Optus’ smartphone leasing plans were not unlike other lease plans – on the plus side, you could have the same phone for less each month, but on the down side, at the end of 24 months you had to hand the phone back, with no credit for what you’d actually paid for it.
Ouch. I wonder how many people got to the end of a lease plan and thought “hmm, for saving $240, I sure feel ripped off”.
For those Optus customers still on a leasing plan, WhistleOut has some advice depending on how much of your plan remains:
If you’re still in the first year of your lease and you want to upgrade, you can – and to a new leasing plan, too. You’ll pay a cancellation fee, and the remaining monthly device charges, but on the plus side, you’ll own the phone outright.
In the second year of your lease, you can trade up to a new phone on a new 24-month contract for just $99. You don’t have to pay out your current phone, but you do have to give it back. Make sure it’s in good condition though, as otherwise you may be liable for a damage fee of up to $499.
If you’re at the end of your lease (after 24 months), you can either return your phone to Optus, or buy it from Optus at a “fair market value” which you’ll be advised of when you query. If you hand it back, as above, make sure it’s in good order or that damage fee may be applied.
What’s best for you will depend on your circumstances, but overall, we see Optus’ move as a good one for consumers – leasing plans didn’t really represent great value, especially when you consider that you paid a good amount for the use of a phone that you don’t get to keep. For more expensive flagship smartphones, you’re better off keeping your phone in good order and either continuing to use it, or selling it on the second hand market where it’ll likely have retained much of its resale value.