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Used Phones
February 3, 2017

5 Red Flags To Look for When You See Second Hand Mobile Phones for Sale

Imagine buying a phone, taking it home, and finding out it’s useless!  A second-hand mobile phone can look like a great deal on the surface, and often can be.  Businesses sell surplus equipment regularly, and cell phones are sometimes returned by people who didn’t like the model or just don’t want or need the phone anymore.They really can be a great bargain, but buyer beware--buying a used cell phone comes with many pitfalls that consumers should be on the lookout for.  Here are five signs that should be setting off alarms and sirens when dealing for a used phone.

1. Not Sold By a Reputable Dealer

There are a lot of reputable dealers for used cell phones, particularly cellular providers, who offer refurbished phones on their websites and in their stores.  Many other sellers, such as Amazon and EBay, have policies in place to protect buyers, as well as user reviews of sellers to check out.However, many sellers also do so privately.  This could be a red flag, especially on sites such as Craigslist.  If you are buying a phone from an unauthorized dealer, be prepared to check the seller’s integrity, as well as thoroughly check the phone before handing over any money.In fact, one way to ensure you are buying a cell phone from a seller with integrity is to check the prices for the phone, both new and used.  If you’re not being charged a fair price for the phone, that probably means you’re being ripped off.

2 It Has No Inspection Certification

Inspection certification is one way private sellers can prove their integrity.  A seller with integrity will either have this done already or have no problem doing it at a buyer’s request.  Using a service such as this one, vendors and consumers can check the phone to make sure it is working and has not been stolen.Inspection certification proves you bought the phone, serving as an invoice between buyer and seller.  This is especially useful for businesses that have a high volume of buying or selling used phones.

3 Seller Won’t Meet Somewhere the Phone Can Be Tested

If you’re buying a used phone from an individual or from Craigslist, one way to protect yourself from fraud is to meet the seller in a place the phone can be tested.  While a store for the phone or carrier is ideal, many cafes and other public places have free WiFi, and phones can be checked there as well.  If the seller doesn’t want to meet you in a place where the phone’s functions can be tested, it’s a good idea to pull out of the deal.

second hand mobile phones for sale

4 Seller Won’t Provide Information About the Phone

A seller who won’t give details about the phone, such as IMEI or a serial number, should be avoided.  These are vital details as they can determine if a phone is stolen or fake.  IMEI and serial numbers can be looked up online.Other details to look for are whether or not the seller is offering the phone’s accessories.  If not, that is also a red flag that the phone might be stolen.  Certain accessories come with the phone, so a seller that doesn’t have them probably obtained the phone illegally.Fake phones are especially a hazard since they look so much like the real thing, and may even pass for it and work properly for a little while.  Signs a phone is fake include subtle differences in the design or in the position of the numbers, or the phone’s model nameplate misspelled or in the wrong place.

5 Phone is Locked

This can happen in two ways.  The first is a phone which is locked to a specific network.  Many providers sell phones that can only get their service - so a T-Mobile phone will only use T-Mobile services, while a Sprint phone will only use Sprint services.  Make sure the used phone you are going to buy is not locked to a specific provider, or is at least locked to your provider.

second hand mobile phones for sale

Anti-theft is another way phones can be locked, and this can be difficult, especially in the case of iDevices.  Anti-theft locks require a password to get past, and Apple’s Activation Lock protection is so strong that some people can’t get into their own phones!  If you are buying an iDevice secondhand, you can check the Activation Lock with Apple on  You can also find other information about the phone, such as whether or not it is still under warranty.Buying a used phone can work for many different types of people.  Perhaps you’re buying one for someone who really liked the setup or shape of the older model.  Maybe you’re looking for a simpler model for an elderly relative.  Or maybe you just don’t want to pay full price for that expensive phone.  Before you buy, protect your investment by following these tips, and you’ll minimize the chance your new phone is someone else’s old or stolen junk!

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