Did you know Verizon sells phones like the Droid Eris for $169, sans any contract? Welcome to the world of refurbished Verizon phones, and how you can even get a phone Verizon never even sold to the public.
Verizon’s refurbished phone system differs from AT&T and other carriers. While many use refurbished phones in order to sell new contracts, Verizon’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) devices are offered to existing customers primarily. Typically, customers are unaware of the offering, until their phone breaks mid-contract. However, all Verizon postpay customers can order one CPO device per year, for each line of service.
And the deals are quite good. The Droid Eris pictured above did indeed cost $169 plus free shipping. A comparable phone from eBay would cost an additional $50 (or more). Clearly, Verizon limits the offering to one per line of service, in order to prevent market arbitrage (customers buying devices just to sell them online secondhand).
In addition, we also found the Palm Treo Pro, yes, the Treo Pro that never launched, sitting there. This has been quietly muttered about in forums, but essentially Palm aborted the offering in order to focus on webOS, and not face pressure to upgrade the entire portfolio of phones to Windows Mobile 6.5. As such, Verizon has offered these units to corporate customers, and through the CPO program. Many customers report these Treo Pro units are actually new, never used devices.
More of the mistique surround CPO phones stems from actually getting one. First, Verizon’s CPO web site is down as much as it is online… often reporting zero CPO phones incorrectly. The web site does note that you can order these phones both in a Verizon Wireless corporate retail store, or by calling customer service.
So, we tried both, and went to an undisclosed Verizon Wireless corporate store. To our surprise, we found multiple sales representative arguing over if a CPO phone could be ordered in-store. The supervisor at the store insisted that you could not order a CPO phone in-store, and overrode the (correct) opinion of their subordinates.
Customer service was a much less arduous process, the representative we spoke with immediately knew the procedure and ordered the Droid Eris that you see above. As such, we suggest calling customer service to both confirm stock, and order the CPO phone of your choosing.
Verizon’s CPO initiative is a hidden gem in an era of $350 early termination fees, we highly suggest customers on Verizon take advantage of this annual benefit.