Home / Tech-news / News /  Buying a refurbished phone? A checklist to keep in mind

The emergence of refurbished phones as a very enticing product category over the past 12 months has made the entire ecosystem more vibrant for consumers, and perhaps a bit more complicated for the phone makers themselves. But it does allow phone makers to address the issue of pricing, and offers another avenue of offering otherwise expensive devices for a more affordable price tag. The refurbished market is growing rapidly, with smartphone makers such as OnePlus and Xiaomi and e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay focusing on that in earnest. Not a surprise then that Apple is considering importing refurbished handsets for sale in India.

While the lower price tag and the assurance of warranties make refurbished phones quite interesting, here are some things to keep in mind before you buy one of these phones.

Step 1: Look for warranty

Even a refurbished phone comes with a certain amount of warranty cover. This is important as the phone has had some defect before and a warranty is the only protection in case that issue or something new crops up at some point of time. Always make sure you are buying from reputed sellers such as eBay, Amazon or Overcart, because they will provide authentic cover. Ask for the bill and all the papers related to the warranty to avoid buying a stolen or misplaced phone. If the seller fails to provide any of these, it is a red flag.

Step 2: Know what you are buying

A refurbished phone is usually one that is sold off or returned by customers because they either have some fault or are exchanged for a better phone. Companies get these repaired and repackaged for sale again.

Then there are some phones with minor defects detected during the process of manufacturing itself. They are taken off the line, repaired, and sold as factory seconds. Both of these fall under the refurbished umbrella.

Online sellers such as ReGlobe acquire such products from users, clean them and then sell them to a new buyer.

Step 3: Check for network locks

Before buying a refurbished phone, it is important to find out whether it will work with your SIM card or not. Online retailer eBay sells imported refurbished phones from HTC, Apple and Samsung as well, some of which may be locked to mobile networks abroad. Yes, there are ways of bypassing that lock, but that is something we would recommend steering clear from. Buy something that is certified and advertised to work with Indian mobile networks.

Step 4: Look for the genuine accessories

One of the key components of a smartphone is their accessories. A lot of these refurbished phones don’t come with all the accessories, especially if they are second-hand phones. It is also important to make sure the accessories provided by the seller are original and belong to the phone. For example, if a seller sells you a phone with 2.1Amp battery with a 1Amp charger of some other phone, it may damage the battery itself after a while.

Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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