Buy a Verizon Phone Recently, But Want The iPhone? Verizon Has A (Not Very Good) Deal For You

December. It’s a month of celebration, giving, and smart phone buying. Unfortunately, it’s also the month before January, which is when Verizon finally announced that they were getting the iPhone 4.

So, what are all those would-be iPhone owners who unknowingly snatched up other handsets in December supposed to do — wait? Nonsense. Looking to ease the pain of that buyer’s remorse, Verizon’s set up a deal aimed specifically at those folks (but heads up: there are probably better options.)

Here’s how it works, from Verizon’s own iPhone FAQ (as spotted by BGR):

Current Verizon customers who purchased and activated new smartphones, feature phones or certified pre-owned phones between 11/26/2010, and 01/10/2011, are eligible to receive up to a $200 Visa debit card when they purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price by 02/28/2011 and return their existing phone. Note: This offer is only available on consumer accounts with five lines or less, who are purchasing iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless retail stores, telesales, or through

So in other words: turn over your recently bought phone, buy an iPhone, and they’ll give you a $200 debit card.

Here’s the catch, though — actually, there are two of’em: A) You’re paying full retail for the iPhone, which’ll set you back either $649 or $749 and B) You have to hand over your phone. As long as you bought a relatively high-end phone, you’d be able to get way more than $200 slingin’ that thing on eBay from folks looking to avoid contracts. The math doesn’t really work out.