Buying a second-hand phone? Don’t get ripped off

Friday 4 June 2010, by
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Read our tips when you're buying a secondhand phone onlineBuying a second-hand mobile phone can be a bit more complicated than buying a brand new phone. There’s the potential of more things going wrong, such as the phone being blocked, not working or  turning out to be a stolen phone. Steve, one of our Good Neighbour team members who goes by the name ‘Nottinghamste’ on the Gumtree forums, has some tips when you’re buying a second-hand phone online:

  • Meet with your seller. Never agree to send a seller funds from your bank account and especially DO NOT send payment via money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Also, don’t send a payment to someone using PayPal and mark it as a gift. If the person 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 at the back of the receipt.  You’ll need this for most insurance purposes anyway.
  • Take a screenshot of the ad and save it 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.
  • Don’t accept a phone that’s sealed. 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. Almost all mobiles have a cheap clone version so it pays to be safe.
  • Is the phone advertised as a dual SIM? It’s definitely a fake.  Major manufacturers don’t offer this in their phones.

Above all, don’t let your heart rule your head! An iPhone or similar device advertised as cheaper than the going rate should be treated with suspicion. Don’t let anyone try and force you into making a quick payment just because they say they have someone else interested. If in doubt, let it go.

Have you got any other tips to add? Tell us in the comments below or add to this discussion in our forum.


Jia Min



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