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Old 02-27-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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purchasing at Best Buy/retailer vs. Sprint?

While I've been with Sprint for over 9 years, I've only purchased handsets through Sprint-- always when a line has been out of contract, and we've used the discount/rebate to purchase new.

How does purchasing through Best Buy/retailer work? I always see prices on phones that are much less than online at Sprint.. does purchasing through Best Buy involve re-upping a contract on that line? Is that how they are able to offer often quite-a-bit cheaper phone prices because they receive some sort of compensation from Sprint for doing so?

I am considering changing our plan to an ED1500 across 4 lines-- 2 of which are OOC, and another will be this summer. Am I likely to be offered a plan while in BB that would be comparable to Sprints standard offer, or are they able to offer more competitive pricing? How does an existing 15% discount received through Sprint factor in (if at all?)

Not sure what purchasing (either new handsets/and/or plan) through BB/retailers involves.. advice welcomed!
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerealtrader View Post
While I've been with Sprint for over 9 years, I've only purchased handsets through Sprint-- always when a line has been out of contract, and we've used the discount/rebate to purchase new.

How does purchasing through Best Buy/retailer work? I always see prices on phones that are much less than online at Sprint.. does purchasing through Best Buy involve re-upping a contract on that line? Is that how they are able to offer often quite-a-bit cheaper phone prices because they receive some sort of compensation from Sprint for doing so?

I am considering changing our plan to an ED1500 across 4 lines-- 2 of which are OOC, and another will be this summer. Am I likely to be offered a plan while in BB that would be comparable to Sprints standard offer, or are they able to offer more competitive pricing? How does an existing 15% discount received through Sprint factor in (if at all?)

Not sure what purchasing (either new handsets/and/or plan) through BB/retailers involves.. advice welcomed!
Buying a handset through BB has the same requirements as Sprint. In order to get your upgrade pricing they will extend your contract for 2 years.

The advantages are that you don't have mail in rebates and often better prices.

You'll want to work out the particulars of your plan with Sprint first. Verify that you are upgrade eligible and then head over to BB to buy and activate your new phones.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:05 AM   #3
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I've never understand how a company, like sprint, can allow a thirdparty, like Bestbuy and others like radio shack, to undermine it's own company. For the last year or so, I've been doing all my upgrades at Bestbuy, cause I have 10lines. Cause the Prices are ALWAYS considerably cheaper than that of Sprint, and Also, cheaper than doing a MIR.. Example: a week ago I did an upgrade to a Curve 8330 for one of my lines. It was FREE out the door at Bestbuy, or Sprint had it for $149.99 out the door then a speerate $100MIR. 1st MIL are a pain in the ass, and out the 10 I've sent in, in the last few years, I've gotton 1 back and had to call and ***** about the others. Eitherway, who wants to spend all that money upfront and then go through the hassle of sending in a MIL and waiting for it. Then to top it off yourpaying $49.99 plus Tax, which would be your Bottom line cost. I used to be able to go into a sprint store and get them to price match Bestbuy prices. Cause I would rather give the Sprint Reps the credit for the sale than a 3rd party. If it was just a difference of $10 then it wouldnt be a big deal. Everyone get what I'm saying? All in all it works out to being the same requirements between both company's However, Bestbuy does get a few $100 bucks for doing the Upgrade and even more for new customers.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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Honestly, I don't think they give a rats azz about who sells their phones. The phones aren't making Sprint money. It's the service and contracts that make all the money. Most everyone buying these new phones has to get a $70 plan to go with it. Do you worry about selling a phone and getting a few hundred bucks for it, or the $1600 plus over the life of the contract? If someone else can sell them cheaper, but put them on your plans...all the better.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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It doesn't make sense for Sprint to have 3rd party sellers sell for less though. Sprint pays its own employees far less than they pay to 3rd party sellers, so keeping the sales "in house" by making all rebates instant at a sprint store. If it costs $50 for Sprint to do an upgrade "in house" and it costs Sprint $200 or so with a 3rd party retailer, you can see why it would make far more sense for Sprint to keep things "in house."
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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What you have to watch out for is the 3rd party sellers have their own terms & conditions, as well as termination fees. Simplexity is the 3rd party for Radio Shack, Best Buy & Crackberry. Read their terms and within 181 days if you do anything including pass gas, they hit you with $200 to $300 in additional charges, above what Sprint may hit you for.

