The Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Refurbished Phone


Are you thinking of buying a refurbished phone instead of a new one? Well, whether you want an iPhone or refurbished galaxy phones, there are dos and don’ts that are worth considering. Below are some of them:

The Dos

Understand the difference between refurbished and used phones

You want to buy a refurbished phone, not a used one. Even though a refurbished phone is often used to a certain degree, the descriptions have different implications when it comes to phones.

If a network service provider or a reputable retailer marks a phone as refurbished, it means the phone has been tested and wiped clean. It also comes with some level of warranty. Most refurbished phones are not so because they were or are faulty, some of them the buyers returned to the retailer within the 30-day return window.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Used phones, on the other hand, can mean whatever meaning the retailer gives it. Some of the phones in this category can be only a few weeks old and without a scratch. Others are old and broken. Often, there is no warranty.

Understand your needs

Articulate the minimum features that you need on the refurbished phone. If you already have a brand and model in mind, then you can jump this part. Otherwise, the features to include in the list of deal breakers are:

  • Android or iOs version
  • Battery capacity
  • Accessories
  • Warranty
  • Memory size
  • Screen size

Consider the price difference between new and refurbished

While buying a refurbished phone can and should save you some money, it is not always the case, especially if you go for the latest phone models. In such a case, you should opt for a brand new one. However, saving is important if you are going for older or discontinued models.

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Check out who refurbished the phone

Just like buying a car, you can never be over cautious. Check out the company that refurbished the phone, in case it is different from the seller. Is it reputable? What do past customers say about their refurbished products?

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Diligently choose the seller

The best practice is to buy a refurbished phone from reputable network carriers or phone retailers. However, sometimes, you may need to buy online or from other places. In the case of the latter, use sites such as Compare My Mobile to find excellent refurbished Galaxy phone deals and other brands from reputable sellers.

Insist on a warranty

The absence of a guarantee is an indication that the vendor is not confident of their refurbishing work or the phone falls in the ‘used’ category. However, the warranty on refurbished phones is often limited and is for a shorter duration than for brand new phones. Nonetheless, opt for a minimum of a 3-months guarantee.

Check for necessary accessories

Though refurbished, the phone should come with essential accessories such as a battery, charger, and charging cables. They should be from the same brand as the phone.

Try to get an unlocked phone

If you can then try to get a phone that’s not locked to a specific network. This way you can save yourself some money by finding a cell plan that will suit your individual needs for Calls, Texts, and Data. There are lots of comparison sites out there to find the best deal for you. Money-Saving Pro has this great calculator tool to help you bag a great deal!

The Don’ts

Here are the obvious things to avoid when buying a refurbished phone

  • Buying from individuals: The best you can opt for from an online friend or social media vendor is a used phone.
  • Accepting no-warranty deals: Avoid such deals for reasons already mentioned in the preceding section.
  • Buying from poorly rated vendors: Even though not all online vendors with zero ratings are frauds, you are safer with a reputable, highly rated seller.
  • Falling for the price: Unless the seller can justify it, do not use the cost as a deal-breaker as you might be buying a counterfeit.
  • Expect the original packaging: Refurbished phones often come in non-branded boxes or, if you are buying from a big network, it will have the network’s logo on it.