Purchase Pitfalls When Buying a Used Smartphone

Purchase Pitfalls When Buying a Used Smartphone

Many of the latest flagship smartphones especially from Apple and Samsung when they first arrive on the market can be very pricey, costing close to, or over, $1000 if purchased without a contact. With a contract that price is just hidden but still paid over two years. Lots of times older generation phones can be purchased for half or quarter the price and are just as capable, usable, but most importantly cheaper.

As it stands right now each year both Apple and Samsung make sure they release at least one new generation of their smartphone.  That leaves many people looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest providing a big market for used phones all across Canada. Many of these used phones are just as capable as a new one and will cost you a lot less than a new one. You might not be getting all the new features that a new flagship phone would provide but be assured that it will function close enough.  With that in mind, if people are aware of  some potential risks involved when purchasing used smartphones  buying used might just be the best way to go.

Buying from a trusted source, such as friends and family, is usually the best and safest option.  If you can’t buy from someone you know, a business may be a good option. Some carriers sell used phones, as do many wireless stores and online services where many of them allow you to return the phone within a certain period of time if it doesn’t meet your expectations. This option may be more expensive than buying on NL Classifieds, eBay, Craigslist or Kijiji, but visiting a store lets you inspect and try the phone before you buy, and gives you a place to go back to if anything goes wrong. There is a reliable Toronto-based online store that comes highly recommended called “Orchard” and if you visit their website at https://www.getorchard.com you can get further information.

With that in mind, if you are going to take the plunge and purchase from someone you don’t know usually from an online buy and sell site like Kijii or NL Classifieds then you want to ensure that your phone you are buying is not stolen. Most of the major carriers in Canada maintain a blacklist of stolen phones based on their  (IMEI) number or unique International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number  each phone has.

And so you can find out what IMEI number is on the phone your intend to buy simply by dialling on that phone *#06# and then going online to the following website: www.protectyourdata.ca to cross-reference just to make sure that IMEI number is not on a blacklisted. That being said, even if the phone clears, it is possible that it’s just not reported stolen yet and so you could still be blacklisted at some point in the future if the phone is stolen. So buyer just be aware of that possibility .

Phones are pretty sophisticated pieces of technology and so a lot of things that can go wrong. So for anyone looking to do a quick inspection of the device before purchase you should try and be near Wi-Fi to check to see if the phone connects. Try the camera to make sure there are no dark spots or dead pixels on the photo or in the camera lens. Check the screen for black or discoloured spots and finally check its touch sensitivity when tapping and scrolling. If the original screen was broken, it may have been replaced with a lower quality screen with poor touch-sensitivity or a pinkish border.

Also, bring your SIM card with you so you can check the phone’s network connection and finally ask the seller lots of questions. If you’re buying from a stranger, I’d recommend asking things like: Where did the phone come from? What phone did you get to replace it? Why are you selling it? A person legitimately selling will have answers to all those questions. Beware though if the answers are vague, if the seller seems rushed, or if the seller says the phone belonged to a friend.




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