Cell Phones

Buying unlocked phones from small shops and not big box retailers

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  • Jul 19th, 2018 7:47 pm
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Buying unlocked phones from small shops and not big box retailers

Hi All,
I'm looking at purchasing a new unlocked S9+, and found that some small "mom and pop shops" prices are much better than the prices at carriers and big box retailers. Just wondering if anyone has had experience with purchasing new phones from these small electronics/phone shops and if so, if the experience has been good or bad. I can't justify paying that much more from a big box retailer if there have been no issues with the small shops. As for version, they will be confirmed as Canadian versions.

Adding this from one of my responses in this thread:
Thanks all for your input. Aside from my original question, this has given me additional insight and I appreciate it. Now...lets talk about these small mom and pop shops. Since the units are Canadian versions and have manufacturers warranty, there shouldn't be any reason why I shouldn't trust it, correct? Not like they're selling an older version since an S9+ is an S9+ and there's no difference with Android version from the first S9+ to come off the assembly line til now. Of course there are fakes/clones out there, but once identifying it's real, there isn't really any reason why not to pay the cheaper price tag for it. I'm just assuming carriers and big box stores charge what they charge because they have more overhead and because they can.

TIA
Last edited by Tom0822 on Jul 11th, 2018 11:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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These phones may be non-Canadian models that may not work on LTE and/or not carry a Canadian or USA warranty.
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audit13 wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 12:23 pm
These phones may be non-Canadian models that may not work on LTE and/or not carry a Canadian or USA warranty.
Maybe I should have indicated in my post that they are Canadian version. I've edited it now.
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Do these phones come with a Samsung Canada warranty?

What's the selling price compared to retail price?

Not sure how much they can discount compared to getting one on a koodo account with gift cards and cancelling right away.
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audit13 wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 2:09 pm
Do these phones come with a Samsung Canada warranty?

What's the selling price compared to retail price?

Not sure how much they can discount compared to getting one on a koodo account with gift cards and cancelling right away.
Yes, comes with the 1 yr manufacturers warranty and the selling price is a little under $1000 tax in. So compared to carriers and big box stores, that's a few hundred dollars of savings.
As for your Koodo idea, what do you mean by cancelling right away? Don't you have to sign a contract to get the phone for cheap? Plus, I'd prefer factory unlocked since I don't want any of the carriers bloatware, but of course if the price is right, then I can live with it.
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Tom0822 wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 2:44 pm
Yes, comes with the 1 yr manufacturers warranty and the selling price is a little under $1000 tax in. So compared to carriers and big box stores, that's a few hundred dollars of savings.
As for your Koodo idea, what do you mean by cancelling right away? Don't you have to sign a contract to get the phone for cheap? Plus, I'd prefer factory unlocked since I don't want any of the carriers bloatware, but of course if the price is right, then I can live with it.
  1. follow hot deals threads on flagship phones on Koodo
  2. all carrier phones are unlocked now
  3. Sammy phones are a special case. Upon initial boot, it'll bake the phone with carrier bloat, based on the sim you boot it with. Buy the Sammy phone from a mom and pop shop, assuming it's indeed a Canadian variant, it'll still flash your carrier's bloat assuming you're booting that phone or the first time with a sim card in it
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titaniumtux wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 3:09 pm
  1. follow hot deals threads on flagship phones on Koodo
  2. all carrier phones are unlocked now
  3. Sammy phones are a special case. Upon initial boot, it'll bake the phone with carrier bloat, based on the sim you boot it with. Buy the Sammy phone from a mom and pop shop, assuming it's indeed a Canadian variant, it'll still flash your carrier's bloat assuming you're booting that phone or the first time with a sim card in it
Hmmm? That's interesting. I did not know Samsung phones auto load carrier bloatware based on your carrier SIM. I've had an S3 a while ago, which was purchased from Rogers, so when I received it with the SIM in it, their bloatware was already on it. After that, I'be been using HTC's and never had this happen. Now because of what the S9 has to offer, I'd like to go back to Samsung. Thanks for that info.
I'll see if I can find that Koodo hot deals thread.
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Is you get the s9, set it up with your sim card in the phone; otherwise, you'll have to start over if the phone is set up without an inserted sim card.

If you change the sim cards, the phone may reset and you'll need to set the phone up again with the new sim card. You'll probably wind up losing all data so make sure to backup essential files before inserting the new sim card.

https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy ... d-t3764735
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audit13 wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 3:31 pm
Is you get the s9, set it up with your sim card in the phone; otherwise, you'll have to start over if the phone is set up without an inserted sim card.

