I recently upgraded my cell phone plan since my contract was nearly up and T-Mobile started offering some pretty interesting Value plans, as they call them. Normally when you sign up for a new contract, you get the opportunity to purchase a heavily discounted, new phone. The catch here is that part of your monthly payment actually goes to pay off the discount you got. In fact, you’ll likely end up overpaying for your discount over the 2 years or so of your contract because the phone subsidy component of your monthly bill is still included even if you’ve long since payed off your discount. To some people, though, the instant discount you get in the short term is worth the amount you might overpay over the course of 2 years.
I’m not really that kind of person. I prefer to bin my expenses into individual, readily identifiable purchases, which is why T-Mobile’s Value plans appealed to me. With the Value plans, the customer is entirely responsible for the cost of the phone, and the monthly bill you get is truly a service bill and not some amalgam of handset expenses and service. If you want a “discounted” phone, you can get a new phone with a 50% down payment, and then pay the balance off gradually as part of your monthly bill. In that sense, the added handset expense is kind of like a phone subsidy you can opt into, except the extra expense ends after the phone is payed off.
Additionally, the rates are pretty reasonable. T-Mobile’s coverage isn’t as good as the Big 3, as I understand, but I’ve used it for two years already without any major headaches, and I’ve found the customer service to be really responsive and easy to work with. I signed up for the 500 Minute + Data Plus plan, which gives 2 GB of high speed data per month, unlimited “slower” data after that, unlimited text, nights and weekends, in-network calling, and 500 minutes to cover anything else, for less than 50 bucks, which was what I was already paying for 300 texts and 300 minutes in the My Faves plan.
Music to my ears. I wanted to avoid the phone payment charge in my bill, and I also wanted to avoid dropping $400-550 dollars on a new smart phone. So, used phone it was. I didn’t know anyone who was looking to sell a MyTouch 4G, which was my preferred replacement handset after researching it online for a while. I monitored craigslist, but the prices for the used sets were not nearly as discounted as I expected. I didn’t want to wait for weeks to catch the right craigslist deal, so after some digging I found GreenCells.
GreenCells is a used phone store online. Its mission, loosely, is to lower the environmental impact of cell phone disposal by buying and reselling used cell phones. They sold me a MyTouch 4G for $250, which was a little higher than what I was hoping for, but worth it in the end, I think, to get a 1-year warranty and a customer service line to call if something should happen.
So what kind of quality can you expect from GreenCells? My phone arrived within 3 days, and looks great. It had about as much wear as I would expect a new phone of mine to get in a week, so I’m definitely satisfied. It even came in the protected foam case that a new phone would.
You can see in the image that some promotional materials and a Quick Start guide are included, but a full instruction manual is missing. Here’s the phone itself, which came with a protective cover already applied.
The flash from the camera probably makes it seem like it’s in worse shape than it really is. I’ve been using it for a couple days now and have had zero problems with it. Everything I’ve tried works splendidly. I’ve been really satisfied with the experience so far. If something changes, I’ll be sure to update this page.
One thing I do want to mention though is that the phone I received did not have its data wiped. All the contacts and messages from the previous owner were left on the phone. This was a minor inconvenience because I figured out how to do a data wipe quickly enough, but I would have expected the phone to be wiped since, you know, GreenCells says on its site that you can feel comfortable selling to them because they wipe all the data. Well, at least in this case it wasn’t true. I’d happily buy from GreenCells again, but I don’t think I would ever sell to them unless I did a really thorough job sanitizing my phone myself beforehand.