Technology

Wireless Carriers Eliminating Discounts on New Phones

Major carriers are forcing you to wait longer to get a cut-rate upgrade.

If you renew a contract with AT&T or Verizon Wireless, choose a cell phone you can live with for a long time. Both carriers are scrapping the option to buy a new phone at a discount after 20 months. The new rules, which affect Verizon customers whose contracts expire in January 2014 or later and AT&T customers whose contracts expire in March 2014 or later, require you to wait two years to get a phone at a subsidized price.

If your phone bites the dust (or falls in the water) early, you needn’t pay full freight for a new one. Both carriers allow a member of a shared account who is eligible for an upgrade to transfer it to a fellow account member. Or you could reactivate a device you’ve used in the past or buy a used or refurbished phone on a site such as Amazon or eBay.

Don’t overlook manufacturer warranties, which often cover malfunctions for the first year. If you bought the phone with a credit card that provides an extended warranty, you may get an additional year of coverage. A warranty won’t cover damage that you cause. But if you use a card with purchase protection and damage the phone within three months of buying it, you might get a reimbursement, refund or replacement. Insurance probably isn’t worth it; you’ll typically pay $5 to $7 a month per phone plus a deductible of about $100.

Most Popular

How a Third Stimulus Check Could Differ From the First and Second Payments
Coronavirus and Your Money

How a Third Stimulus Check Could Differ From the First and Second Payments

There's a big push in Washington for a third round of stimulus payments. But the amount and eligibility rules for your third stimulus check could be d…
January 27, 2021
Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your second stimulus check.
January 18, 2021
Biden's Stimulus Plan Includes $3,000 Child Tax Credits
Coronavirus and Your Money

Biden's Stimulus Plan Includes $3,000 Child Tax Credits

The president is calling for a temporary tax credit of $3,000 per child (more for younger children).
January 27, 2021

Recommended

A Golf Course Community’s Big Variable for Retirees
Smart Buying

A Golf Course Community’s Big Variable for Retirees

Golf club memberships can often be a separate, and hefty, annual fee at golf communities. Here's some guidance before you tee up your retirement move …
December 14, 2020
Don’t Buy This: Top 20 List of Things That Aren't Worth the Money
spending

Don’t Buy This: Top 20 List of Things That Aren't Worth the Money

Buyer’s remorse is real, and if you purchase any of these 20 items, chances are you’ll get to experience it firsthand.
December 9, 2020
Retirees, Get Ready for Virtual Video Visits for the Holidays
Smart Buying

Retirees, Get Ready for Virtual Video Visits for the Holidays

Tap into virtual video software, age-friendly gadgets, video apps and accessories to make seasonal gatherings safe.
December 4, 2020
2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period
Smart Buying

2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period

From laptops to loudspeakers to, yes, shoes. Check out the latest gee-whiz gadgets to make an impression during gift-giving season.
November 29, 2020