You’ve made the decision to upgrade your iPhone, but you’re having trouble finding the right deal on the model that you want by cruising Craigslist and the daily classifieds for pre-loved phones. It’s time to turn to the Internet, where the selection is plentiful and the prices are competitive. At the same time, it’s important to be aware of the risks of buying online—such as the risk that you end up with a defective or non-functioning phone.
eBay and Amazon are two of the most popular places to buy used iPhones, and for good reason: they offer extensive money-back guarantees, and eBay also offers payment protection. But they’re also two great examples of the biggest risk of buying online.
A downside of using eBay and Amazon is that neither platform has an extended vetting process for their sellers, and that all sales are third-party. This means that the seller is in charge of packaging and shipping his own used phones, so an item could be packaged incorrectly and damaged in transit, or even shipped with existing damage, as there’s no pre-check done by the platform. You could also be at risk for ending up with a stolen phone that you can’t activate if you buy from a seller who doesn’t check IMEI numbers.
Luckily, phone testing and certification services such as PhoneCheck exist to rule out phone damage and confirm quality. For instance, PhoneCheck certifies phones after checking for:
This extensive check rules out all the common problems of buying online. Here are three favorite vendors who only sell tested and certified used iPhones:
Swappa exists for one reason, and that’s to trade technology with ease. You can buy, sell, or straight-up trade your electronics, which means you could turn that old laptop or unused VR system that’s been sitting in your closet into a shiny pre-owned iPhone. All of their merchandise is certified and thoroughly tested for quality. And because Swappa is a small business, they’re able to focus on customer service in a way that the big companies can’t quite match.
Swappa’s major downside is that they only accept one payment method: PayPal. While you get buyer protection via PayPal, some buyers prefer to use direct checkout via credit card, Amazon Payments, Venmo, or other payment options. If you don’t have PayPal, you’re out of luck.
Gazelle buys and sells used phones of all kinds, and they’re a great place to get a certified and tested pre-owned iPhone. For altruistically-minded consumers, they offer the Gazelle for Good program, where you can donate your phone for charity or even kick off your own phone drive. They also offer a referral program, where you get $10 for each friend you refer. Their selection of iPhones is top-notch, featuring everything from the 5S to the 8 Plus, so you can go old-school or choose all the latest features at your whim.
Newegg’s biggest strengths are competitive prices and a huge selection of tested and certified devices. You can get used and refurbished iPhone models from as far back as the 4S, and as new as the 7 Plus. They grade each pre-owned or refurbished phone using a Condition chart, which assigns a grade of A to F depending on functionality and aesthetic condition. This gives you an easy way to tell a phone’s condition at a glance, and gives you the option of downgrading for a better price if you’re working on a budget. One thing’s for sure: you don’t need to worry about “surprise” poor condition phones when you choose Newegg, as they’re very much up-front about the items that they sell.
The verdict? Newegg tops the list of reputable sources for used iPhones, with large selections, pre-tested and certified merchandise, and low prices. No matter where you shop, though, make sure that you’re taking precautions to avoid ending up with a poor quality phone. Buying online can be a great experience if you do your research and buy only certified pre-owned iPhones, or it can be a disaster if you buy the cheapest phone you see and end up with a dud.
Now that you know the most reputable places to buy used iPhones online, you can get started tracking down your dream phone. Looking to sell your old phone while you’re in the process of upgrading? Increase its value first by putting it through diagnostics and certification. PhoneCheck makes the process quick and easy!