Are Secondhand Phones Safe?

Let’s say you’ve had your smartphone for 3 years. You’ve been meaning to replace it but you’re on a tight budget. So you consider selling it and just buying a newer model. And since your current phone is still very much usable, then you also think about selling it. So what exactly do you need to know before buying or selling a secondhand phone? 

Are secondhand phones safe?

When buying secondhand phones, you need to consider a couple of things first. Here are three things to keep in mind when you buy a secondhand phone. 

First, you’ll have to research what the value is for the secondhand phone you’re eyeing. There will be sellers who will be asking for more than what the phone is valued at so it’s important to know what the current retail price is as well as what most sellers are pricing the particular phone you are looking to buy secondhand. You also have to be careful of suspiciously low prices as this might mean that the seller is looking to get rid of bad or stolen merchandise. This might not be the case for all but it’s best to be wary. You can check the average resell value by searching for the product on

Second, check the seller’s reliability and return policy. This is where you have to do your research well. If you’re buying the phone from someone you know such as relatives or close friends then you can gauge their credibility based on your relationship with them. If you’re buying from a stranger or a secondhand store, check if they’ve sold anything before and if they have any good reviews. Look at customer feedback or ask around if someone else has bought from them. Always ask what their return policy is or if they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Third, keep receipts. You can keep your proof of purchase, yes. But when we say receipts, we mean the details. For online transactions, it’s best to keep track of who you’re buying from. Take screenshots of important parts of your conversation such as payment, tracking numbers for couriers, photo of the seller or store, etc. 

While we do support buying secondhand, we also promote doing so responsibly as there are risks that you have to keep in mind when buying a secondhand smartphone. Though the reminders above come in handy, they alone won’t protect you from being scammed by a stranger or losing your money if you buy from a store that doesn’t offer buyer protection. 

Want to sell your secondhand phone? 

If you have no clue as to how to sell your secondhand phone, then this can serve as a guide on how to do it. 

  1. Check how much you can sell your phone for. You can check how much the value of your phone is to see whether it’s actually worth selling or if you could just throw it in the e-waste bin for recycling. 
  2. Take note of any damages to the hardware and software. Broken screens, dented metal, fast-draining battery, or any damages that weren’t there when you bought it brand new should be taken into account. To avoid any dissatisfied customers, it would be best to say what’s wrong with the phone ahead of time so they won’t feel scammed or blindsided. 
  3. Back up your phone data onto your computer or hard drive. Make sure to have a hard drive or a computer with enough space to store your data such as your contacts, messages, etc. before factory resetting the device. If you’ve purchased a replacement phone prior to selling your old one, then you can transfer all your files to the phone you just bought. 
  4. Do a factory reset. Doing a factory reset ensures that all data is wiped out and the phone’s software is restored like brand new. Apps that you’ve been using will be gone. Memory cards and internal storage will be erased. That’s why it is crucial to back everything up before you do a reset. 
  5. Checking if the accessories still work. This is optional if you want to sell the smartphone by itself. But if you do have accessories that came with the phone like a charger, a charging cable, or headphones, then best to check if they are in good condition before opting to include them in the sale. 
  6. Post it on a secondhand website or tell your friends! Find a site where you want to sell the item that best suits your preferences. Your item might even end up on You can also tell your friends that you’re selling your secondhand phone, in case they know someone who’s in the market for refurbished phones. 

What could be a better option than buying secondhand phones?

For the reasons outlined above, we definitely encourage buying secondhand, specifically by buying refurbished phones from a reputable source. Big companies like Apple and Samsung provide official refurbishers too so if there are any problems with the phone, they have customer support, and buyer protection is also guaranteed. 

The great thing about buying refurbished phones is that they are significantly more affordable than brand new and they are quality-assured. They can be a little bit pricier than when you buy secondhand from a stranger, but you’ll be wasting a lot more money if you end up with a phone that doesn’t work. Buying refurbished phones also mean you don’t have to sign up for contracts that entail monthly payments. 

So if you really are considering a more affordable option that’s safe, then we do recommend opting for a refurbished phone from a reputable dealer. 

Looking to buy other secondhand items? Head on over to for great items at the best prices! 

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