OnePlus made public their new phone, the OnePlus One, earlier this week. It is a very high end and relatively inexpensive phone. They also announced a competition giving you a chance to buy the new phone for just $1, although that price does not include taxes and any extra charges which OnePlus do say should be limited.
This highly controversial contest called Phone Smash involves you destroying your current phone and showing the destruction process in a YouTube video. You apply to OnePlus for a chance to smash your phone up and if chosen, you then destroy it as you described to them in your entry form and if OnePlus are happy with what you have done, you can buy your $1 phone.
The 'acceptable' ways of destroying your phone include using a hammer or baseball bat, a screwdriver, fire, blender or equally destructive tools. You have to be able to prove to OnePlus that your old phone does not work at all. The only phones they are interested in are flagships from the last 18 months or so.
There are a number of problems with this competition.
1. The Environment
This is an environmentally poor competition. Destroying a phone for no good reason is a poor idea when it could be a fully serviceable second hand device for someone. Phone recycling companies would be very happy to take your old phone and sell it on to someone who cannot afford a new high end device.
2. The Danger
It is extremely dangerous to cause physical stress to a lithium ion battery. They can explode when impacted heavily and the products they contain are hazardous. The postal service in the UK will not transport a lithium ion battery that has been modified or damaged in any way, no matter how many stamps you buy.
Shattering a phone has other dangers too. I wouldn't want plastics, glass or metal flying around me, all of which can have very sharp edges. If you choose to destroy your phone with fire, your local fire brigade might have something to say. And we already know if phones will blend, so that isn't even that interesting any more.
3. The Terms and Conditions
Please read the terms and conditions of this competition very very closely. I will quote a few pertinent excerpts here:
If the video submission is deemed acceptable by the OnePlus team, based on the official guidelines, we will send the applicant a code to purchase the OnePlus One for $1.00, tax and extra charges not included.
And what if it is not? Well, they go on to say:
OnePlus reserves the right to disqualify any video submission for any reason, in its sole and absolute discretion. OnePlus is not liable for any damage done to phones that are damaged in disqualified videos.
Oh, I see. So I can destroy my phone and if you are not happy for any reason, I am left with no phone, nothing.
And make sure you don't destroy your phone without OnePlus' permission because:
Applicants who smash their phone and submit a video without explicit acknowledgement of acceptance into the campaign will not receive a purchase code for the OnePlus One.
Of course, you might expect that OnePlus would provide some advice about safety, such as 'wear goggles when smashing your device'. Instead they simply say:
OnePlus is not liable for any damage or injury incurred to the smasher, surrounding persons or any equipment used during the shooting of each smash video.
We here at MoDaCo recommend not smashing your phone and not entering this competition. If you are after a good value phone there are plenty of lightly used devices on offer on lots of phone forum sites and on eBay. The LG G2 is a relatively cheap high end phone and don't forget the king of value, the Moto G.
What do you think about this competition? Are you applying? Is it acceptable for OnePlus to be promoting this kind of activity? Have your say!