Cellphones aren’t cheap, so buying a gently used phone might be a good way to save cash. But before you take the plunge, make sure the device is working properly and in your hands legally.
Here are three things you should do before you buy a used smartphone:
Check out the phone online
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association can help you check out a phone through its new Stolen Phone Checker service. You’ll need the phone’s unique serial number — an international mobile equipment identity number (IMEI), mobile equipment identifier (MEID) or electronic serial number (ESN) — which can typically be found on the back of the phone, on the phone’s original packaging or by dialing *#06# on your phone. Call your wireless provider if you need to register a phone as lost or stolen.
Research phone pricing
Not sure you’re getting a good deal on your used phone? Check out the phone’s prices online. Lifehacker recommends that potential phone buyers check the price of news and used phones with similar specifications. According to Lifehacker:
If you’re buying a one-year-old smartphone for a price where you can get a similar new phone, the deal isn’t worth it because you lose out on warranty.
Make sure the phone isn’t locked
Some smartphones are locked to specific wireless carriers and require consumers to remain with those carriers. But there are options for getting around this obstacle. Read more about unlocking cellphones.
Learn about how to protect your phone from thieves and more in “Do You Know How to Insure Your Smartphone?”
Have you ever purchased a used smartphone? Share your experiences below or on Facebook.