A refurbished phone is a defective device that was returned to the manufacturer. The manufacturer inspects the defects, fixes all flaws, and repackages the phone to be resold as a refurbished product. However, not all refurbished phones have defects. Some refurbished phones come from individuals who return their phones within the warranty period either because they have buyer's remorse or are unsatisfied with the product.
The most compelling reason people buy refurbished phones is that it saves money as you get a relatively new flagship phone for a fraction of the cost. In addition, some people advocate for a clean environment by buying refurbished phones. Reusing and recycling phone parts is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Not all refurbished phones come from manufacturers. Some sellers with the right tools also refurbish phones.
Manufacturer refurbished phones are devices refurbished by the same company that produced the device. Most high-end phone brands have a Certified Refurbished Product section, where you can purchase products that have gone through the refurbishing process. Companies offering these services package the refurbished phones in plain boxes with “Certified Refurbished” labels.
A seller refurbished phone is a professionally refurbished phone fixed by a dealer, retailer, or independent third-party firm that offers professional refurbishing services. These firms have in-house experts who clean up and repair the devices and resell them as refurbished phones. They usually mark the phones as “Seller Refurbished.”
Most manufacturer refurbished devices come with a warranty, albeit with a reduced duration than a new phone. On the other hand, seller refurbished phones are usually without a warranty. Also, manufacturer refurbished phones are pricier than seller refurbished phones. The increase in cost is because manufacturers use original parts during repairs.
A refurbished phone is a pre-owned device. In most cases, a customer purchased the phone and returned it while the phone was still under warranty. People usually return phones to the seller or manufacturer due to defects, shipping damages, or buyer's remorse. Most refurbished phones come in plain boxes without the corresponding accessories. Also, companies may not offer a warranty or refund policy for refurbished phones. In addition, these phones usually cost less than new ones, with some refurbished phones up to 40% cheaper than new ones.
A new phone is a defect-free device with no previous owner. It comes in the official manufacturer's package with the accessories and user manual for the product. You also get a one or two-year warranty with a refund policy when you purchase a new phone. Usually, new phones cost more than refurbished phones.
Here is a list of the top ten reasons to avoid purchasing a previously owned and repaired phone.
Most manufacturers and sellers of refurbished phones offer limited to no warranty when you purchase a pre-owned phone. You do not get the extensive protection of a manufacturer's guarantee when you buy a refurbished phone.
The most affordable refurbished phones usually do not have the latest technology. Sometimes, you may be purchasing a device two or three generations older. Unfortunately, a refurbished version of the manufacturer’s latest product may be nearly as pricey as a new one. In addition, shopping for refurbished phones limits the options and models available to you.
Some manufacturers do not offer software updates for older models of phones. The most essential software update is a security update that protects your device from malicious persons. Buying a refurbished phone may be risky because you could spend money on a phone vulnerable to security threats, including data leakages, phishing attacks, and malicious apps.
If battery life is a priority when shopping for a phone, then refurbished phones are not the way to go. Most smartphones come with inbuilt batteries that degrade over time. Unfortunately, manufacturers and sellers may or may not change the battery when refurbishing a phone.
Refurbished phones do not come with the original packaging. Instead, you get the phone packaged in a plain box without accessories and may have to look for accessories that fit the device. Unfortunately, this can pose a challenge as it may be difficult to purchase the accessories, especially if the phone is an older model.
Not all sellers ensure that refurbished phones are in working condition before selling them. Some fraudulent sellers buy used phones and pass them up as refurbished phones. There’s a chance that a phone bought as refurbished is not in the best working condition, or is really a used phone disguised as refurbished.
Refurbished phones come in plain boxes that are network or manufacturer branded. Getting original packaging for a refurbished phone is nearly impossible.
All refurbished phones, including manufacturer refurbished devices, have a significant risk of failure. During a sale, most sellers do not give an adequate description of previous defects. Also, you cannot be sure of the phone’s underlying issues or predict the probability of a recurrence.
Refurbished phones are not always cheaper than new phones. In many cases, you have to buy accessories like chargers or earpieces separately. There is also a chance that the phone would require repair sooner than later. Lastly, you can get a new mid-range phone with good features for the same price as a refurbished phone.
Some refurbished phones are locked to a network and are not usable until the buyers unlock them. Unfortunately, unlocking the device adds to the overall cost of the phone.
There are alternatives you can explore if you cannot afford a new flagship device but do not want to buy a refurbished phone. You may consider the following:
The newer models of phones are pricier than their older models. In some instances, the upgrade between these models may not be significant. Choosing an older model of your preferred brand can save you from problems associated with refurbished phones.
Some deal sites have reputable vendors who sell new phones at a cost lower than what you get in major stores. It is a great option to purchase a new phone at a reduced price instead of buying a refurbished device. However, ensure to conduct due diligence to avoid being scammed.
A mid-tier phone is a device that provides the features of a flagship phone at an affordable price. Some mid-tier phones come with accessories such as headphone jacks and extra casings.
Instead of purchasing a refurbished phone, go for a mid-range device and enjoy a brand-new phone with features similar to some flagship devices. Also, you get additional perks when you purchase a new phone, including the latest technology and a warranty of up to 24 months.
You can buy a new phone directly from some manufacturers as some offer flagship phones that cost the same as refurbished high-end ones. These manufacturers usually offer sleek and superior products at an affordable cost. Also, purchasing your device from them does not lock you into a carrier contract.
Phone retailers and manufacturers refurbish pre-owned phones and resell them. Regardless of the refurbisher, acquiring a refurbished device is cumbersome and could be a waste of funds if you purchase the wrong one. Before making a purchase, you should consider factors such as the warranty, security updates, and the possibility of recurring defects. Instead of buying a refurbished phone, you can purchase an older model new phone, go for a mid-range phone, or find reputable vendors who sell new phones at reduced prices.