Shopping for refurbished cellphones

Need the financial savings of a second-hand telephone, however with all of the assurances you get from shopping for one model new? Refurbished telephones could possibly be precisely what you are on the lookout for.

hands holding phones with pound symbols

Credit score: Prostock-studio (foreground), Illus_man (background) – Shutterstock

Should you’re available in the market for a brand new cell, refurbished telephones are properly price your consideration. The financial savings will be large, with iPhones in like-new situation promoting for over £100 lower than the RRP, and even greater reductions obtainable on different telephones in different circumstances.

Shopping for a refurbished telephone is an effective way to cut back your carbon footprint, too – by about 80kg*, because it occurs. A single refurbished telephone additionally saves 68,400 litres of water*, which is sufficient so that you can drink your beneficial two litres of water a day, each day, for 94 years.

Learn on to search out out all the pieces it’s essential to look out for when shopping for a refurbished telephone, plus one of the best locations to buy.

What’s a refurbished telephone?

Consider a refurbished telephone as a midway home between a brand new machine and a second-hand one from a personal vendor.

Whenever you purchase a second-hand telephone from a personal vendor, there’s all the time a threat it will be damaged or not working because it ought to. This is not to say that non-public sellers are dishonest – it is simply that they might not be conscious of a number of the points that may come up with a telephone.

Refurbished telephones are normally second-hand, however the essential distinction is that they have been put via a collection of exams to show that they are nonetheless in full working order.

Amongst different issues, refurbished telephones have normally been examined to make it possible for:

  • The battery is in good well being
  • The buttons nonetheless work
  • The display screen remains to be absolutely responsive
  • The telephone nonetheless connects to WiFi and information networks.

All information on a refurbished telephone can even be wiped earlier than it is offered, so it will be similar to booting up a model new telephone once you purchase one.

On the draw back, shopping for a refurbished telephone could imply you miss out on the unique packaging. In some instances, this might additionally embody equipment, like headphones. If this stuff are vital to you, verify with the retailer earlier than making a purchase order to keep away from any nasty surprises.

Refurbished telephone grades

Though there is not any common customary, refurbished telephones are usually given one of many following grades to explain their situation:

  • Grade A – These telephones could as properly be straight off the manufacturing line. They will don’t have any indicators of damage and tear (or very, very minor ones at most), therefore why this grade is normally referred to as ‘Like New’ or ‘Pristine’.
  • Grade B – This tier is commonly known as ‘Very Good’ and even ‘Wonderful’. The telephone may have some minor seen injury like small scuffs or scratches, however nothing large.
  • Grade C – Refurbished telephones on this grade (also called ‘Good’ or ‘Honest’) may have noticeable indicators of damage and tear, like scratches and dents.

It doesn’t matter what grade the telephone is, the telephone ought to nonetheless be in good working order. Often, the grading solely refers back to the bodily look of the telephone, not the technical situation.

And keep in mind that there is not any common customary. Some retailers will embody the technical situation within the grading, some may have 4 grades, whereas others will outline every tier barely otherwise.

It’s best to all the time verify the precise definitions for every grade on whichever refurbished telephone web site you store with.

Greatest locations to purchase refurbished telephones

These are one of the best locations to purchase a refurbished telephone:

  1. 4Gadgets

    4gadgets logo

    Go to 4Gadgets »


  2. Amazon

    selling on amazon

    This data refers to third-party sellers on Amazon.

    Go to Amazon »


  3. Again Market

    back market logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free (however varies by refurbisher)
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months (full T&Cs)
    • Returns interval – 30 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – 5% off.

    Go to Again Market »


  4. eBay

    ebay logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free (however varies by vendor)
    • Guarantee cowl – Varies by vendor
    • Returns interval – Varies by vendor (not all will settle for a return in the event you’ve merely modified your thoughts), however you might be coated by eBay’s Cash Again Assure if there’s a problem with the merchandise (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – None.

    Go to eBay »


  5. Envirofone

    envirofone logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months (full T&Cs)
    • Returns interval – 30 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – None.

    Go to Envirofone »


  6. giffgaff

    Giffgaff logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months (full T&Cs)
    • Returns interval – 21 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – None (though they do have a SIM solely supply for college students).

    Go to giffgaff »


  7. logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months
    • Returns interval – 14 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – Numerous.

    Go to »


  8. musicMagpie

    music magpie logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months (full T&Cs)
    • Returns interval – 14 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – 10% off.

    Go to musicMagpie »


  9. Reboxed

    reboxed logo

    • Least expensive supply – Free
    • Guarantee cowl – 12 months (full T&Cs)
    • Returns interval – 30 days (full T&Cs)
    • Scholar low cost – £25 off.

