Is $15/Month To Best Buy Worth A New Replacement Phone?

Phone insurance plans are often not worth the money you spend on them; especially since many credit cards already include extended warranty protection at no extra cost. But a Best Buy customer in California feels burned by Best Buy’s Mobile Phone Plan after she paid more than $250 in insurance payments and had her broken iPhone replaced with a refurbished device that cost less than what she’d paid out.

According to the suit, filed last week in a U.S. District Court in California, the woman bought a $199 iPhone 4 from Best Buy in November 2010. She also decided to sign up for the insurance plan at a cost of $14.99/month for 24 months.

“At no time was plaintiff ever given a copy of the terms and conditions, nor was she directed to some place where she could find them,” claims the complaint. “She did not subsequently receive either a Plan contract or the detailed terms and conditions.”

Seventeen months and $254.83 (plus tax) in payments later, she damaged her phone and took it into Best Buy to take advantage of her insurance policy.

She was provided with an iPhone 3G as a loaner phone, and was she told she couldn’t get a replacement iPhone 4 until after Apple had received the damaged one. This was also the first time she was informed the eventual replacement would be refurbished device.

“Had she known at the time of purchase of the Mobile Phone Plan that she would only ever get a refurbished phone instead of a new one, including a difficult and inconvenient loaner phone process, she would never have paid so much for the Best Buy Mobile Plan or bought it in the first place,” reads the suit.

The lawsuit alleges unfair competition, deceptive advertising, breach of warranty, bad faith and unjust enrichment, and is seeking class-action status for all California residents who purchased phone insurance plans from Best Buy within the last four years.

“Best Buy failed to provide material details to the consumers of the coverage under the Plan except to provide them a short summary brochure of the categories of coverage,” reads the complaint. “No reasonable consumers would pay $14.99 + tax a month for two years… when the phone cost only $199.00 if they did not believe that they would get a new, rather than a refurbished, phone.”

Class Calls Best Buy Cellphone Insurance Bunk []