Why not just eat the ETF?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by uptownnyc, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. uptownnyc macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    So I'm comparing plans to buy a device outright versus buying a device with a plan. Aside from T-Mobile, carriers make it remarkably difficult (impossible?) to buy a handset online without a plan. And going to stores is a crap-shoot in terms of whether they'll have the device you want in-stock.

    But I'm doing the math, and wondering why you can't just buy a phone with a plan, then cancel almost immediately - absorbing the ETF.

    • If you were to buy a new 64gb iPhone 6, you'd be able to buy one for $749.
    • If you were to buy a 64gb iPhone with a 2 year agreement, you'd get the phone for the subsidized price of $300.
    • If you were to end your contract, and pay the ETF you'd pay $350 from Verizon for example.

    Doesn't that allow you to order the device you want, and walk away with an unlocked phone for $650 free and clear of your original contract? What's the down-side? Seems like you get a $750 device for ~$650. If you pay the ETF, does it avoid any potential hit to your credit for voiding your contract?

    I'd prefer to be able to just order a contract-less device without screwing around like this, but there doesn't seem to be a way to order a device without a contract on their website.
  2. richardbb85 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2009
    u can't trick the system, wont be the first n certainly wont be the last to try
  3. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    the downside is some carriers want you to update your plan(make it worse) to sign a new 2 year agreement, some people done want to sign a new 2 year agreement
  4. noobinator macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2009
    Pasadena, CA
    They usually make you pay a month service minimum thus negating most of, if not all, of the savings.
  5. reverberlayed macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2014
    Most companies also have an activation/upgrade fee, won't let you cancel service for 30 days after initial activation, and you can't port out your number if it is cancelled.
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    That, and there's usually an activation fee you have to pay too.
  7. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    you also need to pay activation fees, at least 1 month prob 2-3 for the line, plus taxes and connection fees.

    You will end up paying $100 more at least.

    Also, IDK why are you complaining of trying to get one full price and you can't, just go to apple.com or order at the apple store since you are clearly in the US.
  8. uptownnyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    I'm not even looking to save. I just want a device off-contract without going back to the Apple store everyday to see if they have things in-stock.
  9. shoulin333 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    According to their (Verizon) policy it seems so. However you would need to make sure Verizon is willing to unlock your phone after you paid the ETF.

    I bet Verizon is able to get these phones at no more than $650 from Apple, so they would break even and although they wouldn't like it, they probably couldn't do anything about it.

    Also add in the activation fees, and 14-days worth of service charges. If you cancel within 14 days I believe you have to return the phone to not face a charge of full retail value instead of an ETF.
  10. tardman91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    As has been said you would have to pay activation fees and for at least a portion of a month of service. Carriers aren't stupid. They have it all figured out so that they don't ever lose money.

    What kills me is how people always think they've somehow come up with a convoluted plan to beat the carriers at their own game.
  11. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    You're NOT the first bright spark to come up with this idea since the dawn of cell phone subsidies...

    If you cancel before day 15 and don't return the phone they'll charge you the difference between subsidized and full retail prices plus the cost of service for at least a partial month services. Net effect is you pay more than full retail.

    If you cancel after day 15, you pay at least a half month's service, plus activation fee, plus ETF.

    Net effect is there's really no advantage.
  12. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Good news, Verizon LTE phones are already unlocked regardless of contract status.

    Between the activation fee, first month service and potential taxes on ETF, it just doesn't seem worth it. If you don't need a Verizon approved iPhone, might as well just buy the unlocked T-Mobile version full price from Apple Store online.
  13. uptownnyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    I'm planning to go with their Verizon Allset Prepaid plan - so I do want a Verizon approved device.
  14. Dtrip macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2014
    I did just that. Due to some preorder issues I walked into an AT&T store (not a factory store) and picked up a 64gb White 6 Plus. I knew I was switching to T-mobile as well, so I pre-ordered my 6 through T-Mobile and it arrived on launch day too. After picking up the 6 Plus I drove down to the T-Mobile store and immediately ported my number over to them and activated my 6. I paid $427 with taxes for the 6 Plus, and then $40 for the activation fee. T-Mobile was nice enough to reimburse me for the $325 ETF so I basically paid $467 for the 6 Plus. Once I realized the 6 Plus was too big for my needs, I sold it to my buddy for the price I paid. Oh, and AT&T granted my unlock even before my ETF was paid for some reason.
  15. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Wow, you must be the first person that ever thought of that...
  16. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012
    I like your style, dude!

  17. Dtrip macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2014
    Obviously I'm not (if you're referring to me). Just confirming to the OP that I didn't get charged any extra fees.
  18. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    Not sure it matters in your case, but I've been told by 2 Verizon reps that if you cancel and pay the ETF you also lose your phone number. If that is true, it is a non-starter for me.
  19. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    This is why you do it via add-a-line or something. :p
  20. uptownnyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    Not a huge deal in my case as I plan to port a # from another carrier after I activate a pre-paid plan on the device. The only thing I'd want to avoid is a negative hit on my credit - but I don't see how that'd happen if you pay the ETF.
  21. Rayy42 macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2014
    You would lose your number though eating the ETF
  22. pdxmatts macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2013
    Portland, OR
    Didn't you have to trade in a phone and buy one from TMO in order for them to pay the ETF? I thought that you had to do that for ETF reimbursement.

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