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  1.    #1  
    Okay, now that Sprint has introduced their cheap Unlimited PCS Vision plans, I'm finally going to bite the bullet and a get a Treo 300. I'm hoping to get one later today, in fact.

    The question is, where is the best place to actually buy the unit? Are there any advantages to buying from a Sprint Express Store or Sprint Sales And Service Center (and any advantage to one of those two in particular)? Does buying that way help with the activation process (I'd like to get it working quickly because I want to have SSH access to my server while I'm on vacation in Honolulu starting on Wednesday), or do you just end up calling Sprint HQ on the phone to do that as you would if you bought at a "third party" store?

    Reading some old posts, I see that at least in the past, both Best Buy and Circuit City have had extended warranties / replacement plans that allow you to trade up to new models. Is that still the case? Are they the only stores with such policies, or do CompUSA and/or Radio Shack's plans work similarly? I take it that Sprint's $4/mo. Equipment Replacement plan does not work that way.

    How about plan cost? I read in an old post that CC's plan was $60. Since Sprint's plan has a $35 deductible, the CC plan would be the better deal once you'd had the unit for 6 1/4 months. Is CC's plan still $60? Anyone know what the other stores charge?

    And how about frequency limitations? The Sprint plan has "a limit of 2 claims within a 12-month period". I take it that means if you get a bad unit, and the replacement unit also goes bad after a short time, that after that you're simply screwed until 12 months have gone by? If the 2nd replacement fails, you just have to buy a whole new unit? I presume the retail store plans don't have such limitations?

    Of course, it's my understanding that the retail store plans do not cover loss or theft, only equipment failure, so I guess to some extent it's comparing apples to oranges.

    Finally, the $50 rebate from Sprint is good regardless of where you buy the Treo, right?
  2.    #2  
    Oh, and I forgot to ask -- which of the policies give you a replacement unit immediately, and which of them require you to wait for a replacement to be mailed to you after you've surrendered your original unit?

    And I guess a related question would be, do any of the policies give you a new unit, or do all of them give you a refurbished unit?
  3. #3  
    i bought mine at circuit city. i don't think anything else could be quicker... took it home, called sprint, and it was activated. doesn't get much easier than that. i don't think there's any price difference either except that i have seen a couple of incentives with trade-ins...

    i bought the extended warranty from circuit city. originally i did not take the one from sprint but this past week when i was able to lower my plan by $15 under the new unlimited plans i decided to add the $4 plan. hopefully one or the other will cover if something happens.

    replacement on the sprint plans takes 5 days and i think its limited to twice a year, but hopefully the idea is i never use it and its peace of mind on a $500+ investment...
  4. #4  
    The store manager at the Sales and Service SPCS store told me that yes, it will take about 4 business days to get a new phone. However, he said you could simply buy a new phone, get it on your plan, and then return it when your phone comes back (since you get 14 days to cancel...). I intensely dislike Circuit City and will not shop there. Radio Shack had a great replacement program years back, but now it's pretty much like Sprint's.

    Both Sprint and RS used to be amazingly nice about things.. Walk in with a broken phone, walk out with a replacement. No more.
  5. raiderfan's Avatar
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    #5  
    where ever you buy it activate it over the phone....i bought mine at a sprint store and activating it there cost me 4 days of mess and confusion getting the internet and email to work. vision has to be activated by sprint hdq and not in store personnel
  6. #6  
    While the SPCS people at the store DID have trouble getting my phone set up, they DID get it connected to Vision.
  7.    #7  
    Originally posted by JoeTampa
    The store manager at the Sales and Service SPCS store told me that yes, it will take about 4 business days to get a new phone.
    Does that mean you tell them you need a replacement, then four days later you come in with your phone and do the swap, or you had to give them your phone in the beginning and be without any phone (unless you did the "buy a new one temporarily" trick) for four days?

    One thing I really appreciate about my Circuit City extended warranty on my TiVo is that they send me a new unit first, and then I can mail them back my old, problematic unit at my leisure. Wonder if CC's cell phone replacement policy works the same way...
  8.    #8  
    Originally posted by JoeTampa
    While the SPCS people at the store DID have trouble getting my phone set up, they DID get it connected to Vision.
    Doesn't the Treo need to be charged right out of the box? Did they hook it up to an AC adapter or something? Do they do this setup for all phones bought there, or only if you request it?
  9. #9  
    I requested nothing special. They put the phone on the charger while they set it up, so I can't say for certain how it is out of the box.

    With SPCS, you actually (IIRC) send the phone out in the mail to the repair center, and are without a phone for (they say) 4 days.
  10.    #10  
    Well, I called Radio Shack and their replacement plan (2 years for $50 or 3 years for $60) requires you to surrender the phone and then wait a few days for a replacement. As far as upgrading to a new version, they only allow you to upgrade to the latest replacement model of the same unit, and only if the original model is no longer available.

