The Gumtree Blog

Stay smart when buying hi-tech

Wednesday 11 March 2015, by

Looking for a new mobile, laptop or tablet device? Well, there are loads on Gumtree and a secondhand model can be a great way of getting the device you want at an affordable price.

As ever, there are a few important tips to be aware of which will help you be safer when buying a phone or other device.

  • Meet your seller face to face. Never send a seller money from your bank account before seeing and checking the item, 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’ as PayPal’s buyer protection won’t be apply then.
  • 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. You can check if it’s been reported stolen by researching the IMEI on, or test it with your SIM card to ensure it’s not been locked
  • If you’re buying second hand, 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 an item 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 laptop or device in a sealed box. If the seller won’t allow you to take the item out of the box to test it, it could be faulty or even a fake.
  • Be careful of malware and viruses on a used device. If possible start with a clean slate by reinstalling the operating system, but if that’s not possible, we always recommend to install antivirus and anti-malware software, and scan before you use your new device.


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 (even if it’s not the very latest model), then it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t make payments until you have the device in your hands, and if in doubt, just walk away.


What if you’re selling a device rather than buying?


Again, there are simple steps you can take to ensure a safe, successful sale when you’re looking to get rid of your unwanted smartphones and electronics. Here’s how to hock your handset the smart way!

Wipe it! The first thing you want to do when selling your device on to someone else is to wipe all of your personal data. Your photos, music, notes, text messages, documents – everything. Make sure you’ve backed up or transfered any data that you want to keep – check the manual for your particular device and you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to do this. Then it’s time to do a full factory data reset to ensure the device is restored to its as-new state, minus your confidential details.

Research prices. Want to make sure you’re getting a fair deal as a seller? See what kind of prices other sellers are charging for similar items in similar conditions. Have a browse through Gumtree for your particular device’s make and model, memory capacity, age, and condition. This will give you an overview of the price range that buyers are expecting to pay, helping you to set a realistic price and make an efficient sale yourself.

Unlock it. Some buyers may be with your network already, making switching to the device easy. But you might find it easier to make a sale when your device is unlocked. Some buyers don’t want the hassle of being tied to a network, or having to unlock a device themselves. An unlocked phone means that any buyer, whichever network they’re with, will be able to slip in their SIM and use their new device right away. So before you sell you may want to get in touch with your existing network and ask them to unlock it for you – and be sure to let buyers know in your ad that your device is unlocked.


The Media Team

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