From their site:

DEACTIVATING THIS PHONE OR DOWNGRADING FEATURES OR THE RATE PLAN MAY LEAD TO ADDITIONAL CHARGES
Our goal is to provide you with the very best purchasing experience possible, including huge savings vs. buying in a retail store. Your phone purchase price was reduced by an Equipment Discount of $200 ($300 for PDA’s/smart phones). By accepting this price reduction, you agreed to repay this discount if, during the 181 days after your new equipment is activated, you:

* Fail to pay your balance due to your carrier each month
* Disconnect this line of service
* Transfer this equipment to another line of service
* Change your carrier service rate plan to a lower monthly service rate plan
* Deactivate the email/data feature if one was required at the point of purchase
* Transfer/port an existing phone number from another account if this is a new line of service
* Replace an existing account with this account if this is a new line of service
* Return or exchange your phone and it is not in its original, new condition with no more than 30 minutes of usage

If you break any of these contract provisions, except as a result of a documented service quality issue related to the carrier service, you authorize us to charge your credit card in repayment of the Equipment Discount.
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Old 02-27-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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Also who knows what kind of rip/commission/deal the 3rd party stores get from manufacturers. They may get a price break from the manufacturer for selling X amount of units of their products. Sprint can only sell HTC phones made for them. But Best Buy etc can sell HTC models for all carriers. Perhaps there are deals behind the scenes?
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:37 AM   #8
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I've had a recent issue with Sprint allowing me to upgrade my phones 2 weeks before my 22 month date only if I buy the phones through Sprint on the phone. I told them I'd rather wait the 2 weeks than to pay them all the money and wait (and hope) for my mail-in-rebates to go through... Well, tomorrow is my 22 month date so I can go anywhere I want...
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZiggyZ View Post
I've never understand how a company, like sprint, can allow a thirdparty, like Bestbuy and others like radio shack, to undermine it's own company. For the last year or so, I've been doing all my upgrades at Bestbuy, cause I have 10lines. Cause the Prices are ALWAYS considerably cheaper than that of Sprint, and Also, cheaper than doing a MIR.. Example: a week ago I did an upgrade to a Curve 8330 for one of my lines. It was FREE out the door at Bestbuy, or Sprint had it for $149.99 out the door then a speerate $100MIR. 1st MIL are a pain in the ass, and out the 10 I've sent in, in the last few years, I've gotton 1 back and had to call and ***** about the others. Eitherway, who wants to spend all that money upfront and then go through the hassle of sending in a MIL and waiting for it. Then to top it off yourpaying $49.99 plus Tax, which would be your Bottom line cost. I used to be able to go into a sprint store and get them to price match Bestbuy prices. Cause I would rather give the Sprint Reps the credit for the sale than a 3rd party. If it was just a difference of $10 then it wouldnt be a big deal. Everyone get what I'm saying? All in all it works out to being the same requirements between both company's However, Bestbuy does get a few $100 bucks for doing the Upgrade and even more for new customers.
Sprint is not letting best buy or radio shack undermine them, best buy and radio shack get their phones from the same place. manufacturer and they pay about the same price also. They are able to give the mail in rebate instantly because they make their money up by selling other products like tv's, games, etc.... Sprint allows them to sell their service because it increases revenue for them because people are re signing contracts and new customers are signing contracts. That is how sprint makes it's money off contracts and best buy makes a little off the contract they get people to sign, but hardly enough to cover labor costs, etc... They actually lose money on the phone itself. They only sell phones so that they can really be considered an all around electronics store. It is only for the convenience of the customer, not because it is their bread and butter.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:17 AM   #10
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OP: Your discount is limited to the service plan, not cell phone pricing.

