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Buyer Beware: Dark side of Purchasing Pre-owned Phones from Flipkart, Amazon and Cashify

Refurbished Mobile Phone: Planning to buy your first refurbished smartphone but still confused? Here are some things you need to know before investing in a second-hand device.

Written By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Updated on: October 30, 2023 17:31 IST
refurbish smartphone
Image Source : FILE Buyer Beware: Dark side of Purchasing Pre-owned Phones from Flipkart, Amazon and Cashify

Refurbished smartphones have gained popularity recently due to the emergence of reputable resellers in the market. In this article, we will let you know what refurbished smartphones are and provide insights on purchasing these devices, enabling you to save money while acquiring your desired smartphone at a discounted price. 

As you navigate to Amazon or Flipkart, you may come across smartphones labelled with a ‘Refurbished’ tag in their product names. But is it a good idea to buy a refurbished device? Here is everything you need to know

What are Refurbished smartphones?

Refurbished phones are cost-effective alternatives to older smartphones with minor physical damage or opened packaging. When purchasing them, you may encounter terms like:

  1. Renewed
  2. Pre-owned
  3. Reconditioned

These terms are often used interchangeably and generally imply that you are not the original owner of the phone; it had a previous owner who may have returned it to the store or the network carrier. The phone may not be faulty, as some buyers return it after unboxing because it didn't meet their preferences.

In other scenarios, a phone might have had a manufacturing defect, which was subsequently rectified. After the repair, the phone is categorized as ‘refurbished’ and resold at a reduced price point.

There is also a category known as ‘manufacturer refurbished’, which differs from repairs conducted by local repair shops. In this case, the manufacturer repairs the phone using original components, certifies the device's functionality, and restores it to a ‘like new’ condition, similar to what the original equipment manufacturers do. Many buyers seek out these manufacturer-refurbished smartphones, as they come with a high level of trust and assurance.

Retailers selling refurbished smartphone 

Retailers typically maintain rigorous quality standards for their refurbished phone inventory, ensuring that these devices are fully operational before they are offered for sale. The testing process commonly includes a thorough check of the phone's buttons and camera functionality, battery charging capability, audio quality, touchscreen responsiveness, and its ability to connect to Wi-Fi and 4G/5G networks. This ensures that refurbished phones meet the same performance standards as the new devices.

This is worth noting that some individuals trade in their old phones when upgrading to a new model, or they may change their mind within the 30-day return period provided by the retailer. In such cases, the refurbished phone is essentially unused and in near-new condition.

Major distinction of refurbished smartphones

The primary distinction is that most refurbished handsets are not packaged as new and typically do not include standard phone accessories. While you might be fortunate enough to receive a phone with a charger and SIM key, it's unlikely that the box will contain items like headphones or additional extras.

Should you be buying a refurbished smartphone? 

Selecting a refurbished device carefully and buying it from a trusted retailer should ensure a satisfactory experience. But if you are buying a device from an unknown or reliable source, there are chances that the device may not be secured and it might hack your data as well. We strongly advise performing a factory reset on any second-hand device before using it, for added peace of mind.

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