Everyone loves a freebie, and phone providers have no shortage of them. From new TVs to wireless headphones and even hairdryers, providers trip over themselves to spoil you rotten.
But before you grab the first deal to come your way, it’s important to recognise the hidden pitfalls, too.
Below, we uncover some of those pitfalls, show you how to spot the best deals, and ask the question: does ‘free’ really mean free?
Is it worth getting free gifts with my mobile contract?
Well, that depends.
There are pros and cons to getting freebies with a mobile contract, and really, only you know if a deal is right for you.
Put simply, if something takes your fancy, go for it. But before signing anything, it’s important to think about what you want from a mobile contract in the first place.
Here are a few things to consider when opting for a free gift:
- If you’re a gamer, you’ll likely be inundated with offers for free games consoles. Similarly, film-buffs will get trials to Amazon and Netflix. So if those take your fancy, you might as well fill your boots.
- Is nan’s birthday coming up just as your current mobile contract ends? Why not treat yourself to a swanky new handset, and her to a pair of extra bass Bose headphones so she can listen to her tunes in style… or an Amazon voucher. Whatever she’s into.
- If you’re someone who always shops around for good deals, free gifts can look especially exciting, and nowadays, there’s no shortage of them.
- In most cases, you won’t save any money on the handset itself by opting for a gift. So, you might be better off going with a standard mobile deal.
- Some deals aren’t as attractive as retailers say they are (shocking, I know). A free upgrade, for example, could tie you into a new 24-month contract, and often, a provider can raise the price of a contract whenever they like.
- There's a strong possibility that you can find a deal with the same allowances, but without the free gift, at a much lower price. If you want to spend as little as possible, bear this in mind.
- Free gifts usually come with a 24-month contract. So, if you don’t like being locked into lengthy-contracts this is something to consider.
A little research will go a long way to show you if it’s worth it or not. Make sure you compare deals so you understand all your options. And always read the small print before you sign up for any contracts - if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Who offers free gifts?
Luckily, there are a lot of providers who offer free mobile phone deals.
Below is a list of just some of the companies where you can get them:
- Affordable Mobiles - offer everything from Vouchers to Smart watches.
- Mobile phones direct - find some of the best free gifts on the web. Whether it’s a PlayStation 4, or an LG TV, they’d be a good place to start.
- E2Save Mobiles - offer plenty of freebies and cash back offers for you to pick from.
- Fonehouse - sometimes list great deals with their phone contracts
- Carphone Warehouse - Probably the best-known name on our list, Carphone Warehouse often list some great mobile contract deals.
Bear in mind, though; these deals usually come with an expiry date, and there’s no way of telling what will be available, and when. We recommend checking them as often as you can if you’re thinking of shopping around.
Plus, if you really, really like free stuff (and who the heck doesn’t?) you might want to check out free broadband gifts too.
How to claim your free mobile gift
How you collect your gifts depends on the provider you get them from.
Most items will be delivered to you, and in some cases, you might have to wait up to 28 days for your gift to arrive.
Again, this depends on individual providers, so it’s worth double checking your terms and conditions.
Approach this one with extra caution; cashback may be enticing, but it’s rarely as straight-forward as retailers make it out to be.
For example, before you transfer your cash each month, the retailer you signed up with might ask to see a paper bill from the phone provider.
Nothing unusual there, right?
But if you fail to present that bill, even once, retailers have been known to terminate offers, and leave customers paying full price for a contract.
That said, more established companies like Carphone Warehouse offer cashback deals that don’t require a paper bill every month.
Remember: when dealing with cashback, it’s important to check terms and conditions with the retailer before you commit to anything.
How to find mobile deals with free gifts
This part is super easy. Simply take a look at the grid above to find the best deal for you.
Use the filters at the side of the page to set your preferences - search for specific handset, set contract lengths, choose how much data you want and more.
And remember: special offers like this are usually only available for a limited time, so don’t hang about.
Also, bear in mind that these deals are usually only available for new customers. If you’re an existing customer,it’s likely you won’t be able to get your hands on the freebie. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to switch - read more about that below:
Again, if you’re unsure, check with your provider before you commit to anything.
So, if you find yourself giddy-eyed by all the free gifts retailers throw at you, remember to do your research, and consider how much the item usually costs, and weigh up if you’d prefer to save some money in the long-run.