If you change the sim cards, the phone may reset and you'll need to set the phone up again with the new sim card. You'll probably wind up losing all data so make sure to backup essential files before inserting the new sim card.

https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy ... d-t3764735
Awesome...thanks. That is definitely good to know.
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Tom0822 wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 3:21 pm
Hmmm? That's interesting. I did not know Samsung phones auto load carrier bloatware based on your carrier SIM. I've had an S3 a while ago, which was purchased from Rogers, so when I received it with the SIM in it, their bloatware was already on it. After that, I'be been using HTC's and never had this happen. Now because of what the S9 has to offer, I'd like to go back to Samsung. Thanks for that info.
I'll see if I can find that Koodo hot deals thread.
Afaik started with the S7. I'm no Sammy guy so my experience has mostly been with the Sammy's that I have unlocked (had to boot with a different sim twice to prompt the phone to ask me for the code). Anyone who had the S6 might be able to chime in for kicks, but doesn't change the nature of the S9.
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[OP]
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Thanks all for your input. Aside from my original question, this has given me additional insight and I appreciate it. Now...lets talk about these small mom and pop shops. Since the units are Canadian versions and have manufacturers warranty, there shouldn't be any reason why I shouldn't trust it, correct? Not like they're selling an older version since an S9+ is an S9+ and there's no difference with Android version from the first S9+ to come off the assembly line til now. Of course there are fakes/clones out there, but once identifying it's real, there isn't really any reason why not to pay the cheaper price tag for it. I'm just assuming carriers and big box stores charge what they charge because they have more overhead and because they can.
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I usually buy Samsung Galaxy S line of phones every year (not the Note series). I stick to carrier purchases for really one reason... To get VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling features you need to get devices that are tagged as being Rogers / Fido. If these calling features are of no value / not important then continue with buying from external shops. I would have to ask which shops sell Samsung latest phones... Other than BestBuy, TMS, Staples, and a few other retail stores I can't say I have come across smaller shops that stock brand new premium models.
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Despite being the Canadian versions, I could quite easily see Samsung refusing warranty service on these since you didn't buy them from an authorized retailer. Also, if they're selling well below Samsung's MSRP my assumption is that they are either:

- Acquired in some sort of scam (identity theft is most common), and then sold to the shops at an extreme discount, and then the shops pass those savings on to you - in which case don't be surprised if it ends up blacklisted in a few weeks or months
- Acquired as a free carrier upgrade and then sold to the shops for a quick buck, in which case if the person that got it from their upgrade decides to go delinquent on their account, it won't be blacklisted (can't blacklist for non-payment) but you may end up blocked from the specific carrier's network (that they *can* do for nonpayment)

So, that's a lot of risks (possible lack of warranty, possible blacklisting or at least blocking from the carrier's network) to save a few bucks. Only you can decide if the savings are worth it. I imagine if you DO end up having warranty or blacklisting issues, and try to go back to the store, their response will be "shrug, all sales final." And then you either have to go through the hassle of getting the police involved (and they probably won't care), or take them to small claims court.
Lucky Koodo $40/6GB recipient
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wearysky wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 9:29 am
Despite being the Canadian versions, I could quite easily see Samsung refusing warranty service on these since you didn't buy them from an authorized retailer. Also, if they're selling well below Samsung's MSRP my assumption is that they are either:

- Acquired in some sort of scam (identity theft is most common), and then sold to the shops at an extreme discount, and then the shops pass those savings on to you - in which case don't be surprised if it ends up blacklisted in a few weeks or months
- Acquired as a free carrier upgrade and then sold to the shops for a quick buck, in which case if the person that got it from their upgrade decides to go delinquent on their account, it won't be blacklisted (can't blacklist for non-payment) but you may end up blocked from the specific carrier's network (that they *can* do for nonpayment)

So, that's a lot of risks (possible lack of warranty, possible blacklisting or at least blocking from the carrier's network) to save a few bucks. Only you can decide if the savings are worth it. I imagine if you DO end up having warranty or blacklisting issues, and try to go back to the store, their response will be "shrug, all sales final." And then you either have to go through the hassle of getting the police involved (and they probably won't care), or take them to small claims court.
That's some great insight. Thank you.
I wouldn't say they're well below the standard prices, but they are $950 tax in if paying cash or $899 + tax if paying by credit. Now, these prices do sound like prices offered by Best Buy for refurb units.
With all this being said, is it safe to assume that it would be better to buy a slightly used one that's about month one old from someone who will provide a receipt from a big box store and would be about $100 cheaper than these new ones?

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