With the price of the latest new mobile phones reaching well over £1,000 and customers becoming increasingly aware of the money saving potential that second hand mobile phones can offer – there are now more ways than ever to purchase a used device.

Buying a second hand phone can be hugely financially beneficial and save customers hundreds of pounds. There is also the opportunity for cheap SIM only deals that usually require just a small monthly top up and end the need for costly contract payments that leave consumers tied in for years.

However, when buying anything that is second hand there are of course potential pitfalls, so it’s important to do your research to ensure that the device is exactly what you are paying for. Here are some important factors to consider before purchasing a second hand mobile phone.

The Source

Probably the most important aspect of acquiring a great quality second hand phone is the source in which you are purchasing it from.

Whether it’s from a big retail shop such as CEX and Game, an online retailer, an independent seller on eBay or Facebook marketplace or ‘a friend of a friend’ – there are pros and cons to each.

Buying from a random friend or someone you know through a private sale can be a great way to get a cheap deal and will most likely be the lowest price – however there have been no checks, tests or technical assessments made on the phone, there will be no warranty, no money back guarantee and you have no idea what condition the phone is in except for what you can see on the outside. This can lead to you paying for a handset that is faulty, stolen, water damaged or has underlying problems with things such as the battery.

eBay or Facebook sales can be a similar minefield – however if you are careful to check the reviews, legitimacy of the seller and thoroughly read through their terms and conditions then there’s no reason why you can’t make a sensible purchase. But be careful as reviews aren’t always 100% genuine!

Online and in store retailers are both great ways to get your hands on a high quality second hand smart phone. They may cost more than previously mentioned sources but will often come with the added benefits of having been put through rigorous testing and IMEI checks as well as coming with a warranty and money back guarantee.

Fake Phones!

Something that most consumers don’t even consider when it comes to used devices is that the market is flooded with fake phones that are actually Korean or Chinese replicas of the original models. These can often be surprisingly difficult to identify which is made harder by the fact that they often still display genuine looking internal stickers complete with IMEI and model numbers etc.

However there are some steps that buyers can take to ensure the handset is genuine.

Go into the phones settings and note down the IMEI, model number and any hardware specifications – then compare these to those displayed on the sticker. You can also search online for the manufacturer specs of that particular model to make sure they all line up. If you still aren’t sure, then it’s best to be cautious and give it a swerve. 

Be Price Savvy

With so many places available to buy a used handset, there can be big price differences, so it is well worth doing some research and price comparisons. You never know, you might be able to grab an auction bargain on eBay or haggle a lower price on Facebook sales.

You might have your heart set on a pristine handset of a certain model but find that the price is just too high and it’s worth compromising on a phone that is a slightly lower grade or even a previous model that has very similar features and specs.

Whatever you do and wherever you are purchasing your smart phone from, be sure to shop around so that you are guaranteed to get a great deal.

Safety Nets

Warranty, guarantees, money back and free returns are something that can offer peace of mind when purchasing a second-hand device.

Most reputable in store and online sellers of used phones will offer some if not all of the above so if you can’t afford the risk of buying a phone that falls short of what is promised be sure to use a trustworthy and reliable supplier.