Most of you have ever bought a used phone rather than a new one, for numerous reasons. You may even be using it right now to read this, or you might be planning on buying one. Used phones are affordable, sometimes in the short run, but some can also come with problems.
You may never know what that used phone has been through with the previous owner, or whether it has had some internal modifications made to it that you may not be aware of. It could probably be a stolen one too.
However, if you have made up your mind on buying a used phone from anyone or anywhere, below are some tips for you that you should consider before you make that purchase.
8 steps to consider before buying a used phone
1. Check for any damage
Before you rush in to buy that used phone, make sure to check for any damage. You should inspect the phone to see whether it doesn’t have any cracks on the screen or broken glass, whether the power and volume buttons work, etc.
Apart from that, you can open the back of the phone casing and remove the battery so that you are able to see a little white sticker. If the sticker has turned from white to pink, then the phone has water damage.
You should plug in the charger and watch the battery meter go up 1 or 2 points to make sure it does not need a battery replacement. However, do not try this on iPhones, iPads or any other phone that has a sealed casing as it requires a professional to remove the battery or else you may damage it further.
2. Find out the phone’s IMEI Number
In order to do this, you have to go to the phone settings to find out its IMEI number. By doing so, depending on the country you’re in, you can call the carrier/telecom company it was last active on and tell them you are buying a used phone and would like to verify if it’s not reported lost, stolen or blacklisted.
If the phone is carrier locked, it can always be unlocked, but that will be an extra expense you will have to consider when making your final offer to the seller. The IMEI number is also one way for you to verify if the phone is from the actual manufacturer and it’s not counterfeit.
3. Switch the device off and then back on again
Doing this can save you a lot of problems. If the phone asks you to enter a password after turning it back on and seller doesn’t know it, then walk away from that deal and don’t look back. If the seller knows what it is, write it down then enter it yourself.
If everything goes on well without any setbacks, and you’re able to enter the required passwords without any problem then move on to the next step.
4. Check for the quality of the Wi-Fi/data connection
Once you have completed steps 1 and 2, it’s now time for you to check the phone’s data and Wi-Fi connection. If you have a portable mini Wi-Fi router or are in a building with Wi-Fi, try connecting the phone to it to see how the network performs. You can also use your SIM card that has data to verify this.
If the phone is showing signs of lag or poor network performance even in the best conditions, then you should consider not buying it. However, if all checks out right, Master Reset the phone back to its original settings which could take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the device.
5. Try setting up a new account on the phone after master resetting it
Follow the simple prompts on the phone and set it up as a new one. If it prompts you to enter any personal information such as your iCloud (for Apple devices) or Activation information (email address and password) then let the original owner or seller provide the info.
If the seller for any reason is unable to provide that information to you during the device set up, then don’t buy it. There are high chances the seller is trying to sell to you a stolen device.
Even though you’re able to set up the device successfully, there is a possibility that the telecom carrier can blacklist the device, the true owner can use his online account to lock the device, or report it stolen.
6. Collect as much info from the seller as possible
Once you have completed all your checks, it doesn’t hurt at all for you take some time to carry out extra steps to protect yourself. Get a receipt, the seller’s contact, and ID information if possible, phone number to mention but a few.
Collecting all that information will help you track and identify the seller in case you run into any problems you could have missed out on before buying the used phone.
7. Buy from reputable dealers
If you’re one of those people who don’t like to waste time verifying and making checks, then it’s better to buy the used phone from verified and trustworthy dealers from around your community.
Some telecom companies offer deals on used phones and are more trustworthy than dealing with individuals since they offer a guarantee and better return policies.
You can do everything you can to make sure you’re getting a good deal on a used device but still end up being cheated or find yourself stuck with a stolen or blocked phone. So, don’t buy a used device unless it’s from a reputable dealer.
8. Ask a tech-savvy friend for advice
It’s good to ask for advice from friends who know their way around the used phone market. They usually have more experience when it comes to buying and inspecting used phones since they have been there before.
They can offer useful insights such as which best dealers to buy from, or help you make a decision while buying the phone. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help from any trusted friend, they can save you a lot of time and money.
Do you have any other tips or steps you wish other used phone buyers knew before purchasing a device? Please don’t hesitate, let us know through the comment section.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.