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Phone Mythbusters: Five Things You Didn’t Know About Pre-Owned Phones

Contrary to popular belief, pre-owned phones are often just as usable and convenient as new phones, but without the price tag.

Are pre-owned phones good enough for you? Smartphones are getting increasingly more sophisticated, and while prices become more reasonable and the range of available devices widens, the rate at which technology advances makes current gadgets virtually obsolete in less than a year. Plus, keeping pace with early adopters of new tech toys and gadgets is tireless and expensive.

Many consumers simply want a solid device to make a reliable phone call so buying a pre-owned phone could be the answer to their troubles. If you are investigating a more cost-effective route to smartphone ownership, here are five things you probably didn’t know about pre-owned phones:

1. Not Broken or Defective, Just Returned

A pre-owned phone can be any phone that was returned to the retailer or manufacturer. It is then “fixed,” reset to the manufacturer’s factory settings, and then resold for a reduced price as “pre-owned.” Many retailers and carriers will offer a 30-day money back guarantee with the purchase of new phones, so a large portion of pre-owned units are not defective, just unwanted and returned within the prescribed time. Carriers will then resell them at a discount.

2. You May Already Own Pre-Owned

May the buyer beware! Some carriers and retailers will sell these returned phones at full retail price since they are virtually new. In 2011, Apple was sued for allegedly selling pre-owned phones as though they were new and unopened, BGR reports. “Only when the customers discovered that their manufacturer warranties expired less than one year from their respective dates of purchase did they realize something was awry,” the publication wrote.

If it is possible to end up with such a device after paying full price, then it makes buying cheaper pre-owned phones, from trusted outlets, even more appealing.

3. Pre-Owned Is Green

Buying recycled or used electronics cuts down significantly on tech waste. As mentioned above, new phones are produced at an alarming rate. According to Forbes and the Environmental Literacy Council, the average lifespan for a smartphone is approximately 18 months. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that 90 percent of phones purchased in a single year will be thrown out without proper disposal, leaving only 10 percent to be recycled.

4. Identifying Pre-Owned

If you are dead set against pre-owned, there are a couple of ways to spot them long before you make a purchase. The most obvious way to determine whether a phone is pre-owned is by its warranty, because pre-owned phones will usually have shorter warranties than new, unboxed phones. A pre-owned device warranty will generally expire 30 to 90 days from the point of purchase.

Buying pre-owned from carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile can be tricky. These phones are often higher-priced, locked versions and tethered to the specific carrier, thereby eliminating any hope of obtaining an unlocked phone for use on another network.

5. Savings

This is the most obvious reason to consider a pre-owned phone: they can save you quite a bit of cash. Most pre-owned phones are at least 25 to 30 percent cheaper than full-price retail phones.

Buying pre-owned can be a smart and efficient way to get the most value and mileage out of your next smartphone upgrade.

Do you own a pre-owned phone? Are you adamant about never purchasing one? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr




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