The past few weeks have been kind to people who have been looking to try phones without the worry of those pesky restocking fees or having to be constantly attached to the wall of some mobile retail store via security device - at least for people who were looking to buy either the Moto X or the Apple iPhone 5s.
It was only mere weeks ago that Motorola advertised their “Try Before You Buy” promo for the Moto X, which has already undergone several promotions and deals throughout its lifetime already. Still, the “Try Before You Buy” move was a surprising one; although most companies have a standard return policy, very rarely do they come without any strings attached. With the Moto X, if you were lucky enough to score a coupon, you could “purchase” the phone for a mere penny. If you decided that you liked it by the end of your two-week trial, your card would be charged. If not, no harm no foul. You just got to try a phone out for two weeks for free. No return fee, no shipping costs, nothing.
It was kind of a bizarre (but cool) move, and a move that left many wondering whether this would become a new “thing” in the mobile industry. While maybe not mainstream, major carrier T-Mobile followed up with a similar move after the “UnCarrier 5.0” unveiling yesterday. With T-Mobile, you can now “Test Drive” an iPhone 5s for 7 days for free. As long as you return it within that 7-day window without any cracks or liquid damage, you won’t have to pay a thing. Otherwise, you could be faced with a charge anywhere from $100-$699.
Now, technically you can “test drive” a phone with most carriers for two weeks (either as a new customer or when available for an upgrade) as long as you’re willing to pony up $35 or so for a restocking fee, which for some is well worth the risk. For others, you either get it right the first time or you’re out of luck. So will this new “risk free” test drive actually stick around? Personally, I don’t see it lasting long.
On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to use a phone without any real strings attached - at least as long as the device isn’t damaged or broken. My fear is that with people viewing it as a “trial only” mode, they probably aren’t going to go crazy with the accessories. This means the phone will likely be tested without a case, which puts it at a greater risk for breaking when dropped. But then again, why would you want to buy a case for a phone that you’re not going to use for more than a week or two? Instead, you’re just going to bank on the hope that bad things won’t happen to you during your trial run. Live long and prosper to you, brave soul.
These trials runs are kind of neat, and it’s really nice of Motorola and T-Mobile to host them, but it doesn’t seem like a feasible thing on a consistent basis. Then again, if these two trial runs produce good results, maybe it will become a more common occurence from here on out. I know if I trusted myself not to be a total forgetful klutz I would jump on the opportunity, but I just do not have $700 (or even $400) worth of trust that I’m willing to bet on myself.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the recent “Try Before You Buy” opportunities? Do you think this should become a standard, or are you a little more skeptical? Let us know your thoughts below!