OFTEN — and the Consumer Council of Fiji keeps a very close tab on this — people rush into buying a new phone, or even a second-hand one without really thinking it through.
There are a number of things to consider — apart from your personal budgeting — before being lured in by a phone's big brand name and slick looks.
Council CEO Premila Kumar, in their latest newsletter, explained that they have been pushing for the idea of an MNP — Mobile Number Portability.
So it would pay to check that MNP applies when you are buying your phone.
"MNP enables mobile telephone users to keep their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another," she said.
"MNP would ensure consumers have a choice to keep their mobile numbers but use the services of any mobile service provider operating in the market. It would also reduce costs for consumers as it would allow them to change service providers without buying three phones or three sim cards for each service provider."
Apart from MNP possibility, Mrs Kumar said it was also important to understand that purchasing a prepay phone was in fact more expensive than purchasing a post-pay one.
"Council research on mobile phone rates has found that prepaid customers pay significantly higher charges than post-paid customers. Prepay customers pay more in terms of calls, text and data, than their post-paid counterparts.
"Low income consumers find it difficult to access the cheaper post-pay services because of the high deposit and stringent requirements imposed by the mobile operators.
Mrs Kumar also warns if you are in a rush when purchasing a phone, you might be tricked into buying a counterfeit product.
"Inspect the packaging carefully. Reputable businesses typically take care in packaging their products. Beware of flimsy packaging, with substandard printing or running colours, or packages that appear to have been opened.
"Also, spelling or grammatical errors are common on the packaging for counterfeit goods. Look for a safety certification label; any electrical product and other products could pose some sort of safety risk, and hence should have one or more safety certifications."
She also suggested that you look carefully at the logo and its quality, as counterfeits often have different fonts or sizes, or different colours.