What Is a Dummy Phone?


Dummy phones are used to display promote the manufacturer's phone without an authorized retailer having to risk the theft of its inventory. Dummy phones usually have a fake screen on them to make them appear as if it were on. All the ports on the phone are stuck shut, and the phone contains no electronics or battery.

What are Dummy Phones?

  • Dummy phones are actual outer shells of real phones. The inside of dummy phones are filled with just enough plastic that give it the same weight of the actual phone with the battery and other components in it. They are used for customers to get a look at and feel for the phones in store before buying the equipment.

What is a Dummy Phone's Purpose?

  • For many authorized dealers, losing inventory results in a huge loss for the company, depending on the phone. Therefore, many of these dealers will prevent that from happening by displaying dummy phones. A would-be thief would have no reason to steal a fake phone, and if he did, it would not significantly affect the company's finances.

How Much Do Companies Spend on Dummy Phones?

  • Dummy phones can range anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the phone, according to dummyphones.com. Many cell phone companies are given a dummy phone for free by the manufacturer to promote their product. Compared to real phones, which can range from $60 to $700, using dummy phones to stem theft risk is a "wise investment," says Nadeem Reshi, an AT&T authorized retailer assistant manager.

Where Can I See the Actual Phone?

  • Many corporate stores display working phones for customers to try before buying the phone. Phones in corporate stores always are attached to a durable security cord or chain, usually with an alarm. The phones also provide services to call, text or surf the web, and those services are paid for by that cellular phone company. If your desired phone is not on display, you can ask the retail agent to see a live version of the phone.

Do Dummy Phones Promote or Dissuade Customers from Buying the Actual Phone?

  • Although dummy phones do promote for cellular companies, some people complain about phones being displayed that don't work. Customers sometimes ask to see the real thing because the dummy phone does not show the phone's functions. This especially is the case with many of the touch-screen phones, Reshi says.

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  • Photo Credit cell phone image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com
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