Refurbished Phones and what to look for
Thinking of buying a refurbished phone for someone this Christmas? There's nothing wrong with that but there are questions you should be asking and things you should be looking out for in order to get the best value and avoid potential bad units that will end up costing you more in repairs down the road.
1. Remember "refurbished" should mean that the phone has been professionally worked on inside and outside to ensure an almost like new performance. It should also mean that the phone has been tested thoroughly and all parts are functioning properly.
2. "Refurbished" doesn't simply mean second hand, it could be 4th, 5th or 6th hand. There's no easy way of knowing, but a high level of scuffs or cosmetic damage can be a giveaway that this unit has had a hard life and could cause grief in the future.
3. If buying in person from a store, ask to see inside the phone. Whilst it's entirely up to the store if they'll do this or not, if there's nothing bad about the insides then they shouldn't have a problem doing it for you. They should be proud of their refurbishing. This is easier to do on some phones than others so it's entirely understandable that a busy store won't have time to do this for you.
4. Whilst the innards of the phone might not mean much to you, some indications of a lot of previous owners and repairs can be when the insides are littered with little "warranty void if removed" type stickers. These are put there each time the phone's been repaired by a third party. Lots of stickers means lots of repairs.
5. Look for missing parts. You might not consider yourself techy but you'll know a missing screw when you see a hole with no screw in it. The amount of "refurbished" phones we open only to find a lot of missing screws is ridiculous. This is evidence of a sub standard repair and there should be absolutely zero reason not to put back a screw into a phone once you've taken it out.
6. iPhones. Make sure the iCloud account is removed! This mostly applies to private sales, you need to get the previous owner to release the phone from their iCloud account before they sell it. So many people get caught with this and we can't help other than asking them to find the owner and asking the original owner to sign out. The phone will be useless without iCloud signed out.
7. Android phones. Make sure the google account is signed out! Much like Apple's iCloud, Android phones also lock themselves to their user's Google account once signed in so make sure it's signed out or you won't be able to set it up.
8. Worried about a possible dodgy / stolen phone ? Ask for the IMEI number (they should have no issues giving it to you, you can't do much with it) and you can run a check at https://www.checkmend.com/eu it only costs €2.50 and will give you a cert with a whole load of info about the phone including if it currently is or ever was blacklisted or reported stolen. This is for all phones not just Apple or Samsung
9. Warranty terms. Make sure you have a warranty if buying from a business, make sure you understand the warranty terms and make sure your IMEI / Serial number is recorded on your receipt. (ALWAYS KEEP YOUR RECEIPT)
10. You can save great money by buying refurbished and it's great for the environment as it creates less e-waste but do your research on pricing and remember if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
11. If you're buying an iPhone and it's set up already, scroll through the settings and see if it gives any warnings about "unknown parts", "important display message" or "important battery message" also make sure the Face ID is working. These "unknown parts" messages are proof that something has been changed in the phone with a third party part. Whilst there's nothing particularly wrong with this, some third party parts are higher quality than others and bad parts can often make a bad problem worse.
All the above is a basic guide, some of it you may know and some you may not. There's tons of great reputable stores on the high street and on-line selling very high quality refurbished phones and you can definitely pick up a bargain.
If you have queries about a particular phone or deal you see online, feel free to link us to it and if we can help we will.