Buying A Used Phone Online : Tips And Tricks

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Buying A Used Phone Online : Tips And Tricks

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With phone prices sky rocketing, it is hard for an average consumer to buy new top end phones. One also often feels uneasy in buying used smartphones devices online. When buying a second hand phone, there are a lot of things that one needs to keep in mind, specially if they are being bought online. More often than not, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. In this article, we will discuss the nuances of buying second hand smartphones online and how to make the right buying choices.

Where To Begin?

Before you start searching for a new phone, you need to be sure that you want a new phone. Decide on a budget that suits you and then convince yourself to stick to this budget. There may be instances when you might get a far better model at a price range that may be slightly above yours. Stay away from them as, if the price of a second hand phone is too good a deal, it may have other problems.

Try to stay within your budget. The next thing you need to decide on is the phone you want. If you are a light user and only use your phone to make calls and send text messages and like a little bit of social media time everyday, you may not require a very high end phone at all. But if you have the budget for a high end smartphone that is great too. Now let’s look at the two types of used phones that you will come across online.

Used Phone Sold By User

These are phones that are sold by people who have used the phone they are selling. These are people like us who are either looking to upgrade or switch their own phones for better models. You can often see listings like these on various websites and these sellers will usually not have any ratings. These users do not sell phones often and thus finding a trusting source can be a cause for concern. There will be some listings that use stock photos. You will need to be careful when buying from these sellers and if you do not see photographs of the actual phone then best avoid these sellers.

Always ask for the original product images as it will at least help you understand the condition of the phone from a cosmetic standpoint. If a phone is badly damaged from the outside, absolutely avoid it. A damaged phone from the outside will most certainly have damaged or dinged up interiors as it shows that the owner did not care for the device as much as he should have.

If the device shows normal wear and tear from prolonged use, that should be fine. Ask the user what he will be selling along with the phone. See to it that he shares the box, bill and charger. If you are buying from a website such as OLX or Quikr, then check the IMEI number to make sure it isn’t stolen from someone else.

Refurbished Phone Sold By Seller

These types of phones are relatively safer to buy. Many websites, Amazon being a big example, have sellers who are trusted and sell refurbished phones. They buy phones from other users and repair and sell them after fixing it both internally as well as cosmetically. They will also usually provide a 6 month or 1 year warranty or guarantee (differs from seller to seller) and will fix the phone for you if anything goes wrong. Remember that these warranties are not given by the manufacturer of the phone but the seller themselves. These phones are a little more expensive compared to the phones that are sold directly by the users since the sellers charge for buying, refurbishing and then selling the phone off. There sometimes will be underlying terms and conditions that you also need to look at. Read the description carefully before you buy.

Websites Where You Can Buy Used Phones In India

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Olx is a classifieds website where you can both buy as well as sell phones in India. It has it’s presence in 45 different countries and is headquartered in Amsterdam. Although the website is meant for users to post items for sale, many small businesses also sell smartphones and laptops here. You can directly connect with the seller and meet and buy the phone. While it isn’t exactly an online transaction, it does help you find people who are willing to sell what you are buying. It is safer in a way because you get to hold the phone and test it out before actually buying.


Quikr is another classified advertisement website, working on the same model as OLX. It is an Indian platform and is focussed on providing a better experience for buyers and sellers than many other similar platforms. Beware of fake sellers though as many have reported to have received phones with parts replaced with cheaper Chinese made counterparts inside the phone. One can recognise a fake post by looking at the price and images. If you see a Samsung S9 Plus available at Rs 8000, it is probably a copy or has replaced parts. If there are more than 1 phones of the same model, it might be a seller who is buying cheap copies and selling them at a profit.


Amazon has a lot of refurbished phones from different sellers. Being a globally renowned website, their quality control for sellers on the platform will be better. The phones, as mentioned above will be a little more expensive but the quality and the description will be clearer. These listings generally have a “Certified Refurbished” tag on the image and are also written in bold letters. Many descriptions of these listings suggest that the phone is Amazon-qualified and performance managed where the reseller performs a full diagnostic test, replaces any defective parts, and thoroughly cleans the product. The products also reportedly will have minimal to no signs of wear. They also have no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away and the batteries will have at least 80% capacity relative to new ones.


This is an extremely popular website and shop in UK and is slowly gaining ground in India. They have different models of different phones that can be viewed on their website. CEX both buys and sells phones and one can buy phones using CEX voucher or actual cash. There is a flat 2 year warranty on everything they sell. And there is a doorstep buying and selling process as well. You can visit their shop and see the phones and choose from them. The prices of each phone are listed on their website as well. These are also refurbished.

Facebook Groups

Facebook has become home to hundreds and thousands of buying and selling groups and these have thousands of members each. Every city has a group that sells phones. If you find the correct group, then you can chose from a variety of options and connect directly with sellers. You can also meet and see the products yourself. While this may be a great place for phones, do check the profile of the seller once and ensure that the post is not fake or the seller is genuine.

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Souradeep Roy
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