As you already know, SafetyNet Wireless has free phone service from the government. The carrier will even give you a one-time full discount on a cell phone if eligible for the Lifeline program. And in case that one has issues, you could also get a free SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone.
However, SafetyNet is still a phone carrier like Metro by T-Mobile or Cricket Wireless. Not everyone will be able to replace their cell phones free of charge.
What’s a SafetyNet Wireless Replacement Phone
As an eligible telecommunication carrier (ETC), SafetyNet Wireless can offer free cell phone plans. Then the government (through USAC) will reimburse the full amount for each customer served.
However, the amount USAC reimburses ($9.25 in non-tribal areas and $34.25 in Tribal lands) is usually for the phone service. The free touch screen government phone providers like SafetyNet Wireless give you is usually not exactly part of the deal. Hence, the reason we see them (ETCs) change the policies around the device discount now and then.
Fast forward, a SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone is the device you get to “replace” your current/ original one. The reason to replace the current/ original SafetyNet phone varies from one person to another, which includes when:
- The original phone has malfunctioned– either it came with the issue from SafetyNet or developed after some time.
- The original phone has physical damage, perhaps after dropping it on the floor or in water. It could also be physical damage the device has developed after being used for so long.
- The original phone has incompatibility issues, such as when SafetyNet stopped using the Sprint network for T-Mobile and AT&T. It could also be an incompatibility with the active network cells, i.e. 4G LTE or 5G.
- The original phone got lost or stolen. Unfortunately, just like when you’re trying to get a replacement phone from Qlink, SafetyNet is not so gentle in this case.
- The original phone is a little outdated or doesn’t have the features you’d like. A perfect example is when you want to take advantage of the latest features like SafetyNet 5G access, faster processor, more memory status, NFC, et cetera.
How to Get a SafetyNet Wireless Replacement Phone
There are various ways to get a replacement SafetyNet Wireless phone. Whether you’ll have to pay for the replacement depends on which of these methods you use:
Part 1: Get a SafetyNet Wireless Replacement Phone for FREE
In this case, the idea is to replace your SafetyNet Wireless phone free of charge. The method is the most generous, albeit it works best for customers whose devices have malfunctioned.
However, you can only get the free SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone if your original device malfunctioned within the warranty period. The SafetyNet terms & conditions section outlines the Warranty Exchange policy to be valid 60 days (about 2 months) from the activation date.
Two months is a relatively short warranty window for a phone. Then again, SafetyNet’s policy is a bit better than that of Qlink and several other Lifeline providers.
Speaking of others, I mentioned you can also get a free replacement phone when a Lifeline provider is switching to another Carrier Network.
Like when SafetyNet dropped Sprint (CDMA), the customers that were using this network should have received a free replacement phone compatible with T-Mobile or AT&T. But I’m not so sure if this ever happened as the company didn’t make this switch a public notice the way Assurance Wireless did.
SafetyNet Wireless free replacement Phone Policy:
While you may get a free replacement phone with incompatibility issues, the warranty exchange policy (for a malfunctioned device) is more promising.
The “malfunction” in this case is where SafetyNet Wireless sent you a device with technical defects. Such defects can be the phone having trouble powering on, charging, reading SIM cards, connecting to the network, et cetera.
That said, not all malfunctions will qualify for a free device exchange even during the warranty window. A perfect example is where the phone develops issues after your misuse or abuse- say after dropping the device in water.
Of course, some people are still tempted to implicate the issue with their devices on the manufacturer (or provider). But after you’ve returned the device in question, it often undergoes an extensive inspection to ensure it meets all the necessary requirements.
If the SafetyNet technicians inspecting your “malfunctioned” device notice evidence of misuse, abuse, or unauthorized repairs, it won’t pass for the free exchange. “Unauthorized repairs” covers even the slightest indication you attempted to remove the screws of the device or pry it open.
Furthermore, an attempt to modify or remove the IMEI number of your original SafetyNet phone will void the warranty.
Directions: How to Apply for a FREE SafetyNet Wireless Replacement Phone
Technically, the steps to apply for a free SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone are pretty straightforward. I mean, you just need to:
Step 1: Confirm You Qualify for the free SafetyNet replacement Phone
The very first step to applying for a FREE SafetyNet replacement phone is to confirm you, indeed, qualify for one. It’s the simplest part of the process, as you just have to make sure your device fulfills the warranty exchange requirements. That includes the 60-day warranty window, plus ensuring your device has no sign of being abused.
Step 2: Gather Everything You Need for the Process
If you meet the SafetyNet Warranty exchange requirements, the next step will be to get the things you need to replace your device. The items you’ll need include your SafetyNet account information, the original phone (with issues) + its accessories, plus another fully functional phone.
