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Smartphone Gift? Don't Buy Online!


Greg Urban


June 19, 2017



TL;DR: Buy anywhere EXCEPT online! Opt for a retail store, through customer service; just anywhere but your carrier's online device sales portal!

As the original Wireless Butler, part of my job is knowing the ins and outs of wireless for both consumer and enterprise, and that means I jump into real-life scenarios for research and development. This story comes from a real experience! The Bossman wanted to buy his little brother an iPhone 7 with Verizon (based in New Jersey), and also buy an iPhone7+ on AT&T for his Grandmother (based in Texas). 

This is what you'll expect when smartphone gift-ing:

If someone bought you your new phone from your carrier's online portal, that will change the shipping address. Verizon wont let you use a credit card with a billing address that's different from your cellphone billing address. Verizon's site offers a lame loophole: change your carrier's billing address to your phone-Santa's credit card address. Seriously: don't do this. It is one giant pitfall.

How do I know? This is exactly what happened when I bought Bossmans brother an iPhone 7 from Verizon. It took two hours of phone calls over two days to fix the shipping address issues, and I was getting hate texts from Bossman at 8PM while having dinner with family and friends. Meanwhile Grandma's iPhone 7+ required a single 16-minute phone call to AT&T, and she received her phone three days later. 

If you did happen to smartphone gift online, and it went to a different address then you have a whole different problem!

Click here if you need to change the shipping address for the phone you just bought.

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