04/18/2014 04:16 pm ET Updated Apr 18, 2014

Get A New iPhone 5S For Zero Dollars, Just By Finding A Surviving Radio Shack


Looking to buy a brand-spanking-new iPhone 5S on the cheap? Your best bet might be to go somewhere you haven't been in a long, long time: a RadioShack.

The struggling electronics chain has a new promotion in which you can trade an eligible iPhone 4S for the fancy 5S. Crazy, right? It's not exactly straightforward, but here's how it works.

Normally, an iPhone 5S with a new or renewed contract costs $199. Starting Friday, RadioShack is knocking $100 off the price of a 5S with contract. Then, if you own an old 4S in working condition, you can get a $100 credit if you trade it in at RadioShack, which brings the price of that iPhone 5S from $99 to $0. Compare: If you were to buy an iPhone 5S without a contract, it would cost $549.

Of course, there's a catch. And of course, it involves your cell phone contract.

To take advantage of the deal, you must be eligible to start a contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. That means you must either start a new two-year contract for the first time with one of those companies or you must be eligible to renew your current contract for two years with one of those providers.

You can take advantage of this promotion in person or online, though it's not clear how long it will last. RadioShack seems to be desperate to get people into stores, especially since the company announced last month that it would close up to 1,100 of them.