What To Look for Before Buying a Refurbished Smartphone?

How to buy a refurbished smartphone when budget is tight
How To Buy A Refurbished Smartphone When The Budget Is Tight?

Refurbished smartphones or mobile phones are easily available at online and physical stores to buy. These phones can be Android or iOS and work the same way as the original and new models. Only the difference is that they have been earlier used; so are cheaper phones to buy in supermarkets in Australia for those who have a tight budget. Why not I too cannot afford Apple iPhone 12 pro max; which costs $2369 and so a refurbished phone is the best option for me and many like me.


Many times Apple and Google or Android smartphones become refurbished; when the stock becomes so huge of new phones and people want new models so old models are sold by Apple; and other mobile companies at discounted prices.

A study by Boost Mobile and Coles who trialled selling refurbished iPhone 7s in selected stores saw that they faced “phenomenal” demand; so they have expanded their offering in 2021.

Where can you buy refurbished smartphones in Australia?

Where can you buy refurbished smartphones in Australia?
Where can you buy refurbished smartphones in Australia?

You can buy refurbished smartphones in Australia at eBay, Amazon, Coles, Apple Store, Google Store, Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and various other major networks and retailers in Australia.

Also, you can buy at Back markets where you can find refurbished devices of all types. Information on the refurbishing process is provided, and the listings are transparent about what damage is present if any. Also, there’s free shipping and a warranty.

At Coles, a refurbished Boost Mobile iPhone 8 starts at $359; while Dick Smith sells refurbished Samsung Galaxy S9 phones for $389. For newer models, the discount is not quite so steep. For instance, a refurbished 64GB iPhone 11 Pro from NuMobile costs $1,296; just $3 less than a new model currently being sold at a discount for $1,299 at JB Hi-Fi.

What you should look for before buying a refurbished smartphone?

What you should look for before buying a refurbished smartphone?
What you should look for before buying a refurbished smartphone?

Here are certain things you should look for before buying a refurbished smartphone:

1. The reputation of the Seller

Before purchasing a refurbished smartphone, it is important to research the seller or the manufacturer. Look for reviews from previous customers to get an idea of the seller’s reputation. Check the seller’s website and look for information on their policies and customer service. Make sure they have a good track record of providing high-quality refurbished phones.

2. Condition of the Phone

Carefully inspect the phone for any physical damage or defects. Check for scratches, dents, or cracks on the screen, back, and sides of the phone. If possible, examine the phone under a bright light to make sure there are no visible cracks. Check the buttons, cameras, speakers, and other features to ensure that they are all in good working condition. Also, check for any signs of water damage or corrosion.

3. Warranty

Look for a refurbished phone that comes with a warranty. A warranty will provide you with some protection if the phone malfunctions or stops working. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the warranty carefully to fully understand what is covered and for how long.

4. Battery Life

Battery life is an important factor to consider when buying a refurbished smartphone. Ask the seller if the battery has been replaced, and if so, when. If not, ask about the battery’s health and how long it lasts on a single charge. Check the battery percentage and make sure it is holding a charge properly. A weak battery may indicate that the phone has been heavily used.

5. Price

Compare the price of the refurbished phone with the price of a new one. A significantly lower price may indicate that the phone has some issues that were fixed, or it may be an older model. Make sure you’re getting a fair price for the refurbished phone based on its condition and specifications.

By taking the time to research the seller, inspect the phone’s condition, check for a warranty, and consider the battery life and price, you can make an informed decision when buying a refurbished smartphone.

Apple industry analyst; Horace Dediu used Apple’s “active device” number to estimate that the average lifecycle of an Apple product made between 2013 and 2018 is four years and three months. In 2017 consultancy firm Kantar found that; on average; people held onto their smartphones for as little as 20 months in some countries.

iPhone supports the latest iOS for five years

Note that iPhones are also only supported with the latest iOS for five years; meaning models older than that will no longer be able to update their operating systems; and will quickly become obsolete. Without the latest iOS, some apps and programs will progressively stop working as their technology advances beyond yours. It has already been close to five years since the iPhone 7 was released; so there’s no guarantee they’ll be supported after the next major iOS upgrade.

Under Australian Consumer Law; if a product or service you buy fails to meet the consumer guarantee; you have the right to ask for a repair if the fault is minor; a replacement or a refund if it has a major problem. These rights apply to both new and secondhand goods; though the length of time the rights apply depends on what is reasonable for the product.

It also advises that “a business should be clear; about what components in a refurbished well have been replaced; and what components are secondhand; so a consumer can make an assessment about how long the refurbished goods’ components are likely to last”.

Warranties available on refurbished phones

Warranties available on refurbished phones
Warranties available on refurbished phones

That being said, many retailers offer warranties on refurbished phones similar to those of new products. A Boost Mobile refurbished iPhone 8 available at Coles comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 12-month warranty. TeleChoice offers 12-month warranties on refurbished phones bought outright, and 24-month warranties for phones on a plan.


If you’d still prefer a new smartphone, there are many available at a more competitive price. A new Google Pixel 4a is $599; a new Motorola Moto G 5G Plus is around $650, and you can pick up a Realme 6 for under $300. If, like more than 70% of Australian smartphone owners, you’re stuck on Apple, consider the cheaper iPhone SE, starting at $679. But if you are rich enough to buy a new smartphone then there is no dearth of new smartphones to buy at the stores online or offline. The choice is finally yours.

About the author

Kamal Kaur