Buy Used Phone – Do’s & Don’ts

Are you looking to buy used phone? When you’re looking to buy a device the price tags for new phones can scare you away real quickly. The main issue that a lot of people come across though is the fact that keeping their older phones isn’t a sustainable solution either. Apps aren’t updating anymore and you are running out of storage space on the device. The fact of the matter is, the cell phone manufacturing industry is built to force people to upgrade these days. Certainly, when you have to upgrade, looking at used devices can sound like a tempting offer. Buying a used phone is like going to a sports game. The people whose team wins will say the game was great, and the people whose team loses will potentially hate the experience. 

With that in mind, we want to make sure that when you buy used phone, you are always on the winning side of things. People who buy used items in general know that they are taking a bit of a risk in doing so. When you make a smart decision in the buying process though it can be said that you’re taking a calculated risk. That tends to work out much better than going in blind to any deal. Now, with internet shopping you are effectively going blind in a lot of deals. Even if you’re going in blind , how can you protect yourself against scams? There are quite a few ways to get that extra protection. We want to go over all of those things right here! 

  • Buy Used Phone – What To Look For
  • Where You Buy Matters 
  • Who Has The Best Warranties? 
  • Buy Used Phone – Refurbished or Used What’s The Real Difference? 
  • Buy Something That’s Worth The Risk  
  • Is It Worth It To Buy A Used Phone?  

Buy Used Phone – What To Look For

When it comes to the operating system, the brand or whatever it may be, that’s more of a personal preference thing. So, we are not going to get too much into that. What we do think is super important is network compatibility. We see this issue happen to parents who want to buy their kids their first phone or even buy their parents a phone. The thought process that you go through initially may lead you to the conclusion that you don’t need the newest phone. So you go out and buy the cheapest thing that you can find. There’s nothing wrong with being on a budget. The thing is if you buy a phone that isn’t compatible with the network that you want to use and where you can’t update apps you are not really going to be able to use the phone at all. 

That may not have anything to do with the fact that the phone is used or not. Some people may think that limiting the things that kids or people in general can do with the phone is a good thing. That may be so, but not when it comes to limiting your phone service and the ways that you can communicate. If you’re already going to get a used phone to save money, get a fairly recent model phone. That way you’ll be able to update the apps that you are going to be using. The person who uses the phone won’t have their overall communications limited. You should look for network compatibility and app update possibilities in the medium term. 

Where You Buy Matters

black flat screen computer monitor
Photo by Sagar Soneji on

If you buy a used phone, where you actually go out and buy the phone matters. Tell us something we didn’t know right? The reason it matters though, may not necessarily be the price. With used commodities of any kind what we always consider to be super important is the warranty on the device. Also, the type of usage that it may have gotten. For example, if you buy a used phone from a Walmart store or a Best Buy, any of these electronic stores you may want to ask for phones that they had on display. If they have those types of phones they can be a great buy. A lot of times it’s not that there was ever anything wrong with the phone. It’s just that they were taken out of the case for people to see. If they switched up the display it’s almost a new phone.  

The problem with buying from Amazon or even the Walmart marketplace online is that you’re not really sure what type of work has gone into the phone. Especially when you’re dealing with refurbished pieces. The best case scenario is that you’re dealing with a phone that was put on display at a store. Then brought back to just clean up some scratches or whatever it may be. In the worst case scenario though you’re getting a phone that was refurbished with cheaper pieces. You won’t be able to find out unless you open up the phone. It’s hard to really determine what’s the best play to buy. These are certainly important things to consider though. 

Who Has The Best Warranties?

We don’t want to jump in here and say that it’s Walmart or Best Buy. Even a wireless service provider that sells phones. By the way, Amazon tends to offer a better warranty on certified refurbished electronics. We didn’t want to lead with that because there is more to it. Just on the surface though refurbished phones through Amazon have a base 1 year warranty. The same type of refurbished phones through the Walmart Marketplace are going to have a base 3 month warranty. That problem that a lot of people come across though in both marketplaces is that you could find yourself inadvertently buying from a third party seller. In that case, your warranty can look completely different.  

