How to avoid a new cellphone contract

Recently my 4 year-old cellphone broke in half. Thus I was faced with two choices:

  1. start a new two-year contract, costing more per month than my current plan, to get a basic, albeit heavily-rebated cellphone
  2. buy the cellphone for its full MSRP of around $160

I kind of think of these as “taxes”. Carrier lock-in on one hand, or price-gouging on the other. Both of which I wanted to avoid. The guy at the Sprint store suggested that I check around Craigslist and eBay for someone selling their old phone.

Sure enough, someone on eBay was selling a Samsung A840 for $10 + $7 shipping. It was used, yes, and there’s always a risk that someone is selling stolen phones (though I’m guessing that’s more a problem with iPhones and Blackberries), but the seller, Legacy Wireless, seemed reputable. So for a mere $17, I got a new phone (well, new to me) without having to start a new contract.

Samsung A840, broken, and not broken

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