Have you ever bought a phone from Simply Electronics?

Screenshot 2014-07-07 23.18.51

After my post yesterday about my wife selecting an Android phone, I decided to have a look at the most efficient way of buying an HTC One M8 online. I checked out Google Shopping to see what the cheapest rate was with them. I never tend to have a brilliant experience with Google Shopping but it’s usually semi helpful to at least get the rough market price.

The absolute cheapest I could find was from a company called Simply Electronics. Their price was £378.95 including free delivery.

This is a substantial discount on the HTC website (£549 — fulfilled via Expansys, who interestingly, will charge you just £469 from their own website). Amazon lists the HTC One M8 at a reasonably competitive £519. Very.co.uk, my personal choice for consumer buying hardware thanks to their ‘take 3′ buy-now-pay-later service offering, lists the M8 at a rather disappointing £579.

Back, then, to Simply Electronics. How can they possibly be retailing a phone at £141 cheaper than 800lb Gorilla, Amazon? Indeed the Simply Electronics price is actually cheaper than a factory reconditioned device for sale on Amazon at £389!

I looked around for some weasel words on the Simply Electronics website, wondering if I’d added a refurbished device to my shopping basked. Apparently not.

I then did some cursory research and ended up on this MoneySavingExpert thread filled with lots of commentary. Some posters (dating back from 2012) reckon the company is based in Hong Kong. I can only presume that this the HTC they’d be sending would be a Hong Kong, Chinese or similar derivative probably without a standard UK plug and so on.

Who knows?

Quite a lot of posters said that they did eventually receive their products but only after long delays (i.e. 10 or 11 days). That’s not actually too long. Just, in today’s next-day (or, same day!) world that I’m used to with the likes of Amazon or Very, that’s almost a lifetime.

Still. £141 saved compared to Amazon if you apparently wait for an unspecified amount of time and are happy to opt for a (presumed) non-UK spec device.

My preference — nay, my requirement — is a UK device for testing and evaluation. If you’ve used Simply Electronics I’d welcome your perspective. Would you recommend them to the Mobile Industry Review audience?

Right now I’m probably going to give the business to Expansys.

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  • Joseph Fallon

    There may be warranty issues with a non-EU handset.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Yeah you’re right that’s probably one of the key issues to consider.

  • Joseph Fallon

    One for the major US importers of foreign sourced handsets offers its own “equivalent to OEM” warranty service – thought that was a great idea.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Got a link for us Joseph?

  • Joseph Fallon

    Ah nuts, mustn’t have been paying close enough attention to the podcast. It seems to be an insurance product.


  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Awwwh! ;)

  • https://twitter.com/DominicTravers DominicTravers

    I once made the mistake of ordering a camera from Simply Electronics in 2011. They are part of the new wave of shonky online retailers that don’t actually carry any stock of anything. When you place an order, they place an order with a wholesaler somewhere in the world that enables them to offer the discounted price. Then you’ll have to wait a long and arbitrary amount of time until they receive the item to fulfil the order. When I realised they couldn’t deliver in a reasonable time frame, I had to go through lengthy phone calls with an offshore call centre to cancel and get a refund.. AVOID.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Ah thank you for the clarity Dominic!

  • http://www.rjlawson.com ric

    They are based in HK, the goods come from there so if you get charged for Import Duty you’re not really going to save anything. What about somewhere like CEX – £420 for a A condition unlocked device? You’ve probably got enough old devices in a drawer to trade in against one ;-)

  • http://www.robertwigley.com/ Robert Wigley

    I ordered a yellow Lumia 1520 from them at the end of last year as a Christmas present for my daughter (who desperately wanted the yellow model, which was not available elsewhere at the time). I can confirm, like others, that this is a ‘Just In Time’ company based in Hong Kong, so how long you wait will depend on how long it takes them to source the product and then ship it to you. You may be lucky and get it in a couple of days, like I did, or it may take a few weeks, however it will arrive. Note that as it is coming from overseas (outside the EU) you will be charged Import Duty, despite the fact that their website FAQ says that this is covered in the shipping costs. Contacting them via email about this after receiving the goods yielded no response. How much you save will depend on what you are ordering. I saved a packet as this was only available in yellow elsewhere at the time for silly money and there was no possibility of waiting for it to arrive via regular channels in order to get it in time for Christmas.

    The model was a Hong Kong variant, along with Hong Kong firmware and Chinese language support, rather than a generic European or Global variant (possibly because it was only available in yellow in few markets at the time), so I had to change the settings to UK English before it was used (not too much of a problem). I believe Hong Kong, being a British colony at one time, have the same 3-pin UK plugs (if memory serves correctly). Anyway, it came with a standard UK plug adapter (and a 3-pin UK to 2-pin European adapter). I checked with Nokia Care UK and they do not offer warranty cover for products purchased outside they EU. This is probably the biggest issue I have, should something go wrong with it and I be unable to claim on it’s insurance cover. I suspect that most other manufacturers will be the same regarding warranty cover for non-EU imported goods (not that I agree with this policy at all in an increasingly globalised world).

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    I’ve actually been rather good about getting my devices recycled Ric so this is a new purchase. You’re right, it doesn’t need to be new. I’ll have a look at some reconditioned ones for me (as I need to buy some new ones). I wanted Hetty to have a ‘new’ experience with Android so I’m willing to pay for that. But for me, yeah… doesn’t need to be new.

  • http://wirelessworker.net Ben Smith

    Ewan: Checkout Steve Litchfield’s PSC forum for trustworthy people selling 2nd hand. Here’s an M8: http://www.pscforum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3091

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    I’ve actually been rather good about getting my devices recycled Ric so this is a new purchase!

  • Chorotega

    Hi Ewan, I got a Nokia 1520 for £299 from them. Hong Kong spec, but sim unlocked. Customer service is virtually non-existent, they charged me twice and it took a week to get a refund. The phone took a month to arrive. But, I did not have to pay Import Duty and Expansys are currently offering it for £459 so it was worth the hassle to save £159!

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Geez that is SOME discount Chorotega! Very impressive… if you can put up with the delays and double-billing. Interesting!

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