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Make your next phone a second-hand one

With second hand phones becoming more popular, why not take advantage of this growing trend and buy a used handset today. You’ll not only save money – you’ll also do your bit for the planet at the same time.

The second-hand phone industry has grown by up to 40% in the last few years. Many people are now turning their back on buying a ‘brand new’ handset and looking at refurbished, used phones instead.

The stigma of purchasing used electronics is becoming a thing of the past. So let’s consider the benefits of buying a second-hand phone and talk about the ways in which you can protect the environment when purchasing your next handset.

What is a second-hand phone?

Most of us know what ‘second-hand’ means. It’s just another way of saying ‘used’ or ‘not new’. But with electronic devices, there are rules and regulations retailers must now follow when it comes to selling second-hand phones. That’s why we always recommend looking for the word ‘refurbished’. Because as soon as you see it, you’ll know you’re not just buying a second-hand phone.

Refurbished phones always come with a set of guarantees – so ask any retailer before you buy. A refurbished phone will have been rigorously tested, cleaned and checked. Often using state-of-the-art software, the device should have passed a wide range of quality checks and tests – and that means you can be sure of buying a mobile phone that’ll work ‘like new’. In fact, refurbished phones often go through a more comprehensive testing and checking process than a ‘new’ phone ever does. So don’t worry about faulty parts or mechanical defects – you’re no more likely to get them with a second-hand phone than you are with a ‘new’ one these days.

Another guarantee you should get from any retailer when buying a refurbished, used phone is a comprehensive warranty. The warranty should be really clear about what it covers. Look for one that protects you against both faulty parts and mechanical defects. And pay careful attention to the length of the warranty too. A good retailer will offer you at least 3 months, but you should be able to get anything up to an entire year at no extra cost from the very best. If it’s not clear what kind of warranty is included – or if you’re asked to pay extra for it – look elsewhere for your second-hand phone.

The benefits of buying used phones

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to buying second-hand phones. So below, we consider the top 5:

1. Save money

The first benefit of buying second-hand is that you’ll save money. Depending on the make and model, you could save hundreds of pounds when compared to buying a ‘new’ handset. This is especially true if you’re looking to purchase a top-end smartphone like the iPhone 12, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (5G) or the Huawei P40 Pro. If you’re willing to wait for refurbished, used versions of these phones to reach the marketplace, you can potentially save up to 50% and still get the same great smartphone with all the superb specs and features that you’re after.

2. Get all the specs and features you need at a fraction of the price

Smartphones released a few years ago – such as the iPhone XS Max (2018), the Samsung Galaxy S10 (2019) and the Google Pixel 3 XL (2018) – are still packed with great features and specs. And because you’ll get operating system upgrades as soon as they’re released, these phones work just as well as the most modern devices.

So unless you’re after a really high-level camera or a phone specifically designed for mobile gaming, these slightly older handsets are absolutely perfect. Save money and get a refurbished phone like the iPhone XS Max – you won’t be disappointed.

3. You can still ‘upgrade’

Depending on your current phone, there’s still a good chance of upgrading – even if you buy a second-hand device. And if you want the very best smartphones, you can. So don’t be fooled into thinking that you can only upgrade if you buy ‘new’.

4. Warranty

We’ve already considered the kind of warranty you can expect if you buy a refurbished, second-hand phone from a reputable retailer. But what we haven’t talked about is the additional benefits you’ll get when compared to buying ‘new’.

Most manufacturer warranties that come as standard when buying a ‘new’ phone aren’t as comprehensive as you might think. To get the kind of warranty coverage you get when buying a refurbished handset from a trusted retailer, you often need to buy additional warranty and pay premiums on top of an already expensive handset.

If you buy a second-hand phone, you won’t just save on device costs – you’ll get added peace of mind at no extra cost too.

5. Environmental impact

It’s important to consider the environmental impact of buying a ‘new’ phone every 2 or 3 years. Even if you recycle responsibly, it’s still not especially good for the planet.

Buying a refurbished, second-hand phone from a reputable retailer is by far the best thing you can do. This is because you’ll help to reduce the following:

Toxic and chemical waste

When you recycle a mobile phone – even with a company that professes to work to the highest of environmental standards – elements of that device will still end up causing harm to the planet. This is especially true of the circuitry and lithium battery – both of which often end up emitting harmful toxins and chemicals into the ground and atmosphere. Buying a refurbished device instead of a new one always helps with this problem, because the phone is given a new lease of life and not just thrown away.

Carbon footprint

Before a new mobile phone ends up in your possession, it’s been on quite a journey – amassing a pretty large carbon footprint in the process. Throughout the design, manufacturer and shipping process, your phone could well have travelled the world over. Buying refurbished, used phones produce a tiny fraction of this carbon footprint. It’s so much better for the planet.

Raw material consumption

Building a new mobile phone means continuing to mine and extract from the earth’s limited natural resources. And some of this process can include dangerous working practices and even child labour. Buying a refurbished, used device is a great way of reducing raw material consumption – it really is the best form of mobile phone recycling.

Top tips when buying second-hand phones

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to buying used phones. So if you want to save money and protect the planet, here are a few top tips to help get you the best possible deal.

Buy from a reputable retailer! There are hundreds of retailers out there selling refurbished, second-hand phones. So always look to buy from a trusted one. Look at reviews on websites like Google and Trustpilot to get started.

Make sure any second-hand phone has been fully tested, checked and cleaned! Any reputable retailer will always tell you how many checks and tests your phone has undergone before going on sale. If in doubt, get in touch and ask.

Look carefully at the warranty! If the warranty doesn’t cover faulty parts and mechanical defects, it’s probably not worth your time or money. And look at the warranty’s length too. A good retailer will generally offer a 12-month warranty on second-hand phones in good condition or better.