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Leasing a Smart Phone? Dumb?

The best cell phone I ever used, I never owned

— until I just bought it for $22.27 — Find out WHY 🙂
I leased a phone from Sprint in March of 2015 for $18 a month. I wasn’t really sure if this was a good idea. For 24 months it was going to cost $432 – a lot cheaper than $600-$800 for a new phone.
I was really scared..
I was really worried if this was a “good” deal or not.. it was!!

But the news was even better… as a long term customer I was able to get a $15 a month credit… during the lease so the net impact here was $3 a month. $3 * 24 months $72.

Like a leased car I was responsible for turning in the phone in good condition!

 I don’t have great success keeping my phone pristine as i hate protective cases. I figured $72 + fair market value was still cheaper than a new $600 – $800 phone.
One of the great things is I have been using the phone for 26 months. The phone is the LG G4; I’ve never been able to “keep” a Smart Phone more than 18 months.. as they just stop working.. running out of memory or storage or just falling apart. It’s on it’s last legs but it will go a few more months until I can get a new phone from or Pixel or LG.

So today I went to the Sprint site (a site I don’t love as much as the company itself).. and found the details on my lease; noting that it had expired (but I was still paying $18 a month – $15); I knew that already.
They noted, ” As a reminder, leased phones must be returned to Sprint or purchased for fair market value.” and provided a link to their site’s buy back option. Pleased they were willing use the same market value they use when buying phones. I was worried because they had previously estimated the buy back at about $200.

$200- vs. $22.72

When I got the agent on the chat line, they in fact wanted $200.. but I pasted in the same text I posted above and the link.. and they came back and said the $20 was only “estimated.” I noted it couldn’t be “off” by a decimal place.
After talking to her supervisor we settled for $22.72… Which means the total price I paid for the phone was $100.72 (including all of the lease payments). Even if I didn’t have the $15 rebate the total of $468 + 22.72 would have still been cheaper than a new phone.

Should you lease?

Assuming you want to keep a phone for 2+ years, and you are willing to spend a few minutes figuring out the fair market value of the phone when the lease is up.. Leasing with Sprint seems like a good deal.
If you are the sort who keeps a phone in perfect condition.. you of course don’t have to buy it.. you can just turn it in. 🙂
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