CRICKET 12/3 Take One
Today’s Cricket adventure started out trying to activate the phone Cricket EZ cell phone I blogged about buying last night at Wal-mart. I noted in this previous post that the Live chat operator on the Cricket website priced the Cricket EZ at $49.99 (minus $20 rebate after 45 days service = $29.99) and the via phone Wal-mart quoted me $19.99 for the very same phone.
So, we begin today with me calling Cricket to activate my new phone for their famous monthly plan that does not require any contract, its simply month-to-month paying in advance for unlimited talk ($25/month plus tax is $29.75) which is a perfect way to try out a new oufitlike Cricket to see if I like what I get – and no 1 year or 2 year legal tether to them. So having the necessary info handy I dial their toll-free number and I’m told that the phone I bought is for their PAYGo service, and not the plan I want.
CRICKET 12/3 Take Two
I hop into my SUV during lunch and drive over to the local corporate Cricket store (those are full-service unlike some of the other places that sell Cricket products like local cell companies, Wal-mart and the like) to get the Cricket EZ and the $25/mo plan, and the phone costs the same as if purchased online. Below are pros and cons I’ve noted between buying online and buying at the Cricket store.
PURCHASING AT CRICKET STORE
- (pro) purchasing in the Cricket store means I get my cell phone and service right away
- (con) purchasing in the Cricket store means I have to send in a mail-in rebate which will be validated at 45 days of service and mailed out within 60 days of mailing the rebate (45 day holding period + 15 day for rebate check to get printed, mailed and received at my mailbox). I dislike mail-in rebates
- (pro) purchasing online means I get a $20 rebate automatically after 45 days of service
- (con) purchasing online means I would have had to wait 3-5 days for cell phone delivery
So into the Cricket store I walk, pay for another Cricket EZ – since they understandably cannot refund me for the phone I bought at Wal-mart and cannot use it for about 2 more days for a monthly plan since its a PAYGo phone – select the $25 monthly plan with the first month free, and pay a $15 activation fee. The total is $71.40 with tax and I walk out with a functioning unlimited talk cell phone, and a due date of January 2 for February’s payment.
CRICKET 12/3 The Cricket EZ
The least expensive of the Cricket-supported cell phones, the Cricket EZ is a basic smartphone, possibly not even smart, I don’t really know. The phone’s box touts the following features:
- Text Messaging capable (non-QWERTY keypad, of course)
- Color LCD
- Preloaded polyphonic ringtones
- Preloaded wallpapers
- Stores up to 300 contacts including names, addresses, phone numbers, emails and notes
- Speed dial
- Calendar, alarm, calculator, to-do-list, world time
Inside the box was the EZ phone, Lithium Ion Battery, Battery Door, AC Adapter, User Manual, Quick Reference Guide, Quick Start Guide and Warranty card. Of note, both sales people I spoke with at the store at different times suggested purchasing the $4.95/month handset warranty. In the Cricket New Customer Kit there is a Manfacturer’s Warranty section that begins “Manufacturer’s phone and accessory warranty is generally 1 year,” however this section does not apply to the Cricket EZ. Instead the sales person sraws my atention to the What is Classified as “Out of Warranty”? and What is the Warranty Exchange Program? noting that scratches on the phone or dropping it even once would void the warranty, and that I should check the phone out to make sure it worked okay, but in less than 30 minutes since at that point you cannot exchange it for a new phone (same model or otherwise).
Personal observation : the positioning of the tiny earpiece on the phone is terrible, a mere 1/4 inch or less from the top means your ear easily slides off of the phone while talking. Yet another good reason to take this phone back for an upgrade. The Samsung u340 – RefurbSamsung u340 – Refurb looks promising, $69.99 and if I can return the Cricket EZ I will go for that!
Here is some technical info about the Cricket EZ.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: BUYING PHONES USING THE MYCRICKET.com WEBSITE
If you want to use the Cricket website to aid in your choice of which cell phone to buy you’d better get out some paper. Unlike some other wireless companies (like AT&T/Cingular, Verizon and Virgin Mobile) there is no comparison feature on their website to compare prices and features of the phones you are interested in. Instead you need to rely on a) that piece of paper I mentioned earlier and writing down all of the pertinent details to make your own comparison, b) a good memory or c) a Cricket online sales person who gets paid for making sales – I’m thinking there might be a little bias there.