Cheaper to buy subsidized and pay ETF than buy full price?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by skimcpip, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. skimcpip macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2013
    Verizon, on contract iPhone 5S 32GB: $299
    + ETF: $350
    = $649


    Purchasing the same phone full price = $749

    Am I missing something here?
  2. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
  3. lazard macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2012
    This. You have to pay the 1st month.
  4. skimcpip thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2013
    You guys sure?

    This is from the Verizon customer agreement:

    What Happens if My Postpay Service Is Canceled Before the End of My Contract Term?

    If you're signing up for Postpay Service, you're agreeing to subscribe to a line of Service either on a month–to–month basis or for a minimum contract term, as shown on your receipt or order confirmation. (If your Service is suspended without billing, that time doesn't count toward completing your contract term.) Once you've completed your contract term, you'll automatically become a customer on a month–to–month basis for that line of Service. If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an advanced device, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. Otherwise, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. Cancellations will become effective on the last day of that month's billing cycle, and you are responsible for all charges incurred until then. Also, if you bought your wireless device from an authorized agent or third–party vendor, you should check whether they charge a separate termination fee.​
  5. cplclegg macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2011
    So add another $40 then if it's another line on a share everything plan? Still $60 cheaper.
  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
  7. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Don't forget the verizon $35 activation fee for new lines/$30 fee for upgrades that they do not waive anymore.

    Guess you can try to cancel but its more of a headache.
  8. rockitdog macrumors 68020

    Mar 25, 2013
    I was playing around on Verizon's site yesterday and they make you pay for your first month pro-rated and the following months bill too so that first bill is actually quite high. So no, its not a better deal.
  9. The Robot Cow macrumors 6502

    The Robot Cow

    Sep 12, 2012
    Central California
    For me i'd rather pay a couple more bucks and avoid the hassle of paying the extra month and a potential problem on my phone bill.
  10. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Don't also forget activation fee and first month's plan. Taxes apply too.
  11. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    and if you cancel service they won't let you be a customer for a few months
  12. Charadis macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2010
    You'll lose any grandfathered feature that you currently have with your account! (ie, unlimited data plan, and....that's all I can think of atm).
  13. Briview macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I do this for all of my iPhones on a yearly basis (as I use a cheap pay-as-you-go nanoSIM card from Spot Mobile), and last year... when I was buying the 5, I called up AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. AT&T and Sprint both said it's mandatory to pay the first month... which shoots past the $649+tax unlocked price (however much your sales tax would be, the subsidized and ETFed price was still substantially higher than the full price). For Verizon though, their customer support staff said that you pay for what you use. I ended up buying the Verizon iPhone 5 (which is good for its already-unlocked phase), but you still need to activate the phone line and then you are charged a per-day pro-rated basis. So... even if you just activate it to terminate it (it being your contract), you'll still pay the first-day fee (something around $20), the activation fee with tax, the ETF with tax, and in total for my 16 GB, it turned out to be:

    iPhone | $200
    Tax | +$60
    Day | +$20
    Activation | +$50
    ETF | +$350
    Tax | + $30
    Gov/State/City Fees | +$20
    — — — — — — — — —*—*—
    All rounded figures, but the total above is... $730.

    However, if you buy the newly-available T-Mobile version, you can spend $650+Tax... which for me would be $60, or $710.

    Sure... buying unlocked at $710 is only $20 less expensive than buying the cheapest contract-wise option after ETF (Verizon) at $730, but think of all the priceless time you'll spend calling the Verizon customer service multiple times like I did just to cancel the service and pay the ETF and all that... the processes of registering online and then making a payment through their portal... and waiting on the hold-line. All that energy and productivity you could have spent elsewhere as I've come to learn the hard way.

    $20 more AND several hours of your time... versus buying unlocked up-front and no hassles. Pretty clear winner.

    This time, after 4 years of buying iPhones, I will get to do the latter from the very first day thanks to the T-Mobile iPhone. And since all iPhone 5Ses have the same cellular bandlines (other than the few bits of additional spectrums on the Sprint 5S that aren't extremely critical to have), it doesn't really matter which one you get.

    Hope that helps since I have experience with this exact circumstance annually.
  14. skimcpip thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2013
    Extremely helpful. Thanks for your input
  15. Blorzoga macrumors 68030


    May 21, 2010
    Do you really think phone companies are stupid? Do you honestly not think they have considered this scenario?
  16. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
    I do this every year to get a new phone. I pay the ETF ( I have about a 50% average of actually getting out of the fee), sell the old iPhone, and sign up for the new service.
  17. Blorzoga macrumors 68030


    May 21, 2010
    If you can afford to buy an off-contract iPhone annually, then why concern yourself with saving a few bucks?
  18. forcetactic macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    I did this last year for my iPhone 5. Ended up getting it for around $540 which is much cheaper than $690 unlocked but it was still a lot of loopholes I had to jump through. I used a friend's family plan add a line so I would avoid paying the full $40 voice for a single line. Here is the breakdown of the costs. This year I'm sure it'll be much harder to get some of the fees waived

    iPhone 5 subsidized + tax: $212
    Waived activation fee by calling in: $0
    1.5 months worth of service (I instantly switched to dumbphone and canceled data): $15
    ETF: $315 (with tax it was $375 but I managed to call and get it reduced to no tax)
  19. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    But do you get to keep your number?
  20. Briview macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    A pleasure. Glad to be of help.

    You never know. There are loopholes to everything. It's just a matter of finding a way to discover them. Of course they've thought about this main scenario in-hand, but sometimes, you can do something like adding a line on a family plan and avoid paying entireties.

    I am interested in what you mean by 'getting out of the fee.' I can only imagine calling in and begging them not to charge the ETF? Does that sort of thing actually work?!

    You, my good sir, are pretty amazing with your trick of ambiguity. I don't have a friend who's on a family plan to add a line, but if I did, I'd do just the same. However, all the call-ins you did that had them wave the fees... how does that all work? They certainly need to follow their set of rules... so they can't just put in requests for refunds simply because one doesn't want to pay the tax, right?

    Why wouldn't you want to save yourself the energy and the money if you could? It's only common sense. Besides, I am an app developer who freelances and doesn't have the funds to pay carriers over $1,000 on a yearly basis, so it only makes sense to for me to lose only a coupe hundred dollars per year (when selling the current-gen iPhone for ~$500 the year after, before the new one's keynote) rather than all that money that goes to the service bills.

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