Print 18 comment(s) - last by omnicronx.. on Dec 18 at 12:47 PM

$50 savings in exchange for a possible scratched/abused phone with less warranty coverage

Apple's iPhone 3G may be the hottest thing since sliced bread in the phone world, but some people are still a little wary of the $199 entry fee plus a minimum $70-per-month service plan for a mandatory two-years.

The quest for a cheaper iPhone is no doubt on many peoples' minds which explains the uproar that crossed media channels when rumors began to spread that Walmart would begin selling iPhones for as little as $99 with a two-year service agreement.

While the sub-$100 iPhone 3G is still nowhere to be found, AT&T is seeking customers who want a lower initial cost of entry for the phone in the form of refurbished units according to CNET. Whereas the current 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3Gs are priced at $199 and $299 respectively, the refurbished models will set you back $149 and $249 respectively.

However, there is a big tradeoff for the $50 savings over a new model -- the refurbished models only carry a 90-day warranty whereas brand new models carry a one-year warranty from the factory.

Considering that the refurbished phones are still tied to the two-year contract, customers must ask themselves if saving $50 over the cost of a two-year contract worth losing nine-months worth of warranty coverage. It seems likely that most will simply just go with a new unit, but stranger things have been known to happen in the Apple world.

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By afkrotch on 12/16/2008 1:13:22 PM , Rating: 3
That's not a whole lot of money savings on a refurb. I'd expect a crap warranty, but they should allow the users the ability to get a cheaper contract or shorter contract.

RE: $50?
By ebakke on 12/16/2008 1:14:43 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed. AT&T can take it's $50, and shove it.

RE: $50?
By ranger203 on 12/16/2008 9:24:10 PM , Rating: 3
Does Steve Jobs pee on every one of these too, or is that just the iPods?

RE: $50?
By callmeroy on 12/17/2008 11:16:16 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, but aside from us posting on these forums that its a crap deal you'd be surprised how many people are going "cool $50 off, I'm getting one!". Personally, its my opinion that the popularity of the iPhone is born from the fact people are just enthralled by the touch screen interface - since its the first of its kind and as such its the "hip" device to have right now. As ridiculous at it may seem to some of us (including myself btw) some folks are all about image and/or the perception of image. When folks are buying devices motivated by such things , they don't give a crap about the costs -- because its more of a "toy" thing, than a business tool.
And be honest - we all know we love our toys and will pay insane sums of money for them.

As far as apple as a whole -- I think they are full of themselves a bit, but they do make beautiful products i can't deny. I wish apple didn't lie so much both in their commercials and their product literature though. Windows, well well managed and used by someone who knows a little about computers -- is actually very stable, productive and quite fast. As an Ipod owner though and knowing folks with newer Ipods -- why the hell does apple blatantly lie about battery life? I've yet to meet a single person who has gotten even HALF the life out of their fully charged battery as Apple states it gets -- during realistic use.

Hell , I think I get about 4 hours TOPS on a full charge with my Ipod touch 20gb -- and i believe apple was touting it gets about 10 - 12 what a crock!

By TSS on 12/16/2008 7:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
...the $199 entry fee plus a minimum $70-per-month service plan for a mandatory two-years

$70 x 24 months = $1680 + $199 = $1879. for a phone. -50 bucks for a refurb. i belive lil' john stated it best when he said:


RE: what?
By HotdogIT on 12/16/2008 8:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Are you going to run the numbers for other smart phones as well, or just the iPhone?

What smart phone are you getting for:

1) Free. Free as in 0 up front cost.
2) Not paying around 70 a month for service plus data.

RE: what?
By mtnmanak on 12/16/2008 9:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
I looked on the AT&T website, and the iPhone is the only smartphone that requires the purchase of a minimum data plan ($30). From the AT&T site:

Data plan for iPhone is required for the life of your iPhone service and cannot be removed in the future.

Again, this is the minimum plan you can choose, which, along with the minimum phone plan, brings you to the $70 mark. This is not including the various taxes and fees, but those are irrelevant since they exist for all phones from the carrier.

So, the iPhone 8GB refurb costs a minimum of $1829 over the life of the contract.

Randomly picking another popular phone (the Blackberry 8110), the cost of the phone is $99 and the minimum contract fee per month is $39 for phone service. Which brings the minimum cost over the life of the contract to $1035. A cool savings of about $800 over the iPhone.

Now, I realize that this isn't an apple-to-apples comparison because that does not include data for the Blackberry, but if a person wanted to save money and buy the iPhone without a data plan (and pay by the minute), they could not do that. They can do that with every other smartphone AT&T sells.

