In our previous blog, we talked about good starter phones for kids. In this blog, we will talk about where to find these phones.
Most major carriers (AT&T, Verizon) have a separate division that sell "prepaid" phones. If you decide to get your kid a basic flip phone, then a "prepaid" flip phone would be a good way to go. These phones can be purchased directly from your local carrier's corporate stores. Just walk into your local AT&T or Verizon store and tell the sales associate that you'd like to buy a prepaid flip phone and add it to your account. You probably don't have a prepaid account but that is okay. You can always put a prepaid phone on your non-prepaid account. Since you are adding a line of service, your monthly bill will go up. However, the incremental monthly cost should be less than the cost of adding a smart phone.
If you decide to get your kid a smart phone, we discussed in the previous blog that the iPhone 5-series is a good choice. If you happen to have a hand-me-down iPhone 5, then that's perfect. If not, then I prefer to purchase a used phone from eBay. In our experiences, eBay has the best buyer-protection program should things not go smoothly. eBay will nearly always side with the buyer if there's a dispute so this is a safe platform for consumers. When you buy a used phone on eBay, make sure you read the entire description carefully. If there are any terms you do not understand, ask the seller. We recommend that you avoid the item if any of the following adjectives are used to describe the device: untested, unknown condition, locked, bad ESN. Also keep in mind that the iPhone 5-series has been discontinued so there are no "new" stocks out there. If a seller claims that his iPhone 5 is new, then I'd steer away from that listing. You may be tempted to look at a "refurbished" phone. A refurbished phone is typically one that was broken and then shipped overseas to be repaired. The quality of the refurbishment varies greatly. As a result, we do not recommend that you purchase a refurbished phone. Our recommendation is that you stick with a "used" phone on eBay if you decide to purcase an iPhone 5-series.