What’s the difference between used and refurbished mobile phones?

Used and refurbished mobile phones are often thought of as the same thing. Although neither of them are technically new, the difference between used and refurbished is the difference between chalk and cheese. Let’s explore some of the differences and get to the nitty gritty of what makes the two unique.

Used vs refurbished

As the name suggests, a used phone is a second hand item that has been pre-used and pre-loved. It’s most likely been used for some period of time, until the owner has decided they want an upgrade. Used phones are usually outdated models, they may or may not be in good working condition, and will probably have cosmetic flaws. These phones have no warranty, leaving you uncertain if they will work for another year or another five minutes. Refurbished phones for sale, on the other hand, are next to new. They’ve usually been owned, but only for a matter of days, returned to the manufacturer due to faults noticed with first-use. While they have technically been owned before, they’ve usually hardly been used, if at all. Refurbished phones have had all damaged parts replaced so that they function as new, and come with a warranty that proves it. They’ve been repaired, cleaned, and double checked for quality assurance. They’ve also been unlocked, so when they’re re-bought they can be used with any carrier.

Why were they returned?
Refurbished phones were once fresh-out-of-the-box new, and it wasn’t long before being refurbished. They most likely had minor faults such as scratches on the casing, or else they had faulty parts, usually the most vulnerable parts of the device like the screen or battery. They can arrive already broken or fail soon after purchase. Some refurbished mobiles have never reached the consumer at all, sold from manufacturer to a third party for refurbishment and sale.
Where do they come from?
Unlike used phones which spring up from the murky abysses like ebay or pawn shops, the origins of refurbished mobile phones are no mystery. Refurbished phones are returned to the manufacturer during the period of their warranty and then either refurbished by the manufacturer or sold to a third party who does the refurbishing for them. Either way, they come with the same guarantee of quality and a warranty that’s often as long as you would have got with a new phone.