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Speakers’ Corner: Debunking four common misconceptions around refurbished phones

Mobile News
June 16, 2022

With refurbished smartphones offering consumers the chance to save money during a difficult financial climate, Aznu general manager Stephen Smith pushes the case for why they shouldn’t be overlooked

The popularity of refurbished phones keeps growing, with the industry rising in value by 4.5 per cent in 2021 and expected to be worth $65 billion by 2024.

Referring to second-hand mobiles that have been inspected and repaired for resale, these give people the chance to get their hands on a premium phone for a fraction of what they’d pay for the equivalent brand new model.

However, many are still put off buying refurbished phones because of a number of misconceptions surrounding them, including everything from fears around their safety to concerns about their quality.

But people needn’t be worried — provided they choose a reputable supplier. We’re here to bust some of the main misconceptions surrounding refurbished phones to show just why so many people are no longer buying mobiles first-hand, and why you’d be justified in doing the same.

1. Refurbished phones are the same as used phones

While both refurbished and used phones are second-hand mobiles that have both technically been used, they aren’t the same thing. Some of the main differences between them include:


Because refurbished phones are sold by a reseller, retailer or manufacturer, they will be professionally refurbished to ensure they’re in perfect working condition, while also being unlocked and securely wiped of data. Most suppliers will also ensure that they’re blemish-free.

In contrast, used phones are typically sold by their previous owners, and therefore don’t undergo the same checks. Consequently, they may be faulty, blemished and locked.


Most refurbished phone suppliers offer a 12-month warranty should anything go wrong in the first year of owning the phone, giving owners peace of mind.

Because used phones are sold by their previous owner, they’re likely to have an expired warranty that can’t be renewed after you buy it.

After sale support

Similarly, because you buy a refurbished phone from a dedicated dealer, you’re likely to get customer support and a returns policy, should you change your mind. Conversely, most used phones are bought from unregulated peer-to-peer marketplaces, where these things are far from guaranteed.

2. Refurbished phones are unsafe

Many people see refurbished phones as being unsafe, however, this just isn’t true. Like with new phones, refurbished mobiles remain supported by manufacturer software and security updates for the same period.

For example, iPhones will get iOS updates for five to six years from the release date, while Android models will receive them for two to four years depending on the manufacturer. Samsung has recently pledged four years of major operating system updates for its phones, plus five years of security updates, while Google Pixel phones get support for at least three years.

As such, there’s no need to worry about refurbished phones being unsafe, particularly as certain suppliers throw in extras like internet protection too.

3. Refurbished phones don’t work as well as new phones

As touched upon, refurbished phones undergo comprehensive tests to ensure that they are in full working order. Consequently, they work just as well as new phones, with the only potential difference being the battery capacity. However, almost all refurbished phones still retain at least 85 per cent of their original capacity, meaning you won’t be able to notice the difference between it and a new phone.

The key point to note is that any faulty batteries are replaced, so you’d never receive a refurbished phone with this problem. And as they have been “serviced” when being refurbished and any faulty parts replaced, they are ready to work as a new phone would be. (used phones will have the potential faulty parts and problems still and also if their previous only got a cheap repair done in its lifetime you would not know!)

What’s more, even if you were to encounter some issue with a refurbished phone, the warranty and returns policy means this can be quickly resolved. As a result, there’s really nothing to worry about quality-wise when it comes to buying one.

4. Refurbished phones cost the same as new phones

Many are sceptical about just how much money you can really save with refurbished phones, but the numbers don’t lie. According to a study by Mazuma Mobile, the average saving is a whopping £319, with the company finding one refurbished phone that was £550 cheaper than its brand new counterpart.

This comes down to the fact that refurbished phones don’t need to be manufactured from scratch, as well as the extortionate costs of brand new phones. These depreciate massively over time — particularly in the first year. Getting a bargain isn’t the only benefit of buying a refurbished phone either. Not only won’t you be locked into a long contract, but it’s also better for the environment considering a phone is recycled and prevented from going to landfill.

Although many people are put off buying refurbished phones because of the various myths surrounding them, hopefully we’ve put you at ease by showing you that these beliefs are misinformed. Be sure to check out some more of our refurbished phone content to learn more about the topic.

Stephen Smith is the general manager at refurbished smartphone brand Aznu

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