Learn From My Pain and Know What Vodafone’s Trade-in Terms Do and Don’t Cover

Learn From My Pain and Know What Vodafone’s Trade-in Terms Do and Don’t Cover
Image: Apple

It’s new phone season. With the new Apple iPhone 13 range and Google Pixel 6 dropping recently, many of us have been thinking about trading up, which often comes with weighing up the consequences of ending a phone contract early. Vodafone, Telstra and Optus all offer trade-in deals, but this is your PSA to read the Ts&Cs.

Aussie telcos offer a number of options to trade-in your old phones and some allow you to restart a new contract before your existing one is over, as I said, terms and conditions apply, however.

Vodafone, for example, has a whole page dedicated to the practice of trading your old phone in. Vodafone even provides steps on how to trade-in:

  1. Check your eligibility: Check that your phone is eligible for trade-in and how much credit you could get using our eligibility checker below.
  2. Download the Trade-in App: Download the Vodafone Trade-In app, for your phone from the App Store or Google Play. The app will assess the condition of your eligible device.
  3. Prepare your trade-in device: Back up any important data on your phone. Remove any SIM cards, cases, or memory cards.
  4. Head in store or call: Head into store or call 1300 650 410. Be sure to have your valid drivers licence with you.

The Vodafone Trade-in App is pretty straight forward – you perform a bunch of tasks that test the phone’s screen, buttons and gyroscope, as some examples, before serving you up an estimated trade-in value. Purely for the purpose of this article, I attempted to trade-in a 2016 Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128GB. $100, not bad for a phone with a 4-hour battery life.

vodafone trade-in

But approaching Vodafone to redeem this $100 onto your account comes with some terms you might not know about (because they’re not included in the information that is immediately presented to you on their website). It is contained, however, in their Instore Trade-in Program Terms and Conditions document.

So what are they?

Well, first, this $100 can be redeemed over the course of 12, 24 or 36 months – so in our example, you can get this $100 dispersed in $8.33 monthly credits, $4.16 monthly credits or $2.77 monthly credits.

If you thought the $100 from trade-in would be simply added to your Vodafone account as a credit to your bill, this is not the case. It applies only to a phone plan, too. So if you have a 24-month phone contract and NBN under the one account, that $100 can only be used towards a phone.

In the case of having four months left on your phone contract and opting for the 12-month credit disbursement option, with no intention of staying with Vodafone, you can’t add that credit to your NBN plan.

The way Vodafone explains this is: When customers trade-in their eligible phone, they get a credit towards their Vodafone Post Paid bill.

But what happens to the remaining 8 months-worth of credit?

Vodafone told Gizmodo Australia that “If you cancel your service before your full trade-in credit has been applied, then the remaining balance of your credit will be forfeited”.

Vodafone also allows its customers to trade-up their device. This requires re-contracting with a new phone, however.

What about Telstra and Optus?

Telstra also has a trade-in option. Its website says much the same as Vodafone’s regarding how you qualify for a trade-in, but Telstra’s also mentions “credit applied by 2nd month”.

Taking a look at Telstra’s Ts&Cs, it notes:

Telstra on behalf of Kingfisher (the company that handles Telstra’s trade-ins) will typically provision the credit:

  • To your Telstra bill within 2 billing cycles; or
  • If you have a Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan, to your nominated card or account for your AutoPay arrangement with us within 30 days of your transaction being processed.

Telstra confirmed with Gizmodo Australia that your credit will be applied to your account, not just the phone part.

For Optus, your trade-in credit will be added to your first or second mobile or mobile broadband bill.

New and existing Optus customers can trade-in their phone or tablet online, and obviously, as is the case with Vodafone and Telstra, the amount that you will receive is dependent on the condition of the device.

“In the rare occurrence that a customer trades in a device and then terminates their contract early, the customer would be refunded the remaining credit once they have terminated ALL Optus services,” Optus confirmed with Gizmodo Australia.

“If the customer still has active services with Optus, then the credit will remain on the account and their next payments will be drawn down from this credit until the balance is $0.”

Vodafone did tell Gizmodo Australia that although the trade-in terms are current, they may be subject to change in the future.

Failing trading your old phone in with your telco, you can always try your luck with a service like Mobile Muster.