Yeah, that happened. I was an idiot and set my phone on the counter while I was washing my hands, and the inevitable for a klutz like me happened: my smartphone slipped into the water. It was only submerged for a millisecond, but it was dead. It would turn on, but I couldn’t access any information since the touch-screen no longer recognized my touch.
|Quite the stat. Ironically, this
picture was taken on my cell phone
only months before it became
The first thing to try in this situation is to take your phone and battery apart and soak them in dry rice. I tried. It didn’t work. The damage had been done.
The next thing I did was some research, which quickly led me to search for a refurbished phone.
What is a refurbished phone?
A refurbished phone is one that’s been previously used, but has had a bunch of good parts put in it like Frankenstein. They’re fully functional, may have a few scratches, but are a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new when you’re not up for an upgrade (generally one year after your contract begins,) or a contract renewal.
Where can I buy a refurbished phone?
You may consider buying from your wireless provider or a big box store like Best Buy, but beware. The prices on their refurbished items are likely to be marked up far higher than the price you need to pay.
Amazon was one of the places that I looked, and, frankly, I found the best prices there. Amazon has an amazing return policy, so I knew that if I purchased a product that didn’t meet my expectations I’d be able to return it relatively hassle-free. The problem was waiting for it to ship; I needed a phone immediately, and without paying for expedited shipping that just wasn’t happening.
My third option was the most viable, but can be the hardest to access. I looked for a business whose sole purpose is to buy and sell used cell phones. These businesses can be really sketchy, so I was relieved to be referred to a mall kiosk by my Verizon store. They said I could trust these guys with prices, quality, and ESNs. I’ve found it to be true. The prices were good; not as good as Amazon, but I was still able to find a good phone for well, well under $100. (They had iPhone 4s and 4Ss for $200-250.) I had to take it back to the Verizon store to get it activated, but that was no big deal.
What is an ESN?
The ESN is the number they use to identify each individual phone. No matter where you buy from, you want to make sure your phone has a CLEAN ESN. If it’s not clean, it means the phone was lost or stolen, and any money you’ve spent on it will be for naught as you won’t be able to use it.
What is an unlocked phone?
If a phone is unlocked, that means you can easily swap SIM cards and have your phone number in the new phone. Even if a phone is unlocked, it may only be unlocked for one carrier. (Ex. You’re not able to use a Verizon phone if you have a service agreement with T-Mobile.) AT&T makes this process the easiest in my experience. Every time I’ve switched phones with them, all it’s required is switching the SIM card out; no complicated activation process. (For this reason, you may want to look into just getting a goPhone smart phone that works on the AT&T network if they are your provider. Heck of a lot cheaper. Can be found at places like WalMart.) With Verizon you can switch SIM cards, but generally have to go through the activation process again. Sprint’s SIM cards are built into the phone, so the process isn’t easy at all. 4G phones do not have SIM cards.
Save your memory card.
If your phone has a microSD card, SAVE IT. You should be able to easily use it in your new phone and still hang onto your pictures, etc., and if your phone has only spent a second in the water, odds are that your memory card will work just fine even if your phone is dead.
Why didn’t you just buy insurance?
I don’t generally beat up my phone. The fiance does, but I don’t. So we didn’t buy insurance. We got him a super resilient case. Well, actually, it was a Christmas gift and didn’t cost us anything. It’s served us well so far. If we had purchased insurance, it would have been $8/mo/phone. I would have already spent well over what I spent on my refurbished phone already had I purchased the insurance. While it’s nice to have peace of mind, it didn’t make financial sense for us.