Of all the gadgets, smartphones sell like hotcakes. On the flipside, much like cakes, phones too have a short shelf life these days. Due to the rapid pace at which manufacturers introduce new features, handsets these days go out of fashion in a few months. Buy a top of the line phone today, and in a month or two, a new phone with a better screen, faster processor and powerful camera will pop up. So, if you like to upgrade phones frequently, you can either shell out plenty of cash on new phones or take the pre-owned phones route. Goes without saying that buying a used smartphone involves a few risks and requires some skills. However, once mastered, it could save you significant amount of money.
Checking the market price
After making up your mind to buy a certain phone, set a cap on how much you are willing to pay for it. A little research on popular e-commerce price aggregation website such as CompareRaja would let you know the correct selling price of the smartphone. The next step would be to self-analyse the depreciation of the same. For instance, if you are buying a used Galaxy S7 (32 GB), and a new one costs around Rs 43,000. Generally, the value depreciates by half most of the times (that’s around 21,500). If the device is in excellent condition, you should consider going up to 25k, but not more than that. Considering the risk in buying old devices, the reward too has to be significant.
Choosing the seller
Image credits – Indian0.com
Few e-commerce biggies such Flipkart and Amazon sell refurbished handset online. These bets are generally safer as such handsets have been professionally restored. You get all the accessories with original packaging and even six months brand warranty. On these websites though, the deals aren’t that good.
If you are adventurous type, the best option is to buy from OLX and Quikr. On these websites, target individual sellers. Avoid ‘dealers’, as they are extremely good at getting themselves a sweet deal. No matter how good you are, you are unlikely to beat them at this game. Moreover, unlike individual sellers, these guys have the luxury to hold on to a device.
After you zero-in on an ad, call that person and ask if he/she has a bill, accessories, and original packaging. If the person doesn’t have a bill, call off the deal. If the accessories are missing, feel free to bargain. Once you think the price is right, plan a meeting so that you can check the phone and hand over the cash.
Since buying a used phone involves you carrying cash at some point, always choose day time. Rather than meeting in some back alley or a shady street, select a hotel or coffee shop with good footfall. If possible, ask one of your friends to accompany you.
Image credits – parents.com
Before inspecting the phone, make sure the phone’s IMEI number matches the one on the bill and phone’s original package. If the person gives you a lame excuse that he/she forgot the bill at home and will give you later, walk out of the deal. There’s a good chance that it could be a stolen phone.
Once the IMEI checks-out, inspect the phone thoroughly for scratches, dings, and dents. For metal unibody phones, see if there is any sign of body flex or bends. Check the display sides for any trace of display removal or change.
The best way to see if the phone is in good condition, you should put in your SIM card and use it as you would every day. Check if any button, fingerprint sensor, port has any issue. If you are in a cafe, you can check if the phone charges properly.
Make a call and ensure the speaker and mic are working properly. Attach the headphones and play some music. Any disturbance could indicate either headphone wear or the audio jack problem. Click a few photographs to check the camera. Now pair the phone to your existing device via Bluetooth and transfer those photos.
Don’t forget to check it for water damage. The water damage filter is usually found underneath the battery. In case of unibody phones, it is usually found either in the headphone jack or on the SIM tray. If the filter is white, it means all is well. If it is red, it is no go.
After ensuring that the handset is in good shape and works properly, comes the final part of the deal. If there are any scratches or dents that were visible in the OLX or Quikr listing, use it to further negotiate the price.
Even if the phone is in excellent condition, don’t act too excited or show too much interest in it. Take your time through the process.