It’s hard to resist a shiny new iPhone, until you look at the price. But you can get a new cell phone and save hundreds of dollars by buying a used one.
A used iPhone 11 with 64 GB of storage, for example, sells for less than the retail price of a new iPhone 11 (excluding trade-in) on Swappa, an online marketplace for mobile phones and tablets. ‘opportunity.
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The first step in buying a used iPhone is finding a trusted site, which can be tricky. Craigslist is rife with scams and it can be hard to tell if new online retailers are legitimate. Next, once you’ve settled into a site and started buying phones, it’s important to ask the right questions before you hit the “Buy” button. We’ll cover that in a minute.
The best places to buy a used iPhone
Look for a retailer who has buyer protections. Seller ratings and detailed phone descriptions are also helpful when buying a phone online, as is the ability to ask the seller questions.
Here are some trusted places to buy a used cell phone:
Amazon: You can buy used and refurbished phones such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and LG, and sellers on Amazon are rated and reviewed by other buyers. Certified refurbished phones sold through Amazon have a 90-day warranty. Warranties on other phones vary by vendor.
Swappa: The site reviews ads to make sure the device’s serial number is clean (read: not stolen) and requires sellers to upload photos of the phone, turned on, alongside a personalized ad code to make sure the seller has the device. Swappa uses PayPal for all payments.
Gazelle: Each device is inspected to make sure the phone is charging properly, the speakerphone and microphone are working, the touchscreen is functional, and the phone is connecting to Wi-Fi. You buy the phone directly from from Gazelle, rather than an individual vendor, and there is a 30-day return window for all devices.
Your operator: Most mobile operators sell refurbished phones. These phones can be a bit more expensive than what you find on other sites. But buying from a carrier means you know the phone will work with your carrier. You also know that it is not stolen and usually has a limited warranty. It might give you more peace of mind than buying that used iPhone on Craigslist.
What to ask before buying a used iPhone
Buying from a trusted site takes some of the risk out of buying a used phone, but you still need to make sure you can activate and use the phone when it arrives.
What is the serial number? Also known as ESN or IMEI. This is crucial information to obtain as you will need it to verify if the phone has been registered as lost or stolen. If so, you will not be able to activate the phone. The serial number will also tell you if the phone will work with your carrier. Most operators allow you to check this online, but you can also go to a store or call customer service.
Is the phone the subject of a contract or a rental agreement? Contracted or leased phones cannot be reactivated until the agreement is fulfilled. So if the seller has another year on the contract, it will take at least a year before you can activate the phone.
Has the phone suffered water damage? Moisture erodes the components of a phone over time. So even though the device looks and works fine now, it won’t last long if it has been exposed to water. Unfortunately, you usually can’t look at a phone and see if it’s water damaged, so you trust the seller to be honest.
Is it Safe to Buy a Used iPhone?
To be safe when buying a used iPhone, do not pay in cash or directly from your checking account. Instead, choose a payment method with built-in protections, like PayPal. Ramon Khan took this route when he bought a used phone on Swappa.
“I made kind of a triple threat deal here in a way,” Khan said. “I went through a site where buyer protection was already built in, I used PayPal to protect my purchase and I also used my Discover card, who issues refunds regardless of a website’s refund policy. “