Smartphones are getting better every second and with people upgrading their phones frequently, the second hand phone market is fast growing. Second hand phones have become a very reasonable purchase option since the specs on phones with 1-2 years wear are still of good quality for an average user and saves you A LOT of money!
However, there risks involved in purchasing second hand phones especially for those who do not know what to look for. Phones sold may not be original and may still be under contracts with telco carriers. Phones that are still in contract with telcos are a big risk because if the original owner did not their bills, the phone will be locked and cannot be used and cases like this have been becoming very prevalent.
While there is no way to eliminate ALL risks when buying second hand phones, here are some tips for buyers to look out for to stay safe when purchasing a second hand phone phone :
Step 1 : Test the SIM Card tray of the phone and test in front of the seller
Phones SIM card slots may be locked remotely by the phone manufacturer/telcos to prevent thieves from using the phone or to ensure overdue unpaid phones cannot be used. Do try the all the SIM Card slots of the phone with your own SIM card to ensure the phone you are purchasing is not locked! If only one of the SIM Card slots are working that is a red flag because currently blacklisted phones can only lock 1 SIM card slot at the moment. However, new regulations coming out soon will allow the 2nd SIM Card slot to be blocked as well which will make the phone obsolete!
Step 2 : Check if your phone is Original or AP In the open market, there are Original phone models sold by legitimate distributors and they come with a manufacturer’s warranty. AP phones have warranties that can be claimed directly from the resellers, which may be an inconvenience should the phone malfunctions.
So if your buying a phone that is claimed to be under warranty you would want to check this in case your phone runs into trouble during the warranty period.
Here’s how to do it :
i) Find and match the IMEI (15 digit number) on the phone and the box are the same.
Here’s a sample of an IMEI on an iPhone & Huawei packaging
iPhones : To get the IMEI on a iPhone, go to Settings > General > About
Android : For most Android models, find your IMEI number on the phone by pressing *#06#
ii) Check if your device is SIRIM approved All Original phones in Malaysia are recorded with SIRIM. If your phone details can be found in SIRIM and they match on your phone, then you’re good to go!
Step 4 : Check if your iPhone is New or Refurbished? (iPhones only) There is nothing definitively wrong with a refurbished phone as it would be restored professionally by Apple themselves. For some of us though, it may be a deal breaker and for the rest of us it’s a tool to get a better price. Here’s an easy way to check if your iPhone is new or refurbished by looking through the status of the iPhone. Go to Settings > General > AboutYou will see a Model number like the kind of screen below:
The first letter of the model number will indicate the status of the phone:
M - New phone F - Refurbished phone N - Replacement phone (A replacement unit provided by Apple to the registered owner when the original phone was found to be faulty.) P - Personalised (The unit has a personalised engraving when it was purchased.)
That’s it folks! Now, equipped with this knowledge you can reduce your risks when buying a phone in the second hand market.