I’m in the midst of making a big-ish purchase. It’s an experience I no longer enjoy because life is so much more complicated these days.
It’s time to get a new mobile phone. I’ve had my iPhone 7 now for about four years and have been falling out of love with it for a good part of a year now.
The battery life is rubbish – despite having a new battery fitted – and the screen which I broke and got replaced at great expense doesn’t look right anymore.
On a dark background there are streaky grey bands that oscillate in and out of view. Also every now and then there’s a problem charging because the lead doesn’t connect too well.
I’ve been putting off replacing because it’s just too much hassle but a recent trip to an Apple shop has reassured me that all will be fine and my apps and everything else will just work seamlessly – I actually don’t believe this – the moment I login to my Apple iCloud account with my new phone.
To make life super simple I’ve decided I’m going to stick with an iPhone and keep the same network provider, ee.
So yesterday I walked into my High Street ee store to be greeted by the cool looking young staff all wearing the now discredited welders-style facemasks. Even though all three of them were just standing around doing nothing I was told I needed an appointment.
I put on my earnest, helpful face and said I could book for later in the week. I didn’t need to as it turned out because a few questions later they realised my visit could lead to commission. I wasn’t just some older person with some silly problem with my phone that they could patronisingly fix in five minutes.
I also wasn’t someone who wanted to buy a phone outright – I lied about this – I wanted to get a new one on contract so they could see me there and then after all.
I was ushered towards a large screen either side of which – both fully masked – we sat struggling to hear each other amidst the din of the High Street.
There was a small phone size gap beneath the screen for the passing of phones, credit cards and if, absolutely necessary, paper.
I was pretty clear that I didn’t want to increase my current sim-only monthly payment that much and that I might buy outright but I’d look at the contract options if they were cost effective.
I was given two options to choose from – the first was an SE 2020 which to all intents and purposes looked identical to my current phone. I was though reassured that it was a 2020 release and therefore up-to-date.
I was told this would cost £499 to buy outright but would only cost £14 a month on top of my sim rate and that the contract would last two years. This totalled £336 which made it considerably cheaper than buying outright.
How do they do this? I’m already their customer so surely they are just losing out on this deal. This disconcertingly breaks one of my great rules of buying that it’s almost always better to buy outright than on any kind of monthly deal.
The second option was an XR where the phone is also about the same size as mine but the screen is edge to edge. This means there is no big button at the bottom and you open the phone via facial recognition which doesn’t always work in these days of face masks!
I do though like the bigger display which would be particularly useful for viewing SatNav when driving. The monthly cost of this was nearly twice as much as the SE though still over the two year contract considerably less than the £799 outright price they quoted.
The SE came with a whole load of free subscriptions to the likes of BT Sport and Apple Music whereas the XR didn’t. The XR came with a load of free data and the SE didn’t.
Never one to just go ahead without further research I had to photograph the bit of paper the salesman was writing on – as it was deemed too dangerous to give me – with the prices, spec and deals summarised and I made another appointment.
Funnily enough he never mentioned the new iPhone 11, where apparently as I later discovered ee – yes ee – have an offer, where you can get one for £32 a month with nothing upfront. I also saw that you can buy the XR for £499 from Apple rather than the quoted £799.
Why is life is so complicated? Why can’t you trust anyone to tell you the truth?
Beginning to wonder whether I actually need a new phone at all!