Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past decade, leaving us with the ability to take advantage of various cell phone features. Whenever the newest mobile model releases, there is always a crowd of interested buyers vying to get their hands on one. Opinions differ on whether this is the best method of obtaining a phone, as there is always the option of buying a used phone instead. We will be going over some common do’s and don’ts when it comes to buying a used phone in 2021. 

Advantages

Cost is the primary advantage when it comes to buying a second-hand phone. Cell phones depreciate as soon as someone purchases them, and they will lose about 15% of their value by the second year. If the owner wants to sell at any point, this will allow you to buy the phone from them for less than the original cost. 

Another advantage of a used phone is that you may be looking for a particular style or model that is no longer in production. By shopping second-hand, you will have your choice of available models, as people are constantly upgrading. 

Disadvantages

While shopping for a used phone, keep in mind that you will not be receiving a warranty along with it. This should not be a problem. Just be sure to handle it carefully so that it remains in pristine condition. 

If the seller is unfamiliar to you, you should take extra precautions to ensure that they are trustworthy. You do not want to be in the situation where they have sold you a faulty or stolen phone. If you can, you might want to consider conducting a background check on the seller before you close the deal. This will give you a brief glimpse into their history to see if they have a record for possession of stolen goods or other crimes.   

Do: Inspect the Product

When you meet up with the seller, do not simply exchange money for goods and then leave. You should spend some time examining the phone and making sure there is no physical damage that was not described to you. If there are noticeable dents, this might be an indication that an internal function might not work anymore. 

If the phone is off when you get it, power it back on before paying the seller. You want to check that the touchscreen works and apps open as intended.  

Don’t: Neglect the Camera

There are so many different ways for cell phone cameras to get damaged. This often happens when the owner allows the phone to drop. Even one drop can cause irreparable damage to sensitive components. The camera may have lost its focus, the lens might have scratches or warps, or the sensor could be malfunctioning. Before you complete the deal, snap a few sample photos with the camera. This will give you an idea if it is usable or not. 

Do: Ask for the Original Packaging

When a seller has the original bill and/packaging that the phone came in, this can give you more reassurance that they take care of their belongings. As well, having the box will give you the IMEI number. This is important because it will let you know if the phone got stolen or lost by its original owner, as the IMEI number would get flagged. You can use a free tool to input the IMEI number and check if a flag appears or not. 

On the other hand, if the seller does not have any of the original packaging, this is an opportunity for you to barter with them even more. Ask them if they will lower the price since you will not be receiving the complete package.  

Don’t: Buy a Used Phone from Abroad

One thing you should avoid doing is purchasing a phone that originally came from a different country. This is because it can be difficult to reach a representative for help if your phone needs repairs or if you have questions about the product. Some sellers may lie to you about the phone’s origins. To find out the truth, you can check the phone’s IMEI number if you have it available to you. 

Do: Try to Find a Trusted Source

It can be difficult to find a trusted friend who happens to be selling their phone when you want to buy it. However, this does not mean that you should jump on any sketchy deal that you come across out of desperation. Try using legitimate refurbishing websites, as these companies tend to be more reliable to work with. The prices are likely to be a little higher when using sources like these, but it is better than finding yourself to be the victim of a scam. 

Don’t: Buy an Unsupported Phone

Be careful if you are seeking a particular older model of cell phone, as it may no longer receive security updates. Most Android manufacturers will only offer security upgrades for their products from the last few years. Apple products tend to stay supported for longer than Android’s average. Before you make your purchase, do some research about whether the model is still supported and for how much longer. Having an unsupported phone will mean that all the personal data on your phone, including photos, is vulnerable to attacks from hackers.   

Do: Read the Fine Print

This point is especially true when you agree to purchase a used phone from a refurbishing website. You will need to read every word to ensure that you know exactly what it is that you are getting. There may be phrases in the description that indicate there is an essential part of the phone that does not function. Or, the ad might be for only the phone cable or other accessories. By clicking too quickly, you might end up spending a lot of money on something that you did not want or need. 

Final Thoughts

Buying a used phone is a great endeavor, as it reduces the environmental impact as well as saves you money. At the same time, you should always remain vigilant when making such a purchase. Avoid the scammers and shop in the right places, and you will be able to find a perfectly workable second-hand cell phone. 

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