Are you planning on buying yourself a brand new phone but struggling to afford the cost of it? Wish you could own the latest iPhone but your budget doesn’t let you get close to one.
What are Refurbished Devices?
A refurbished phone would have had a previous owner but, unlike a second-hand phone sold by an individual, it is sold by a network, manufacturer, or retailer who will have repaired it, run checks, and ensured that it’s a certain standard. Refurbished phones are often placed into quality-determined grades when they are sold, this gives you an idea of what to expect.
A refurbished handset may have been returned by a customer who changed their mind within a cooling-off period after purchase. It may also have been faulty and returned for repairs, or sold back to the company before an upgrade.
The phone will be cleared of all data from its previous owner before it’s sent over to you, because of the Data Protection Act, and will come with a warranty that protects you in the case that faults appear.
What are the Grades of Refurbished Devices?
Although different agencies in different countries might follow their own grading system, most of them follow a common grading system. This is described in detail below.
Buying this grade of devices is practically like buying a new phone as the handset shouldn’t have marks or scratches. In most cases, it will come with its original box and accessories too.
When buying this grade of device, you’ll be able to tell that the handset isn’t brand new as it might have a couple of marks or scratches. However, it will be in full working order and any damage should be cosmetic only.
Devices in this category will look quite clearly used but should be in full working order. It can still perform its tasks just as well so don’t be quick to disregard these.
Phones are sometimes described as “like new”, “perfect” or “nearly perfect” which means exactly what their names suggest. Some agencies will also sell devices with lower than perfect battery life or such problems with lowered prices and grades, so remember to look out for specific faults.
What Makes Refurbished Devices So Appealing?
Many factors affect the popularity of refurbished devices. This article by the IDC will give you some insight: “ International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019 which by itself is quite significant. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new forecast by IDC projects used smartphone shipments to reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate, a net growth of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.” Here’s a thorough list explaining why more and more people are shifting towards buying refurbished devices.
1. The Money You Can Save
By buying a refurbished device, you can save ridiculous amounts of money. With goods being sold at much less than the market value, you are likely to achieve top of the line goods with a not very top of the line budget.
There won’t be a need for you to take personal loans or EMI’s to cover your purchase anymore by simply choosing a refurbished device over a brand new one. You can spend this money on other important things instead of splurging on a single product.
According to EE, you can save almost 240 pounds by buying an almost untouched device or up to 350 pounds by buying a refurbished rather than a new device. When it comes down to it, this is a lot of money saved.
2. Environmental Benefits
You’ve always heard that the three R’s constituted Reuse, Reduce and Recycle and might have even been an active participant in these three activities. However, when it comes to your mobile device are you following it?. A smartphone is made up of 62 different metals and metalloids, which all contribute to the essential components of a device. To procure these precious metals and produce a single device, nearly 34kg of ore is mined, 100 liters of water, as well as 20.5g of cyanide, used.
To put this into context, IDC has found that around 1.4 billion smartphones were shipped globally in 2018—which means that in the year 2018, 34 billion kg of ore would have been mined, a tenth of a trillion liters of water and 20.5 million kg of cyanide, just to produce these devices.
Just by looking at these numbers, you can judge how much of an impact the mobile phone manufacturing industry has on pollution and how many resources are consumed for the production of a single device. So to do your part for the environment, remember to re-use phones and thus save our planet.
3. Legal Backing
Unlike second-hand phones, refurbished phones are thoroughly tested by the manufacturer before resale. This ensures that your device receives professional testing and maintenance before you receive it. On top of this, it comes with a warranty in case you find something wrong with it.
Finally, these devices are treated as legally covered purchases when sold by the manufacturer or affiliates like OzMobiles in Australia ( https://ozmobiles.com.au/ ) and are thus legally covered in the Consumer Protection Act or its equivalent in most countries.
The few cons to keep in mind are:
- You might not receive it in the original box with the original accessories
- The price might be higher than a second-hand phone
- It is harder to insure
- It will likely have signs of use
However, if you buy a device from Grade A or “untouched”, you can still prevent most of these cons at the expense of a little more money.
In the end, buying a refurbished device depends on your preferences. If you really want a new device but can’t afford it, this may be the right option for you.