    Go to Reboxed »


We’ve not featured them on this listing, however telephone producers will typically have a nook of their web site devoted to promoting refurbished gadgets.

Apple and Samsung each do, and shopping for a second-hand telephone this manner means you may relaxation assured that the producer itself is proud of the refurb. Nevertheless, the explanation we have left them out is that regardless of nonetheless being cheaper than shopping for a brand new telephone, they’re normally nonetheless costlier than buying with one of many corporations above.

You too can purchase refurbished telephones via cell networks. O2 Like New is only one instance, however whatever the community, you may usually solely purchase these gadgets on contract. Once more, this can be a costlier possibility, because it’s virtually all the time cheaper to purchase a telephone individually and get an inexpensive SIM solely deal.

Ideas for getting a refurbished telephone

This is what it’s essential to know earlier than shopping for a refurbished telephone:

  1. Resolve what situation you want

    Though they’re all second-hand telephones, refurbished gadgets are available a variety of circumstances.

    We have listed the broad refurbished telephone grades above, however there actually is one thing for everybody. The largest financial savings include telephones within the lowest grade, whereas the handsets in higher situation are costlier (shock).

    Nevertheless, even the refurbished telephones in one of the best situation are nonetheless significantly cheaper than shopping for a model new machine.

    On the time of writing, Apple was promoting a brand new iPhone 12 (64GB) in black for £679. However after we checked musicMagpie, the very same telephone was obtainable in ‘pristine’ situation (i.e. nearly as good as new) for simply £529. In the meantime, an equal machine in ‘good’ situation was going for even much less, at £439.99. That is a saving of between £150 – £239, relying on the grade.

    In the end it is as much as you ways bothered you might be about beauty injury to your telephone. Simply keep in mind that, with most refurbished telephone websites, the grading actually does solely consult with the looks of the machine. So, it is price contemplating whether or not you would be comfortable to place up with some scuffs and marks to avoid wasting cash on a telephone that works simply as properly.

    As we mentioned earlier, a small minority of refurbished telephone websites will embody the technical efficiency of a tool of their grading methods. All the time verify their definitions earlier than assuming in any other case.

  2. Purchase a refurbished telephone on the proper time

    It is normally fairly laborious to discover a refurbished model of the newest mannequin of telephone – as an alternative, you may typically must accept final yr’s version as an alternative. So if the newest Apple machine was the iPhone 13, the latest refurbished machine would in all probability be the iPhone 12.

    However the longer it has been since a telephone was launched, the extra probability you might have of discovering a refurbished model. On the time of writing, we discovered a handful of refurbished Google Pixel 6 gadgets obtainable, regardless of the telephone solely launching six months earlier.

    Arguably one of the best time to purchase a refurbished telephone is when the producer releases a brand new mannequin. At this level, plenty of folks can be buying and selling of their outdated gadgets for an improve, that means the refurb market will get an enormous consumption of contemporary inventory.

    In addition to newer fashions abruptly being that can be purchased refurbished, it must also imply that older fashions drop in value.

    Briefly, when you have a selected sort of telephone in thoughts, perform some research and discover out when the subsequent version is ready to be launched. Ready till then might prevent a packet.

  3. Verify the battery life

    There are only a few issues as irritating as proudly owning a telephone with terrible battery life, and you will have to preserve your wits about you once you purchase one second-hand.

    Batteries put on over time, and whereas refurbished telephones ought to have had theirs examined earlier than happening sale, they won’t meet your individual excessive requirements. If battery life is one thing that is vital to you, verify the well being of the battery early sufficient to ship the telephone again inside the returns interval if wanted.

    If it is an Apple machine, merely go to Settings > Battery > Battery Well being. Try to be given a share rating to inform you how robust the battery is in comparison with a model new machine. For instance, a rating of 95% signifies that when your telephone says it is 100% charged, it is really charged to about 95% of what a brand new telephone can be.

    Issues are just a little trickier on Android. You might discover that your telephone’s settings will not reveal the battery’s well being, or that you will get a imprecise end result like ‘good’, ‘common’ or ‘poor’. If that is the case, we advocate downloading an app like AccuBattery which might inform you precisely what the present battery capability is in comparison with its designed quantity.

    lauren nash

    For me, this can be a massive tip. In reality, Apple themselves counsel changing the battery as soon as it will get to 79%, as it could actually shut down the telephone at random factors.

    After I purchased a refurbished iPhone, the battery rating was simply 83%, so I despatched it again.

    I ordered a brand new one, once more in the identical situation that was listed on the web site, and the battery well being was displaying as 93%. I used to be proud of that, and even happier that I would thought to verify within the first place!

