Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Are smartphone buyback schemes the latest marketing sham?

Ever since Apple introduced it on the iPhone 4, buyback schemes have become the latest fad that companies are using to attract new buyers. Who wouldn’t be if a company says it is offering Rs 10,000 off on its high-end smartphone in exchange of your old phone? But is it actually the case? We checked out a few such schemes and found out that most of them are borderline scams, misleading and in some cases buyers might even end up paying more than what they can buy the device online without exchanging their old phones!
When Apple started its buyback scheme for the iPhone 4 earlier this year, it offered users Rs 7,000 off from the listed price (and at most places also the market operating price) of Rs 26,500. Yes, buyers could get an iPhone 4 in the vicinity of Rs 24,000 at some places, yet getting a minimum of Rs 7,000 off was a great deal and they were getting the iPhone 4 at a much lower price than what was operating in the market. BGR India exclusively reported on how Apple is offering the discount.

The plan proved so successful that even Tim Cook acknowledged Apple India’s success in the company’s quarterly earnings after having called India a non-crucial market exactly a year ago. In response, other brands too started offering buyback schemes but most of them have so far turned out to be nothing more than a marketing campaign aimed at fooling buyers.

So here’s the Sony buyback scheme that offers the Xperia Z for Rs 33,790 and Xperia ZL for Rs 30,690 AFTER the user exchanges his old smartphone. Sony’s campaign claims that the Xperia Z’s best buy price is Rs 38,790 and the Xperia ZL’s is Rs 35,690 and the buyer is getting a discount of Rs 5,000. On checking popular online retailers, we found out that one could easily buy a brand new legit Xperia Z for less than what Sony is offering under its buyback scheme. In other words, you not only lose approximately Rs 2,000 on Sony’s buyback scheme but also give away your old smartphone, which you could have sold separately and made some more money.

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