The Scam That Is Smartphones

Yes, this is a bit of a rant post, but I decided to make it easy on you by creating a video about it. However, you’re probably wondering where I’m going to go with this sucker right? I’m not giving up all the goods, but I’ll give you something.

Have you ever wondered why you have to sign 2-year agreements when you purchase a smartphone plan? Have you ever wondered why you get some phones for free and others seem to cost you a bunch of money? Have you ever had a phone so long that you have problems finding components for it, such as batteries, cases, or even electric cords?

I don’t talk about cellphone plans in this rant; no sense going there, even though it turns out that one of the biggest scams we all deal with is having to pay for text messaging, which costs the carriers nothing to provide to us, even if we’re sending lots of pictures through.

What do I talk about? What do I consider as a major scam? Check out the video; you’ll find out:


24 thoughts on “The Scam That Is Smartphones”

  1. Mitch, we seem to be living in a different planet altogether. For years I was using a Nokia without any problems but when 3G was introduced, I decided to opt for a smart phone so that I could access the internet at high speeds through a handset. This was about a year ago and I have not regretted that decision. I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Ace which does everything except that my computer does for me plus telephony and photography at just a fraction highter monthly costs than my previous plan. The instrument itself is light and small enough to fit into my shirt pocket and I have been using it all over the country in my recent travels without any problems.

    The mobile telephone scene in India is highly competitive and may be that is why our experiences are so different.

    1. Rummuser, you might be right about the competitive part. Out this way it’s usually a choice between 3 major carriers and a bunch of smaller ones, and each offers their version of the same phone. When I bought my phone at one place years ago it only cost $49, but because we got no service we switched to another place and it costs us $249 because they threw in a 32 GB data chip; that still seems steep, but we couldn’t buy the phone without it. It’s a fairly closed market, and even looking up the phones on eBay yields high prices. Sigh…

    1. Wendy, that guy is a freak! I wonder how much money he’s throwing away doing all that. Yup, these folks have us over a barrel and I don’t like it one bit. Unfortunately, there’s little we can do about it.

  2. In Ireland the plans and phones are slightly different and as a bill pay phone user I get a “free” upgrade every two years, so I have had my Samsung SII with no issue for almost the last two years, I am no sure I’ll even go for the upgrade as this one seems to suit all my needs.
    As for the charger point, there was legislation brought out in Europe a few years ago calling for all phones to have the same power adapter which I think is a great idea, though soon they will charge extra for the charger as they are doing with the Nintendo 3DS but that is a rant for another day.

    1. Sharon, we can get the free upgrade every year as well, but the upgrade turns out to be for a phone that’s obsolete or about to be. As I said, I’ve just discovered that. They’re certainly not giving away the premium phones for free.

  3. Actually the text messaging was designed to be free at first and when the mobile companies figured out that people would rather text then call they start taxing SMS.

    The smartphones that you get for free are specially made to be free and that agreement you sign insures the companies giving you the free phone will make a big deal of money and you are actually paying for the phone a few times over in this time.

    This is why I never get into such agreements. I change my phone once every 2 years or so and I pay for it on the spot. I don’t get top of the line stuff, I just look for something decent enough that is capable of doing most of the things top of the line smartphone do.

    Also, don’t know about US but I don’t have a contract with a phone company. I have simple SIM card and I pay $5 (per month) for 3000 minutes/SMS, 150 MB of internet traffic, talk for free with 4 favourite numbers as well as a couple more bonuses, its more then enough and I never consumed all my minutes, ever. No contract had been made for this SIM card, I have it for years and you can buy one from most stores here, you are not obligated to pay the monthly fee if you don’t want to, but those minutes and everything won’t be available but you can still get calls and all that.

    Do you have such a thing in the US?

    1. Cristian, we have such things but it’s not close to being as good a deal as you showed. And here the free phones, at least the smartphones, only get to free once the newer model is ready to come out. Actually there are some lesser phones that are free, but they’re not smartphones.

      1. Hello Mitchell,
        I share Christian’s similar sim card. I canceled my monthly subscription few months ago and i switched to prepaid sim card. It was a relief as they we’re calling me every month just checking bla bla plus i was paying more money for lesser options.

        As far as owning a smartphone i had one blackberry but unfortunately i dropped on the ground one day and now is finished. I will buy in the next month some iphone or maybe the galaxy SII(a bit old but still good)

      2. Radu, my wife ended up paying a lot for a phone that, in a few weeks, will be virtually obsolete when the new model comes out, and she didn’t really have many choices based on what she already had.

    2. Jeez, didnt know that Christian – I am sure when the EU forced the UK to lower the charge on text messages the UK government secretly tried to scupper it on behalf of the business interests.

  4. Hey Mitch,

    Okay, I’m probably not the best one to comment on this because I’m not a big cellphone user. I’ve always signed a contract with my carrier because I had no intention of switching. I’ve been with the same once since the early 90’s.

    Every time I’ve received an upgrade I’ve gotten a phone for free. Just a week ago I upgraded to an iPhone 4 and I got that one for free. I’ve never had issues replacing the parts or the phone, ever.

    I’m sure if I used the phone more I might have more issues but I keep them for a pretty long time too. They laugh at me when I bring mine in for an upgrade. I just turned in my flip phone with no camera.

    Sorry you have so many problems.


    1. Adrienne, you got the iPhone 4 for free but they’re up to iPhone 5 2nd version with the iPhone 6 coming out this summer. Thus, your phone is obsolete. Sure, it’s new to you, but have just one problem with it and you’ll see what I mean. Now, the lucky thing is that all of yours are iPhones, so buying the extras might not be an issue, but I bet you also end up with a refurb if something happens, and they never quite work right.

  5. I’m not a great user of phones, but very much interested in reading such informative articles. May be they help me in future.

  6. Hi Mitch, I totally agree with the most of your points, and I guess we all have recognized these scams made by the telecommunication companies, but what else could we choose? Living offline is impossible in the 21st century, we all have some mobile devices and want to stay connected 24hrs a day…

    1. Linda, the thing is that with more information about what’s really going on, people can make better informed decisions. Knowing that free phone you just got is already obsolete is something most people won’t think of, and thus might be a reason to spend more money on a more up to date phone. Information is power; I always believe that.

  7. Alongside the rapid proliferation of technological innovations including smartphones is the growing number of scams. This calls then for an immediate response from every end-user through protection. Smartphone users need to be cautious and wary of these unscrupulous hypocrites in the virtual environment. Scams that bring viruses to these devices are now very rampant.

    1. That’s true Richard, though luckily I’ve never gotten a virus on my phone. I’m not even sure what one would have to do to get one, and I’m not looking to find out. lol

  8. Mitch it is a bit of a scam, but we also have to remember all the people who want the newest technology.

    I think most of these companies are cashing in on people who want the best phone possible and half the time we do not use half of the technology or it is too hard to figure out.

    I will give you an example, I have the Samsung Galaxy 2 and it has the capability of one note and Microsoft word, I can not imagine typing a whole paper on a cell phone.

    What people need to do is get a good phone and learn everything on it and take good care of it and do not get a new phone unless you have to.

    A new phone every two years, are you kidding me.

    1. LOL! Good stuff Michael. You’re right, I have the capability of writing blog posts on my phone but I just can’t imagine doing it, even with the speech feature. The whole industry is built for obsolescence and failure for us, the consumer, and major profits for them. If they gave something back, such as unlimited data or texting or minutes, who knows. Nah, I’d still think we were being scammed. lol

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