    Circuit City's plan (3 years for $60) allows you to go in and swap the unit on the spot, assuming they have one in stock (which also implies you get a new unit). They also replace only with the same unit, as long as it's still available, but if it's no longer available, they do the "store credit towards any new unit" thing previously mentioned.

    So I'm going to go with CC. Been happy with them in the past (except for the local Santa Ana store -- not the South Coast Plaza one but the full store -- that store I'll never return to, thanks to a complete ******* manager I encountered while shopping for my TiVo).

    It'd be hard for Best Buy or CompUSA (or Wal-Mart, if they stock the Treo 300) to top CC's replacement policy, and at least around here, there are a lot more CC stores than BBs or CompUSAs. Hopefully that will translate into easier replacements, if those become necessary, potentially even when I'm out-of-town.

    There's even a Circuit City 15 minutes out of Honolulu, where I'll be on my upcoming vacation, whereas there are no Best Buys in Hawaii.

    Of course Radio Shack would be the best for store ubiquitity, but it doesn't matter since they don't have an on-the-spot replacement policy.

    Oh, I also called a Sprint store and asked if there was any advantage to buying there, and apparently it's just that they activate your phone on the spot, whereas after buying at CC, I'll have to wait on hold for a long time "due to the overwhelming demand".

    What hours are the activation folks available, anyway? 24/7, or something more limited?
    Last edited by Dan Harkless; 10/20/2002 at 02:25 PM.
  11. #11  
    I would assume 24x7. A co-worker ordered from Handspring the other day, called SPCS and activated. While I didn't ask specifically, he didn't report any long wait times or other problems.
  12.    #12  
    Well, I got my Treo 300 from Circuit City with no problem (other than one salesman trying to usurp another one's commission).

    With Sprint, however, I'm definitely off to a rocky start. I called to activate, and the wait time wasn't too horrible, though it's really lame that you have to wait a long time for a representative who's completely worthless to you if you already have a phone -- all he does is transfer you to the activation department, at which point you have to into another (shorter) queue. They should design the voice menus so if you already have your phone you go directly to activation.

    Anyway, I got a guy named Arlie (sp?) and he seemed pretty helpful, other than making fun of my last name (as "Arlie" he apparently feels justified). However, once I'd given him my social security number, address, and phone, he said that the computers told him I had to go in and activate at a store, so they could verify my identity. I asked why, and he said he had no idea. I asked him what I needed to bring, and he said just two forms of identification. I said, "driver's license and what...?" and he said "a credit card".

    He said he didn't know whether Sprint Express stores would be able to pull up my account or not, so I had to go to a Sprint Sales and Service store. The nearest one is a bit of a drive, and I had a hard time finding it (due largely to their poor directions), but finally got there.

    Told the guy what the deal was, and he said he needed my Social Security card. Arlie, of course, said nothing about needing this. The guy tried to input me in the computer (I thought maybe the problem was just that I'd given my name as "Dan" to Arlie vs. my legal name of Daniel), but it just came up that he needed my Social Security card.

    I noticed on his screen that an address list popped up that had just one address, which appeared to be my address-before-last. I told him I didn't understand what was going on, since I keep current with my credit reports and that they have my current address, and that I had never had this come up before, e.g. when leasing my car.

    He claimed it must be some other Daniel Harkless ("it's a different Social", he said, but if so, why the heck is it causing grief for me??), but AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK $I$'$ve$ $always$ $been$ $the$ $only$ $Dan$($iel$) $Harkless$ $in$ $my$ $county$ ($or$ $Southern$ $California$ $in$ $general$ -- $it$'$s$ $not$ $a$ $common$ $name$). $I$ $offered$ $him$ $my$ $medical$ $insurance$ $ID$, $which$ $has$ $my$ $social$ $security$ $number$ $on$ $it$, $but$ $he$ $said$ &$quot$;$it$ $had$ $to$ $be$ $something$ $that$'$s$ $government$-$issued$&$quot$;. $I$ $protested$ $that$ $I$ $might$ $not$ $be$ $able$ $to$ $find$ $my$ $social$ $security$ $card$, $and$ $he$ $said$ $I$ $could$ $also$ $bring$ $a$ $student$ $ID$ $with$ $my$ $SSN$. $I$ $said$, &$quot$;$student$ $IDs$ $aren$'$t$ $government$-$issued$&$quot$;, $and$ $he$ $replied$ &$quot$;$school$ $is$ $government$&$quot$;. Now, as it turns out, I went to a University of California school, so I guess it could be considered "government-issued", but his premise is certainly not true in the general case.

