Purchasing a cell phone
Cell phones must be connected to a network, established through a line rental contract to the network service provider. Most network service providers have contracts that establish a monthly cost allocating a certain amount of minutes to the cell phone user, based on time of day use, calls to other cell phone users within the network, text and internet access, roaming charges (cell phone usage whilst traveling), gaming on your cell phone, downloading applications, and local versus long-distance calling rates.
Most cell phone users greatly underestimate their average monthly cell phone usage and quickly wind up paying much more in cell phone charges than they anticipated, thus spending more money than they can afford. Cell phones are then a great way to get into debt! Here are some tips to avoid this happening to you:
- Read the fine print. Read and understand the terms and conditions of your agreement with the Network Service Provider before you sign;
- Review your monthly statement to ensure that your plan is covering your monthly usage. Speak to your network service provider representative to discuss switching plans if you’re being charged for excess minutes each month at overtime rates;
- Shop wisely. If you choose a contract phone rather than a pre-pay phone, you will be committed to using a certain network, at a certain tariff for a minimum period of time without any legal right to change tariff or cancel;
- Take care of the phone. You will have no rights if you have not used or looked after your phone in accordance with instructions. Wear and tear from normal use is not considered a fault;
- Know your rights. Your consumer rights outlined in the Consumer Protection Act cannot be taken away by terms and conditions written into a notice, receipt, contract, warranty or guarantee.
Most BlackBerry owners keep important and confidential information on their devices and the last thing we want is for this information to get into the wrong hands. This can be avoided - the BlackBerry is a very secure device and there’s a lot that we can do to protect our information.
Here are three basic security tips for the BlackBerry smartphone.
1. Set a password.
If your corporate BlackBerry administrator doesn’t enforce a password policy on your device or if you’re a consumer BlackBerry user, the very first thing you should do with your device is password protect it.
To enable a new password for your BlackBerry smartphone, simply open your BlackBerry Options menu, then scroll down to and click the word Password. On the next screen, select the Password field and then enable the option via the corresponding pop-up box.
From there, hit your BlackBerry Escape key which is located directly to the right of the track ball or trackpad - save your changes when prompted and then enter your new BlackBerry password. After typing the new password once, you'll be prompted to confirm your selection. Verify the password by typing it again, and your BlackBerry will be properly locked down. Just type your password again to unlock the device.
By default, if a password is typed incorrectly ten consecutive times, all of the information on the BlackBerry smartphone is automatically deleted. This is a security feature.
2. Protect your content.
Use content protection to encrypt all of your personal data. You can encrypt data stored on your device and/or your microSD media card. Doing so "scrambles" the information so it can't be transferred and interpreted if your device falls into the wrong hands.
You can enable this by selecting Options -> Security Options -> General Settings on most BlackBerry devices.
3. Wipe It!
If you are giving away or replacing your BlackBerry, clear the content first - this process is called wiping. Essentially you are erasing all of the data that is stored and bringing the BlackBerry back to its factory default state. Before you proceed to wipe your device, back up any information that you don’t want to lose.
Wiping the device is quite simple and there are a few ways to do it.
If you enter an incorrect password into your BlackBerry 10 consecutive times, the BlackBerry by default will wipe itself as a security precaution. You will be prompted to type the word “blackberry” (no quotes) in order to confirm the wipe.
In order to perform a manual wipe of your entire BlackBerry, you will need to do the following: Options > Security Options > General Settings > Click the trackwheel/trackball on the Password field > Select “Wipe Handheld“. As with the above method you will be prompted to enter “blackberry” (no quotes) in order confirm the system wipe.
Remember, if you lose your BlackBerry or if it is stolen, contact your carrier immediately. Have them deactivate your SIM card and ask them to have the PIN number registered as lost or stolen. Simply put, if your BlackBerry is reported stolen and the PIN is listed as stolen, the culprit can change the SIM card and use the device as a phone but the data services will be blocked. Of course, report a lost or stolen BlackBerry device to the police.
If you have a corporate BlackBerry make sure you contact your IT staff. They should be able to remotely enable security features and/or wipe your smartphone.
Returning a cell phone
If the cell phone you purchased was not of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described, or if there is a fault on the network or SIM card, you may be entitled to a refund.
To return a cell phone:
- If you have only had the phone a few weeks or haven’t had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you are may entitled to a refund for a fault or poor description, or alternatively you may request a replacement;
- If the fault is only minor and can easily be put right, it is reasonable to accept a repair. This won’t stop you claiming a replacement or refund if the repair turns out to be unsatisfactory;
- If you have had the phone longer than a few weeks or have had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you may be still entitled to a repair or replacement. A repair should be carried out within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience. Any repair should restore it to a satisfactory condition. If this does not happen, you are entitled to a replacement or compensation. This could be a sum of money or the cost of having somebody else repair the phone;
- If the phone cannot be replaced you are entitled to a refund. The store may make a reduction from the price you paid to allow for the use you have had from the phone;
- If you are out of pocket in any other way, you may be entitled to compensation over and above the price of the phone. The trader is liable for your problem, not the manufacturer.
If you are entitled to a refund, replacement or repair, it is the store who must sort out your problem. The store cannot tell you to go back to the manufacturer or to claim through a guarantee or warranty.