Home SHOPPING TIPS AND TRICKS Shopping for a used or refurbished cellphone on eBay? Not so quick

Shopping for a used or refurbished cellphone on eBay? Not so quick

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Having an incredible cellphone that may deal with gaming, streaming and take pretty images doesn’t suggest spending a fortune on the newest flagships just like the iPhone 11 Professional or Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely. Shopping for an older cellphone, used, can prevent a bunch of cash, however nonetheless places some superior {hardware} in your pocket. Even higher, it saves a cellphone from going to landfill, which we are able to all agree is an efficient factor.

However there are some key issues to bear in mind if you’d like one of the best cellphone in your cash and also you need to keep secure while you get it. Right here then, are our high tips about methods to safely purchase an incredible used cellphone, whether or not you need an iPhone ($699 at Apple) or Android.

What options do you want?

First, take into consideration what you really need from a cellphone, as it will dictate what kind of stage you want to be aiming at. In case you simply need one thing to deal with some informal WhatsApp messages and play Spotify in your commute, you do not want flagship ranges of efficiency. One thing like 2018’s Samsung Galaxy A8 ($499 at Amazon) will seemingly suit you nicely.


Take into consideration what options you actually need in a cellphone. Is having a button-free show actually price splashing the additional money on a extra fashionable handset?

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If, nevertheless, you are actually into your pictures then it’s possible you’ll need to spend a bit extra on one thing that is received an honest digicam on the again. In that case, one thing like an iPhone X ($900 at Enhance Cell) would possibly swimsuit, or a Galaxy S9 ($230 at Again Market). You will have to seek out that steadiness between the efficiency you want and the worth you are completely happy to pay. Newer telephones with extra fashionable options will include the next value. 

Purchase from a trusted supply

Not each cellphone vendor has your greatest pursuits at coronary heart, so it is vital to be savvy together with your buying. Some locations to keep away from needs to be apparent; do not buy from the man promoting telephones on a avenue nook, for instance, however others could be hit or miss.

eBay is a well known supply for purchasing something used and there is a large choice of telephones available. A few of these are offered by refurbishing firms that commerce solely in shopping for and promoting used handsets. Others are simply common individuals making an attempt to dump their outdated gadgets after they improve. The result’s that it may well typically really feel like panning for gold, in search of these nuggets you really need. Verify the subsequent part for extra tips about shopping for on eBay.

My greatest recommendation although is to go to trusted firms that purchase outdated telephones, refurbish them and promote them on. I’ve used MusicMagpie within the UK and had no issues. Its on-line catalogue is huge, it clearly lists the situation of the telephones, each handset is manufacturing unit reset and also you get a 12-month guarantee with each buy. Costs is perhaps a tad increased than you’d discover on eBay however the peace of thoughts greater than makes up for it. Gazelle presents an identical service within the US, though we’ve not examined it ourselves so cannot vouch for the general high quality of the service.

Learn extraFinest cellphone trade-in choices for iPhones and Android telephones


MusicMagpie’s product pages make it very straightforward to see the situation of the precise cellphone you are shopping for.

MusicMagpie/Screenshot by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Verify the main points

Whether or not you are shopping for from eBay, Amazon Market or wherever else, it is vital to pay shut consideration to what you are really getting. Learn rigorously what the itemizing says, together with any small print that is perhaps hidden additional down, in amongst different particulars. It could be that phrases like “nonfunctioning” or “battery defective” are deliberately buried to trick individuals into shopping for a cellphone that now not works. They will additionally seemingly clarify whether or not you are getting the unique charging cable, packaging and what kind of nicks and scratches you possibly can count on to see.

Use your widespread sense right here — if a $1,000 iPhone is being offered for under $100, there’s most likely one thing fishy happening. Do not be the man who purchased an image of an Xbox One for $735


Regardless of having the newest software program put in, this Galaxy S6’s final safety replace was utilized in 2018. That implies that there are two years of latest exploits that this cellphone is vulnerable to.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Be sure it nonetheless will get safety updates

I will make this as clear as potential: Don’t purchase a cellphone that now not will get safety updates from its producer. Unsupported telephones are open to every kind of vulnerabilities that can provide hackers quick access to each single piece of knowledge in your handset — and even management it fully. These financial institution particulars, these cute pics of your youngsters, these attractive selfies you despatched to your companion — all could possibly be accessed and stolen.

Most Android cellphone producers are inclined to help their handsets for 2 to 3 years. Apple takes that additional, nevertheless, supporting even 2015’s iPhone 6S ($128 at Again Market) with the newest iOS 13. 

It is irritating that telephones aren’t supported for longer, because the {hardware} stays completely succesful, however the outdated software program makes the telephones weak. I lately in contrast the 2017 Galaxy S8 to the brand-new Moto G Energy and whereas the S8 carried out beautifully, it is proper on the cusp of being reduce off from Samsung’s common updates, that means that it will not be lengthy earlier than it turns into steadily much less secure to make use of. 

Your greatest guess is to have a look at telephones that got here out throughout the final two years and are due to this fact seemingly nonetheless receiving safety updates. While you discover a cellphone that fits, google the mannequin title and try to discover out if it is nonetheless undoubtedly getting updates, and if there’s a sign of how for much longer it’s going to get them for. Corporations aren’t forthcoming with data about after they’re chopping a product free, however by taking a look at what different fashions are nonetheless being supported you can also make a good estimate.


The Galaxy S9, being a more moderen mannequin than the S8, will seemingly proceed getting safety updates for longer.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Galaxy S8 ($205 at Again Market), for instance, continues to be listed on Samsung’s help web page as getting updates, nevertheless it seemingly will not be for for much longer. It is moderately secure to imagine due to this fact that the S9 (launched a yr after the S8) could have a minimum of one other yr of secure use out of it. Shopping for a used S9 may cost a little somewhat greater than a used S8, nevertheless it’s an funding that’ll be safer for you in the long term.

Be sure when your cellphone of alternative arrives that you just totally manufacturing unit reset it your self, and ensure to examine for all accessible software program updates earlier than doing the rest.

In case you’re eager to avoid wasting money by shopping for used, ensure to take a look at our full article on the safety recommendation you want to pay attention to. Additionally see how the outdated S8 compares to the current Moto G Energy. In case you’re not eager on shopping for used however nonetheless do not need to spend all of your financial savings, check out our roundup of one of the best telephones underneath $200.


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