    Anyway, just found my Social Security Card (I remember I lost it awhile back and had to order a new one -- luckily I hadn't lost it again since), and I'm back over there (and late for a meeting with friends).

    Hope things with Sprint are smoother from this point forward.
    Last edited by Dan Harkless; 10/21/2002 at 05:04 AM.
  13. AdamK's Avatar
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    #13  
    Dan,

    Hope you don't go "D'OH!" when you read this but Best Buy is currently having a sale on all cellular phones. Just bought the last Treo at Best Buy in your hometown of Costa Mesa for $374.99. (25% off MSRP of $499.99).

    Also got the Best Buy service plan - 2 years for just $39.99. Gotta figure something's gonna go wrong (I should know, I'm upgrading from the 180). And I'm sure the 300 will be discontinued before the 2 years are up, so if something does go wrong, I can get the full price applied to the phone.

    Gonna call Sprint in a few to activate. Hope all goes well.
  14. #14  
    - Homer simpson
  15.    #15  
    Originally posted by AdamK
    [B]Hope you don't go "D'OH!" when you read this but Best Buy is currently having a sale on all cellular phones. Just bought the last Treo at Best Buy in your hometown of Costa Mesa for $374.99. (25% off MSRP of $499.99).
    No, I won't go "D'OH!". I'm gonna use three exclamation points: D'OH!!!

    Well, that sucks. But at least my "there are more Circuit City locations in case I need to swap out my phone suddenly" theory still holds. And I guess I can feel good knowing I didn't grab the unit you otherwise would have been buying. Also, I bear somewhat of a grudge against Best Buy due to some insanely aggressive extended warranty pitches in the past (including a time when I was buying $30 computer speakers (!) and they almost literally refused to take no for an answer on an extended warranty).

    BTW, after going back to the Sprint store with my Social Security card, everything went relatively smoothly. Just the card wasn't enough -- they had to call a credit bureau while I was there and relay questions to me like what company holds my car loan and what dealership I leased my car from. Weird.

    The only issues beyond that were that nobody in the store had ever keyed in the $30/mo. plan before, and there was apparently some confusion being able to tell between the $30 for 3 months then $40 plan from the plan that starts at $40. Also, the guy helping me completely neglected to give me my password, but luckily I noticed this as he was trying to shuffle me out the door as I was trying to see if anything had been forgotten.

    He said my Internet connection might not work for 24 hours, but in fact it worked immediately, which was great.

    Oh, and he browbeat me for awhile for buying the Treo at Circuit City, saying that if I had bought it directly from them, I could've gotten that $50 rebate instantly rather than having to mail it in (big whoop). I explained that I liked the immediate-swap terms of CC's protection plan better than the "give up your phone and get a replacement in 4 days" policy of the Sprint store, and he said that if you ask for it, you can get them to get a replacement phone mailed, and then when it's there, you can give up your old unit. Of course that won't help you if your old phone is dead in the water. Also, you're still definitely getting a refurb. phone, whereas with CC's policy you apparently typically get a new unit (though if they had an open box or something, I would guess they'd give that to you first).

    Anyway, definitely enjoying my 300 so far, though when I get back from vacation I'll definitely want to research the various competitors to the WriteRights, as they're a real pain to get bubble-free.
  16. #16  
    Given that you'll be typing quite a bit, Write-Rights might not be neccessary.

    Glad you got activated, and in case you hadn't extrapolated your experience, 99% of the time, Sprint's time estimates for how long it takes something to start working are wayyy overestimated.

    Welcome aboard!
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by AdamK
    Dan,

    Hope you don't go "D'OH!" when you read this but Best Buy is currently having a sale on all cellular phones. Just bought the last Treo at Best Buy in your hometown of Costa Mesa for $374.99. (25% off MSRP of $499.99).

    Also got the Best Buy service plan - 2 years for just $39.99. Gotta figure something's gonna go wrong (I should know, I'm upgrading from the 180). And I'm sure the 300 will be discontinued before the 2 years are up, so if something does go wrong, I can get the full price applied to the phone.

    Gonna call Sprint in a few to activate. Hope all goes well.
    Hey Dan,
    Don't feel bad. If what AdamK says is true, CC will refund you the difference. I think you have up to 30 days to do so. You don't even need your receipt. Go and try that at your Sprint store.
  18. #18  
    I wonder if you can take a treo (with box) that was bought at a sprint store to circuit city or best buy without a reciept and tell them that you'd like to add the protection plan to it?

    Hmmmm.....
  19. #19  
    don't think so. you have to buy from CC to buy protection plan
  20. #20  
    If they don't require a reciept, then how in the heck would they know you bought it there?

    My guess is that if you offer them money, they'll take it.

    Best,
    D.
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