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Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung release new devices every year with more advanced technologies and bigger updates. Unfortunately, as a result of this, the prices of these handsets continues to rise. 

Brand-new phones can now cost the same as a PC or laptop, with some flagship devices setting you back over £1,000. Which is why refurbished phones are now a popular option for smartphone users. Buying a second-hand phone could help to save you a considerable amount of money, whilst still being able to stick to the make and model of your choice.  

This guide helps to explain what a refurbished phone is, how much you can save, and why you should consider this alternative. If you are interested in buying a refurbished handset, read on. 

What does a ‘refurbished phone’ mean? 

The term ‘refurbished phone’ generally refers to a pre-owned handset that has been sent back to be repaired or cleaned up for resale. Although, it’s important to note that a refurbished phone is not like any normal second-hand phone. Once a customer has sent their unwanted handset back to the phone manufacturer or retailer, it will be extensively checked and, if needed, repaired, to ensure it is up to a certain standard before being sold on. Sometimes, a phone may be sent back due to the customer simply changing their mind, meaning they have returned the phone unused and you could bag yourself a like-new handset.

Typically, refurbished phones won’t come with the original packaging and may not include all the accessories you would get with a new phone. However, they will have been rigorously tested, repaired, and checked to ensure it’s up to a certain standard before being resold. 

Do refurbished phones come with a warranty? 

One of the most important aspects to take into consideration when buying a refurbished handset is the warranty it comes with, as this provides you with protection if it develops a fault. If you have bought from a reputable manufacturer or retailer, then the majority of refurbished phones will come with a warranty, though how long for all depends on who you have bought it from. 

Typically, if the phone you are interested in has no issues, the smartphone maker or retailer will offer some sort of warranty. However, if you buy from a trader or private seller, this isn’t always guaranteed and there is a higher chance that something may be wrong with the phone out of the box. When buying a refurbished phone, keep this mind and look out for what guarantee is offered at the time of purchase. 

How much cheaper are refurbished phones? 

Generally speaking, most refurbished phones up for sale are far cheaper than a brand new counterpart and you can usually expect to save at least a few hundred pounds. However, this all depends on the make and model of the handset. 

Buyers will have the opportunity to select from the different refurb grades, allowing them to pick a phone within their budget. Choosing a refurbished iPhone over a brand new model, for example, can be a great option considering Apple’s handsets are well known for their expensive price tags. 

Understanding the different grading standards for refurbished phones

When buying a refurbished phone, an important factor to look out for is the overall condition of the device. To certify the condition, these devices are given a refurbished grade which indicates the quality of the refurbished product. These grades are intended to give the buyer as much information as possible, so they know what to expect from the refurbished device. It gives you, as a buyer, the confidence that the refurbished device your buying isn’t covered in scratches or falls out of the box when received.

So, on that note, you may be wondering what are the different grading standards for refurbished phones? The standard grading system for refurbished phones runs on a scale from refurbished Grade A down to refurbished Grade C. Refurbished Grade A offers the highest quality of a refurbished device, whilst Grade C offers the lowest. Below, we have outlined the definition of each of these refurbished grades. 

  • Grade A: An immaculate device showing very minor signs of wear and tear. They look as good as new and any marks are usually invisible to the naked eye. Fully tested and in full working condition. 
  • Grade B: Devices show small signs of wear and tear. Expect small cosmetic dents or scratches, but all phones are fully tested and in working order. 
  • Grade C: Devices showing more significant signs of use by way of dents or scratches but restored to factory settings and in full working order.
Male technician fixing a mobile phone | Photo: FreePik

Male technician fixing a mobile phone | Photo: FreePik

What’s the difference between refurbished and used phones?

Similar to refurbished phones, used iPhones and phones are also second-hand devices, meaning they are no longer classed as ‘new’ as someone has previously owned them. However, the main difference between the two categories, is that used phones are pre-owned phones which haven’t been fully tested or repaired. They may have been sold on directly from the owner, or not have been repaired if there are any faults.

In addition to this, the warranty you get with a used phone might be limited, if you get a warranty at all. With a used phone, you will not have the same assurances about the phone’s history, as you would with a refurbished phone. That isn’t to say used mobile phones are risky, they just won’t have gone through the same tests and repairs so there is less of a guarantee it will be in good condition. 

Why should I buy a refurbished phone?

There are plenty of good reasons as to why you should buy a refurbished mobile phone. From saving money to helping the environment, below we have outlined the benefits of buying a refurbished mobile phone. 

  • Save on costs – Perhaps the most obvious advantage of buying a refurbished phone is that you can save some money. Take an iPhone X 64GB for example, by buying a refurbished Grade A model of the highest quality, you can save up to a staggering £230.
  • Better for the environment – While a mobile phone is a non-biodegradable product, it contains a mix of toxic elements, such as lead, mercury and bromine. When thrown away, these harmful chemicals end up in a lot of landfills and ultimately pollute the environment, endangering the land, rivers and animals. As we upgrade to the newest handset each year, we are unknowingly contributing to this ever-growing problem. Buying refurbished phones helps to keep the amount of mobile-wastage to a minimum, by increasing the lifespan of old phones and preventing them from going to landfill.
  • Meet high-quality standards – Refurbished phones will usually go through a series of rigorous tests and checks to ensure they meet a certain standard. If you choose to buy a Grade A refurbished iPhone, for instance, you will be able to expect the phone to have the same safety and quality standards as a new device. 
Are you looking to buy a refurbished handset? Head to our website now to view our full range of refurbished iPhones.
Anya Beuzeval

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