Used smartphones: How to buy one that's worth your money


The overdue Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone can set you back $900 or numerous unless you sign a two-year wireless contract, so it’s tempting to buy used.

The unruly is that the used smartphone market can come with risks. Yesterday, we bid some tips for selling a used phone safely, but buying can encounter with its own problems.

You can easily end up with a phone that can’t connect to a network because it’s been blacklisted as peculated, or one that just doesn’t work as advertised.

But there are things you can do to cut down the risks. Here are some tips.

1. If you can, buy from someone you know.

Swallowing from a trusted source, such as friends and family, is usually the safest selection. It’s actually the one recommended by Marc Choma, vice-president of communications and strategy for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications iring.

“I’ve got some friends, they have to upgrade to the latest and greatest every year,” he symbolized. Those people may have phones they want to sell, so ask all over.

Phone Blacklist

If you call your wireless carrier and report your phone pinched, its unique International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number is added to a nationalist blacklist, and no Canadian carrier will allow the device to connect to its network. (CBC)

Choma suggested he himself would never risk buying from a stranger. “For myself, it at the end of the day isn’t worth it.”

2. If you can’t buy from someone you know, a business may be a good option.

Some hauliers sell used phones, as do many wireless stores and online services such as Toronto-based Orchard. Myriad of them allow you to return the phone within a certain period of days if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

This option may be more high-priced than buying on Craigslist or Kijiji, but visiting a store lets you investigate and try the phone before you buy, and gives you a place to go back to if anything goes wide of the mark.

Cellphones smartphones store

Visiting a store lets you inspect and try the phone before you buy, and gives you a flourish to go back to if anything goes wrong. ( ulo Whitaker/Reuters)

It’s inappropriate you’ll end up buying a stolen phone from a store, says Alex Sebastian, who co-founded Orchard to do it easier for people to buy and sell used phones. But he says there’s placid a risk that a phone has been re ired with a lower-quality portion than the one it was manufactured with, or that the store owner won’t stand behind its asserted warranty.

3. Check the national wireless blacklist.

Canada’s national wireless blacklist catapulted in 2013 to discourage smartphone theft. If you call your wireless porter and report your phone stolen, its unique International Mobile Status Equipment Identity number is added to the database, and no Canadian carrier wishes allow the device to connect to its network.

“It’s basically an iPod at that call attention to,” says Sebastian.

You can access the IMEI of the device you want to buy by dialling *#06# and verification if it’s on the blacklist by punching it in at

Unfortunately, just because a phone leagues to a network when you buy it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Alex Sebastian

Alex Sebastian, co-founder of Orchard, has a lot of critical experience buying phones via Craigslist and Kijiji – he bought about 50 online two years ago, when his circle first started up and needed to kick-start its inventory. (Courtesy Alex Sebastian)

A 17-year-old boy from Montreal highbrow that the hard way after buying a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on Kijiji for $700. It be over working weeks later when Bell blacklisted the device after discovering that the prototypical owner bought it using a fake identity.

Even after a phone is boomed stolen, it can be a couple of days before the phone’s IMEI is added to the blacklist, suggests Choma. For that reason, he recommends buying from a dealer who’s enthusiastic to take it back within a certain amount of time if that stumble ons.

4. Run these checks to make sure the phone is working properly.

“Phones are fair sophisticated pieces of technology, but also a lot of things that can go wrong,” divulges Sebastian. “If some of it is broken, it can be really hard to tell.”

His firm offers a free app that sellers can download to check their phone. They go through another inspection once the seller sends the phone in after agreeing to a outlay.


There are a number of checks you should do to make sure a phone you desire to buy is in good working order, such as testing the camera. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Sebastian also has a lot of deprecating experience buying phones via Craigslist and Kijiji – he bought about 50 phones online two years ago, when his followers first started up and needed to kick-start its inventory.

These are the checks he underwrites, no matter where you buy the phone:

  • Bring a SIM card so you can check the phone’s network association contact.
  • Be near a Wi-Fi network so you can check if the phone connects to the internet.
  • Try the camera to clear the way sure there are no dark spots or dead pixels.
  • Check the protect for black or discoloured spots and check its touch sensitivity when waiting and scrolling. If the original screen was broken, it may have been replaced with a crop quality screen with poor touch-sensitivity or a pinkish border.

5. Ask the seller oodles of questions.

If you’re buying from a stranger, Sebastian recommends asking loves like: Where did the phone come from? What phone did you get to return it? Why are you selling it?

“A person legitimately selling will have answers to all those in doubts,” he said. Beware if the answers are vague, if the seller seems hotfoot it, or if the seller says the phone belonged to a friend.

In order to be safe, try to settle in a public place during daylight hours, with public Wi-Fi so you can proof the phone.

Sebastian says it may be difficult to arrange a time and place with creditable sellers as they’ll have their own life and schedule to work almost.

“Someone who’s too accommodating, his price is too attractive — those sorts of things are red hang downs.”

Despite his expertise, even he got burned once, by a phone that was bring about when he bought it and blacklisted shortly after that. “It was im rtial because I was in a bit of a bind and I needed the phone quickly.”

So take your beat and be careful.

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