How to save money by buying used phones

I have been browsing the Hardwarezone forums recently, looking for a good deal in the  Hardwarezone mobile phone bazaar.

After some research, I finally bought a 4-month old Samsung Galaxy Nexus for $520 in near-perfect condition. Not a bad buy for a new model. The official launch price was $948; online stores are now selling it for $677 for export sets (there’s some ambiguity over the validity of the warranty).

I also sold my HTC Evo 3D for $360. Since I bought it for $470, that means I only spent $110 on 5 months of usage.

It took me some time to figure out the lingo in the ads:

  • WTS: Want to sell.
  • WTB: Want to buy.
  • WTT: Want to trade – exchange a phone for another model, may include a cash top-up.
  • WTG: Want to give (away freebie) – rare but it has happened before.
  • M: May – prefixed to the above for tentative deals e.g. MWTT for “May want to trade”.
  • BNP: Buy now price.
  • SB: Starting bid.
  • BNIB: Brand new in box. Refers to an unused and unopened product.

I would check the following before meeting the seller:

1. Verify the duration of the warranty.

Ask if the receipt for the phone is present. The warranty is usually valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. If the receipt is missing, the warranty is dated from the date of manufacture. To check the manufacture date, get the serial number of the phone (it’s usually printed on the back under the battery). It’s usually a mix of letters and numbers. The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, on the other hand, consists of a string of numbers only.

The customer support for your phone manufacturer will confirm the warranty end date if you provide them the serial number.

2. Inspect the phone

Meet in a place where you can take your time to check the phone condition properly. Be wary if the seller appears to be in a rush to complete. First, check the physical condition of the phone. Look for scratches on the screen. If a screen protector is on, ask for permission to take it off and inspect. Also check for scratches on the phone body. I don’t really mind them as the phone would still work properly, but if the condition isn’t as good as claimed in the ad, take the chance to get a discount.

Next, check that the phone works. Insert your SIM card into the phone and turn it on. Check basic functions such as calling and browsing.

3. Check all accessories

Lastly, verify that all accessories listed in the ad are accounted for. The basic stuff are phone (obviously), battery, charging cable, ear phones, and memory card. Don’t forget the receipt if available.

So, buy used and save money.

Where to search for used phones

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About Hun Boon

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
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