Cell Phones

First time cell phone buyer - tips &tricks

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 8th, 2018 11:55 am
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 1, 2017
6 posts

First time cell phone buyer - tips &tricks

Had a cell from (ex)employer for the last 15 years, so never had to buy. Ordered a Xiaomi from China last year, but decided not to keep it.
Information overload from reading the forum and doing searches. Trying to figure out how the deals and contracts work.
Will be buying a iPhone 6s. Based on what I've read here, planning on doing a Koodo cancel thing and then go data only.
If anybody can please clarify for me:

1. Koodo cancellation: I see 90 days mentioned but also that one can cancel a day after getting a phone. Is the only difference that canceling before 90 days can result in issues in the future with (trying to buy from then again) Koodo ?

2. Koodo cancellation 2: Does it work only if I buy the phone directly from them or also if from say BB ?

3. Activation credits: Koodo web page for 6s says: "Includes $275 in activation credits". Is that a realistic number or just marketing to make you feel like you are saving big $$$ ?
So if I go to BB (they have a 6s deal now) I can expect to pay that much for "activation" or that is something one can negotiate down at BB ? Is it realistic to expect to be able to negotiate it down to $0 at BB (match ?) when they have a $150 gift card promotion.

4. Gift cards, credits, ...Talking of gift cards, BB has a promo right now with a $150 gift card. Considering that I don't intend to keep Koodo for long I should probably buy somewhere where they offer something I will actually use (BB card) as opposed to a 'service credit' with Koodo or an independent phones-only store.
Do independent stores or Koodo sometimes offer gift cards for an 'outside parties' like BB ?

5. Tabs: Koodo has the phone for $0 on a medium tab and $120 for a small. Other than the difference in tax paid and in the cost of monthly plans for the period I keep the phone, are there any advantages using one over the other ?

6. For those who have been following the deals, what are the chances of 6s being switched to low tab AND $0 down, or gift cards (I can spend on things other than cell related) of $200 or higher in the near future or on BF ?

7. Anything else I should be aware of if buying Koodo\phone from places other than Koodo ?

Thanks.
5 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
15053 posts
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Oakville
1 - no need to stay 90 days with Koodo. Some people have reported issues buying from Koodo in the future, but these are generally people who are flipping several phones a year.
2 - doesn't matter who you buy it from. In fact, you're generally better off buying from somebody else because (especially with the iPhone 6s) you're likely to get gift cards or other incentives
3 - "activation credits" are just the amount that's being taken off the outright cost in order to get you to the selected tab balance. So with the iPhone 6s, for example, the current outright price of the phone is $275 plus $360 (the tab medium balance) = $635. Nobody would ever actually pay that amount of course for the 6S, but that's what Koodo's current "buy outright" cost is, effectively. Since this phone is almost perpetually on sale, though, it's not really a real number. And no, you can't negotiate that in any way. If you go to Best Buy, you're still going to pay $0 upfront (prices are the same no matter who you go with), PLUS you get a $150 gift card. See point 2 above.
4 - Koodo never offers gift cards to outside parties. They'll occasionally throw in some hardware with a phone purchase, but otherwise it's only ever account credits (note that account credits can be put towards paying off your outstanding device balance, BUT Koodo has started doing "$X over $y months" for account credits instead of a single lump sum credit, specifically to avoid people buying and cancelling immediately. Back to point 2 - you're better off buying from someplace like Best Buy.
5 - The only advantage there might be to going with small tab vs medium is if you're purchasing at a place like Wow mobile, which will give you a $50 minimum trade-in credit for *any* old cell phone. That $50 can only be put towards an upfront cost of a phone, or things like overpriced accessories, so it's better to purchase with a tab that actually has an upfront cost. Since this is the first phone you're ever purchasing, I assume you don't have an old phone to trade in, which means it doesn't matter to you.
6 - Impossible to predict if there will be better deals on Black Friday. There's certainly the possibility of it dropping to $0 on tab small plus a gift card, but that's definitely not guaranteed.
Lucky Koodo $40/6GB (with $15/10GB add-on) recipient
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 1, 2017
6 posts
Thanks for your detailed reply...and for mentioning Wow.
Just checked them and they have the 6s on Small tab and "Free $200 prepaid credit card on select 2 year new activations".
Would that generally mean a prepaid CC that can be used anywhere and would it be an issue if I used up that CC before (or after) cancelling the service with Koodo ? Does Wow care ?
I see that Koodo offers Promotions on some of their plans. Would others (like Wow) honor these ? Or their "on SELECT 2 year new activations" means that it would be only on some of the plans ?
I know that I can ask Wow some these questions but I would be dealing with a salesperson so better be prepared :-)
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
15053 posts
5558 upvotes
Oakville
RandomNewID wrote:
Nov 7th, 2018 2:45 pm
Thanks for your detailed reply...and for mentioning Wow.
Just checked them and they have the 6s on Small tab and "Free $200 prepaid credit card on select 2 year new activations".
Would that generally mean a prepaid CC that can be used anywhere and would it be an issue if I used up that CC before (or after) cancelling the service with Koodo ? Does Wow care ?
I see that Koodo offers Promotions on some of their plans. Would others (like Wow) honor these ? Or their "on SELECT 2 year new activations" means that it would be only on some of the plans ?
I know that I can ask Wow some these questions but I would be dealing with a salesperson so better be prepared :-)
The $200 prepaid card is for the iPhone 6, not the 6s. But that aside - yes, Wow gives you a prepaid CC, and no, there's no issue with you cancelling your Koodo account immediately. The card is yours to keep and use whenever you see fit (used to be that you had to stay with Koodo for 90 days, or Koodo would add the value of the card to your final bill, but that went away sometime in the last year or so). The "select activations" bit usually just means that it only applies to the plan that it's showing for on the Wow website (ie if it's only there on tab small, it won't apply to tab medium, and it doesn't apply to other carriers etc).

And no, third parties generally don't match promotions offered directly by Koodo.
Lucky Koodo $40/6GB (with $15/10GB add-on) recipient
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 1, 2017
6 posts
Oops, wishful thinking about that promo. Thanks for saving me from an unnecessary trip to a Wow location.
One more question if I may: I read about an 'activation fee' that gets refunded after 2 or 3 months. I was planning on keeping the plan for a moth just to test the service. If the fee refund gets applied only on the 3rd bill, that would be a bit too long for me. I might just cancel right after I buy it.
Do these fees get charged during the purchase of the phone, or on the first bill ? That is, if it is on the first bill, if I cancel the day I buy the phone I might not have to worry about the fee, as I was reading that in case of a same day cancellation Koodo does not even bill customers.
Was I misreading things or this is a YMMV ?

And to clarify, by Koodo promotions I meant plan promotions like the following they have now

Promotion
$45 per month
2 GB of Shock-Free Data
500 minutes
Unlimited messaging
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
15053 posts
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Oakville
The activation fee is a $30 charge that you have to pay if you sign up in store. Signing up online doesn't result in an activation fee (but obviously, no gift cards for signing up online with Koodo). I've never heard of any official policy of the activation fee being refunded after X number of months, but I'll admit I haven't been keeping up with it too much lately. Sometimes during big sales stores will offset the activation fee by giving a bigger gift card to tempt you to come in store, as well.
Lucky Koodo $40/6GB (with $15/10GB add-on) recipient

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