    Lauren Nash, Save the Scholar’s Digital Advertising and marketing Supervisor

  4. Verify for every other faults

    Regardless of going via exams to make sure that they’re in good working order, refurbished telephones are nonetheless second-hand. There’s nonetheless a small probability that some underlying issues might come up, so preserve an eye fixed out.

    And do not be afraid to make a criticism in the event you suppose the situation would not match up with their grading system. Clearly, this stuff will be right down to interpretation, however in the event you’ve purchased a telephone that was meant to be in ‘pristine’ situation and discover it has noticeable scratches on it, you need to have a stable case.

    In any case, try the returns and guarantee insurance policies on the web site you purchased from. Be sure to know what’s coated by every, so if and when you can get a refund or change.

  5. Use cashback web sites

    quidco website on browser

    Credit score: Sharaf Maksumov – Shutterstock

    As with every on-line buy, cashback websites ought to be one in all your first ports of name once you’re deciding the place to purchase a refurbished telephone from.

    In case you are unaware, once you store via web sites like TopCashback and Quidco, you may earn some a refund in your buy. That is normally a share of your spend (usually about 5%), however it may be a set quantity too.

    The buying expertise is precisely the identical at your finish – all it’s essential to do is click on via to the refurbished telephone retailer from the cashback web site and voilà, they need to observe the acquisition.

    Take a look at our information to the highest cashback web sites to search out out extra, and see which retailers are providing one of the best charges earlier than making a call.

  6. Search for particular reductions and affords

    As if cashback, pupil reductions and the unique financial savings on refurbished telephones weren’t sufficient, there are sometimes particular affords on the market too.

    Retailers will generally run seasonal affords, and you will normally have the ability to discover low cost codes on-line as properly.

    In reality, one in all our workforce managed to avoid wasting £75 by shopping for a refurbished telephone in a sale, plus an additional £15 through the use of a reduction code. That is an enormous £90 saving on a telephone that is already cheaper than it ought to be!

    Prior to now, we have additionally had unique reductions on refurb telephones – head to our offers part to see if now we have one proper now. Or, failing that, Google is your good friend right here.

  7. Get an inexpensive SIM solely deal

    We shared this tip earlier, nevertheless it actually does bear repeating. Should you can afford to purchase a telephone upfront, it is virtually all the time cheaper to do that and get a SIM solely plan than it’s to get one on contract.

    There are some restricted instances the place a contract works out cheaper, nevertheless it’s fairly easy to work out what the most suitable choice is. All it’s essential to do is figure out the lifetime price of a contract after which evaluate the numbers.

    Let’s use the instance of a telephone that is obtainable on a 24-month contract for £30 a month, with a £50 upfront payment. 24 months of £30 funds brings us to £720, and after we issue within the £50 upfront payment, the lifetime price of the telephone is £770.

    Now, we could say you should purchase the identical telephone, in the identical situation, for £450. And for instance that you would be able to get a SIM for £8 a month (not laborious to search out with our listing of SIM solely offers), with precisely the identical allowances because the contract telephone.

    Over 24 months, that SIM will price simply £192, which makes the lifetime price of this package deal £642 – a saving of roughly £130 over two years. And, not like a telephone contract, you may cancel a short-term SIM solely plan everytime you need, so there is not any threat of constant to pay for one thing you already personal.

  8. Promote your outdated telephone

    Remember that you would be able to successfully scale back the price of your new telephone much more by promoting your outdated handset.

    We might advocate ready till you are assured that you just’re comfortable together with your new machine earlier than doing this, simply in case it’s essential to ship it again. However, when you’re settled, you can also make some more money by promoting your outdated telephone.

    Within the course of of shopping for a refurbished telephone, chances are you’ll discover that the retailer affords to cut back the value in the event you commerce in your outdated machine. Whereas this makes it cheaper to purchase the telephone upfront, it’s miles from the most suitable choice for you and your cash.

    The speed they’re going to give you is sort of definitely lower than you possibly can get by shifting it your self. Promoting on Fb Market or on eBay cuts out the center man and maximises your revenue.

    You too can use a few of these web sites for promoting your outdated telephone (a few of which additionally promote refurbished telephones). This tends to be a much less worthwhile possibility than promoting it your self, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly faster. Plus, as some websites recycle the gadgets they obtain, you are principally getting cash from recycling.

    Whichever means you determine to promote your outdated telephone, simply be sure to’ve assessed your choices first to verify you are getting a superb value!

Should you’re solely after a brand new telephone as a result of your present one is full, put your cash away and take a look at the following pointers for liberating up area on iPhone and Android.

* Supply ADEME 2022, by way of Again Market.

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