I lost or broken my phone, how do I get a replacement?
If you’ve lost your cell phone you received from a Lifeline cellular provider, the first thing you will need to do is report the lost or stolen mobile phone to the company. Well, the FAQ on Assurance Wireless site says the first thing to do is, “Don’t panic. Take another look around and try to find your phone.” We’ll assume you’ve already done that.
The reason you should call immediately is so that no one else can use your airtime minutes, and you won’t incur any other charges. When you call, your account will most likely be suspended temporarily until you find it or get a replacement.
So, what are the replacement policies? Each provider has different terms and conditions. Let’s take a look at the big three — Safelink, Assurance and ReachOut — where it looks like only Safelink Wireless explicitly states they will provide you with a (one-time) free replacement phone if yours is lost or stolen.
The source of the following information is their websites information pages and their Terms of Service agreements.
Safelink Wireless Replacement Policy
Safelink offers one replacement mobile phone per customer. You’ll receive a refurbished phone, not a new one. Any airtime you had on your phone will be lost, along with the phone; however, your replacement phone will have 10 minutes of free airtime to get you started.
If you lose your replacement phone, you’re going to have to pay for the next replacement.
Assurance Wireless Replacement Policy
There is no indication on the Assurance Wireless website if they will provide you with a replacement cell phone or not at their expense.
You should know that if you do not either activate a new Assurance Wireless phone or notify them that you’ve found your old mobile phone within 60 days of reporting it missing, your account will be deactivated. In addition, you will lose your Assurance Wireless phone number and you will lose all remaining minutes on your phone, which you cannot get back even if you start a new account later.
ReachOut Wireless Replacement Policy
No wording at all on the ReachOut Wireless FAQ’s or in the Terms of Service.
If you have cannot get satisfaction, check to see if you have other Lifeline options in your state; you can tell them you know you can also participate in this program with [name the other company]. That might change their minds.
We’d be interested in your experience. Please enter a comment below if you have additional information.
You may find this infographic interesting: The Challenges of Finding your Lost or Stolen Cell Phone