An image of a Refurbished iPhone

A refurbished phone is a phone that has previously been used and is refurbished before it has been sold again. For example, someone may purchase a phone and sell it back to a retailer who will then refurbish the handset before selling it again. Demo units of phones that are displayed in stores may also be refurbished before being sold.

The refurbishment process generally includes making repairs to the phone, if needed, such as replacing the battery or the screen if it has been cracked. The data will also be deleted from the phone and the phone will go through a rigorous testing process before they go on sale.

According to Counterpoint Research, the market for refurbished phones is growing and in 2017, 140 million refurbished units were sold. But why are refurbished handsets so popular and why should you buy a refurbished phone?

Refurbished Phones Save You Money

The main reason that people buy refurbished phones is that they are so affordable when compared to brand new phones, either bought outright or on a contract with your cell carrier. When a phone has been refurbished, the retailer is unable to sell it as brand new, even if it has only been owned for two weeks! In order to sell the phone and make a profit from it, they cut the price (often by a significant amount), which lets you get a fantastic discount.

One such example of this is the iPhone 8. If you were to purchase a new iPhone 8 outright from a retailer like Apple, it would set you back by $699 at the very least. In comparison, you can buy a refurbished iPhone 8 for $609, which saves you $90. Refurbished price comparison site RefurbMe lists other, similar savings, including a refurbished iPhone X for $819 (a saving of $180 compared to the retail price) and refurbished iPhone 7 handsets for $379 (a saving of $170 compared to the retail price).

Refurbished Handsets Have Been Tested and Certified

One of the biggest questions that people often ask themselves when purchasing a refurbished handset is whether it is safe to do. They’ve heard plenty of horror stories about used phones and have been duped into thinking that refurbished phones are not high quality.

But it’s important to stress that just because a phone has been refurbished, it doesn’t mean that it is broken or that it isn’t in working order. It’s actually the opposite. As mentioned, refurbished handsets have been tested rigorously before they have been put back on sale.

Although handsets may have some minor cosmetic issues such as some barely noticeable scratches and marks on the back of the phone, the actual hardware works just fine. Some of the biggest retailers of refurbished phones include Amazon, Gazelle, and GameStop, with these companies repairing a phone and ensuring that it works as it is meant to. Apple, which also refurbished and sells its products, is known for its Apple Certified Refurbished testing program.

Refurbished Phone Warranties

In case you aren’t fully satisfied with the assurance that refurbished phones are top quality, the warranty that most refurbished products come with should give you some additional peace of mind. These warranties allow owners of refurbished goods to return the product and get a replacement or a refund if they are unsatisfied with its condition.

The length of a warranty will vary from provider to provider. For example, when purchasing from Apple, you get a one-year warranty while Gazelle’s warranty lasts 30 days. Often, there are options for you to extend this warranty but doing so may cost you extra.

Refurbished Phones Are Better Than Used

Refurbished phones and used phones are often lumped into the same category, after all, they have both been loved by a previous owner. But there is actually a big difference between the two.

Namely, a used phone is sold as is by a retailer after it has been traded in, meaning that it has not been tested or repaired and it may also be missing some important components (including the charger and any other relevant cables). A refurbished phone, meanwhile, has gone through this testing process as mentioned, meaning that you have a greater assurance of the phone’s quality than if you’re buying a standard used model.

A Good Way to Access New Tech

The last and final reason as to why you should buy a refurbished phone is that they are an excellent way to access new technology. When a new phone has been released, it is going to cost an incredulous amount of money if you buy it brand new. It will likely stay that costly for a while, too, as retailers and carrier networks aim to make bank on its popularity.

For someone who likes to be an early adopter of new tech, this price is understandably quite off-putting.

Positively, though, refurbished phones give you a smart way of accessing that technology without having to pay such a high price for it. While it may take a couple of months or so for a new phone to show up on refurbished retailers, this is a worthy trade-off given how much money you’ll be saving.


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