The market of used smartphones is quite big. Today, people find it economic to buy a used smartphone instead of paying a hefty price for new smartphone. You will find many marketplaces online or shops offline who sell used smartphones. You can expect to find a latest model of iPhone or Samsung Galaxy at nearly half the market price. One pro tip would be to wait till the launch of a new model by Apple, Samsung or other popular smartphone manufacturers. People tend to switch to newer as soon as they are launched by selling their existing smartphone.
Although all this sounds exciting there’s a catch. Buying used smartphones does has some potential risks. So, to avoid getting duped, consider following things:
1) Verify the network
Many smartphone models work with either CDMA or GSM but not both. So, if you a model which is only compatible with GSM and you want to use CDMA on it, then it won’t work. For instance, AT&T reportedly uses GSM network. Verify the underlying network type before buying the used phone. networks.
2) Buy from trusted seller
Avoid buying from private sellers. You should always choose reputed marketplaces like Amazon or eBay where you can verify the seller’s reputation. Swappa is another good place to buy used smartphones as it is an online marketplace focusing exclusively on mobile phones. Using Swappa, you can filter based on price, network type, carrier, colour etc. Buying at such trusted sites also means that in case there is a problem with your purchase then these sites will help you in getting a refund or exchange.
3) Ensure there is a return policy
In case of used smartphones, there is no warranty. So, you should at least look out for return policy if there’s some serious flaw with the device. Reputed marketplaces have a 30 day return policy, so buy from such sites. Offline shops are particularly bad in this aspect, once they sell you the phone they take their hands off.
4) Inspect the condition
A heavily used phone is not worth buying as it’s bound to give problems in near future. You should go for a sparingly used phone or the one that has been bought in no more than 2 years ago. Damaged phones are often sold at extremely low price, but you end up paying a huge sum of money in getting them repaired. Refurbished phones are probably the best option because they have been refurbished to pristine condition by professional vendors. Apple also provides refurbished iPhones which are way better than buying from private seller or third-party sites.
5) Check if IMEI is backlisted
This is another important check you should be doing before buying any used smartphone. A phone that has been lost or stolen will most certainly have its IMEI number backlisted. It is done to prevent misuse. A backlisted IMEI essentially means that the device is a piece of junk. Ask for the IMEI number if you are dealing with a private seller or local shop. Online sites & marketplaces already do this check for you.
You may use this free international IMEI blacklist checker: http://imeitrackeronline.com/PhoneBlacklistCheck.php.
6) See if there’s any water damage
Most of latest smartphones have a moisture indicator which indicates if there’s any water damage to the phone. If the indicator is of reddish colour then it means there is a significant water damage. If you are unsure about the location of moisture indicator, just look it up online on manufacturers site. In many phones, it is near the battery.
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