The choice to purchase a new phone can be a challenging one, especially when thinking about the cost. Many people opt for long-term contracts to spread out the expense, but that doesn't mean you're getting a complimentary £700 smartphone. An alternative to consider is buying a refurbished phone.
A refurbished phone is not your typical second-hand device. It may have been returned by a customer for a defect that the manufacturer then repaired and resold as a refurbished phone. Or, it may be a phone that a customer has sold back to the retailer or phone company so they can upgrade. In some cases, the customer may have simply changed their mind and returned it unused, meaning you could potentially have a brand-new phone for less.
Before it's resold, the manufacturer or retailer will inspect, fix and ensure it meets a certain standard. They will then sell it to you, although it will likely come without the standard box or accessories that come with a new handset. Not all manufacturers sell refurbished phones, but retailers will have a similar high standard of refurbishment and will inform you if the phone is not ‘as new’.
So, what are the pros and cons of buying a refurbished phone?
- It's cheaper. A refurbished phone can save you hundreds of pounds upfront or over the lifetime of the contract.
- It's been professionally checked and repaired, unlike a typical second-hand phone.
- There will be a warranty period (although it's important to check how long).
- It's more affordable if you want to buy the phone outright and use a cheaper, less restrictive SIM-only or pay-as-you-go contract.
- The company has to wipe any data left by the previous owner or risk falling foul of the Data Protection Act.
- You'll have to wait for the next top model. If you want the very latest release, there are unlikely to be many on the refurbished market immediately and it may take a few months before one becomes available.
- You may not be able to insure it. Some insurers will cover a refurbished phone, but it's worth shopping around.
- The warranty will almost certainly be shorter than with a new phone.
- Depending on the grade of refurbishment, the handset could have scratches and scuff marks.
When it comes to refurbished phones, it's important to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it's the right choice for you. If you're looking to save money, it can be a great option, but if you're after the latest model, you may have to wait a while. Additionally, consider the warranty and insurance options, and be aware that the phone may have some wear and tear. With all this in mind, a refurbished phone could be a great choice for those looking for an affordable, yet high-quality device.