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Here's What To Look Out For When Buying Refurbished Phones, According To Consumer Reports

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Nowadays, more consumers are willing to purchase refurbished handsets as prices of high-end smartphones are getting more expensive than they've ever been.

A refurbished phone is considerably cheaper than a brand new device. For example, a refurbished 256GB iPhone 7 Plus will cost about $90 less than a brand new iPhone 7 Plus.

However, with so many different refurbished models available and so many different places that sell them, how does a one protect oneself from purchasing the wrong phone?

Non-profit magazine Consumer Reports has noted the things consumers should look out for before buying a refurbished phone.

Check If The Device Is Actually Refurbished

According to CR, consumers need to make sure the phone is genuinely refurbished and not just a handset that has been cleaned up, put into a box, and then placed onto a store shelf. To do that, consumers need to ask the right questions before making their decision as every smartphone manufacturer refurbishes their devices differently.

For instance, Samsung refers to its refurbished handsets with the term "certified pre-owned." It also promises restoration of its devices to its original condition, which includes "a detailed, top-down inspection of every feature and function," according to the company's website.

Meanwhile, Apple's refurbished phones are restored with the same parts that the company uses in brand new handsets.

Therefore, it's important for buyers to learn about a vendor's refurbishment policy when making a purchase from a non-certified seller. Otherwise, they could find themselves stuck with a phone equipped with cheap third-party components or accessories.

Warranty And Return Policy

When purchasing a refurbished device, it is important to consider the warranty offered by each vendor. Apple and Samsung are quite generous when it comes to their warranty plans. Their refurbished phones are protected for up to a year, the same warranty they offer with brand new handsets.

Retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, on the other hand, offer a warranty of only 90 days with their refurbished devices. Consumers must also inquire about the product's return policy as it takes a couple of weeks to notice poor performance or defects in a refurbished handset. One month is an ideal period to decide whether or not they want to keep the phone.

Amazon meets the requirement, however, Apple's return policy is limited to only two weeks. Then again, there are credit card companies that might be able to help out with their extended coverage on refurbished goods if ever a vendor refuses to accept a return.

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