What to look out for when buying a second-hand smartphone

You can bag yourself a real bargain with a used smartphone, but there are some things to bear in mind before making a purchase.
Buying second hand makes sense for people who are new to smartphones, or those who don’t feel they need the very latest gadget, says Michael Gundall, a consumer choice advisor in Germany.
It also suits environmentally conscious consumers, says Philip Heldt from Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen, a consumer advice centre in Germany: “Buying second-hand goods is sustainable, because no new product is produced.”
It’s important to pay attention to the device’s age. Often, smartphones don’t receive any more security updates once they’re two or three years old, says Alexander Kuch from telecommunications portal Teltarif.de. “Then you should consider whether security is not more important than sustainability.”
Andreas Seeger from Connect magazine advises people to go for well-known brands: “This is where the software support is best and there is a bigger likelihood of an update to the latest version.”
Good savings are available for those who can wait – for example, just one year after their launch, second-hand Samsung Galaxy phones can be bought for half the original price. The same fall-off doesn’t generally occur for Apple devices, though.
The purchase price should depend on the age and condition of the device, Seeger says. In general, a used device shouldn’t cost more than 60 per cent of the price of a new model.
If buying online, you should check out customer reviews and service and warranty agreements. “Are contact details or a service address given somewhere? If payment is only possible in advance, I would be cautious,” Gundall says.
If you’re buying from a private seller, you should insist on the original invoice and packaging so that you can be sure the device wasn’t stolen. — dpa