Eight things to look for when buying a refurbished mobile or computer


Almost five years ago, we spoke in this article on reconditioned technological products and their incipient weight, then, in the global technology purchases, also at Christmas. At the time we commented on the existence of two pioneering stores in the field of repair of damaged mobiles, tablets and computers to later resell them at more affordable prices.

What should we look for when we buy a second-hand mobile

What should we look for when we buy a second-hand mobile

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Today those two stores, as reflected a study of the OCU from a year ago, have become eleven, most of them large distributors such as Worten, Amazon, AliExpress, Fnac or Carrefour, but also manufacturers such as Apple, which resells through its own channel some of its refurbished products after being delivered by customers in exchange for a new device.

Its growth in the consumer electronics market is only growing: according to the report Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast from IDC, during 2019 18% more refurbished mobile phones were sold than in 2018, reaching 200 million units. According to the same, for 2023 sales of 333 million units and a global turnover of 67,000 million dollars are expected in the sale of reconditioned mobiles.

Now it’s about a very varied market in terms of quality and origin of products, in which second-hand devices are mixed with others repaired by a professional or even a zero kilometer of display, which have never been used but have gone out of style behind the counter.

Further, the palette of shops dedicated to its sale ranges from the warranty offered by a manufacturer such as Apple to the risk involved in some Market Places AliExpress or even Amazon, since the seller may be outside the European Union and therefore not adhere to its laws of guarantees and dissent.

Therefore, if we are thinking of betting on a mobile, a tablet or a reconditioned computer, we must take into account at least eight keys that can save us scares and annoyances and that will also help us to make the best choice.

1. Savings compared to a new one

We will not always find real savings compared to the same new model, especially if it is an old model. The reason is that the old models that are still manufactured are usually sold at a lower price so that they do not compete with the novelties.

Sometimes the difference is less than 100 euros between the new and the refurbished model, so it is worth opting for the former. And as always, the advice is to compare a lot before deciding.

2. The guarantee

It is important to make sure that the warranty on the product is specified on the website. By law, a second-hand technology product marketed by a professional must have a 12-month warranty, but some sellers offer 24 months, which is the same as a new product.

Let us make sure that this is indeed so. In the following table you can see what each store offers.

3. The withdrawal period

In the same way, given the reconditioned products there is no certainty in the uniformity of the quality of the product, but it depends on the seller, the repairer, etc., it is convenient to pay close attention to the withdrawal periods that are offered, in case we take a surprise with the device and we want to return it.

The law stipulates a minimum of 14 days for the return of a product, although some commercials extend the period. Again the table above specifies the different withdrawal periods offered by each seller.

4. The website where we buy

We have already referred to the existence of market places on sites like Amazon or AliExpress, where various sellers can place their product. Let’s make sure that the seller has its registered office in the EU or that the platform is responsible in case of returns or guarantees.

5. The outside state

Serious traders offer information on the status of the case, display, etc. If it presents goals, scratches or is in good or impeccable condition. At Apple we can rely almost 100% on quality, but this is not always the case. Let us be wary if the seller does not inform us of the status of the product or ask him directly.

6. Battery status

Especially for smartphones and tablets, but also for laptops, it is important to look at the battery capacity. In Ten everyday habits that make your mobile battery last less and less We told you how it is losing its autonomy over the years. It is important that the product has a new battery or one with a capacity above 90%.

7. The age of the model

Age matters for the simple reason that less current models are less likely to handle the latest operating system updates, whether Android or iOS. Although for some time now they have improved a lot in this regard, you have to think that their processor is slower and will consume more resources, significantly shortening the battery life. And also your cameras and screen definition will be worse.

8. Have all the components

They must go in the box or package that headphones, instructions, chargers, etc. send us. If they are not listed, the seller must tell us prior sale, or we must proactively ask about it and get them out.

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