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Home / Tips and Tricks / Refurbished phones and laptops can save you hundreds of dollars. 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying

Refurbished phones and laptops can save you hundreds of dollars. 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying



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Refurbished devices such as telephones and laptops are cheaper than buying new ones. Can you trust them?

Angela Lang / CNET

You can save yourself hundreds of dollars by buying a used one phone or Laptop compared to buying brand new, expensive electronics. There are several ways to buy a used device, including through sites like Swappa or eBay. While both sites have buyer protection policies to make sure you get what you paid for, we recommend going for a refurbished device instead.

Refurbished electronics follow a set of guidelines from the seller that can provide you with standards and warranties that go beyond buying electronics from the original owner. But can you trust a refurbished laptop or phone? What do you get and what can you expect in terms of warranty, accessories and customer support?

There are some important questions to ask when browsing a refurbished store, from Apple to Gazelle to Amazon. Here are the main factors to consider.

What exactly is a refurbished device?

When you sell or trade in your old gadgets to a company like Gazelle, Best Buy, or even your wireless network provider, it goes through an evaluation process. If it is a newer device and in good working order, chances are it will go through a refurbishment and eventually be sold as a used or refurbished device.

But every company takes a different approach to how it fixes up and keeps a phone or laptop running. For example, Apple classifies all of its refurbished devices as “as new,” after cleaning each device, replacing any defective parts, and thoroughly testing the device. A renovated iPhone comes with a new battery and housing.

Amazon’s revamped remanufactured product program takes a similar approach by inspecting, testing, and repairing broken parts. Amazon guarantees that the battery has 80% capacity and warns that you can see scratches on the outside of renewed products.

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Numerous refurbished options are available.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Is there a return policy for refurbished phones, laptops and other electronics?

Whether a device is brand new or refurbished, lemons happen. A device may not turn on or work as expected. Some companies like Gazelle and Amazon don’t replace a device’s case, so you end up with a phone or laptop with some cosmetic damage. Gazelle explains well what to expect when buying a phone in reasonable condition and even provides sample photos.

To be clear, the photos are not of the device you will be buying, but serve as examples of what the different levels of wear look like on the devices it sells. But what happens if you get a phone that has taken more damage (although it still works fine) than you expected?

In most cases, you should be able to return a device that you are not satisfied with. I suggest going through the site’s FAQs or policies, often referenced at the bottom of the site, to find the return policy. If you have a hard time finding it, a Google search with the site name and return policy (eg “Gazelle return policy”) will usually take you to the right place.

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Extended warranties might be a good idea.

Josh Miller / CNET

What warranty applies to refurbished devices?

Just because a device has been refurbished doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a warranty. Things happen, components stop working and if a company wants you to feel confident with your purchase, it has to provide some sort of warranty after the return period.

All Apple refurbished products come with a standard one-year warranty. Gazelle has a 30-day return policy that is also considered a warranty, but sells an extra year of protection with an extended warranty that also covers accidental damage. Prices start at $ 55, depending on the device. In comparison, AT&T wireless charges $ 15 per month for a comparable service.

Amazon offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee where you can return a renewed device for a refund.

As you can see, the warranties for used gadgets vary a lot. Take a few extra minutes to research a supplier’s policy before clicking that checkout button.

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Does the phone work with your carrier?

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Will a refurbished phone work with my provider?

When browsing refurbished phones, pay close attention to carrier restrictions. Refurbished sites such as Apple, Amazon or Gazelle clearly state which provider the device is intended to be used on, or whether it is unlocked and can be used on any provider.

This is an important step when shopping for a new or used phone. If you buy a phone locked to Verizon and want to use it on T-Mobile, you’re likely to run into problems. You may be able to call a carrier to unlock a phone for you, but you can save yourself time and buy a phone that works with your carrier of choice.

Are accessories supplied with refurbished products or do I buy them separately?

If a product listing doesn’t list everything included with your purchase, such as a charger or cable, I recommend contacting the company or seller and asking what’s included.

Apple supplies everything you need to use the device. The most important of these is a charger. Like Amazon, but the charger may not be the official charger that would come with the phone or laptop if it were a brand new purchase.

If you’re comfortable with the idea of ​​buying a refurbished phone or laptop, don’t forget that by doing so you can save even more money selling your device to the companies that sell refurbished products. Can I give personal advice? Never buy or sell these seven used technical devices


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