If you're strapped for cash after a wallet-busting New Year's Eve and looking to save a few spondoolicks on your new blower, Vodafone's Nearly New scheme may appeal. You can bag a popular phone such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC One X for a decent saving on a monthly contract -- as long as you don't mind it not being brand new.
Nearly New phones are ones the bright red network gets back from disgruntled customers, not because of any fault, but because they decide it's not for them. Voda promises they're all in "very good condition".
"All phones go through a strict series of checks and processes (including a full security wipe) before being placed on the scheme and are re-boxed with all the right accessories," the company said in a press release. Very important, those security wipes, as one CNET journalist learned from bitter experience a few years ago.
So what are the deals? Pay monthly customers get the pick of the crop, as you might imagine, with last year's top-notch Android phones up for grabs. The Galaxy S3 is on offer at £33 per month for a two-year contract, compared to £37 per month brand-new. That's a saving of £96 over the course of the deal.
Pay as you go customers are left with older stuff -- the iPhone 4 is £250, compared to £319 unlocked from Apple. That comes with a 12-month warranty, whereas contract phones are guaranteed for two years.
The scheme is available for pay as you go phones in all Vodafone shops now and on the company's website next week, when more details will be available. If you want to pay monthly, only certain stores (the bigger ones, I'd guess) will be able to help you, otherwise you'll have to wait for the online launch. Stock depends on what people have returned, so you should have plenty of unwanted Christmas presents to choose from.
Vodafone has previously offered nearly new phones to existing customers on upgrade, or on an insurance claim, but this is the first time they've been offered to new customers. A member of support staff on the company forum recently assured customers that they are all "handsets returned during our seven working day peace of mind period".
If you're already on Vodafone, or you're after an older phone like the iPhone 4, I'd say this is well worth a look. If you're not happy with the quality of the gadget you get, you can always return it. As always though, it will work out cheaper in the long run to buy a phone upfront and then shop around for a SIM-only deal.
Would you scrimp and save on a Nearly New phone? Or are you fastidious in your new mobiles? Drop a pecunious comment below, or on our money-saving Facebook page.