If you're the type of person that wants all the newest features and hardware, then you're going to have to fork out a considerable amount of money. Hence why so many of us opt to purchase handsets on lengthy contracts, rather than paying the full amount for the handset outright. This helps to spread the cost and makes the decision seem easier, though it also means paying more in the long run. 

The more expensive the device overall, the more money you will pay across the life of the phone contract. Fortunately, there is a way to cut down these costs and get a high-quality device for far less than the price of a 2 or even 3-year contract. Buying refurbished handsets can be far cheaper, though it’s good to know what this term entails.

What is a refurbished device?

First, it's important to highlight that 'refurbished' does not mean the same thing as 'second hand'. Many of the phones that you find on websites such as eBay, or in local listings, will be what you would call 'second hand'; that is, a phone that has been previously owned and used by another person, but wiped of data and sold on to you.

Conversely, a refurbished smartphone has undergone some form of professional-grade tidying up and repair. These phones can fall into one of many categories. For example, it could be a device that has been resold to a company after a period of use; it could be a device that was faulty upon delivery and returned to the company for a refund or replacement by the receiving customer, or it could be a product that was returned unused, but cannot be sold ‘as new’ by the company as a result.

The final scenario is ideal from a customer point of view, as it could mean receiving a like-new product in its original packaging, but for a refurbished price tag. Whatever the means by which the phone gets back to the company, they'll typically check it over for damage, repair any faults or defects, and ensure that it meets a specified standard. After this process has been followed, it's ready for resale, at a discount.

Pros of buying refurbished

There are several benefits to be had when you buy a refurbished phone:

  • It’s far cheaper. Whether buying a whole handset upfront, or purchasing a contract plan, you can potentially save hundreds of pounds. If you get lucky, you might even get a like-new handset.
  • Unlike a regular second-hand phone bought from a marketplace website or local classified ad, your refurbished device will have been professionally reviewed and repaired, if necessary.
  • You'll typically get a generous warranty period.
  • The company performing the refurbishment will have been required to completely wipe the phone data, so there's no risk of getting a bloated phone with already-used storage.

Cons of buying refurbished

At the same time, there are of course some drawbacks to buying a refurbished device:

  • Getting a brand-new model could take a while; there are unlikely to be many available on the refurbished market until the phone has been out for some time.
  • Depending on the previous owner and the conditions under which the phone was returned to a company, it could have signs of wear and tear.
  • Not all insurance companies will provide cover for a phone that is refurbished or preowned.
  • Any warranty offered on a refurbished device is likely to be shorter than with a new handset.

In summary

To round everything up, you can make a large saving by buying a refurbished device and often, you won’t necessarily even realise that you’re using a preowned phone; it’s rare for companies to refurbish and resell phones that have anything more than minor signs of wear.

WiseGuys can help you to find a new handset, or troubleshoot technical and software issues for any of your existing devices. If you want to speak to a support agent, then you can reach us on 0808 123 2820.