Buying a second-hand phone? Here’s how to stay safe…

Friday 4 June 2010, by
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Looking for a new mobile? Well, there are loads of phones on Gumtree and a secondhand model can be a great way of getting the phone you want at an affordable price.

Naturally, there are some things to be aware of before buying a secondhand mobile phone. Read on to discover our tips for grabbing a bargain and staying safe.

  • Meet with your seller. Never send a seller money from your bank account before seeing the phone, and don’t send payment via money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. If you’re happy to buy the phone, PayPal is best, but don’t mark it as ‘a gift’. If the seller turns out to be a scammer, PayPal won’t be able to help you.
  • Always ask for a receipt. Get your seller to sign and write his/her name and address on the back of a receipt.  You’ll need this for most insurance purposes anyway.
  • Take a screenshot of the Gumtree ad so you have it as a reference for the transaction.
  • Be suspicious of a nearly-new phone being sold without packaging. If the seller can’t produce a receipt or even a charger, it could be a stolen phone.
  • If you’re buying secondhand, try to establish what condition the phone is in. Use the phone, open a few apps, and try to find out what state the battery life is in.
  • Make sure you’re buying a phone that the seller actually owns. Remember that if a phone is still under contract, technically it still belongs to the service provider.
  • Don’t accept a phone in a sealed box. If the seller won’t allow you to take the phone out of the box to test it, it could be faulty or even a fake.

Above all, just take your time, and don’t rush into any decisions. If you see an iPhone or similar device advertised at a ridiculously cheap price, then it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t make payments until you’re happy, and if in doubt, just walk away.

Have you got any other tips to add? Tell us in the comments below.


The media team

We are the people behind Gumtree, and we do our best to make it an enjoyable experience. We hope you liked the thoughts we shared with you on this blog. Feel free to comment about the subject in the comment area below.



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