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The difference between nearly new and refurbished phones

The difference between nearly new and refurbished phones

If you’re not in the market to buy a brand-new mobile device, a nearly new or refurbished handset might be right for you. But what exactly are nearly new phones and how are they different from refurbished phones? We explain.

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
minute read
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Posted 28 NOVEMBER 2019

Why should I be interested in buying a nearly new or refurbished phone?

Mobile phones are often eye-wateringly pricey, especially at the top of the range: the iPhone 11 Pro Max, for example, is retailing at £1,499 (price correct 26 November 2019). If you’re looking for a cheap new smartphone, a nearly new or refurbished phone could give you the handset you want for much less.

Plus, there’s the environment to think about. A nearly new phone is likely to have less impact on the environment than a handset that’s just been manufactured. 

Nearly new and refurbished phones should be in perfect working order, so why not make full use of them? Buying these types of phones can be a real win-win…

What does nearly new phone mean?

A nearly new phone is one that’s been returned to the retailer within a specified time, within the cooling-off period. They’ve usually been returned simply because the customer has changed their mind and may or may not have been used.

Nearly new phones should be in perfect condition, without any scratches or marks, but as they’re not technically brand new they can’t be sold at full price.

What is a refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone is one that’s been sent back to the retailer because of a fault, then been repaired so that it can be resold.

But these definitions aren’t set in stone. Some phones described as refurbished won’t have had a fault, and you’ll see all sorts of phrases used to describe them, including reconditioned phones and pre-owned phones. You need to check with the retailer you’re buying the phone from to find out exactly what they mean by ‘refurbished’ and ‘nearly new’.

Are there any disadvantages of a refurbished phone?

One of the disadvantages of refurbished phones is that, unlike nearly new phones, they may have defects. They’re often graded to indicate what condition they’re in.

  • Grade A: perfect condition, with its box and accessories.
  • Grade B: slight damage, in its box and with accessories.
  • Grade C: working, but more worn and possibly without its accessories.

Sellers use different versions of these grades, so check exactly what they mean before you buy.

What about second-hand phones?

Second-hand phones are simply phones that have been previously owned. They’re usually sold by the owner and could be in any condition.

Nearly new and refurbished smartphones will be sold by the manufacturer or retailer. Nearly new phones should be in perfect condition and refurbished phones in good condition.

It’s worth noting that you won’t get a warranty on a second-hand phone unless the original one is still in date.

Will a nearly new phone work?

Nearly new phones and refurbished phones will be thoroughly checked and tested. Any data on them will have been wiped in line with the Data Protection Act (of course, a nearly new phone might not have been used at all). It should be just like having a completely new phone.

Will I get a warranty on a nearly new phone?

You’ll get the same warranties on a nearly-new phone as you’d get with a brand-new phone. But double-check when buying your phone, particularly if you’re not buying from a major retailer.

Will I get a warranty on a refurbished phone?

You’ll get a retailer’s warranty with a refurbished phone, as well as the manufacturer’s warranty if that hasn’t run out. Generally speaking, whoever did the refurbishment of the phone will provide the guarantee.

Will a nearly new phone come with accessories?

A nearly new phone should come with its accessories. A refurbished phone may include some. With both, the retailer should state exactly what you’re going to get.

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