Buying (Or Not Buying) A Phone

It shouldn’t be that difficult. I need a new phone. I know what type I want. I can try it out in the store. But no-one will sell me one.blackberry-keyone2-980x637

I figured for once in my life I was in sync with the times. I am a huge fan of BlackBerry phones and the new KEYone phone was released at the end of May. In the past when I have needed a new phone I have just missed out on the latest model so I was excited that for once I was going to be up to date.

Picking up a KEYone shouldn’t have been a problem. All the major Canadian carriers listed it on their websites. There was a discount if you signed up for one of their plans, but for $699 (plus 13% tax) you could purchase the phone outright. I’m moving to Europe; I wanted to buy the phone without the plan. Seemed like such a simple thing.

But they won’t let me. None of the providers will sell me an unlocked phone. They all insist I sign up for a two-year plan. The fact that I am moving thousands of kilometres outside their coverage range is my problem, not theirs.

I tried the BlackBerry website to see if they could direct me to a vendor. No response (I did get an acknowledgment of my query a week or so later). So I contacted the company that manufactures the handsets. I figured someone there would now where I could buy a phone.

There didn’t seem to be a “buy here” option on that website either, so I sent an email to the company president. I’ve always found that it helps if the guy (or girl) at the top knows what is happening at the bottom. The response came within the hour. I was copied on an email to one of the (I presume) higher level executives asking of there was some way they could help me. It sounded so positive.

Suggestions were made. I had already tried Amazon Canada, but balked at paying the extra $350 a reseller wanted for a phone. Plus, I suspect Canada Customs would ding me considerably for anything I import, even if it is Canadian technology. On vacation in the US last month I went to an electronics retailer that had the phone on its website. Turns out the website is where they sell it. They don’t keep the phone in stock, you order online and have it delivered. It was a short vacation – there was no time for that option. There seem to be no other options.

I’ve looked online to see if I can buy one in Germany. My colleagues have recommended a cell provider that doesn’t carry the KEYone, so I just can’t get one with my plan. Germany’s major electronics store seems to be offering the same deal as its American counterpart: buy online and have it delivered.

I’m beginning to wonder when loyalty to a great product gets trumped by convenience. There will be phones offered to me as part of my German plan, just not a KEYone. After more than a decade as a BlackBerry user I know their phones are the best, for me anyway, but maybe it is time to consider a change.

I have spent time with the KEYone in my local cell provider’s store. It seems to me to be the best BlackBerry yet. As you know, I have written most of my posts here on one of my BlackBerrys – I am a big fan of the physical keyboard. My family and friends don’t understand just how much better it is.

But nobody wants to sell me a phone.

(On Thursday, after I wrote this post, I got emails from BlackBerry, two of them, touting a new, more powerful, unlocked version of the KEYone. It is all black and looks stunning, if a phone can be so described. Alas, when I clicked on the link all that happened was I was directed to a page where I could sign up for email alerts. I’m already on the email list, twice apparently. There was no information as to when this upgrade phone will be available or what the cost will be. I’m no further ahead.)


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