Buying a refurbished smart cell phone can prove to be a smart idea considering the more economical prices. You can also expect some degree of buyer assurance offered by the dealer where you buy the phone. That’s because, refurbished phones are sold to you by the original manufacturer, service carrier, or a certified distributor of the products. Or, you can look for them on websites like eBay, Craigslist, and others.
Typically, such products have been returned by the old owner. Upon receiving a pre-owned smartphone or any other phone, it is carefully examined for flaws, repaired, tested, and wiped clean before being put up for sale again. While you may feel confident about buying a refurbished cell phone, tick off a few factors on your checklist before you hand over payment.
1. Confirm that the Refurbished Cell Phone is Not Stolen
Statistics released by Consumer Reports say that in the year 2014 alone, 2.1 million Americans lost their cell phones to theft. Make sure you’re not buying stolen property by checking the electronic serial number (ESN). Get in touch with the manufacturer and with the help of the ESN, request for information about the history of the phone. In case the phone was reported stolen or returned voluntarily, the manufacturer will have the necessary records. You also have the option of performing a check using the MEID, ESN, or IMEI before buying the refurbished cell phone. Add the number to one of the many websites and get the history of the phone for a small charge. Contacting the carrier with the ESN or IMEI is yet another option.
2. Check the Accessories
Check the accessories offered with the phone such as the charger and battery and before buying the refurbished cell phone, make sure that they are original and factory issued. Imitation or incorrect accessories may result in the phone not working as it should or may not charge properly. The battery may not hold the charge and the phone may be unable to sync or update with your computer at regular intervals.
3. Ask if the Refurbished Phone is Locked or Unlocked
You’ll need your new phone to work with the specific provider you’ve chosen if you have a SIM. Accordingly, check if the phone is unlocked and will accept your SIM. You also need to confirm that it will work on your network and you can easily activate it after buying. Using the ESN, check with the service provider. Or, you could opt for an unlocked phone.
4. Conduct a Visual Examination
Examine the phone carefully for cracks and dents after turning it on. Also, check for scratches on the screen and camera lens, and signs of rusting on the metallic parts especially the USB and charging ports. Orange or yellow discolorations might indicate that the phone has been dropped in water and has liquid damage. After checking for stains, look at the sticker. Many phones have a sticker in the compartment that turns red when it gets wet. That’s a clear indication of water damage, and you might want to avoid buying the refurbished cell phone.
5. Check the Refurbished Phone for Factory Settings
At the time of repairing the cell phone, the dealer or manufacturer is likely to erase all data in the memory of the phone and reset the factory settings. This action ensures that when you program your preferences into the phone, it will accept the new configuration efficiently. Look out for any information stored on the phone or any signs of previous usage history before you start to use it. If you see any such signs, rethink the purchase. Also, keep an eye out for applications that don’t come with new phones. If you’re being charged every month for the use of applications you didn’t buy, contact the dealer right away.
6. Ask About the Warranty
When buying a refurbished cell phone, you must ask about the warranty the dealer offers. Some sellers offer you a warranty that is shorter than that provided for a new phone. A warranty can offer you some amount of assurance that the repairs and replacements undertaken will be covered by the manufacturer. So, if you don’t get a warranty, pass up on the offer.
7. Evaluate the Pricing Carefully
A pre-owned cell phone should cost less than the cost of buying a new phone. At the same time, if the dealer quotes a price that is too low, consider the possibility that it is not working properly or that it hasn’t been refurbished entirely. When buying a refurbished cell phone, keep in mind that an unlocked phone is likely to cost you more than a locked phone. Depending on the condition of the cell phone, you can choose to buy a locked phone and get it unlocked.
8. Ask About the Return Policy
Ask the dealer about the return policy. If the seller is willing to accept the phone in case of any issues, you can go right ahead with the purchase. Getting buyer protection services can also help guarantee your purchase. Consider using third party escrow services or work with reputed online sellers like on eBay and Amazon.
Check out Reputed Websites
When buying a refurbished cell phone, your best bet is to look for a reputed website that offers you protection and the assurance you need that the product you’re opting for will serve you well. You can check the website for listings of products side-by-side so you can compare the features and choose the one that matches your requirements. Such websites also have the complete details of each product and offer you facilities like 100% No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. Each page will also inform you about the locked or unlocked status of the phone and the provider connected to it.
Buying a refurbished cell phone can seem like the right decision when you’re looking to save on the costs. With some dedicated research, you can find the right device that has been repaired properly and is in good working condition. And, can last you a good long while.