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iPhone Returns and Cancellation Policies

Hey boys and girls, you might be used to trying out phones and getting 30 days to cancel and return the unit (that is, at least, depending on your state of residence). Our Chris tells me that in California, you even get back the activation fee. The iPhone return policy won't be nearly as friendly. Here's a rough-and-ready review of the iPhone policies you should expect.

iPhone return policy. You have 14 days (not 30) to return your iPhone. It must be returned to the original point of purchase. You can't buy at store #1 and return to store #2. If the iPhone isn't unopened and shrink wrapped, you'll be charged a 10% open box restocking fee. Returns must include the phone, all accessories, and all manuals that shipped with the product.

Canceling the agreement. If you cancel within 3 days of iPhone activation, You're entitled to a refund of the $36 activation fee. If you cancel within 30 days, you can terminate service without paying a penalty. After 30 days, you must pay an early termination fee of $175. After fulfilling your 2 year agreement, your service switches to a month-to-month automatic renewal.

Rough Costs

So here's a rough breakdown of how much you can expect to pay under various return scenarios. I'm using the $499 4GB iPhone in these calculation and the lowest ($60/month) plan. I assume about $10 in fees and taxes (including 911 Tax, Federal Telecom Relay Service Fee, Universal Service Fund, Cost Recovery Fees, etc.) and a 5% sales tax on the unit itself.

$50.00. Try it out, cancel service, return unit within 3 days.

$86.00. Try it out, cancel service, return unit within 14 days.

$561.00. Try it out, keep the phone, cancel service within 30 days. (I assume they don't charge you for that month. If they do, the cost is $631.00.)

$946.00 Use the iPhone for 3 months, pay $175 termination fee.

$1576.00. Use the iPhone for 12 months, pay $175 termination fee.

$2241.00. Use the iPhone for 24 months, no termination fee

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