The world's cheapest mobile phone is now up for grabs, at the cost of just £1. The Alcatel One Touch 232 is hardly the smartest of phones, but for £1 and no need to sign a contract, we can't really expect it to be. All the company asks is that you buy £10 of credit and you're ready to go.
So would you buy it?
The phone's functions aren't all that spectacular. You can make calls and send and receive texts. There are also a couple of tools, so you can listen to the radio, use the torch and the calculator, play some simple games, use a basic calendar, and set yourself an alarm. However, there's no data, no apps, and no smart functions.
The phone itself has gone on sale on prepaymadia.co.uk, on the O2 Network. The website told The Daily Mail
: "'Not everyone wants the latest and most trendy phone."
It added to The Metro
: "'It's a fairly simple phone and does all of the basics, it's perfect for people that aren't worried about having the best phone out there."
Would you buy it?
It seems strange that in a world where more iPhones are sold every day than there are babies born, that manufacturers would think there was a market for a phone that costs roughly the same as a chocolate bar and has no way of accessing Angry Birds.
However, cheap phones have got something of a foothold in the market. At the moment Carphone Warehouse's bestsellers list includes four for under £5 - the Nokia 100 and two Samsung phones. It also includes the Alcatel One Touch 228 on Vodafone, at £2.95 plus £10 top-up.
There are various reasons why people go for the phones. They may simply see smartphones as out of their price bracket. Alternatively they may be buying a second phone, for a child or an older person who needs to be able to get in touch in an emergency, and doesn't need to check into Facebook every five minutes.
But what do you think? Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments.
- 1. Retailer refunds
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.</span></p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.</span></p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".</span></p>
- 2. Receipts
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.</span></p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.</span></p>
- 3. Refund timeframes
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.</span></p>
After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.</p>
- 4. Credit card refunds
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).</span></p>
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.</p>
- 5. Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) compensation
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.</span></p>
If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.</p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.</span></p>
- 5. Contact for correction
<p>Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.</p>
<p>Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.</p>
<p>You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.</p>
- 6. Bailiffs
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.</span></p>
They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.</p>
What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.</p>
You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.</p>
- 7. Debt collectors
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.</span></p>
They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.</p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.</span></p>
- 9. Online/phone purchases
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.</span></p>
You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.</p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.</span></p>
- 10. Cooling off periods
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.</span></p>
In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.</p>
Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.</p>