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Top Tips For Buying A Refurbished Phone

If you’ve been looking to replace your ageing handset but are put off by the price of the latest hardware, you may have considered a used, second-hand, or refurbished phone. An upgrade to your storage space, faster processor, or raising your photography to the next level with a better camera, and all for less than new? It’s certainly tempting.

However, once you say goodbye to the surety of a factory-fresh device, you risk running into problems. New handsets rolling off the line and into stores have faced the rigours of quality control, but you can’t say the same of used handsets. Auction sites and social media marketplaces are fit to bursting with second-hand phones, all in varying states of repair. Without considerable knowledge of the technology of mobile phones and the ability to check it yourself, it can seem like a lottery. With second-hand devices, you can scoop up a steal but also run the risk of being stuck with an expensive (but inoperable) brick.

Thankfully, there is a middle ground between shelling out for a new device and risking it buying second-hand. Refurbished phones are an excellent balance between the two, combining the price of the used market with the reliability of an in-store purchase. If you’re considering a refurbished device, we offer up these top tips for making a purchase.


What is a refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone is a used handset swapped for a newer model or sent back to the shop by the customer after they changed their mind, or sent to the manufacturer due to a minor fault. These devices are then serviced, repaired if needed, and checked by technicians to restore them. Refurbished phones are then resold, usually at a more modest price, but with the same functionality as when sold new.

Look for a Warranty

You can’t always be sure of the quality of a used phone when buying on auction sites or social media marketplaces; what you see (or rather don’t see) is what you get. Rather than going from a blurry photo and a promise that it works from a stranger, refurbished phones have checks and guarantees on their quality.

Refurbished handsets will have at least some form of warranty, a way that the seller shows they are confident in their product. If there isn’t a warranty offered with a device, you’re in murky waters regarding its quality. The seller is likely not confident in the product without one. It’s rare for auction site sellers to offer warranties and practically unheard of on social media marketplaces.

A warranty protects you and your purchase if the handset stops working due to a fault, and typically Swycha handsets come with a 1-year warranty as well as a 21-day money-back guarantee when you buy.


Check the Quality of Repairs

Many refurbished handsets are graded or tested by an established system to ensure the device is in working order before being sold. These marks of quality mean you can be sure that the device works as it should, with no surprises down the line or faulty parts waiting to go wrong once the wrapping is gone. Swycha handsets use Phonecheck to verify the quality of the refurbishment before the handset is sold and to diagnose faults during the process. Phonecheck uses leading, industry-standard diagnostic software to test devices for up to 90 potential faults, including:

  • Component functionality
  • Battery capacity
  • Part and device authenticity
  • Software or hardware lock detection
  • Ensuring all previous data is erased

Take Advantage of Cheap SIM-Only Deals

One of the advantages of a refurbished phone is taking advantage of cheap SIM-only deals from networks. Buying phone handsets second-hand may well restrict your choice of network, and without an additional ‘unlocking’ service, you might not be able to use the phone at all. All Swycha handsets are fully unlocked, meaning you can shop around for the best deal; rather than being tied down to the original network.

Beware Stolen Devices

Unfortunately, many second-hand devices found on auction sites or social media marketplaces are stolen. The relatively high level of anonymity that these services offer makes it easier for thieves to fence stolen handsets. If a device is stolen, it has likely been locked remotely by the original owner and is essentially inoperable.

The worst-case scenario, in this case, would be having to return the device with no hope of getting your money back. With refurbished phones, sellers must ensure that they are not reselling stolen devices, or risk losing reputability. Swycha compares their handsets to a massive database of stolen hardware as part of their refurbishment, so there’s no chance of accidentally buying a stolen phone.

Avoid Aftermarket Parts

Refurbished phones can sometimes contain what are called aftermarket parts. These are parts of a handset such as batteries, cases, screens, or other components made by third parties. These parts replace the faulty original components in the device.

Generally, aftermarket phone components are considered inferior compared to the real deal. These parts may not work as well, or for as long, as Original Equipment Manufacturer’s or ‘OEM’ parts, which are the same components used to build the device in the first place. Swycha handsets are refurbished and repaired using 100% OEM parts, meaning you can be sure of the quality of component’s used in your new phone.

Whether you’re looking to get more power from your processor, a better camera for social media, or make the leap to the next generation of smartphones, you know you can buy with confidence with Swycha's selection of refurbished handsets.

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