Should You Buy a Used Phone? (Speaking From Experience)

We all want to cut costs and buy the best possible phone at the cheapest price. It sounds cool to have a flagship phone for half its price, right? The only problem is the little voice in the mind telling you to avoid it.

The feeling of something going wrong presses so hard on your heart. You end up in a dilemma not knowing whether to go for it or avoid it. It feels like that split second moment you are in the shower, you have opened the tap but no drop of water has fallen on you yet.

You know it is coming but you can’t tell how it will be. Lucky for you, this article is all about how to navigate the narrow path between buying a used phone and buying a brand new one. All the tips are from someone who has bought a second hand phone before.

Is it Safe?

Safety first, isn’t it? When it comes to buying a used phone, the biggest worry has to be if the phone will work. Most times, the assumption is a used phone has problems. The assumption is not wrong but again it is not entirely true.

Most used phones have problems. It makes sense when someone decides to sell a phone because it has a problem. If the phone is perfectly fine, who would bother to sell it?

This is the basic understanding with all used phones. However, it is not always true. Some people sell their used phones because they want to raise money for whatever purpose. The phone they sell may be in perfect condition but they still sell it.

Related Post: When Should You Buy a New Phone?

Others sell their phones because it is a business. Their work is to buy and sell second hand phones. Therefore, it is not necessarily true that a used phone is bad. Some used phones are bad others are good.

In the end, buying a used phone is a gamble. And just like the real world gambling, you either win or lose. No one can say it is safe to buy a second hand phone but neither can anyone rule it out to be a complete worthless venture.

If you love taking risks, you won’t bother so much about the safety of buying a used phone. If you are afraid of risks, go buy a new phone.

Best Places to Buy a Used Phone

In case you are still interested in buying a second hand phone, the next big step is knowing where to buy it from. Having already mentioned that buying a used phone is a gamble, you wouldn’t want to gamble with where you buy it also.

At least for the seller, you can find a trustworthy person or company. Getting the right place to buy your used phone will significantly decrease the chances of things going wrong. So, where do you buy a used phone?


One of the best places you can buy a used phone is on online stores. Online stores are so popular nowadays and they stock so many used phones. Buying a used phone from an online store is advantageous in that most phones sold there are verified.

The online store owners know that if they sell crappy used phones, their reputation will take a hit and lose many customers. Therefore, they will go far and wide to make sure the second hand phones stocked there are in good condition.

However, despite the efforts by online stores to curb the selling of spoilt second hand phones, sellers still manage to sell defective used phones. In the end, you will have to do your own detective work.

Most online stores are a good place to buy used phones. Be it Amazon Refurbished, eBay, Best Buy, Wallmart, Jumia or any other online store. The two factors to pay attention to are the return policy of the online retailer and warranty on the phone you are buying.

If there are no returns, don’t buy unless you are ready to bear the consequences. If there is no warranty, tread carefully.

Trusted Circles

Trusted circles are by far the best place to buy a second hand phone. Trusted circle are people who are close to you. They can be relatives, friends of friends, classmates, workmates, church mates etc

Buying a used phone from people close to you is great since you can always reach out to them in case the phone has an issue. In addition, such people are most likely genuine. They know they will still meet you after selling you that second hand phone.

Read Also: How Most People Lose Their Smartphones Nowadays

The only problem is that finding a person close to you who is selling the exact type of phone you want is hard. Even just finding a close person to you who is selling a phone is hard. But if you ever get such an opportunity, grab it.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

When you decide to buy a used phone, you have given yourself over to a risky endeavor. You must be watchful. Tread carefully. Don’t be a victim. Here are a few red flags to warn you in case you stray too far.

No Flaws

If someone selling you a second hand phone avoids mentioning the flaws of the phone, be wary. Chances are there are too many flaws that he feels if he mentions them, you might not want to buy the phone anymore.

When negotiating with the seller, ask him to tell you the flaws. Watch to see how he responds. If he hesitates to say them or he minimizes them, take caution. Most guilty sellers will try to justify the flaws or make them look small.

They may say things like ‘It is a used phone, it must have errors.’ Genuine sellers will let you know the problems a phone has. And the biggest clue of a genuine seller is he will not try to convince you.

If you ask a genuine seller about the flaws of a used phone, he will tell you the flaws and wait to hear your view.

No Papers

When you buy a second hand phone, it must come with original purchase documents. Any other narrations of why the original purchase papers cannot be provided are to be ignored. Some sellers may be genuine in claiming they can’t provide the papers, but don’t be the one to carry the burden of their irresponsibility.

Read Also: Should You Upgrade Your iPhone Every Year?

Most stolen phones are sold without original documentation. On the original documentation, check the price and shop where the phone was bought. This will also help you know if the seller is charging too much for the phone or not.

Questionable History of the Seller

If the seller has a questionable history or they are hiding their history, tread cautiously. Most fraud sellers will hide their history by using a fake profile. See how many phones the seller has sold before.

If there is no history of the seller, ask for it. Take your time and do the detective work. It pays.

Rush to Close the Deal

It is very common for con artists to try to sell a product as quickly as possible and vanish. If you find the seller rushing you, be careful. Normally, a genuine seller will let you make your choice in peace.

A seller who is constantly asking you to send money is a red flag. A genuine seller will be more interested in knowing your choice rather than asking you to buy.


Buying a second hand phone is a personal choice. It is a risky venture that some will go for and others will stay away. In the end, it is safest to buy a brand new phone that you trust. Remember the saying ‘Cheap is expensive’.