Buying a used smartphone can be a very good choice for those on a budget and you also want the have the freedom of not having your phone “locked” with a specific network. Usually when people buy a new smartphone, they either trade in their old phones to the retailer for a very low price, keep it in a drawer and that phone collects dust until its so old that nobody wants it or one of the best options is to sell it on Ebay or some other auction network. This is where a seller can find a good match for a buyer.
As a buyer, when you go on Ebay to buy a used smartphone, these are the things that you should check for:
Phone Make/Model and Year: -
Generally as a rule of thumb, the older the phone, the cheaper it will be, all other things being equal. Also note that some phones depreciate less in value than others. An iPhone will generally be more valuable than other smartphones. In other words the % depreciation for iPhone will be less than other smartphone makes.
Condition of the phone: -
Smartphones are very prone to wear and tear because of the type of usage that they get. Usually you will see blemishes or scratches on the main screen. If the phone has been dropped, you may also see scratches on the edges. Even though iPhones have steel edges which may handle falls slightly better than other smartphones, a fall on a hard surface will certainly leave a mark. Do check all images on Ebay listing carefully to make sure you know what you are buying. If seller has not loaded front, back and side images of the phone, you can ask him to do so.
Phone Lock Status:-
One of the most overlooked things buyer fall for is the “Locked” status of the phone. If the seller is selling the phone that is still locked with the current carrier, then you will ONLY be able to use that phone with that specific network. “Locked” phones generally are of less value that “Unlocked ” phones.
If buyer has not specifically listed the locked status, do message the buyer via Ebay message system and inquire about the lock status of the phone.
If the phone is unlocked, then it will command a higher value. If its “locked” then you have the following options:
- Use phone on the same network that he is on until contract period is expired.
- If phone is locked, then you need to check if it can be unlocked quickly, easily and is affordable.
- If phone is locked, make sure that its NOT blocked or blacklisted. Buying a blocked of blacklisted phone can be a problem because unlocking such phones can be costly, take longer and for some networks, it just cannot be done. For example. If you buy a phone blocked on the Verizon network in the United States, unlocking is a very cumbersome process and in many cases suppliers will not do it because its too expensive and can take very long.
What to do if you buy a blocked/blacklisted used phone on Ebay?
If you do end up buying a network blocked or blacklisted smartphone on Ebay, your first option is to check with the seller if you can return the item back to him for a refund. Even if you have to pay shipping fees for sending it back to the seller, it may be worthwhile. The cost and time required to unlock a blocked phone may not be worth the effort.
How to pay for a smartphone that you buy on Ebay?
Paypal is a preferred method on Ebay which you should use to make this purchase. If you use this method and you receive the phone that is any different from what appeared on the EBay listing, you can contact the seller and ask him to clarify the difference between listing and physical product that you received. If that does not clear up the matter, you can file a dispute with PayPal. Dispute settlement can take 7 to 10 days to be resolved.
If seller has “cash on delivery” as a payment method, and you decide to pay for it using this method, make sure you inspect the phone upon delivery. If you pay for the phone via COD and later find that the phone is not as listed on EBay listing, you may not have any channel to file a dispute. You can still contact the seller and explain the item difference.