Also, if you look at the data/messaging plans for the other smartphones, they are much more granular. If your data/messaging needs are small, you could put a plan together that includes only what you need for less than the $30 per month minimum charge you incur with the iPhone.

I think the iPhone is great, but I am not prepared to AT&T that much money just for a phone contract. Their policy is closer to loan-sharking than phone contracting.

RE: what?
By whiskerwill on 12/17/2008 10:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
A cool savings of about $800 over the iPhone.
Unless you actually USE a data plan, in which case it costs more.

Seriously, where are these braindead comparisons coming from? I know everyone (me included) likes to hate on Apple, but this is getting a bit silly.

RE: what?
By omnicronx on 12/18/2008 12:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
In Canada you have to buy a 3 year plan, plus a minimum of a 60$ data/voice plan which only includes 500meg a month, while still having to pay 200 dollars for the iPhone. Meanwhile you can get an HTC touch with a 10$ unlimited downloads plan (not including MSN messenger) and whatever voice plan you want, while paying $0 for the phone.

I know its not an iphone, but I pay 50 dollars a month and I get unlimited long distance, unlimited internet and 1000 weekly minutes and unlimited incoming calling. If I wanted that for the iPhone my monthly bill would approach 120 dollars, plus I still have to pay for the phone upfront.

Thats more than double per year in fees, and frankly its just not worth it. Especially when you consider that the iPhones battery cannot be removed, I'm going to laugh a year down the road when everyone's battery dies, and they have to shell out even more money to fix it because they still have a year left on their contract.

and you wanted to get it for free?
By Netscorer on 12/16/2008 1:26:42 PM , Rating: 3
$50 off is better then nothing and for a refurb product that brand new still sells like hot cakes it is a normal reduction. You would be surprised how many people overlook such things as warranty in hunt for a perceived bargain.

RE: and you wanted to get it for free?
By theapparition on 12/16/2008 3:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
But there's no such thing as a refurbed iPhone, is there? I'm constantly reminded by Steve Jobs that Apple products "just work", and admission of refurbs would imply that thier products break too. But that can't happen, since it's Apple, and they are perfect.


By michael2k on 12/16/2008 8:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
I bet most refurbs are returns with no defect found.

I'm just saying that because I work with PCs and most people who think something is broken or not working actually suffer from 1D10T or PEBCK issues.

a good laugh
By The0ne on 12/16/2008 2:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
$50 off a refurb was a good laugh for me this morning. Thx!

RE: a good laugh
By Integral9 on 12/17/2008 2:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Why buy the iPhone when you can get the a better, more functional phone; the HTC Tilt, for $100 w/ SP refurbed?($199 off retail w/ SP)

Extended warranty
By fic2 on 12/16/2008 2:49:33 PM , Rating: 3
I am sure that they would probably sell you a 9 month extended warranty for $75...

Matter Much??
By HrilL on 12/16/2008 1:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
While losing 9 months of warranty sounds like a deal breaker. It is not like you get much with the one year warranty to begin with. Without Apple care. Apple will try everyway possible to blame any problems on you or they'll make claims that everything is working within their specifications and send the item back to you without doing anything to fix it.

Now I haven't had my iPhone brake but I have dealt with a lot of iPods with problems. Mostly poor battery life and crashing/freezing up. Anyway I sent an 80GB first gen iPod video. The battery wouldn't last longer than 2 and a half hours on a full charge. That’s not playing video only music. After dealing with all the phone and paper work crap and finally sending it back to Apple they sent it back without fixing anything and said it tested within their specifications. They then wanted to charge me for talking to them on the phone and for trying to get them to fix it. Apple is one of the worst companies in my experience with warranties. Apple treats their customers like morons which is not surprising since most of them are. But for the few of us that are not we shouldn’t have to be treated like such. Apple does this because that way its failure rates look good still because the failures are in fact blamed on the user and not a defect.

Anyway the point is if your device breaks you are pretty much screwed with or without a warranty. So saving the $50 might very well be worth it. But then again warranty might be one of the last things to come to my mind. I think battery life first. If you only get around 480 cycles before the battery is at around 80% capacity then you could get one that would need a new battery in less than a year. With that in mind and the cost of replacing a battery around $120 with a loaner phone to use for the 1-2 weeks of time to get it replaced. It would be a much better deal to just get a new one. Unless of course they do in fact come with brand new batteries.

Apple refurbished
By glitchc on 12/16/2008 2:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
Since these phones are unlikely to be refurbished by anyone other than Apple, it seems reasonable to conclude that this price/warranty combination has been laid down by Apple and AT&T is simply following it.

Previous plan version?
By Chadder007 on 12/16/2008 2:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
How about a refurb pre 3G version that had the cheaper monthly plan from ATT??

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