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buying a used/refurbished iphone

(13 Posts)
lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 08:09:09

DH is on a SIM only, more or less PAYG sort of deal with his smartphone but hates the actual phone (he is um... how to say this nicely, not very tech savvy and finds it quite hard to use; also there are always connection problems). I would like to get him an iphone for his birthday but I refuse to pay £££££££ for a new one. What are the best options for buying a used 4s?

I am wary of Ebay because of all the horror stories (actually I'm going off Ebay in general at the moment). Have seen a few on Amazon Marketplace for around £160-£175, but is this actually a safer way? Is there anywhere else I should look and any pitfalls other than the obvious I should be aware of? I know that I should definitely get one that is locked to his network but I'm a little scared of forking out what is still a fairly substantial sum of money and being left with an expensive paperweight and no birthday present ...

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Mon 10-Feb-14 08:16:31

You would get a little but more protection on Amazon, yes.

When I sold an old iPhone in eBay a year ago, the winner asked if he could come and collect, due to bad experiences, so he could see it first. Maybe you could do this, by just bidding locally. But make sure you ask before bidding if the seller allows this.

lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 08:43:48

Thanks for that, oneofmyturns. You gave me the idea to look at my local Gumtree and there are loads there too, which would mean I could go round and look at the phone first before I buy. No comeback if anything goes wrong but at least I could make sure it was in working order first...

Don't buy one on ebay/gumtree/etc. You have no protection if the phone later turns out to be blocked and this is a common insurance scam - sell phone, then report as stolen (meaning useless, blocked phone for you!) and they claim back on the insurance. It can be fully working when you buy it.

I used to work in CeX which is quite a good base because you get a warranty on it, which includes if the phone later gets blocked. They're not allowed to sell blocked phones because it can indicate stolen goods, so they'll always replace it for you. You're looking about £250ish though for a decent condition one (A or B). Sometimes you can get a C grade which is decent condition but unboxed, which would be about £220 depending on the network. Whether it's locked or unlocked wouldn't make a difference because again they only accept "officially" unlocked ones, only to the price.

lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 09:10:12

Really? God, how depressing. And how naive I am not to even think of insurance scams. Do you think, then, that the way to go would be through official refurb sites, which at least will have a warranty attached? Honestly, nothing is ever easy ...

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Mon 10-Feb-14 09:10:20

Another place to try is Apple themselves. They do sell refurbished ones at a slightly reduced price.

LeapingOverTheWall Mon 10-Feb-14 09:10:38

word of warning about the 4s - it has known SIM issues. My SIM fails if I use it for more than 10 minutes at a time, or make calls. Thankfully I'm at the point in my contract where I can upgrade, but this is exactly the age of second hand phone that would be available, and I was strongly advised by the Apple store to wait till I could upgrade rather than pay for a replacement 4s.

Go somewhere you get a decent warranty rather than risking it. Unless you want to buy my one wink.

lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 09:12:19

And sorry to pester you, bertiebotts - I've just seen a Grade B iphone 4s for £160 on a site called smartfonestore.com. Comes with 60 day warranty. What would you think of that?

lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 09:13:50

That's good to know, leaping. I have a 4s myself and have never had any trouble with it but if it's a known issue. I wonder if I should just wait until I'm upgrading myself and then give my 4s to DH ...

60 day possibly not long enough to cover the insurance issue. The average time people brought them back, if not immediately, was about 2-5 weeks after sale, considering they could be sitting on the shelf for 4-6 weeks or longer easily, I'd say not long enough. The majority which later got blocked tended to do so while they were sitting on the shelf so we got into a habit of checking them directly before sale, but it was still a problem. I'd say maybe 5% of iphones? Less likely with the 4S of course since it's an older model now, but still possible.

Also not knowing the site I wouldn't buy a Grade B without seeing an example. I would be happy with a CEX grade B because they are ridiculously strict on it but I don't know what the boundaries are elsewhere. Certainly we had a lot of people expecting B prices when their item was quite battered confused

I hadn't heard about the sim issues, I'll see what I can find. I know there was an issue with signal dropping out when the metal parts at the side were touched but this was fixed with a software update.

Smartphonestore do look like they have the blocking issue covered, their website does indeed seem very slick. It might be worth it but google for independent reviews first rather than going by the ones on their own site.

lurkingfromhome Mon 10-Feb-14 10:15:53

This is all really helpful, thanks very much everyone.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Mon 10-Feb-14 10:54:34

What about stepping away from the iphone and getting a new Android phone. I did lots of research when I recently upgraded and plumped for the Google Nexus 4 smartphone, and it rocks.

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