How to Safely Buy a Used Smartphone
African-Americans rely heavily in their smartphones. We use these devices for everything from email to banking to reinforcing our faith. So buying used technology like a smartphone, laptop or tablet could be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Saving money is the objective for African-Americans but saving yourself some headaches ranks right up there as well.
How should black people buy used technology? What should we be looking for? How do we avoid scams and just outright junk?
First of all stay away from Craigslist. I am not saying you can’t get some good deals but Craigslist is crawling with scam artists. Why take the chance? Look into refurbished products. The refurbished technology market is a great place to shop and many of the tech devices are factory refurbished. This means that they are repaired and re-conditioned by the maker to their standards. And many come with the proper guarantees and warranties to ease your fears. Some products you find on the refurbished market are simply returns that have never been used. Others had minor damage from shipping or were flawed and repaired for re-sale.
You probably know that a new smartphone could run you as much as $750 for the new top of the line models. As a matter of fact Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone will break the bank at over $900. You can sometimes get a discount on a new phone by signing a contract but you still pay in the long run.
As I said, the best kind of used smartphone is a refurbished phone. They are fully tested, factory reset, and certified. Buying a refurbished phone, usually last year’s model, is close to the experience of buying a new phone. Let’s be real, there are often minor upgrades to this years model over last year’s. But the price difference can be hundreds of dollars. And do you need all the fancy tricks, bells and whistles anyway?
Buying a refurbished iPhone from Apple is a great move. Apple takes great care and pride in it’s used products. For example, your used iPhone will have a new battery, the outer case will look and feel brand new and probably is. It will come in a brand new box with all the needed accessories. All that and a one year warranty. Try that on Craigslist!
If possible always buy directly from the manufacturer or certified re-seller. These companies are highly motivated to sell problem free used products.
If you buy a used phone from another source make sure you follow these tips.
- Check the device throughly for damage and functionality. Make sure it works as it should. Sort of take it for a test drive.
- Check for tell tale signs of it being stolen like being unable to unlock it or not having accessories like the charging cord.
- Check for contacts, messages and photos on board. This may indicate the phone was lost or stolen.
- Apple iPhone comes with several apps that can only be deleted through jail breaking. These apps are camera, photos, music, clock, settings, messages, phone, mail, Safari, App Store, weather, reminders, calculator, calendar, iTunes, Newsstand, videos, Compass, Game Center, contacts, stocks, voice memos, Notes, Passbook and Maps. If any of these are missing don’t buy!
- Search the iPhone for “Cydia.” This application is present on almost all jailbroken iPhones as it gives access to Cydia apps.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer and use the iTunes “Restore” function. Once the restore process is complete, you can be certain your phone is not jailbroken.
Never buy a phone that is not fully charged.
Finally the U.S .wireless industry trade group, CTIA, has launched a tool called the Stolen Phone Checker, which lets you look up whether a phone has been reported lost or stolen. You simply go to the website and enter the IMEI, MEID or ESN number. Keep in mind that these companies keep a database of stolen phones and will not allow the phone to connect to any service if it is reported stolen.