Here’s what you need to look at
So you’ve made a decision to buy a used phone. Congratulations! Depending on how good you are at haggling, you’re probably getting a better deal that way than just buying a brand new phone from the mall. But like most things, buying used phones has its own positives and negatives, and if you’re not careful, you might end up getting scammed. That’s where we come in – here’s a few, practical tips when buying a used phone and avoid getting scammed:
Meeting face-to-face is best
While we have absolutely nothing against buying and selling online when it comes to used goods especially phones, physical meetups is the way to go. With very few buyer protections available for buying online save for the use of PayPal for refunds, we wholeheartedly recommend doing a meetup with any buyer or seller.
Of course that’s not always possible – many people don’t have time or are literally too far away to purchase a phone that they like from another seller. The best way to get around this is to ask around and “legit check” a person, if possible in whatever group or website that they posted in. Some sites like TipidCP allow other users to post buyer feedback, for example. It’s a little harder to do in Facebook, but if you’re dead set on buying without meeting up with the person, that’s what you need to go through.
Ask for detailed, clear photos of the phone
As you’re talking with the seller, you’ll need to gauge the condition of the phone before you commit time and money to meet up with them for it. Ask the seller for clear, detailed photos of the phone that they’re selling, if possible outside in natural light. This way you’ll be able to spot dents, dings and other damage that the seller may not have declared on his original ad.
Ask the seller for the IMEI code for their phone as well, as you can find out additional information about the device this way. You can, for instance, check if the phone is stolen and its IMEI blocked by the original owner.
Negotiate the value of the phone depending on its condition
Once you’ve seen detailed photos of the phone, you can start haggling with the seller on the price of his unit. Don’t be an asshole and lowball the hell out of the seller – determine the fair market value of the device they’re selling by taking a look at similar ads, and negotiate with them on the price depending on the condition of the phone. Small cosmetic dings and dents don’t drive down market value too much, but scratches on the screen and larger damage will.
Settle on a price that you’re both comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to tell them that it can change IF you spot damage that they didn’t declare or take photos of when you finally meet up for it. That being said, don’t be that guy and haggle for a lower price once you meet with them and you don’t find anything else wrong with the phone – that’s just bad manners.
Bring your own SD card, USB cable and SIM card, and test everything
Once you meet up with the seller in person, you’ll need to inspect the phone thoroughly. Ideally you’ll want to have a checklist of all the cosmetic damage that they declared when they posted the ad. Don’t be shy and test every aspect of the phone, from charging, to sound, to the SIM card (useful to find out if it’ll work on your preferred network) to the microSD card slot. Be polite and ask the seller for a little time to test everything, they’ll usually relent. If they don’t, then something’s up with the deal.
Close the deal, and give feedback if possible
Once you’re done with the inspection, close the deal. If you don’t find anything else wrong with the phone, then pay the agreed price that you negotiated with the seller. If you uncover something else with the phone, try to haggle the price down depending on how big the issue you found with the phone was. Don’t be too harsh of a negotiator and try to find a happy medium for both of you. If you reach an impasse, don’t be afraid to take a pass at the deal if you’re not comfortable with it.
If you do go through with the deal, don’t forget to leave feedback in whatever way possible with the person that sold you your new phone. If you’re using Facebook, don’t be shy and commend the person in the group for your deal. If there’s something wrong with the phone you bought in any way, don’t air your problems in a Facebook group right away – try to sort things out privately first, with a mediator if possible.
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