-----------

It's absolutely great that 3rd party retailers like BB, Radioshack, etc etc are selling cellphones on the cheap, if not for free. Even Walmart has gotten into the game of selling cellphones cheaper than corporate Sprint stores.

Sale pricing offering mail-in rebates will not get my business, as is Sprint's current pricing model in their corporate stores.

But then again, I doubt Sprint will go into competition with their 3rd party retailers. Why? Think about it. Sprint is trying to grow it's base (let alone stop it from shrinking). So you need as many channels to the consumer open as possible. Sprint could always undermine the 3rd party retailer's pricing, if they so wish since they control the supply of Sprint branded phones. However, most companies acting as the source supplier do not go into competition with their independent sales channels. If Sprint chooses to do so, the normal reaction is the third party retailers drop their phones and plans.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bigchico68 View Post
Sprint is not letting best buy or radio shack undermine them, best buy and radio shack get their phones from the same place. manufacturer and they pay about the same price also. They are able to give the mail in rebate instantly because they make their money up by selling other products like tv's, games, etc.... Sprint allows them to sell their service because it increases revenue for them because people are re signing contracts and new customers are signing contracts. That is how sprint makes it's money off contracts and best buy makes a little off the contract they get people to sign, but hardly enough to cover labor costs, etc... They actually lose money on the phone itself. They only sell phones so that they can really be considered an all around electronics store. It is only for the convenience of the customer, not because it is their bread and butter.
Actually Best Buy Mobile is a pretty big profit maker. It being the only department in the store that all hourly employees get a monthly bonus in is a big reinforcement to that idea. Also the heavy (and often annoying) push by the management for the whole store to push broadband cards show how much money making potential the department has.

Though what you say is true as well, Best Buy doesn't want to have to send a customer to another store for anything.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:04 PM   #12
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Actually Best Buy Mobile is a pretty big profit maker. It being the only department in the store that all hourly employees get a monthly bonus in is a big reinforcement to that idea. Also the heavy (and often annoying) push by the management for the whole store to push broadband cards show how much money making potential the department has.

Though what you say is true as well, Best Buy doesn't want to have to send a customer to another store for anything.
You missed my point, I didn't say it wasn't profitable, I was saying that they do not profit off of the phones. Of course they profit from the money carriers give them for the contracts people sign.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:53 AM   #13
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You missed my point, I didn't say it wasn't profitable, I was saying that they do not profit off of the phones. Of course they profit from the money carriers give them for the contracts people sign.
Well I was more responding to the part where you said Best Buy probably doesn't even cover labor costs with what they get from carriers which is not true.

Either way, it's a win for the consumer, more options (and sometimes better options than the carrier) are never a bad thing!
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:44 PM   #14
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I love Best Buy mobile. Walked in beginning of February got my Hero for 99.99 out of the store in about 30 minutes. Went back yesterday and got my price match for 79.99 since that is the price this week. Out the door in 5 minutes. Lets see that happen at a Sprint store. And to top it off no mail in rebates.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:37 PM   #15
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I doubt Sprint will go into competition with their 3rd party retailers. Why? Think about it. Sprint is trying to grow it's base (let alone stop it from shrinking). So you need as many channels to the consumer open as possible. Sprint could always undermine the 3rd party retailer's pricing, if they so wish since they control the supply of Sprint branded phones. However, most companies acting as the source supplier do not go into competition with their independent sales channels. If Sprint chooses to do so, the normal reaction is the third party retailers drop their phones and plans.
This is precisely why Sprint has higher prices and less favorable conditions like MIR. This is just basic business 101, not anything unique to cell phones. If any manufacturer wants to stay in business they NEVER directly compete with distributors or retailers. Why on earth would any retailer sell a product if it can be had cheaper by the dist/mfg selling it to them unless they want the retailer to drop the products. I am also certain there are non-compete clauses as well which would be violated if undercutting were to happen.
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