5 things you need to know while getting phones/tablets from abroad

It is quite true that even though the mobile market in India has radically changed over the years, many of us still continue to purchase mobiles abroad.


There are many reasons for this – frequent trips, price savings and what not, but getting a handset before it releases here tops the list. Yes, we have lamented and lamented about handsets like the Galaxy Nexus or any iPhone for that matter, releasing here ages after their actual release. No doubt, all us techno-maniacs want to hop on the next flight to Europe/U.S., whenever there is a product out there that piques our interest.

Well, the thing is you wouldn’t like to lose your hard earned moolah just because you purchased a phone on a trip abroad, would you?

Well, we have a list of things you can keep in mind while getting phones from outside, whether yourself, or say through a commercial enterprise such as Amazon.

Warranty – If you want to purchase a mobile/tablet abroad, always make sure that it has a worldwide warranty. Always ask the seller, or even confirm with the manufacturer. You can even ask a service centre here and trust that they will tell you the truth.

Warranty is a pretty important thing. We advise you to insist that you get a genuine warranty certificate and bill while purchasing your mobiles/tablets abroad. In case, you get a major glitch on your device, the manufacturer might want see every proof of purchase.

Tax – There is a tax issue. There are huge custom duties on expensive phones that will in fact make your purchase expensive then the one you will get here. The best way to avoid taxes is either get it via someone or carry it on your person.    

If you cannot do that, then you can purchase from different sites. But the thing is you need to figure out the tax before and not afterwards the purchase. Also, one point we would like to add here is if you purchase a phone abroad, the country might give your tax back before leaving as happens in some parts of Europe. Also, keep all the receipts handy in case customs hauls you up and asks for them.

Carrier lock – Some handsets, in fact most of them, can be purchased filthy cheap with a carrier plan abroad. But, we advise you to use your wits before using your credit card. See, a carrier locked handset virtually goes kaput if you get it here or racks up high costs on your phone bill, registering every call as an international call.

You can actually get unlocked handsets from there which would still save you moolah and help you avoid the hassle of running after the carrier. If you are there for a longer duration, then hop on to a short-term plan, which will give you your money’s worth.
Always, enquire about locking and unlocking devices before your purchase.
Genuine devices – Yes, you can be cheated abroad too. We did a story sometime ago about people being sold clay slabs in Canada instead of iPads.

This kind of stuff is prevalent not only in Malaysia, Singapore and China but even U.S. and U.K. Always dig deep to find out that your phone/ tablet is genuine. Never ever be buoyed by dirt-cheap prices and attractive packages; rather always look at the product, its bill and warranty to find out if you are going in for the real thing.

Accessories – Accessories are a big advantage of buying phones abroad. Many accessories, such as a charging dock for HTC Rhyme are only available internationally. You might be able to get them home in addition to saving money on your handset.

But, the thing is always checking the accessories if you are getting a device abroad, as there might be no going back.