Shopping For Used Cellphones - NBC 7 San Diego
NBC 7 Responds

NBC 7 Responds

Consumer Investigative Unit

Shopping For Used Cellphones

NBC 7 Responds looks at the used cellphone market.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Buying Used Phones Could Save You Hundreds of Dollars

    NBC 7's Consumer Bob tells you how you could save hundreds of dollars by purchasing second-hand smartphones. (Published Monday, July 15, 2019)

    Cellphones are a part of our everyday life. They connect you to the internet, to your work, and to your family. But that convenience comes at a cost with some phones costing upwards of $1,000.

    And as cellphone prices increase, more people are in the market for used cellphones.

    To find out more, NBC 7 Responds spoke to Nerdwallet.com’s writer Kelsey Sheehy about today’s used cellphone market.

    “A lot of people clamor over the latest phone, the newest shiniest thing, but you can save hundreds of dollars if you buy a used phone instead of a new one,” said Sheehy in a July 11 interview.

    Websites such as Swappa, Gazelle, eBay, and Amazon offer a variety of used cellphone options as well as protections to safeguard your purchase.

    An example: the website Swappa.com offers a used iPhone X for $540. That same phone costs as much as $940 brand new at certain retailers. Older models with fewer features can cost much less.

    “A used phone may have some dings and scratches but the money that you save will more than cover a case to hide those imperfections,” says Sheehy

    But there are some warnings when shopping for a used cellphone:

    • First, make sure you know about the website’s return policy before making any purchase.
    • Always get the serial number to make sure the phone isn’t lost, stolen or still under contract.
    • Make sure to check if your carrier can activate the phone before buying.
    • Use caution when buying from online marketplaces, such as Craigslist or Facebook, as many of those purchases are not protected.
    • Lastly, be wary of using cash or mobile payment apps as those do not offer consumer protections.

    That’s why Sheehy says it is best to pick a website where the phones are certified and returnable.

    “More and more of these sites popping up,” said Sheehy. “Generally speaking, people are more comfortable with buying second hand.”