What Are Refurbished, Reconditioned And Second Hand Phones?

Dec 14


Angelika Muderris

Angelika Muderris

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Everything you need to know about refurbished, reconditioned, and second hand phones. What each of these terms mean? Do they all mean the same thing? What are the differences? Finally, how to find the best deal online on these phones?


More and more eyes are turning to the second hand and refurbished phones market. The reasons behind this increasing interest in second hand phones varies from one person to another depending on the individual's main goal and whether they are looking to save the environment and recycle smartphones,What Are Refurbished, Reconditioned And Second Hand Phones?  Articles or simply looking to save money by opting for a cheaper alternative when it's time to replace the old or broken phone of theirs.

If you are one of the people who are looking into buying one of these phones but consider yourself to be relatively new to this market, this post is for you. All the information you need to know about refurbished, reconditioned, and second hand phones, the differences between them and where to buy them in the UK as well as how to choose the best deal for your needs.

While many people use these 3 terms interchangeably, each of these types has a separate meaning. Since customers should be aware of what each of these types entails in order to be prepared and know what to expect and what not to accept, we're going to start with the meaning of refurbished, reconditioned, and second hand phones in the UK.

Refurbished vs. Reconditioned 

Starting with the two most confusing concepts. Refurbished phones and reconditioned phones are usually mistaken for each other. However, there can be a big difference between the two.

While a refurbished phone is usually used to refer to smartphones that were returned by their former owners and then the seller tested, cleaned, and re-packaged the device as is in order to be re-sold, reconditioned devices usually go through some sort of repair or have a certain part replaced.

So, in essence, a refurbished phone is usually kept in its original new or like-new state by the former users themselves and needs nothing more than a quick test and some cleaning of the phone's outer body if needed.

With reconditioned phones, on the other hand, the device requires the interference of the seller/refurbisher to return the phone to its pristine state by repairing one or more aspects in the phone.

Also, reconditioned phones can have certain alternations performed on them according to the previous user's request such as having the phone's SIM software unlocked for example.

When do refurbished phones are the same as reconditioned phones?

Well, this mainly depends on the source of the refurbished phone. If the seller of a refurbished phone is the manufacturing brand such as Apple or Samsung, or the seller is the network that is offering the phone's deal such as AT&T or Verizon, then the previously mentioned difference between refurbished and reconditioned phones would apply.

With third party refurbished phones such as specialized refurbishment centers such as QwikFone, for example, refurbished phones are usually pre-owned or used phones that were renewed by the refurbishing brand which means that the refurbished phone is, essentially, reconditioned.

Refurbished vs. Second hand  

Another two terms that can be confused for each other where there is actually a room for a huge difference between the two is refurbished phones and second hand phones.

Just like with refurbished and reconditioned, the refurbished and second hand concepts can mean the same thing when talking about the third-party refurbished smartphones.

There are two ways to get refurbished phones:

  • Manufacturer or network refurbished phones: These are usually brand-new phones that were returned within their return policy period and tested and re-packaged by the manufacturer or the network.
  • Third party refurbished phones: These are often second hand phones that were used for a while by the previous owner before being sold to the refurbisher as opposed to being returned in exchange for a refund in case of manufacturer refurbished smartphones.

While both of these cases talk about refurbished phones as almost new and as used or second hand. There is the obvious case of second hand phones being sold in their second hand state without any repairs or renewal by the seller.

This type of second hand phones that are being sold in an as is condition can be found through professional sellers as well as through their previous owners directly. While these second hand phones are most likely to come at the lowest price points compared to refurbished and reconditioned phones. However, second hand phones have a massive potential pitfall that lies in the condition of the device. While broken and defective second hand phones for sale can be useful for mobile repair professionals who would benefit from repurposing the working parts of these phones, as a regular mobile phone user, it would be much better to find a refurbished phone for sale so that you're able to guarantee the pristine quality and avoid any potential future repair expenses.

For customers who want to save the money by paying the second hand price and want to get a refurbished phone in a pristine condition at the same time, third-party refurbished smartphones would be the most suitable option that qualifies for all of those requirement.

How to find trustworthy refurbished phones for sale? 

There are many factors that play important roles in every customer's decision as to where to look for and buy second hand phones in the UK. Of course, the budget is the lead factor in this issue, however, it is not the only one.

Given that it is safer to stay at home as much as possible nowadays and go out only when the need calls to, ordering your refurbished second hand phone online may be the best way to go.

The question now is how to choose a reliable second hand refurbished phone vendor based only on their online presence and how can you establish trust?

Well, the keyword here is the experience. First, you want to avoid sellers that don't offer the refurbishment in-house because that would most likely mean that the seller does not offer repair services as a part of the device's warranty since there is no repair center available.

So, once you locate your refurbishment center online that you want to buy your next smartphone from, start doing your research buy reading up on the brand's history. Points such as how long the brand has been operating in the market will be useful in determining how reliable this brand actually is. For example, a refurbished phone business that has been in the market for several years would be much better and more trustworthy that a business that is just starting.

To that end, checking out the refurbished phone's seller's online reviews also carries great weight previous customers' experiences with the seller will tell you a lot about the seller's performance and can have a huge indication as to how your own experience with that seller is going to be.

Choosing the perfect deal for second hand phones in the UK 

Some of the most important factors that must affect your decision when choosing your refurbished phone vendor is the terms that this vendor is including for the deal. For example, how long is the warranty policy? can you return the phone? What are the refunding arrangements? How is the technical support that is being offered by that vendor? and so on.

Warranties & assurances

With second hand and refurbished phones, the warranty policy is one of the first things that you want to check out before placing your order with any online seller. With a phone that has already been used before, you need to make sure that it was properly refurbished and the best indicator of the refurbishing quality is the phone's own performance.

So, normally, a seller that trusts the quality of their product will have no issue providing a decent warranty policy that extends over the course of several months and guarantees free repairs for the device if it turned out to have any technical issue caused by manufacturing or refurbishment processes.

Some sellers such as QwikFone will even provide a replacement option to avoid any problems with the customers if the device turned out to have any issue that cannot be repaired.

Of course, all the services and replacement products that are provided by the seller within the warranty policy are going to be free since this is what a warranty means in the first place.

Accessories & addons

Another good second hand phone deal indicator is accessories. No customer should ever accept to use someone else's mobile phone's accessories. However, a good refurbished phone deal should include the phone's accessories in a brand-new condition to guarantee the safety of the customer as well as the customer's budget!

The most essential accessories to look for with every phone are, of course, the charger, the charging cable if applicable, earphones, and a SIM ejection tool.

Installments possibility

One of the biggest concerns regarding buying a third-party refurbished smartphone is that these deals usually come with the obligation to pay the entire price of the phone upfront, whereas with carrier refurbished deals customers get to pay monthly installments.

Thankfully, some refurbished phone vendors provide means for their customers to enable them to pay monthly for second hand third party refurbished phones such as PayPal credit and other financing portals.