The purpose of this review is to make you think about the next time that you buy a telephone from ANY carrier over the internet, or at one of the carrier's stores.
The review is about my experience specifically with CricketWireless.com, which I'm still using. Cricket is The Least Ugly Sister of wireless carriers to me. They have a good monthly price, no contract, spotty service at my home, but good service to the main travel lane I use in another major city once a month.
So, like I said, Cricket is Ugly, but (mostly) better than the rest.
EXCEPT when it comes to buying a brand new cutting edge phone from them.
First, I chatted with Cricket when I found out that the rest of the telecom industry kind of treats Cricket like the Ugly Stepchild too. That is, Cricket didn't get the newest technology Samsung Galaxy S7 until about two weeks after Verizon, AT&T, et al.
They finally got the phone two weeks after every other national carrier.
I was happy. Ok. I thought I was happy.
I ordered the new Samsung Galaxy S7 two days ago (on the internet) and was looking forward to getting the phone today.
The phone did arrive. I paid Cricket about $750 for the privilege including tax and all the other bologna they tack onto a new phone sale.
When I opened the shipping box and looked at the phone box I knew right away that it was going back.
It's a common tactic I picked up on a few years ago with carriers.
THE PHONE WAS NOT IN THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING.
Specifically, the CELLOPHANE wrapper was not on the box.
"Big Deal!" you say?
Well, used phones (dropped, stepped on, water damaged) are also out there. Do you REALLY think Cricket (or any other wireless carrier) cares about whether your phone is NEW when you get it?
No. They don't.
THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT WHETHER YOU THINK THE PHONE IS (LOOKS) NEW.
How do I know this? Because when I called Cricket to try and get them to EXCHANGE the phone there was no option to do that. I could send the phone back under a so called "Buyer Remorse RMA" but conveniently, that didn't let anyone know that I was upset because they sent me a used or at least opened phone.
In short, there was NO WAY to exchange the phone for a brand new unopened phone. Yep. That is BY DESIGN, ladies and gentlemen.
I called one of their notoriously BAD franchises in Rosenberg, Texas and talked to a decidedly nasty, rude, and otherwise distasteful woman who hung up on me when I insinuated that "Maybe you're not an authorized Cricket retail outlet after all?" They refused to simply exchange the phone for me when it wasn't purchased from their franchise.
Which, um, "hello Cricket!"... kind of negates any Happy Brand Karma your franchisees are getting from customers. If they had been willing to take the phone back, I MIGHT have simply just sent the used phone back to Cricket and BOUGHT a new one from the franchisee in Rosenberg. But the idiot salesperson wasn't thinking about selling a telephone. She was thinking about not getting one back.
Now, I don't know if the NSA opened the box briefly to hack the phone, if the phone was repaired and repackaged, if the phone was dropped, kicked, licked, stepped on etc.
You catch my drift.
BUT, I DID know that I didn't want to pay $750 for a brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 phone from Cricket and let them pull a fast one on me by sending me a phone that was NOT BRAND NEW.
So, I did open the box briefly to look at the phone. The phone was also missing some other original packaging. Not in OBVIOUS places where you'd say "Hey, this phone isn't new", like the screen (the original screen cellophane had been very carefully reapplied). No covering bag for the charging cord was another give away. And the list goes on.
You should know this in life. If you do not know what The Genuine Article looks like, you cannot tell what the counterfeit is. The wireless carriers use this little applied fact to squeeze their returns back to their customers without their knowledge. Believe it or not.
If you did not know that your new cell phone box should have cellophane on it, then you would think the phone was new. Wrong.
Here's the MORAL OF THE STORY:
Lesson #1: ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE BOX FIRST. IF THE ORIGINAL CELLOPHANE IS NOT ON THE BOX - SEND THE PRODUCT BACK. IT'S NOT NEW.
Lesson #2: ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS KEEP ALL OF THE PACKAGING IN PRISTINE CONDITION LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO RETURN THE PRODUCT.
Lesson #3: ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS APPROACH ANY PURCHASE FROM ANY WIRELESS CARRIER LIKE THEY ARE GOING TO DELIBERATELY TRY AND *SCREW* YOU.
BECAUSE THEY ARE.
Because they are competing against each other, their (profit) margins are RAZOR THIN and they need to beg, borrow or steal every last dime they can from anyone who isn't paying attention.
DON'T let that be you.
NOW YOU'RE EDUCATED.