Step 3: Contact the SafetyNet Wireless Customer Support Team
Once with everything you need, grab the other working phone and call SafetyNet Wireless Customer Support at 1-888-224-3213. The (working) phone could be either on SafetyNet service or any other carrier.
Note: A call to SafetyNet customer service is only FREE at 1-877-312-1961 or 611. The other service numbers, including1-888-224-3213, deduct Airtime minutes from your SafetyNet phone.
Step 4: Prove You’re a SafetyNet Wireless Customer
When you get in touch with a SafetyNet customer care agent, you’ll need to provide your account details to prove ownership. If by chance you’ve got the order number of your phone with issues, you can give it to the agent for faster processing.
Step 5: Get the Return Merchandise Authorization Number
The Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number is a unique ID that a seller issues as a permit to return a product.
For instance, the SafetyNet Wireless customer rep will give you the RMA number when you request a device replacement. Print a hard copy of this number, as you’ll need to attach it to the package of the phone you’re replacing.
Also, take note of the address details the SafetyNet customer care agent gives you to return the defective phone.
Step 6: Prep the Original SafetyNet Wireless Phone
Now that you’ve got the RMA, prepare your original SafetyNet phone (that you wish to replace). That means you back up your old data, then erase everything to leave the device as new.
If you skip the erasing part, SafetyNet claims “not responsible for any personal information remaining on the device”. The most sensitive personal information you may lose this way includes your crucial usernames and passwords.
Step 7: Box up the Original SafetyNet Wireless Phone
After erasing/ factory resetting the phone, turn it off and put it in the original packaging it came in. You should also include all the accessories that came with the handset, such as the charger, phone case, and SIM injector pin, in the package.
Step 8: Get the Original SafetyNet Wireless Phone Ready for Return
After you’ve got your (defective) SafetyNet phone in its original packaging, the next step is to put it in a shipping box. On the shipping box, stick up the RMA request you printed in Step 5 above.
Step 9: Return the SafetyNet Wireless Phone for Replacement
Finally, send your package of the defective phone to the SafetyNet return center the customer rep recommended in Step 5. If the representative didn’t give a return address, contact them again or use the main address at Safety Harbor, FL 34695 USA.
Part 2: Get a SafetyNet Wireless Replacement Phone for a FEE
The second method to get a SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone is where you pay for it. It’s the only option you’ll have in the event your original phone is lost, stolen, damaged at your hands, or outdated.
Meanwhile, there are two ways you can replace your SafetyNet phone at a fee:
Purchase your Replacement Phone from SafetyNet
If ineligible for the free replacement SafetyNet Wireless phone, you’ll have to pay for it. Unfortunately, SafetyNet has not set a standard replacement fee, as the likes of Qlink have done on their end. And for that, you’ll have to pay the full price the company charges for the phones from their store catalog.
To purchase a replacement phone from the SafetyNet catalog, call the Warranty Exchangecustomer service department at 1-888-224-3213.
The SafetyNet customer agent will only approve your replacement phone order after making a payment. So, you should have a valid credit or debit card.
Note: SafetyNet Wireless has physical dealers across the various states they operate. Some of these dealers do stock devices, where you can visit and purchase a replacement phone at a discount.
Bring your own replacement phone to SafetyNet
The other option to have a SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone is with BYOD (bring your own device). It’s a great option if you’d like to use your favorite device for the free government phone service.
The device you bring must be from either of the phones compatible with SafetyNet Wireless. And the rule for compatibility is that the device should work on the carrier software-wise and network-wise.
In the network compatibility part, SafetyNet Wireless uses AT&T and T-Mobile towers for now. So, the phone you use as a replacement should have the frequency bands necessary for the GSM carriers to work.
On the other hand, software compatibility means the phone you bring to SafetyNet shouldn’t have any network restrictions. The phone should be either locked to SafetyNet Wireless service or fully unlocked (factory unlocked or carrier-unlocked).
BYOD option may be the best way to get a SafetyNet Wireless replacement phone for your service. It can fit for either of the five reasons I’ve mentioned earlier. But it will work best when you want to replace an outdated device or don’t want to wait for a replacement you won’t like.
Meanwhile, under the warranty exchange policy, SafetyNet usually exchanges defective phones at their own discretion. The replacement device will be whatever the company has in stock- you can’t choose what you should receive.
Of course, the kind of phones SafetyNet Wireless has is a little better than most other Lifeline providers. The carrier can send well-known brands, such as Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, LG, Motorola, et cetera. But other times entry-level devices, which are usually not so appealing in style or performance-wise, may be the only stock available.