‘Refurbished phones’: what does it mean?
The term ‘refurbished phone’ generally refers to a pre-owned handset that has been sent back due to a fault and has been repaired for re-sale.
Not all phones described as refurbished were at one stage faulty, though. Some networks and retailers classify 'refurbished phones' as handsets that were returned by customers who changed their mind within the 30-day cooling-off period after they signed up for a contract.
Before being put on sale, all refurbished phones have been thoroughly checked and tested to ensure they’re in full working order.
Tests carried out by the seller typically include whether the battery charges and checking the buttons and cameras work. The seller will also verify audio quality and screen responsiveness, as well as how the phone connects to Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.
In keeping with Data Protection Act, the seller will securely wipe any data on the phone. So to all intents and purposes, you’ll be starting afresh.
Some refurbished phone sellers update the handset to the latest version of the operating system that powers it.
Should I buy a refurbished iPhone?
Refurbished phones: pros and cons
With some brands and retailers you can make significant savings, especially if you don't mind whether you've got the latest handset.
When you buy from a big network or established retailer you’ll get a warranty, which is usually 12 months.
They’ll also include a charging cable or charger.
It's not guaranteed whether you'll receive other accessories that were originally bundled with the phone, such as headphones.
You definitely won’t get the original packaging. Refurbished phones tend to come in plain boxes or network-branded packaging. So you won’t quite have that nice feeling of unboxing a brand new phone. But if you manage to save money on the deal, that might not bother you.
What's better refurbished or used?
f a phone is described as refurbished and you’re buying it from a network, an established retailer or a trader on an auction site, you can be sure the phone has been tested, cleaned, wiped and is covered by a warranty. So you've got peace of mind in every way.
The term ‘used’ is harder to define, so you'll need to be more cautious. It’s usually favoured by private sellers on auction sites and could mean anything from a few scratches, to battered by frequent drops.