What would we suggest then? If you buy directly from Amazon , where it’s an Amazon warehouse that’s going to fulfill the shipment you can lock in your 1 year warranty. Just make sure to read the fine print. When you’re buying from a third party seller they can have their own rules. So just because you go out and buy on a particular site doesn’t mean that you’re getting the full warranty from that provider. At the time of writing though we would have to say that Amazon is the company, at least online, that offers the best warranty. That’s certainly something that you want to keep in mind as you buy.    

Buy Used Phone – Refurbished or Used What’s The Real Difference? 

This is certainly something that you’re going to come across in the search for a used phone. There are going to be listings that will talk about just a used phone. Others are going to highlight the fact that the phone is refurbished. Technically a phone that’s just used won’t have any pieces replaced or anything like that. The device will just have been used previously, but no parts were replaced at all. Technically speaking any device that was upgraded in some way had something replaced should fall under the category of refurbished. Which one is best? Really this all comes down to a per case basis. We can’t say one device is better than the other because one is just used and the other refurbished. 

When you really look into it, this is potentially the most important part of the dilemma if you will. Say that you have a used phone that has minimal usage, and is in overall good shape. On the other hand you have the same phone with similar levels of wear and tear, but it was dropped by the previous owner and the screen broke, but was later replaced. So that’s a refurbished device. In that scenario the refurbished phone could be better because it has a new screen. The problem is most situations aren’t as cut and dry as the scenario that we just established. You find yourself throwing darts in the dark.    

Buy Something That’s Worth The Risk  

If you really think about it, when you buy used phone a lot of times it’s like being in a game show. It could be a good idea to try and swing big. What we mean by that is to try and find a deal on a high end phone at a very reasonable price. Even if you have to deal with some minor details you may still feel that you got a good deal. The reason we say this is because you could be taking a similar gamble on a very middle of the pack device. The price drop that you get for a used cheap phone may not be as significant as what you’ll see on a high end phone. In both cases the chances of getting burned if you will, are similar.  

At the end of the day we know that what you can or can’t buy is usually going to be determined by your budget. Also, it must be said that just because a phone is more expensive or from a more recognized brand doesn’t mean that it will accommodate your needs better. The reason why we are making this suggestion though is because if you’re contemplating buying used a wider selection of products may become available on your budget. Something that probably wouldn’t happen if you wanted to look for completely unused phones. Don’t be afraid to swing big.    

Is It Worth It To Buy A Used Phone?  

crop anonymous person calculating profit on smartphone calculator near banknotes
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

We just mentioned that buying a used phone is like being in a game show. You don’t necessarily know what you’re going to win or not. Yet, it’s usually a good idea to go big and try and get the best prizes. When it comes to buying a used phone there’s no question that people who’ve been burned will say that it’s potentially one of the worst decisions that they’ve ever made. On the other hand, there are going to be folks who had a good overall experience who will laugh at others who paid full price for their devices. Some of the things that we talked about particularly concerning warranties are aspects that could help you be closer to the person who is happy with their decision, and that’s the whole point. 

As we mentioned, the prices that you can potentially find on used devices allows you to buy a “better” phone than you’d be able to on the same budget for a new one. The main difference between buying used and a gameshow are the warranties. If you feel comfortable with the safety net that you have in that department then you are more likely to swing big on a device. Just make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting into when you buy. If the return process is easy then if you get “burned” you can return the phone and start over. We would say that it’s definitely worth it. You just need to make sure that you put the right safety measures in place. To make it easier on yourself to find the right phone.

Get An E-SIM Card To Access Low Cost Coverage In Any Country In The World

In doing so you’ll be supporting us create more content to help you find coverage as you travel. At the same time you may be solving the issue that you came here for help on!