Buying a refurbished mobile phone can be a good option under certain conditions. Consumers need to take into account the phone's cost, whether it has a warranty, and its functions and capabilities, as well as their own level of comfort with using refurbished goods. Another important point to consider is whether the device was refurbished by a reputable and established firm or an unknown entity, as this can affect the phone's quality.
What Is a Refurbished Phone?
A refurbished phone is one that has been returned to a manufacturer or repair shop, fixed if necessary, and reset to its original specifications. The device should, in all respects, work exactly as well as a new phone. Whether or not the phone lives up to that standard can vary, however, depending on factors like why the phone was refurbished in the first place and who did the work. If a phone was returned due to a faulty hardware component that was then fixed instead of being replaced, for example, it is possible that it would be more likely to break a second time. A phone that is repaired by the original manufacturer might also be more reliable than one fixed by someone not as familiar with the technology.
A refurbished phone can differ from a used phone in what is done to it before it's resold. In most cases, a used phone simply has all of the previous owner's information removed from it. A refurbished mobile phone, on the other hand, has usually been repaired and/or reset, and is typically rigorously tested to make sure that it works as expected.
Why Mobile Phones Are Refurbished
Cell phone customers routinely upgrade their mobile phones every few years, and some people trade up more frequently. These used phones may be discarded if they are no longer compatible with the cellular system, donated to charity, or recycled. Many are sent back to the manufacturer to be refurbished, especially if they are not very old.
Many cell phone service providers allow customers to return a phone within a short period of time if they decide they don't like it for some reason. These devices are usually in perfect working order, but because they've been used, they cannot be resold as new. Instead, they are wiped of all data and sold as refurbished.
Some refurbished phones were originally returned to the service provider or manufacturer because of a malfunction. Instead of fixing the phone immediately, the customer will often be given a new (or previously refurbished) device as a replacement. The mobile phone is usually still fixed, however, so it can be sold again. This type of refurbished mobile phone might be more likely to have problems; although they are thoroughly tested once they are repaired, malfunctions can recur. A consumer may want to ask his or her service provider if they have many phones that were returned because of malfunctions since this can provide information about a potential future problem.
Often, a refurbished mobile phone is one that is returned because the original purchaser was not comfortable with it for some reason, not because it malfunctioned. This can be a good deal for the new buyer, allowing him or her to get the latest technology for a fraction of the regular price. In other cases, someone may choose to buy a refurbished mobile phone because the model is no longer being newly manufactured and he or she likes the design or doesn't want to have to learn how to use a new phone again. Another plus is that, buy buying a previously used phone, consumers can feel like they are doing something positive for the environment, keeping one more electronic device out of the landfill.
People who are concerned about the reliability of a refurbished phone or who cannot risk a malfunction may be better off with a new model. In many cases, there's no way to know why a phone was refurbished, and some people are not comfortable with this lack of knowledge. If a particular model of phone has a frequent defect — such as a charging port that goes bad quickly — this part may wear out again, even though it was replaced. Broken screens, speakers, and microphones are other common reasons for a phone to be returned, and there's no way to know if the same problem won't happen again. Consumers may want to research the model they are considering before buying it to see if there are any common complaints.
Where to Purchase Refurbished Mobile Phones
Cell phone service providers often have refurbished models on hand because of customer returns, and these companies frequently sell these models at a discount to unload their inventory. Buying a phone directly from the service provider also helps guarantee that it will work with the customer's account and phone network. Electronics stores and online retailers also offer these phones, as do specialty stores that only deal in refurbished devices.
It's important to make sure that a refurbished phone is purchased from a reputable company that offers a warranty on its work. Since these phones should work like new if repaired correctly, the company selling them should stand by its work. If a phone doesn't come with some kind of guarantee, it's probably not worth the price.