being delivered this week (hell I'm a £2.99 in Boots sort of girl, anyone wanna buy designer sunnies?). I have to pay a monthly line rental of £18 but after six months Cellnet will send me a cashback cheque for £50 and after 12 months they will send another one.
~~~ The Bottom Line ~~~
I would definitely go to the Carphone Warehouse again. The deal I got was the best I could find with a reputable company (I'm very wary of these places that advertise in the paper). The sales pitch is tiring but endurable. I would recommend using them but I would say check out all your options first as the staff may not give you the right information. Oddly though the staff seem very well trained to sell insurance.
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