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Planned Obsolescence - Cell Phones

April 15th, 2008 at 04:27 pm

Planned obsolescence is when a product is manufactured to have a short life span, forcing customers to replace the item on a regular basis.

I think that describes cell phones perfectly.

I've had my cell phone for a couple of years. It is in excellent shape, works perfectly well and has the 2 main features I demand of a cell phone, the ability to make and receive calls. Despite all of that, I will be replacing it in the immediate future. Why? Planned obsolescence.

When I first got the phone, I needed to charge the battery every 2 weeks or so. Then it started being every 10-12 days. Then 8-10. Now, a charge only lasts 5-7 days, even less if I actually use the phone. I'm tired of listening to that annoying low battery tone beeping through my conversation.

I could just replace the battery. I did a little searching online and found a replacement for as little as $13.99 plus postage. Perhaps, I could find one in a local store and avoid the postage. However, I can get a brand new phone for FREE (after rebate). So why would I spend $14 or more to get a new battery for the phone I've got? I really wish a new phone wasn't the best option, but there's no way around it. My cousin, also on our family plan, had to do the same thing a couple of months ago. I have to wonder how many thousands of phones end up in landfills each year for this very reason.

10 Responses to “Planned Obsolescence - Cell Phones”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Cell phones can be recycled for parts. There are online companies that pay cash for used cell phones. Just do a google search. I did this about a year ago with no problems.

  2. disneysteve Says:

    Imagine that. I never knew that. I just did a quick search and found one company offering $4.00 and another offering $10.00 for my model. Once I replace it, I will absolutely pursue this. Thank you! I think I'll start a thread on the boards about this as I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't know you could do this.

  3. dmontngrey Says:

    Your charge lasts 5-7 days?? I'm lucky if I get 3 - and I don't use the phone much! That's 3 days with no talk time used. I can't remember if I've had my phone 3 or 4 years, but I replaced the battery not long ago. This battery hasn't lasted anywhere near as long as it should have. The phone works great if it wasn't for that battery issue...

  4. littlemama Says:

    Do you have to renew your contract when you get the new phone?

  5. disneysteve Says:

    I do have to renew my contract if I get a new phone.

    I did some more research and I can get a replacement battery on ebay for less than $7.00 including shipping. I think at that point, it might be worth keeping the phone even though I could replace it for free. I hate the idea of replacing a perfectly good phone that I'm comfortable with and know all the features of.

  6. princessperky Says:

    a charge lasting 5-7 days would rock! Ours goes bad after two or three, unless my husband works, then we are lucky to get a whole day (he now works in the basement of the company, uses more charge to still not receive signals Frown.)

  7. Carolina Bound Says:

    Mine only last 2-3 days, too. My old cell phone -- my dinosaur that had to be replaced when I got a new number -- would stay charged for weeks. Why are they making them worse, not better?

  8. jIM_Ohio Says:

    The planned obsolesence is part of the contract- the phone cannot outlive the contract.

    I can go about 3 days without a charge on my sprint phone. My solution for charging is to use the car charger about every 12 hours until I remember to charge it at night. My cell is my alarm clock, but no outlet is near my bed.

    Our cells are with sprint, I am on phone 4 in 6 years. The only person which calls me is my wife or salespeople (most of the time).

    We are NOT getting new sprint phones, even if these break, because we do not like sprint service or the price ($85 for two phones, share minutes).

  9. sagegirl Says:

    I, too, would love to get 5-7 days charge on my phone as I usually put it on the charger every 3 days. I have a very love/hate relationship with cell phones and the companies that provide them. Smile

  10. Stein Says:

    I ended up buying two new batteries for about $20 to avoid having to extend the contract. With prices changing often, it sounded like the better option.

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